Bouncing Babies

film no. 93


technical details:

Production G-27.

Filmed July 5 to 15, 1929. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Title sheet prepared by H. M. Walker July 29, 1929.

Cutting continuity dated Aug. 12, 1929.

Copyrighted September 23, 1929, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP702. Renewed December 19, 1956, with registration no. R182598. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2024.

Released October 12, 1929. It was the 92nd film in the series to be released. However, if "Lazy Days" was released later, as some sources state, then "Bouncing Babies" would have been the 91st release.

All-talking two-reeler, sound on disc only. (In actuality, there is a lot of silent footage in this film.)

Opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "Bouncing Babies".'

King World Productions episode no. 43, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions.


the crew:

Produced by Robert F. McGowan for Hal Roach
This is how Maltin & Bann put it. The film credits Roach as a presenter, and designates it as "A Robert McGowan Production."
Directed by Robert F. McGowan
This credit appears in the film, but without his middle initial.
Assistant Director: Don Sandstrom
This credit derives from studio documentation.
Photographed by Art Lloyd and F. E. Hershey
This credit appears in the film.
Film Editor: Richard Currier
This credit appears in the film.
Story Editor: H. M. Walker
This credit appears in the film.
Recording Engineer: by Elmer Raguse
This credit appears in the film.
Story by Robert F. McGowan
This credit doesn't appear in the film.
Animal Trainer: Harry Lucenay
He was Pete's owner and trainer.
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Indicated in the opening title card.
Passed by the National Board of Review
As indicated in the film.
A Victor Recording, Western Electric System
As indicated in the film.
studio personnel
general manager - Warren Doane
assistant general manager - L. A. French
secretary-treasurer - C. H. Roach
assistant secretary - Mat O'Brien
construction supervisor - C. E. Christensen
laboratory superintendent - Charles Levin
optical effects supervisor - Roy Seawright
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
transportation director - Bob Davis
school teacher - Fern Carter was probably away from the studio when this film was made. However, the payroll summaries reveal that she received her salary during this period.
possible uncredited involvement
cutting - Possibly Lloyd Campbell.
writing - Robert A. McGowan, Jean Yarbrough, Charlie Hall, Harry Keaton and Carl Harbaugh may have been among the gag writers.
property department - Charles Oelze, Don Sandstrom, Thomas Benton Roberts and Bob Saunders were probably involved in this capacity.
animal training - Tony Campanaro may have been among the animal trainers.

the kids:

Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins as "Wheezer"
Lead role. He feels unloved since the new baby arrived, so he decides to trade it in for a goat.
Mary Ann Jackson as "Mary"
Supporting role. She helps her mother to teach Wheezer a lesson.
Jerry Bensmiller
Supporting role. He's the baby brother, appearing in the early scenes and again at the end of the film. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Tommy Atkins. However, the resemblence is fairly slight. According to the June 1929 Standard casting directory, Tommy Atkins was two and a half years old by the time this film was made, while the baby in the film is still learning to walk. The studio payroll ledger solves this mystery.
Allen "Farina" Hoskins as "Farina"
Small part. He tells tall tales, and is spooked by the kids in the Halloween costumes.
Norman "Chubby" Chaney as "Chubby"
Small part. He wears the devil costume and scares Wheezer and Farina with his trick voice.
Jean Darling
Small part. She wears the clown costume and is the only other costumed kid with dialogue. This was her final appearance in the series.
Jackie Cooper
Small part. He and Bobby Mallon don't believe Farina's baloney. The cutting continuity mentions his full name, which is unusual for a kid who was still essentially in the peripheral of the gang.
Bobby Mallon
Small part. He's shown with Jackie Cooper.
Harry Spear as "Harry"
Small part. He wears the skeleton costume. This was his final appearance in the series.
Billy O'Brien
Small part. The payroll ledger reveals that he's the kid in the ghost costume.
questionable listing
Maltin & Bann list Joe Cobb, but he had left the series by this time. The press release mentions him a couple of times, but he wasn't in the payroll ledger during shooting.

the animals:

Pete (no. 1) as "Petey" aka "Pete"
Featured role. He's in almost every scene in the film, since he accompanies Wheezer throughout.
cat 080
Small part. The usual tabby cat is seen early on with a balloon tied to its tail, and is later present while the pancakes are being made.
Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.

the adults:

Dora Dean as "Mrs. Dean," the kids' mother
Supporting role. She teaches Wheezer a lesson for trading the baby in for a goat.
Eddie Dunn as "Eddie," the kids' father
Small part. Like his wife, he neglects Wheezer in favor of the baby.
Lyle Tayo as the head nurse
Small part. She's the only nurse with dialogue, and takes part in the lesson-teaching.
Ann Lewis, Shirley Claire and Donabelle Custer
Bit parts. One of these would be the hospital receptionist, while the other two would be the additional nurses besides Tayo.
other adults
Bit parts and extras.
(1.) The payroll ledger lists the following names for the day on which the "traffic" scenes were shot: A. Hartman, W. W. Schryer, G. W. Buett, Betty Buxton, Edith Dicus, Mrs. Blanche O'Brien, Edith Ellison, Clara Guiol, Ethel Hall, Evelyn Davidson, Hope Harper, Madeline Gottschick, Ham Kinsey, George Rogers, F. M. Watson, Harry Bowen, Thomas Bitzer, Gordon Dodds, Robert Edney, Jack Fox, Charley Lloyd, Harris Rogers, Tom Mintz, Harry Wild, Al Vaith, Tom Lawless, Sammy Brooks, Marjorie Wilson, F. G. Mullins, Lee Lindsay, E. J. Meese and Betty Danko. Also listed is Ann Lewis, suggesting that she may have played two parts in this film. Among these names should be the two cops that try to arrest Wheezer, one of whom is named "Tom." The others would be the dozens of pedestrians and drivers.
(2.) The ledger also lists somebody named Billy Tilford (listed in other ledgers at Billie Tilford) as appearing in one of the household scenes, but I have no idea who this is.
(3.) Somebody's voice, perhaps director McGowan's, is heard twice in the background. The first time is while the parents are cuddling with the baby, and the second time is when the mother and Mary Ann scheme to fool Wheezer.
in still images
(1.) Abraham Lincoln is shown in a portrait on the wall of the hospital, as revealed in a publicity photo.
(1.) A woman shown in the picture on top of the piano, as seen clearly in a publicity photo.
(2.) A worshipping Indian shown on a picture on the wall of the home, as seen clearly in a publicity photo.
(3.) Two women in two separate pictures on the wall of the baby room, as seen clearly in a publicity photo.

