Production 2794. The script is numbered 4906.
Release no. C-491.
Script approved November 6, 1941.
Filmed July 26 to 29, 1942.
Released November 28, 1942. It was the 211th film in the series to be released, and the first of the 1942/43 season.
Copyrighted December 8, 1942, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP11730. Renewed December 8, 1969, with registration no. R474519. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2037.
All-talking one-reeler, lasting 10 minutes and 51 seconds.
Opening title: 'Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Our Gang in "Unexpected Riches".' With this film, the end title design is similar to the opening title, in which a freeze-frame from the film is shown.
Four shooting dates went into the making of this film, from July 26 to 29, 1942. Here's a breakdown of the script activity:
Sep. 20, 1941 - A McGowan & Law outline entitled "Treasure Hunters" derives from this date. The boys read that a local farmer had just found buried treasure on his land just outside Greenpoint. The loot had been buried there around 1850 by "Three-Finger Ike." A nice old man named "Silas Brent" asks the boys to mow his lawn after school, but they decline the offer, planning instead to look for buried treasure. So many kids play hooky to look for treasure that the teacher, "Miss Blaine," calls off school for the day. The gang has help from their dog, "Super-dog," but he's not much help since he'd rather sleep. A braggart happens by with his girl. The gang has the dog sniff his 'gold' ring to give him the scent of what he's supposed to be looking for. When the dog digs up a brass spittoon, the girl realizes that the ring must be fake. As the teacher is locking up the school for the day, Mr. Brent comes up to her and hatches a plan. He has "Bill" the laborer bury an old chest and then slips a treasure map to the kids. When the boys dig up the chest, they find it filled with school stuff, including Digging For Hidden Treasure by Ben Franklin.
Sep. 29, 1941 - A McGowan & Law treatment entitled "Treasure Hunters" derives from this date. The kids form a company called "Odd Jobbers, Ink." Among them are Spanky, Darla, Mickey, Froggy, Buckwheat, and a serious looking Extra kid. Darla's presence shouldn't be too surprising when realizing that the date of this script was also the first day of shooting for her last Our Gang short "Wedding Worries" (no. 203). The boys go to Mr. Wilson's house to spade his garden. A rich kid named "Bertram," who's a couple of years older than the gang, teases them about doing the job for only ten cents each, and says he's on his way home right now to ask his father for a dollar and a half to buy a model airplane he just saw. His father, "Mr. Billingsley," is with "John," the gardener, who is about to plant a tree. This particular scene made it into the final film largely unchanged. Bertram plants a treasure map where the dogs are digging. On the map are Founders Oak and Flat Rock, and it's signed by Captain Kidd. The boys abandon their job to look for the treasure, but the extra kid is skeptical and stays where the money is a sure thing. When the boys come to Founders Oak, it has a sign attached to it with the very same words described below, which can be seen in a publicity photo. The rest of the script is very similar to the film, except that the dream sequences changed over time. In this version, Spanky has a dream sequence in which he's rich and pampered. His butler is named "Higginbotham," who announces that 'School is served.' Spanky's teacher and four Whizz Kids arrive at the bedroom. The kids answer Spanky's quiz questions for him, for which they're paid handsomely. Back in the real world, the boys aren't having any luck finding treasure, so they have Mickey pace off the map again. Since his steps are shorter than Spanky's, he ends up in a totally different spot.
Oct. 7, 1941 - A treatment of "Treasure Hunters" derives from this date, continuing the story from the work done on Sep. 29th. Mickey's fantasy sequence finds him running a large company called the "Gubatosi Candy Co." Mickey himself is given samples to test, and he ends up with a large belly. Buckwheat's fantasy is very much like it is in the film, including the solid gold teeth. His girlfriend is named "Melinda." Froggy has the idea of buying Mickey's candy factory, but Mickey won't sell, and this leads to an argument. Instead, Froggy decides to go with "Froggy's Triple-Combined Circus!!" which boasts a total of 365 elephants. Kids are admitted free of charge. At this point, Bertram comes up to the boys and smugly admits that he drew the map. They then proceed to beat Bertram up before his father comes along. The father pays the gang for the work they've done. The last bit of the script makes reference to a fortune card which reads 'unexpected riches,' which indicates that the earlier part of the story was being changed. Froggy quotes his "Uncle Philbert," saying 'Never count your chickens before they come home to roost!' Another document from this date deals with changes made to the earlier part of the story. Bertram is still in the story, but now his eye is on a camera costing $1.50. He sees the gang getting onto a weight machine. They say 'Hey kid' - they don't actually know him - and ask Bertram to put the coin in the machine for them. The card that comes out says 'unexpected riches.' Bertram goes home to look for his father. The colored housekeeper is named "Lily" - she tells him where to find his father. The father's name in this version is "Mr. Reed." Darla is no longer part of the story at this point.
