Crazy House

film no. 76


technical details:

Production G-10.

Filmed February 10 to 24, 1928. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Title sheet prepared by H. M. Walker on March 2, 1928.

Cutting continuity submitted March 8, 1928.

Copyrighted May 16, 1928, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP25250. Renewed August 11, 1955, with registration no. R154162. Renewed again March 2, 1956, with registration no. R165940. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2023.

Released June 2, 1928. It was the 76th film in the series to be released.

Silent two-reeler with synchronized music track.

Probable opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "Crazy House".'


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 appears in the film, but without his middle initial.
Photographed by Art Lloyd
This credit appears in the film. The table top miniature effect is reminiscent of the work of Alvin V. Knetchel in earlier episodes, but I don't know if he was still with Roach at this point.
Edited by Richard Currier
This credit appears in the film.
Titles by H. M. Walker
This credit appears in the film.
Animation by Roy Seawright
This credit derives from Seawright's payroll status as the studio animator during this period. This film features an animated electric shock.
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 card.
Passed by the National Board of Review
Probably indicated in the film.
studio personnel
director-general - Leo McCarey
general manager - Warren Doane
assistant general manager - L. A. French
secretary-treasurer - C. H. Roach
construction supervisor - C. E. Christensen
laboratory superintendent - Charles Levin
optical effects supervisor - Roy Seawright
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
transportation director - Bob Davis
possible uncredited involvement
assistant direction - Probably Charles Oelze.
assistant cameraman - Probably Clair Boshard.
cutting - Possibly Lloyd Campbell.
writing - Robert F. McGowan probably wrote the story. Robert A. McGowan, Jean Yarbrough, Charlie Hall and Hal Yates may have been among the gag writers.
property department - Charles Oelze, Don Sandstrom and Thomas Benton Roberts were probably involved in this capacity.

the kids:

Jean Darling as "Jean"
Featured role. She's the lonely little rich girl who wants to be a boy and play with the gang.
Jay R. Smith as "Percy"
Featured role. He's the rich boy that subjects the gang to the various tricks in the house.
Joe Cobb as "Joe"
Featured role. Jean tells him to bring the gang over to the house. He's given a lot of attention along the way.
Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins as "Wheezer"
Featured role. Jean dresses him up in her doll's clothes.
Allen "Farina" Hoskins
Featured role. The nickname doesn't appear in this print. He's given plenty of footage dealing with the pranks in the house.
Mary Ann Jackson
Supporting role. She's given plenty of closeups as she reacts to the various tricks.
Harry Spear
Supporting role. He's first seen boxing with Farina, and later switches clothes with Jean.
Jackie Condon
Supporting role. He referees the boxing match, and is given a fair number of closeups during the trick sequence.
Jimmy Farren
Small part. He's seen at the boxing match, and then joins the gang on their visit to the house, but isn't given much of anything specific to do.
Bill Ulmer
Bit part. He's the small boy with long brown hair at the boxing match, and is given a closeup.
Eugene "Bobo" Pearson
Bit part. He's the small boy with short brown hair at the boxing match, and is given a closeup.
Ben Parsons
Bit part. He's the boy with long blonde hair at the boxing match, and is given a closeup. A photo caption in Motion Picture News identifies him as Dan Parsons.

the animals:

Pete (no. 1) as "Pansy"
Supporting role. He's given his share of time with the pranks.
Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.

the adults:

Joseph W. Girard as Percy's father
Small part. He's shown demonstrating the various trick contraptions in the house.
Eric Mayne
Small part. Not listed by Maltin & Bann. He's the friend of Percy's dad.
man 076 as one of the cops
Small part. He's the cop that gets bitten by Pete. Later seen in "The Ol' Gray Hoss" (no. 78).
F. F. Guenste as the butler
Bit part. He's seen very briefly talking to the governess.
May Wallace as Jean's mom
Bit part. She's shown very briefly. I'm not sure how Maltin & Bann were able to identify her.
Ed Brandenberg as one of the workmen
Bit part. He's the other workman besides the one that does the talking. I can't tell the difference between him and Chet Brandenberg, so this is according to Maltin & Bann.
other adults
Small parts and bit parts.A 1928 casting directory lists an actress named Kathleen Chambers as appearing in this film, but I still need to familiarize myself with her.
(1.) The woman who plays "Mrs. Middlebunny."
(2.) The black maid who's spooked by the tricks in the kitchen.
(3.) Jean's governess.
(4.) Farina's mother.
(5.) The woman with the face lift.
(6.) The workman who does the talking.
(7.) One more uniformed cop and the two plainclothes cops. One of the cops is supposed to be Charles A. Bachman, but none of them look like him.