the music:

piece 093
This is the piano music heard very faintly while Wheezer is making pancakes.

music in alternate prints
"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
This opens the Blackhawk version, and is taken directly from "Helping Grandma" (no. 103).
"Yearning" by Leroy Shield
This closes the Blackhawk version, and is probably also taken from "Helping Grandma," since that film ends with this.

the locations:

Bacon's Pharmacy and Safeway Stores, Palms district, Los Angeles
This was located at 3568-3570 Motor Avenue. Wheezer repeatedly crosses Motor Avenue at Tabor Street, and this building is shown in the background with the word DRUGS boldly shown. All four of the corners of this intersection are shown in this film. In the long shot looking north on Motor, we can see part of the house at 3545 Motor, which has since been replaced by an office building. In the shot looking west at the northwest corner, we can see part of the house at 3563 Motor. The drug store is also shown (at night) in Charley Chase's "The Count Takes The Count."
Media Park
This is probably where the park scene was shot. Even if it isn't Media Park, the tree is the same one shown in "Saturday's Lesson." (no. 88).

miscellaneous:

9 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Two weeks after shooting finished for "Lazy Days" (no. 92), the 'start' date arrived for "Bouncing Babies" on July 5th, the day after the Independence Day holiday. Shooting continued until the 'finish' date of July 15th. No shooting took place on July 7th or 14th, which were both Sundays. Robert F. McGowan directed on each of the shooting dates. After this, seven weeks passed before the Our Gang unit began filming "Moan & Groan, Inc." (no. 94) The studio was closed during four of those weeks.

The family scenes in the house were largely shot on July 8th, 11th, 12th and 13th. The scenes in the park were shot on July 9th. The scenes with the traffic and pedestrians were shot on July 10th. The scenes at the hospital were shot on July 15th. The remaining shooting dates probably focused on Wheezer's scenes with Pete.

The press release for this film played up the Halloween angle quite a lot: 'Hal Roach's Rascals were all equipped for Halloween Night long before the exciting holiday came around. In their latest Our Gang comedy, "Bouncing Babies," is a scene occuring on Halloween Night wherein all the Gang appear in fancy costumes. The costumes were made especially for the picture at the Hal Roach Studio in Culver City, and each Rascal was presented with a costume for keeps when the comedy was finished. Mary Ann Jackson will be a ghost on Halloween Night, Joe Cobb will be a rather rotund skeleton, Wheezer will be a little clown, Jean Darling a horrible devil, and Farina - well, Farina is going to stay home Halloween Night and make taffy. Harry Spear doesn't need to dress up for his Halloween fun, for nobody will see him if he can help it - after those gates are unhinged.'

A publicity photo shows Wheezer, Mary Ann (in nightshirt) and Pete all praying at the crib. While it's tempting to imagine a deleted scene in this case, it's probable that it was purely a publicity shot.

The press release for this film refers to the gang as a group of six, reflecting their status as The Six Roach Rascals a few months earlier. If we swap Joe Cobb for Chubby Chaney, then this number works fairly well, especially if we don't consider Jackie Cooper a regular member just yet.

The press release also mentions that Wheezer and Mary Ann were the only Gangsters who were still napping in the daytime at this point.

The press release also indicates that a specially-trained nurse was on duty at the studio all day.

The type of light bulbs Wheezer throws into the street are Edison Mazda Lamps, which were also used as a prop in "Railroadin'" (no. 90).

Publicity photos show a calendar at the hospital, which is turned to Friday, February 1. This means that it was a 1929 calendar, but why it was on that date is anybody's guess.

Reissue and early television prints titled this film "Bounding Babies."

The script received by MGM was given the catalog number B358.


availability:

The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 5 (VHS) from Cabin Fever and
The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Volume One (4 LD set) from Cabin Fever
Released July 6, 1994. Also released as part of 12 VHS boxed set. The is a mostly original print, including the MGM lion, but obscuring both the MGM and Our Gang names on the main title card. The end title is original, and the picture quality is excellent. The footage totals 20:46. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs.
The Little Rascals Volume 5: Collector's Edition (VHS) from Hallmark Home Entertainment
Released Aug. 15, 2000. Also included as part of The Little Rascals Volumes 1-5: Collector's Edition (5 VHS set) and The Little Rascals Volumes 1-10: Collector's Edition (10 VHS set), both released Aug. 15, 2000.
The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 5 & Vol. 6 (DVD) from Cabin Fever
Same contents as the Cabin Fever VHS releases. Also released as part of The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited (6 DVD set).
The Little Rascals - The Complete Collection (8 DVD set) from Genius Products
Released late Oct. 2008. This is identical to the Cabin Fever version.
The Little Rascals Book VIII (VHS) from Blackhawk Video
This is a home movie print from Blackhawk. The opening title and crew credits are remade, and the end title is taken from another film from this era. The picture quality is good, but the soundtrack isn't synchronized very well. The original footage totals 20:09.

© 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)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)


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