Robot Wrecks

film no. 201

technical details:

Production 2732.

Release no. C-299.

Filmed May 6 to 9, 1941.

Released July 12, 1941. It was the 200th film in the series to be released, and the last of the 1940/41 season.

Copyrighted July 15, 1941, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP10610. Renewed July 16, 1968, with registration no. R439214. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2036.

All-talking one-reeler, lasting 10 minutes and 53 seconds.

Opening title: 'Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Our Gang in "Robot Wrecks".' This is the last film in the series in which the titles had the earlier design with the sideview MGM lion in relief.

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.
Film Editor: 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:

George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Featured role. Vogan addresses him as "Sonny." He's the leader of the gang.
Billy "Froggy" Laughlin as "Froggy"
Featured role. The robot does his yard work for him.
Freddie Walburn as "Slicker"
Supporting role. He fools the gang into buying a shoebox full of rays from him.
Vincent Graeff as "Boxcar"
Supporting role. He climbs into the robot outfit and pretends to obey commands. During all of this, the gang addresses him as "Rowboat." Listed by Maltin & Bann as Billy Ray Smith.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Buckwheat"
Supporting role. He has some occasional dialogue, but is mostly part of the group.
Mickey Gubitosi
Supporting role. He has a few lines here and there, but is mostly part of the ensemble.
Darla Hood
Supporting role. She isn't given much dialogue at all, and is almost entirely an ensemble player.
Giovanna Gubitosi
Extra. Later known as Joan Blake. She's to the far right watching the robot demonstration.

the animals:

Bit part. The only animal in this film is the MGM lion.

the adults:

Billy Bletcher as "Mr. Laughlin," Froggy's dad, and as the voice of "Julia," Froggy's mom
Small part. He comes home to find the yard in a mess and exposes the fraud.
Emmett Vogan as the robot owner
Small part. He demonstrates the real robot at the beginning of the film.
Margaret Bert as "Julia," Froggy's mom
Bit part. She arrives home with her husband.
other adults
Small parts, bit parts and extras.
(1.) The person inside the robot costume and playing "Volto."
(2.) Vogan's female assistant.
(3.) Perhaps 25 spectators at the demonstration.

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."


Four shooting dates went into the making of this film, from May 6 to 9, 1941.

The working title for this film was "Frankenstein, Jr."

The robot demonstration is held at Black's Department Store.

In the category of unseen characters, Froggy quotes his "Aunt Tess."

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


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.

© Robert Demoss.

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

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