Baby Blues

film no. 197

technical details:

Production 2706.

Release no. C-296.

Filmed October 31 to November 4, 1940.

Released February 15, 1941. It was the 197th film in the series to be released.

Copyrighted February 24, 1941, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP10346. Renewed February 26, 1968, with registration no. R430087. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2036.

All-talking one-reeler, lasting 9 minutes and 18 seconds.

Opening title: 'Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Our Gang in "Baby Blues".'

the crew:

Produced by M-G-M
The film credit reads: Produced by Loew's Incorporated. For some reason, Jack Chertok and Richard Goldstone are not credited by Maltin & Bann, but they were in charge of the short subject department during this period.
Directed by Edward Cahn
This credit appears in the film.
Director of Photography: Jackson Rose, A. S. C.
This credit appears in the film.
Editing by Leon Bourgeau
This credit appears in the film.
Screen Play by Hal Law and Robert A. McGowan
This credit appears in the film, but without McGowan's middle initial.
Art Director: Richard Duce
This credit appears in the film.
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.
Teacher: Fern Carter

the kids:

Mickey Gubitosi as "Mickey Gubitosi"
Lead role. He enlists the gang to help when he finds out that every fourth child born is Chinese, and a new baby in the family is due that day.
George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Featured role. He's the leader of the gang and does a lot of the talking.
Billy "Froggy" Laughlin as "Froggy"
Featured role. He has a large amount of the dialogue and scatters the bullies who are picking on Lee.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas
Supporting role. He's present with the other boys of the gang, but isn't given very much dialogue.
Edward Soo Hoo as "Lee Wong"
Supporting role. The gang saves him from Bully and his bunch, and then eat lunch at his house.

Mickey's sisters
Ruth Tobey as "Gladys"
Small part. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Betty Scott, who bears a resemblance, but Ruth Tobey provides us with a direct match (in my opinion). With her mother about ready to give birth, she's in charge of the cooking, much to Mickey's dismay.
Janet Burston as "Mamie"
Small part. She's present during the home scenes.

Bully and His Bunch
Freddie Chapman as "Bully"
Small part. He's the leader among the bad kids.
James Gubitosi
Small part. He's the first boy punched by Froggy.
Vincent Graeff
Small part. He's mostly standing in back during the scene with the bullies. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Billy Ray Smith.
other kids
Small part. There is one additional bully, standing in back.

the animals:

Bit part. The MGM lion appears during the opening titles.
other animals
Small part and extras.
(1.) "Elmer" the stork, or "Mr. Stork."
(2.) The other animals at the zoo, including two bears. The animals on either side of the stork are too difficult to identify.

the adults:

William Edmunds as "Mr. Gubitosi," Mickey's dad
Small part. He tries to phone the doctor while his kids make a racket.
Jennie Lee as "Mrs. Wong," Lee's mom
Small part. Spanky calls her both "Mrs. Wong" and "Miss Wong." She serves ham and eggs to the boys for lunch.
Eddie Lee as "Cheng Wong," Lee's dad
Small part. He's doing laundry when Lee and the boys walk in. The script reveals his character's first name, which is partially shown on the sign in front of the hand laundry.
Hank Mann as the zoo attendant
Small part. He talks to the boys about the stork.
Margaret Bert as the receptionist
Small part. She tells the boys that the doctor has already left for Mickey's house.
other adults
Small parts and extras.
(1.) Mickey's mom;. Her husband calls her "Momma."
(2.) At least two background pedestrians during the bullying scenes.
(3.) A portrait on the wall of the Wong home.

the music:

"Our Gang" by David Snell
This is played over the opening titles. This is the earlier recording, used prior to "The Big Premiere" (no. 189). 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.
"The Gang Goes Home" by David Snell
This is a shorter version of "Our Gang," including only "London Bridge."


Five shooting dates went into the making of this film, from October 31 to November 4, 1940. Here's a breakdown of the script activity:
July 13 - Changes were made to the McGowan & Law script entitled "Too Many Sisters" on this date. Character names in this version included "Gladys," "Mamie," "Mr. Gubatosi" (sic), "Lee Wong," "Toughy," the "Attendant" (at the zoo), and "Cheng Wong," Lee's father, who runs the Chinese Hand Laundry.
July 29 - More changes were made to the "Too Many Sisters" script on this date. Mickey is concerned after hearing Chinese people speaking and also after looking at a Chinese menu. Included is a fantasy sequence in which Mickey is trying to teach the baby to spell 'cat' and 'rat.' He also pulls a bird's nest from a branch to feed the baby.
July 30, Aug. 13, and Aug. 28 - More changes were made to the "Too Many Sisters" script on these three dates.

The preliminary title of "Too Many Sisters" was still in effect as of November 30, 1940, when the publicity photos were approved by the Advertising Advisory Council.

Mickey reads out of an almanac, but I can't make out the name. It has one letter too few to be the Farmer's Almanac.

The Gubitosi familiy lives at 310 Elm Street.

In the category of unseen characters is "Dr. Wiggins."

See page 236 of Maltin & Bann's book for this film's expenses and profits.

© Robert Demoss.

My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
bigshotjones (for solving the Vincent Graeff/Billy Ray Smith dilemma)

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