Barnum & Ringling, Inc.

film no. 74


availability:

Rascals Silents Vol. 5 (VHS/DVD) from A-1 Video
This is a TV print from Interstate Television Corporation entitled "Barnum And Ringling." The opening title is remade, but freeze-framing will reveal the original title card right before the crew credits begin, which are also on an original title card. The intertitles are original, and the picture quality is fair. Most significantly, this print includes the original soundtrack of music and sound effects. The footage totals 19:37, with 19:17 of it original.

The Little Rascals Book XXV (VHS) from Blackhawk Video
This copy is a home movie print from Blackhawk. The opening and ending titles have been remade and include a textual introduction. The inter-titles are original. The soundtrack is not original. The picture quality is very good. The print totals 17:51, with 16:49 of it original. It appears that almost all of the original film is included.

The Little Rascals - The Complete Collection (8 VHS set) from Genius Products
Released late Oct. 2008. This is the Blackhawk print. Richard Lewis Ward provides commentary. There are also two clips from this film included in the documentary The Story Of Hal Roach And Our Gang, and two clips included in the interview segment Catching Up With The Rascals: Jean Darling.

Our Gang Volume #10 (VHS) from Grapevine Video and also from The Picture Palace
This is also the Blackhawk print, but with the company named blacked out and a different soundtrack added and a different end title. The picture quality is fairly good. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs.


technical details:

Production G-8.

Filmed December 21, 1927, to January 9, 1928. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Copyrighted April 7, 1928, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP25278. Renewed August 11, 1955, with registration no. R154164. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2023.

Released April 7, 1928. It was the 74th film in the series to be released.

Silent two-reeler with synchronized music track and sound effects on disc only.

Probable opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents Hal Roach in "Barnum & Ringling, Inc."'


the crew:

Produced by Robert F. McGowan for Hal Roach
This is how Maltin & Bann put it. The film probably credits Roach as the presenter, with a credit added reading "A Robert McGowan Production."

Directed by Robert F. McGowan
This credit probably appears in the film, but without his middle initial.

Photographed by Art Lloyd, Floyd Jackman and E. V. White
Lloyd probably receives the credit in the film. Jackman was the photographer on Jan. 3rd and 4th, with assistance from White.

Assistant Cameramen: Clair Boshard and F. E. Hershey
Boshard is referenced in Simon Louvish's Stan And Ollie as working on this film on Jan. 3rd and 4th. Hershey is mentioned in Thomas Benton Roberts' Roll 'Em as working on the animal sequence.

Edited by Richard Currier
This credit probably appears in the film.

Titles by H. M. Walker
This credit probably appears in the film.

Props by Thomas Benton Roberts
This credit is based on Roberts' book Roll 'Em, in which he describes his involvement in this film. Specifically, he recalled making a pair of skates for the drunken ostrich.

Animal Trainer: Harry Lucenay
He was Pete's owner and trainer.

Teacher: Fern Carter
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Probably indicated in the opening title.

Passed by the National Board of Review
Probably indicated in the film.

studio personnel
possible uncredited involvement


the kids:

Jean Darling as "Jean"
Featured role. She's a rich girl who likes to poke pins into people. During the circus sequence, she's "Madamozelle Rhubarba."

Allen "Farina" Hoskins
Featured role. The nickname isn't used in this film. He's a bellboy at the hotel, and has to keep Jean company. He isn't given too much of anything specific to do during the circus sequence, and is dressed as though he was the Pin-headed Wild Man, rather than the other black kid mentioned below.

Joe Cobb
Featured role. He's the master of ceremonies at the circus, and is given more to do than most of the other kids.

Jay R. Smith
Supporting role. He does mostly ensemble acting in this short, but does have a few lines of dialogue.

Jackie Condon
Supporting role. He does mostly ensemble acting in this short.

Harry Spear
Supporting role. He does mostly ensemble acting in this short.

Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins
Small part. The nickname isn't used in this short. He appears sporadically, most notably during the clown sequence.

Paul Toien
Small part. He's seen helping Little Casino backstage and taking part in the circus as an acrobat. Previously seen in "Olympic Games" (no. 63) and "Yale Vs. Harvard" (no. 67).

Bobby Dean as "Little Egypt"
Small part. Not listed by Maltin & Bann. He's part of the sideshow.

boy 032
Bit part. He's seen laughing at the "snapping turtle"

boy 071
Extra. He's the first kid to walk in as Farina is ushering everybody in.

