Party Fever

film no. 171


technical details:

Production 2568.

Release no. C-742.

Filmed July 5 to 9, 1938.

Copyrighted August 25, 1938, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP8252. Renewed August 30, 1965, with registration no. R367400. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2033.

Released August 27, 1938. It was the 171st film in the series to be released, and the last of the 1937/38 season.

All-talking one-reeler, lasting 9 minutes and 31 seconds.

Opening title: 'Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Our Gang in "Party Fever".'


the crew:

Produced by Jack Chertok for M-G-M
The film credit reads: Produced by Loew's Incorporated.
Directed by George Sidney
This credit appears in the film.
Photographed by Robert Pittack, A. S. C.
This credit appears in the film.
Screen Play by Howard Dimsdale
This credit appears in the film.
Animal trainer: Tony Campanaro
He trained the current Pete.
Teacher: Fern Carter
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Indicated in the opening title card.
Western Electric Sound System
As indicated in the film.
Approved by the Motion Picture Producers & Distributors of America
Passed by the National Board of Review
As indicated in the film.
possible uncredited involvement
direction - Gordon Douglas was on loan from Roach during this period, and probably had some involvement with this short. Even if he didn't do any actual direction, it's fairly clear that he was in the process of readying George Sidney to take over.

the kids:

Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as "Alfalfa"
Lead role. He runs for mayor, highlighted by a skywriting stunt in a hot air balloon.
Tommy Bond as "Butch"
Featured role. He runs against Alfalfa, giving out free marshmallows.
Darla Hood as "Darla"
Supporting role. The two boys are competing for her approval.
Darwood Kaye as "Waldo"
Supporting role. He ends up becoming mayor by virtue of family ties.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Buckwheat"
Supporting role. He assists Alfalfa in his campaign.
Eugene "Porky" Lee
Supporting role. He accompanies Buckwheat throughout the film.
Sidney Kibrick as "Woim"
Supporting role. He assists Butch in his campaign.
Harold and Jerry Shaw
Small parts. These are the identical twins that announce Alfalfa's skywriting stunt.
Joe Levine
Small part. He's the first kid that Butch bullies into voting for him, and appears in the crowd thereafter.
boy 171c
Small part. This is the boy with the black eye.
Laura June Williams
Extra. She sits next to Waldo as the kids watch Alfalfa's stunt.
Harold Switzer
Extra. He sits second from the right among the kids watching Alfalfa.
Bobby Callahan
Extra. He's at the far right among the kids roasting marshmallows. He later sits to the left of Darla during the balloon sequence. He's also in the crowd during the final scene.
Grace Bohanon
Extra. She's directly in front of Darla and Butch as they're chasing Alfalfa's balloon. She's also standing behind Waldo in the final scene.
Payne Johnson
Extra. It appears that he's the boy who stumbles on the left side of the screen as the kids all get up to chase the balloon.
other kids
Small parts and extras. There are perhaps fifteen to twenty additional kids appearing in the various scenes.

the animals:

Pete the Pup IV
Small part. He's seen during Alfalfa's street-sweeping scene. This was his final appearance in the series.
Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.

the adults:

Frank Jacquet as "Uncle Frank," the mayor
Small part. He announces the mayor-for-a-day at the end of the film.
other adults
Bit parts and extras. Standing with the mayor are four additional officials and two cops. Earlier, there's a truck driver driving the truck advertising Clancey.

the music:

"Our Gang" by David Snell
This is played over the opening titles, but is a different recording than the one normally heard. This is a medley of three songs:
(1.) "London Bridge" - The earliest reference to this nursery rhyme is in a play from 1659, and it was associated with children by 1720. It may derive from a part of the "Heimskringla" by Snorri Sturluson, which was composed around 1225.
(2.) "Mulberry Bush" - Also known as "So Early In The Morning" and "This Is The Way." It was probably originally called "Here We Go Round The Bramble Tree" in the mid 18th century, with the type of tree changed by inmates of Wakefield Prison, who exercised around a mulberry bush.
(3.) "The Farmer In The Dell" - This nursery rhyme is of uncertain origins.
"Ring Around The Rosie" and "The Farmer In The Dell"
These two songs are played in a medley as we first see Waldo and Darla. "Ring Around The Rosie" is alternately known as "Ring-A-Ring Of Roses," and probably originated some time prior to 1790, although it first appeared in print in 1881.
piece 171
This is played as we see the truck advertising Clancey. Though the title of this piece is still a mystery, the cutting continuity states that the original music for this short was written by David Snell.
"The Gang Goes Home" by David Snell
This is a shorter version of "Our Gang," including only "London Bridge."

miscellaneous:

Five shooting dates went into the making of this film, from July 5 to 9, 1938.

Originally, the Roach studio was supposed to deliver twelve one-reelers to MGM for the 1937/38 film season. The final Roach short, "Hide And Shriek" (no. 169) had been the tenth episode of the season, since MGM agreed to produce the final two episodes themselves. This second MGM short ("Party Fever") took the place of Roach production K-24. It's probable that the Roach production would have been made of some other story, however, since this short was not written by Robert McGowan and Hal Law.

Alfalfa's balloon is presumably called 'Darla the 2nd,' since the life preserver on the side says 'Darla' at the top and '2nd' at the bottom.

In the category of unseen characters, two adult candidates are running for office in this film. "Clancey" is advertised on the side of the truck, while "Smith" is the subject of a skywriting plane.

The newspaper article makes reference to somebody named Laurie Chertle.

On July 31, 1938, the Oakland Tribune reported the following: "It was a day of reckoning for Alfalfa Switzer, leading man of 'Our Gang.' In the last two gang comedies, Tommy Bond, portraying a tough kid, has pushed Alfalfa around unmercifully. In a sequence for 'Party Fever,' the latter got revenge. The boy actor was required to hit Tommy in the face with a ripe tomato, and the scene was rehearsed seven times."

See page 235 of Maltin & Bann's book for this film's expenses and profits.


availability:

The Our Gang Collection (5 DVD-R set) from Warner Home Video
Released Sep. 1, 2009. This is from the WB Archive Collection and available in a limited edition.
Room Service & At The Circus (DVD) from Warner Home Video
This DVD was originally released as part of The Marx Brothers Collection (5 DVD set) on May 4, 2004, and was later released as a double DVD on May 2, 2006. This is a complete original print with excellent picture quality.

© Robert Demoss.


My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Steven R. Wright (for identifying Joe Levine)


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