Oct. 9, 1941 - The first trial continuity by McGowan & Law of "Treasure Hunters" derives from this date. The rich boy is now named "Kenneth," and the boys know him. The colored housekeeper is "Lequillion." The gardener is still named "John." Mickey's fantasy sequence is like it is in the film. Froggy's sequence is also like in the film, including the christening of the 'Our Gang.' Buckwheat's sequence has not changed much since the last version, nor would it prior to filming. The footman is named "Livermore" and the girlfriend is "Mirandy." Spanky has inherited Froggy's circus idea, which is now called "P. T. Spanky's Biggest Circus In The World." Spanky sneaks the kids in for free. Froggy quotes his "Uncle Welcome" at the end of the film: 'It's a sick wind that doesn't blow somethin' good in the window!'
Oct. 15, 1941 - On this date, changes were made to three of the four fantasy sequences. For "Mickey's Imaginative Sequence," an alternate version has been devised. His father is still a mailman, but a rich mailman with a limousine to use while delivering his route. Mickey gives his mother a wad of bills to pay the vegetable man. Then the washing machine is delivered. In "Spanky's Imaginative Sequence," the circus is now called "Spanky's Combined Circus And Wild West Show!" This, of course, features 365 elephants, and has a 'kids intrense.' In "Froggy's Imaginative Sequence," there is actually more than one ship. Not only is there 'The Our Gang,' but also 'The Darla,' 'The Spanky,' 'The Mickey,' and the latest addition to the Froggy Squadron, 'The Buckwheat.'
Oct. 20, 22, and 27, 1941 - More changes were made to the script on these dates.
Oct. 28, 1941 - More changes were made to the script on this date. Spanky's circus was now called 'P. T. Spanky's Circus.' Additional characters during Buckwheat's sequence included "Lulu," "Livermore" the footman, "Throckmorton" the footman, and "Fragrant Jones."
Oct. 29 and 31, 1941 - More changes were made to the script on these dates. There are actually two titles that appear on the pages for Oct. 31st. Some pages retain the name "Treasure Hunters," while others are labeled with the new title "Unexpected Riches." This latter script also includes the full name of "Froggy Laughlin" in the newspaper headline about the ship launching.
Nov. 1 and 3, 1941 - More changes were made to the script on these dates. In the latter script, Froggy quotes his Gram'pa, saying 'It's a sick wind that don't blow somethin' good in the window, for somebody!'
Nov. 4 and 5, 1941 - More changes were made to the script on these dates. The latter script has the latest lineup of characters from the Buckwheat sequence: "Bigshot," "Livermore" the steward, "Throckmorton" the footman, "Fragrant Jones," and Buckwheat's girl, "Lulu."
Nov. 6, 1941 - More changes were made to the script on this date. This version of the script was okayed by Jack Chertok and Richard Goldstone. At this point, Mickey's sequence is before Buckwheat's, but they were switched around in the final film. Spanky no longer has a sequence of his own. Froggy no longer quotes anybody at the end of the story.
Nov. 7, 1941 - More changes were made to the script on this date.
Nov. 22, 1941 - A synopsis deriving from the McGowan & Law script derives from this date, and is credited to N. Farber. It includes the words 'mimeo dial cont 11/6/41 from script dept 11/14/41.'
The gang lives in Greenpoint in this film. The local paper is the Greenpoint Herald.
The gang go digging for 'Captain Kidds Buried Treasure.'
A publicity photo from this film reveals that 'Founder's Oak,' the starting point of the gang's treasure hunt, has a plaque attached to it which reads: 'Founder's Oak - Here on April 17, 1884, Zebediah Peters and his party met, and decided on the site for the town of Greenpoint.'
See page 236 of Maltin & Bann's book for this film's expenses and profits.
© Robert Demoss.