Farm Hands

film no. 216


technical details:

Production 2819. The script is numbered B4953.

Release no. C-495.

Filmed November 21 to 27, and December 11 to 12, 1942.

Dialogue cutting continuity submitted on June 12, 1943.

Released June 19, 1943. It was the 215th film in the series to be released.

Copyrighted June 23, 1943, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP12136. Renewed June 24, 1970, with registration no. R486477. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2038.

All-talking one-reeler, lasting 10 minutes and 26 seconds.

Opening title: 'Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Our Gang in "Farm Hands".'


the crew:

Produced by M-G-M
The film credit reads: Produced by Loew's Incorporated. An early script was okayed by Jack Chertok and Richard Goldstone, while a later script was okayed by Goldstone only, so these two were essentially the producers during this period.
Directed by Herbert Glazer
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.
Original Story and 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
Certificate no. 8404.
Passed by the National Board of Review
As indicated in the film.
Teacher: Fern Carter

the kids:

Billy "Froggy" Laughlin as "Froggy"
Featured role. He rides an uncooperative mule.
Bobby Blake as "Mickey"
Featured role. He falls down the well.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Buckwheat"
Featured role. He tries to milk the cow.
Mickey Laughlin as "Happy"
Supporting role. He accompanies Mickey at the well.

the animals:

Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
other animals
Supporting roles, small parts, bit parts and extras.
(1.) The mule that chases the kids around, named "Mandy" aka "Amanda."
(2.) The cow that Buckwheat tries to milk.
(3.) The rooster that knocks the clock off the windowsill.
(4.) Several chickens, most notably the six that eat Froggy's jumping beans.

the adults:

Murray Alper as "Bill," Mickey's dad
Small part. He's the smaller of the two men, and does less talking.
other adults
Small parts and bit parts.
(1.) "Uncle George."
(2.) The farm hand that falls into the well.

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."

miscellaneous:

Seven shooting dates went into the making of this film, from November 21 to 27, and December 11 and 12, 1942. There was probably no filming on November 22nd, which was a Sunday, and November 26th, which was Thanksgiving Day. Here's a breakdown of the script activity:
Mar. 2 - A McGowan & Law treatment entitled "Farm Hands" derives from this date. Spanky was still part of the gang at this point, and it's his father and uncle who are featured, the father being called "Mr. McFarland." In this version, Mickey is lowered into the well by Spanky, Froggy and Buckwheat. The jumping beans gag was also included by this time.
Mar. 6 - A 1st trial continuity by McGowan & Law derives from this date, and carries the title "Farm Hands - ?" Spanky is still present, but it's now Mickey's father and "Uncle George," both of whom are referred to as "Mr. Blake." In this version, Spanky is lowered into the well, and Mickey has the scene with the cow. Froggy's scene with the mule is intact by this time, though.
Mar. 11 - A temp. comp. continuity derives from this date, entitled "Farm Hands (?)." This form of the title continued until March 27th.
Mar. 12 - Changes were made to the script on this date.
Mar. 14 - Changes were made to the script on this date.
Mar. 16 - Changes were made to the script on this date. At this point, Mickey is again the one lowered into the well.
Mar. 17 - Changes were made to the script on this date.
Mar. 20 - Changes were made to the script on this date.
Mar. 21 - Changes were made to the script on this date.
Mar. 23 - McGowan & Law made more changes to the script on this date.
Mar. 24 - Among the changes made to the script on this date is the name "Bill" for the father.
Mar. 25 - Among the changes made to the script on this date is the name "Mandy" for the mule.
Mar. 26 - Changes were made to the script on this date.
Mar. 27 - A composite script by McGowan & Law derives from this date, and was okayed by Jack Chertok & Richard Goldstone. Also, a McGowan & Law synopsis derives from this date. The story is essentially the same as in the finished film, but Spanky is still present, and is lowered into the well by Mickey and Buckwheat.
Apr. 1 - Changes were made to the script on this date.
Apr. 12 - Changes were made to the script on this date.
Aug. 4 - Changes were made to the script on this date, with Happy replacing Spanky in the cast. The title at this point was still "Farm Hands (?)."
Aug. 5 - Changes were made to the script on this date, with "Mr. Blake" being the uncle's name, and "Hank" being the name of the hired man.
Aug. 6 - Changes were made to the script on this date.
Aug. 7 - Changes were made to the script on this date.
Aug. 11 - A McGowan & Law script entitled "Farm Hands" derives from this date, and was okayed by Richard Goldstone.
Aug. 13 - Changes were made to the script on this date.
Aug. 14 - Changes were made to the script on this date.
Oct. 30 - Changes were made to the script on this date. This particular script has the words 'from Sam Baerwitz' handwritten onto it. Also 'Orig for 10-30-42 x 10-31-42 clip.'

See page 236 of Maltin & Bann's book for this film's expenses and profits. Of the 52 Metro-produced Our Gang films, this was the most expensive to make, both in negative cost and total cost, and suffered a loss at the box office.


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.
The Original Our Gang Comedies Featuring "Don't Lie" (VHS/BETA) from MGM/UA Home Video
Released Aug. 1992. This is a complete original print with excellent picture quality. This version has also appeared in bootleg form.

© Robert Demoss.


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