Andy Shuford
Bit part. He's seen laughing at the "pelikan," and is also sitting front row center in the audience.

other kids
Bit parts and extras.
(1.) The boy introducing the sideshows.
(2.) The black boy playing "Little Casino," the Pin-headed Wild Man.
(3.) The boy handling the "rat-rattlesnake."
(4.) The boy showing the "Arizona beaver."
(5.) The kids in the band, numbering at least three.
(6.) The girl grooming Little Egypt.
(7.) The kid selling lemonade and the girl in the background of this scene.
(8.) Perhaps another twenty kids serving as the spectators at the circus.

questionable listings
Maltin & Bann list Mildred Kornman and Johnny Aber, but I haven't spotted either of them in the film.


the animals:

Sam
Supporting role. He's the ostrich passed off as a "giraff." His name derives from the recollections of prop man Thomas Benton Roberts, who mentioned that the ostrich drank barley from the basin, and not anything alcoholic.

Pete (no. 1)
Small part. He appears sporadically and is part of the gang's clown act.

dog 034
Bit part. He's seen off and on during the hotel room scenes, and appears to be passed off as the "wild cow from Barneo," but another dog is used for this during the sideshow portion.

parrot 008
Bit part. He's passed off as the "snapping turtle." Presumably the same parrot seen previously.

cat 060
Bit part. She's passed off as the "Arizona beaver."

dog 074
Bit part. This is the German shepherd seen with dog 034 in the hotel room sequence. This dog came from the Sanders Police Dog Academy, and might have been their star dog, "Homo."

Billy
Bit part. Presumably the goat with big horns. Thomas Benton Roberts mentioned a goat named "Billy" in his book, and states that it was being passed off as a reindeer. However, the "raindeer" was actually a large dog in this film.

Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.

other animals
Small parts, bit parts and extras.
(1.) The mule passed off as a "moose." I don't think this is Dinah, but possibly the mule from "Uncle Tom's Uncle" (no. 50).
(2.) A brown horse that's passed off as an elephant.
(3.) The white donkey ridden by Jean.
(4.) A brown hog, possibly seen previously, as the "rinorsoris," and two piglets as her "young."
(5.) A rabbit that's passed off as a "kangaroo" with a baby rabbit in her "pouch."
(6.) A rat that's passed off as a "rat-rattlesnake."
(7.) A bird, possibly a chicken, that's passed off as a "stork."
(8.) A goose that's passed off as a "pelikan."
(9.) A goose that's passed off as a "peacock."
(10.) A St. Bernard that's passed off as an "African Lion."
(11.) A large dog that's passed off as a "raindeer."
(12.) A dachshund that's passed off as an "alleygater."
(13.) A dachshund that's passed off as an "artick seal."
(14.) A goat that's passed off as a "single humped camel."
(15.) A goat that's passed off as a "double humped camel."
(16.) A big brown dog that's passed off as a "wild cow from Barneo."
(17.) At least two white chickens seen during the hotel room and lobby sequences, and perhaps additional geese.
(18.) Simon Louvish's book Stan And Ollie details an animal named Duke used for this film, which could possibly be the white horse later seen in "The Ol' Gray Hoss" (no. 78). Another animal used was Jiggs, which is the name of the chimpanzee seen during the talkie era, as well as a dog from the late silent era. None of these animals are seen in the finished film.
(19.) Thomas Benton Roberts recalled a dog passed off as a tiger, which doesn't seem to have ended up in the finished film. The stripes were made of chocolate and the dog kept licking them off (which may explain his absence).


the adults:

Patsy O'Byrne as the lady doing house cleaning
Small part. She's stuck with a pin by Jean, and later has several encounters with the animals.

Charles King as the newlywed groom
Small part. He and his bride are repeatedly interrupted by animals entering their room.

William Gillespie as the hotel manager
Small part. He's seen briefly at the beginning and again at the end of the film.

Oliver Hardy as the drunk
Small part. He faints when he sees the ostrich. Publicity stills reveal that he had a second role as a hotel detective, which was cut from the film.

Dorothy Coburn as the lady who sits on the egg
Small part. According to Maltin & Bann. I haven't familiarized myself with her face yet.

George B. French as the desk clerk
Bit part. He orders Farina to keep Jean company.

May Wallace as the dowager
Bit part. According to Maltin & Bann. I'm assuming they mean the woman whose hand is pecked by the ostrich, but I'm not absolutely sure it's her.

Ham Kinsey as a bellboy
Bit part. He's the bellboy that laughs at O'Byrne when she gets stuck with a pin.

Charles A. Millsfield as the toothless Frenchman
Bit part. He hugs the other Frenchman, and later has his beard pecked by a goose.

Eric Mayne as the bearded man in bed
Bit part. Not listed by Maltin & Bann. He's in bed when a woman runs in followed by some of the animals.

Lillianne Leighton
Bit part. She's the woman with the goose coming out of her dress.

Eugene Pallette as the other hotel detective
Bit part. He seems to be present only at the end of the film when everybody laughs at the ostrich.