the music:

piece 074g
This is heard as the film begins, and continues until Jay's father begins his demonstration of the practical jokes. The piece is heard in its entirety, unlike in "Barnum & Ringling, Inc." (no. 74), where only a brief excerpt is heard.
piece 074b
This is heard as Jay's father begins his demonstration, and continues until the middle of the boxing scene. The piece is played in waltz time, but returns later during the fountain scene in the same version heard in "Barnum & Ringling, Inc." This 4/4 version continues until the food arrives.
piece 076a
This piece begins in the middle of the boxing scene, and continues until the three boys arrive at the back door of the mansion.
"G'schichten Aus Dem Wienerwald" by Johann Strauss II
Commonly known to English speakers as "Tales From The Vienna Woods." This piece was composed in 1868 and premiered during the same year. It was Strauss's Opus 325. In this film, it begins as the three boys arrive at the back door of the mansion, and continues until Wheezer's dizzy spell. It returns as Joe has trouble with the rubber fork and knife, and continues until Jackie's scene with the peas.
piece 074a
This is heard as Wheezer has his dizzy spell, and continues until the crowd of kids arrive at the mansion. A waltz version then follows it, and continues until Joe's encounter with the suit of armor.
piece 076b
This blues piece begins as Joe encounters the suit of armor, and continues until the fountain scene.
piece 076c
This classical piece begins with the arrival of the food, and continues until Joe's scene with the rubber fork and knife.
piece 076d
This piece begins as Jackie has trouble with his peas, and continues until the arrival of the cops.
piece 074e
This is played as the cops arrive, and continues to the end of the film.

also of note...
"Mother, Mother, Mother, Pin A Rose On Me" by Hal David and Arthur Altman
Published in 1905. This tune isn't heard on the soundtrack, but Farina makes reference to it while teasing Jay.

the locations:

Motor Avenue and Woodbine Street, Palms district, Los Angeles
The boys have their boxing match in the vacant lot on the southwest corner of this intersection. The overview of this scene was no doubt shot from the Masonic Hall at 3402 Motor, perhaps from the roof.
wealthy neighborhood
The scene where Jay R. speaks with the other kids on the sidewalk was shot in the same neighborhood seen in other shorts such as "One Terrible Day" (no. 4) and "Tire Trouble" (no. 22).

miscellaneous:

13 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Two days after shooting finished for "Fair And Muddy" (no. 75), the 'start' date for "Crazy House" arrived on Feb. 10th. Shooting continued until the 'finish' date of Feb. 24th. No shooting took place on Feb. 12th or 19th, which were both Sundays. Robert F. McGowan was the director on each of the shooting dates, though the datebook sometimes lists him as McGowan, Sr. After this, three days passed before the Our Gang unit began shooting "Growing Pains" (no. 77).

Missing from the available print of this film are at least two inter-titles. After Jean asks the second woman "When did your face fall?" she follows this up with "Mama said it took two men to lift it." After Harry gets shocked on the piano bench, he says "This mus' be one o' them electric pianos."

The footage involving the boxing match was shot during the week ending Feb. 18th. We know this because of the studio payroll summaries, which indicate that Jimmy Farren, Bill Ulmer, Bobo Pearson and Ben Parsons were each paid a hundred dollars for one week's work with the Our Gang series. In fact, Farren continued to make a hundred dollars a week through the next three films. All of this came about through a talent search organized by the Roach studio in various west coast communities. Local newspapers and theaters participated, and the four finalists were awarded one week's admission into the ranks of Our Gang at a salary that was actually more than that of some of the regulars. Jimmy Farren was the grand prize winner and was able to clock in three months worth of activity, which actually stretched into early July since the studio was closed for part of that time. Just for the record, Pearson won locally in Oakland before winning the San Francisco contest, Ulmer won the Seattle contest, and Farren presumably won the Los Angeles contest since he was from Santa Ana. I don't yet know Parson's part of the story.

A newspaper item from Feb. 14th states that Farina was back to work after having chicken pox.

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B386.


availability:

Our Gang Volume #12 (VHS) from Grapevine Video and also from The Picture Palace
This copy is a home movie from Blackhawk, but with the company name blacked out. The opening and end titles are remade and there's a textual introduction. The inter-titles are remade, but the wording appears to be original. The picture quality ranges from fairly good to poor. The print totals 21:36, with about 16:15 of it original footage. Ignoring the inter-titles, most of the original film is included, though there are at least two inter-titles missing. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs.
Our Gang Silent Comedies Vol. 7 (VHS) from HenryButch
This copy is also the Blackhawk print. The quality of the copy isn't as good as Grapevine's.

special note
I've also been able to view a print from Interstate Television Corporation which includes the original credits.

© Robert Demoss.


My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Rob Stone (for providing the production number and shooting dates)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)


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