1900. Danny Boodmann, a stoker on an American passenger liner, Virginian, finds a baby abandoned on the ship. He names the child Danny Boodmann T.D. Lemon Nineteen Hundred '1900' and raises the child as his own until his death in an accident on the ship. The child never leaves the ship and turns out to be a musical genius, especially when it comes to playing the piano. As an adult he befriends a trumpet player in the ship's band, Max Tooney. After several years on the ship Max leaves, and tells the story of 1900 to the owner of a music store.