Uncle Joe Shannon, directed by Joseph Hanwright, was written by its star, Burt Young. Devastated by the loss of his wife and young son in a fire, Uncle Joe Shannon (Burt Young) is about to sink into the mire of complete self-destruction, but instead takes up with a young cancer victim (Doug McKeon). A common theme of sadness and loss binds the two together as they wander from orphanage to hospital to tacky jazz club, with Uncle Joe dragging his son's burned trumpet along. The two damaged characters improbably support each other on the hard-luck streets of Los Angeles, where Uncle Joe resurrects his abilities as a gifted jazz trumpet player just in time for Christmas. With Maynard Ferguson dubbing the trumpet solos, the film captures the pathos of the street people of the City of Angels particularly well, with the film receiving praise for the cinematography of Bill Butler.