Edna Marian as the maid
Bit part. She's appears very briefly, getting spooking by the mule.

other adults
Small parts, bit parts and extras.
(1.) The hotel detective, who's seen sporadically chasing the kids and animals.
(2.) The newlywed bride.
(3.) Jean's governess.
(4.) The black man operating the elevator.
(5.) The two rotund black men, one of whom is a bellboy.
(6.) The other Frenchman who hugs Charles Millsfield. He looks similar to Mark Jones.
(7.) The woman sleeping next to the hog.
(8.) The woman running into the man's room.
(9.) The two women at the elevator.
(10.) Wallace's friend.
(11.) The old man in the room where the woman runs in.
(12.) The woman in the shower where Farina runs in.
(13.) The telephone operator at the reception desk.
(14.) Several other adults basically serving as extras. Maltin & Bann list Retta Palmer, with whom I'm unfamiliar.


the music:

This film was released with music on an accompanying disc. Several pieces of music appear in the soundtrack, along with prominent sound effects. So far, I'm able to identify only two of these tunes, but I've otherwise indicated the points at which each piece begins.

piece 074a
This begins during the opening credits and continues into the initial lobby scene.

piece 074b
This tune begins as Gillespie tells the detective to keep an eye on the kids. It continues well into the scene in Jean's hotel room.

piece 074c
This tune begins as Jean notices the pin on the floor and continues into the sideshow sequence. It returns as we're introduced to the 'raindeer,' and continues through the entire circus performance.

"Can-Can" by Jacques Offenbach
Officially titled "Infernal Galop," this was part of the operetta "Orpheus In The Underworld," which premiered in 1858. It's briefly played on this soundtrack as we're introduced to Little Egypt and Little Casino.

piece 074d
This piece begins as we're introduced to the kangaroo, and continues through many of the other sideshow attractions.

piece 074e
This piece is played briefly as we're introduced to the Arizona beaver. A complete version is played as the poultry enters the elevator past the sleeping attendant and continues through the remainder of the animal chaos, ending with the hiccuping ostrich.

piece 074f
This piece begins as the boys are in the hallway while the detective is left behind with Jean still hanging from the fan. It continues through much of the footage in which the animals are running loose through the hotel.

"Little Brown Jug"
Attributed to Septimus Winner in 1869. Steve Porter had a number three hit with this song in 1900. This tune is played twice in a row on the soundtrack. The first instance begins when the ostrich walks in on the amorous young couple. It begins again as the elephants walks in on the same couple.

piece 074g
This piece is played as the kids and the adults laugh at the ostrich. It's cut very short in the surviving print, the result of a remade end title. Presumably, the original print played this tune through the end title.


the locations:

Hal Roach Studios
The standing hotel set at the studio was used. Simon Louvish's book indicates that a stage at the studio was used on both the 3rd and the 4th.

Harold Lloyd Co.
Simon Louvish's book indicates that the treadmill at this studio was used on Jan. 3rd.


miscellaneous:

14 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Filming was still ongoing for "Rainy Days" (no. 72) and "Edison, Marconi & Co." (no. 73) when the 'start' date for "Barnum & Ringling, Inc." arrived on Dec. 21st. On that date, activity was divided between "Edison, Marconi & Co." and "Barnum & Ringling, Inc.," while on Dec. 22nd, it was divided between all three films. It should be noted, however, that shooting for "Rainy Days" probably involved only the animated elements of that film. Up to this point, Robert F. McGowan was directing all three films. However, on Dec. 23rd, Anthony Mack (listed as McGowan Jr.) took over direction for "Rainy Days" while McGowan (listed as McGowan, Sr.) continued with "Barnum & Ringling, Inc." This continued through the 24th, but activity was suspended on Dec. 25th, which was both Christmas as well as a Sunday, and on Dec. 26th and 27th. On Dec. 28th, all three films were again in production, though it isn't clear which of the two directors worked on "Edison, Marconi & Co." that day. Work then continued unhindered on "Barnum & Ringling, Inc." (with McGowan still directing) until the 'finish' date of Jan. 9th. No shooting took place on Jan. 1st or 8th, which were both Sundays, and since the 1st was also New Year's Day, no work took place on Jan. 2nd. After this, one week passed before the Our Gang unit began shooting "Fair And Muddy" (no. 75).

The hotel in this film is called the Ritz-Biltmore Hotel.


©Mar. 31, 2005, by Robert Demoss.
2005 updates: 4/19, 5/4, 7/9, 12/15.
2006 updates: 1/9, 4/3, 5/16, 6/11, 7/5, 8/20, 10/25, 11/3.
2007 updates: 2/27, 4/1, 7/16, 10/22.
2008 updates: 1/7, 7/6, 7/20, 8/28, 9/29, 11/6.
2009 updates: 1/18.
2010 updates: 3/14.


Thanks to Rob Stone, Paul Mular, Joe Moore, Bryan Bishop, Piet Schreuders, and Diane Winters for assistance on this page.


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