Fly My Kite

film no. 107

technical details:

Production G-41.

Release no. C-338.

Filmed March 2 to 14, 1931. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Title sheet prepared by Richard Currier on March 26, 1931.

Cutting continuity submitted April 1, 1931.

Music cue sheet prepared April 29, 1931.

Copyrighted May 7, 1931, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP2196. Renewed December 2, 1958, with registration no. R225697. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2026.

Released May 30, 1931. It was the 107th film in the series to be released, and the last during the 1930/31 season.

All-talking two-reeler.

Opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "Fly My Kite".'

King World Productions episode no. 29, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions.

the crew:

Produced by Robert F. McGowan for Hal Roach
This is the way Maltin & Bann put it. The film credits Roach as a presenter, with a separate credit 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.
Edited by Richard Currier
This credit appears in the film.
Dialogue by H. M. Walker
This credit appears in the film. Studio documentation credits him as a story editor.
Recording Engineer: Elmer Raguse
This credit appears 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. This was the final film for which Victor prepared discs, this taking place on Mar. 31, 1931. After this, only the sound-on-film format would be used.
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
possible uncredited involvement
assistant direction - Possibly Charles Oelze.
writing - Robert F. McGowan probably headed story development, while Robert A. McGowan, Carl Harbaugh, Jean Yarbrough, Charlie Hall and Harry Keaton 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.
titles - Louis McManus probably designed the main titles.
animal training - Tony Campanaro may have been among the animal trainers.
animation - Probably the work of Roy Seawright.

the kids:

Norman "Chubby" Chaney as "Chubby"
Supporting role. Grandma attaches the bonds to the tail of his kite. This was his final appearance in the series.
Matthew "Stymie" Beard as "Stymie"
Supporting role. He provides the wisecracks throughout the proceedings.
Georgie Ernest
Supporting role. He has a boxing match with Grandma.
Allen "Farina" Hoskins as "Farina"
Supporting role. He takes somewhat of a leadership role during the finale.
Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins as "Wheezer"
Supporting role. He finds the bonds and tries to set fire to them.
Dickie Jackson as "Dickie"
Supporting role. He's with Chubby during the kite-flying sequence. Listed in the cutting continuity as "Dicky." This was his series debut.
Dorothy "Echo" DeBorba
Supporting role. She's present throughout the film, but aside from using the fireplace tongs, is an ensemble player. Her name isn't mentioned in the dialogue, but the cutting continuity lists her as "Dorothy."
Mary Ann Jackson as "Mary"
Supporting role. Aside from whacking Dan with a stick, she's mostly an ensemble player. She's listed as "Mary Ann" in the cutting continuity. This was her final appearance in the series.
Shirley Jean Rickert
Supporting role. She does mostly ensemble acting in this short. Her name isn't mentioned in the dialogue, but she's listed as "Shirley" in the cutting continuity. This was her final appearance in the series.
Perry Glass
Supporting role. He's the boy who destroys Dan's watch.
Charles "Chic" Sale, Jr.
Small part. He's the boy with the lasso. Maltin & Bann spell his last name as Sales. The studio issued a press release about young Charles, which I've copied into the 'miscellaneous' section below.
questionable listing
Maltin & Bann also list Jackie Williams, who is not in this film.

the animals:

Pete the Pup III
Supporting role. He's with Chubby throughout the film, and plays keep-away from Dan.
cat 080
Bit part. He knocks a couple of pans down from the shelf. Presumably the mouse being chased by the cat is fake.
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
other animals
There are about five goldfish in the bowl in Grandma's house.

the adults:

Margaret Mann as "Mrs. Margaret Mann" aka "Grandma" aka "Granny"
Featured role. She's in danger of being sent to the county home, until it turns out that her bonds are worth a lot of money.
James Mason as "Dan"
Featured role. He's Grandma's skinflint son-in-law. His name was "Jim" in the synopsis. He's described as Margaret Mann's adopted boy in studio documentation, but the film contradicts this. The cutting continuity introduces him as "Dan (Jimmy Mason)."
Eddie DeComa doubling for Margaret Mann
Small part. He's seen quite a bit in the film, doing all of Grandma's acrobatic work. The payroll ledger reveals that he was given a two-week contract for this film, and since he was an acrobat, I'm presuming that he did the stunts. Listed by Maltin & Bann as David Sharpe, who isn't mentioned in the ledger among the names for this film.
Broderick O'Farrell as the bond agent
Small part. He informs Dan about the value of the bonds. Listed in the cutting continuity as "Agent."
Mae Busch as Dan's new wife
Bit part. She's shown in the car ordering Dan to get rid of Grandma. The cutting continuity identifies her only as "woman."
other adults
Bit part. The only remaining adults are the cop that Grandma summons to arrest Dan, and somebody looking out the window of one of the houses across the street from the vacant lot. The ledger includes Milton Metts, Wells Simpson and Charles A. Bachman. The cop doesn't seem to be Bachman, and I'm not familiar with the other two names, but in any event, two of these three must have wound up on the cutting room floor.

the music:

The soundtrack for this film was recorded on April 2, 1931.
"Fanfare" by Leroy Shield
The last chord of the fanfare is heard as the MGM lion is seen. It's probable that original prints included the entire fanfare.
"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A13.) The thirteenth version is played over the opening titles.
(A12.) The very end of the twelfth version is played as Farina has Stymie by the hand and the end title appears.
"Heap Big Injun" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Aug. 13, 1931. This is played as Grandma reads the story to the kids.
"On To The Show" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. This is played during the boxing sequence. This version is similar to the one reproduced on the second Beau Hunks CD.
"The Villain" by Leroy Shield
Part of the "Goofs Suite." Listed as "Villain" on the music cue sheet. This is played as we're first introduced to Dan and his wife. It's played again as Dan returns and breaks Grandma's glasses.
"Grandma Plays" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Aug. 13, 1931, under the erroneous title "Grandpa Plays." This is played as Dan walks into the house. It's overlapped by some piano playing by Grandma.
"Prelude" by Leroy Shield
This is played as Dan gives Grandma the bad news. The opening is repeated as the kids comfort Grandma. Part of it is repeated as Dan reads the letter to Grandma and runs outside to get the kite.
"Go Get Him" by Leroy Shield
This is played as the kids punish Dan inside the house. The original issue of the Beau Hunks "On To The Show!" CD identified this piece as "Instrumental (Hurry)." The recent reissue revises this. The cue sheet lists it as "Hurry."
"Miser" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. This is played as Dan reads the letter and is partially repeated as he talks to the bond agent.
"Wishing" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. Parts of this piece are played as Wheezer finds the bonds.
"You Are The One I Love" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. Most of this is played as Grandma helps Chubby with his kite and continues as he first flies it.
"Sliding" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Aug. 13, 1931. Also known as "Swells." This is played as Dan struggles with Chubby and Dickie, and Grandma reads the letter. It's repeated during the telephone pole scene.
"Hide And Go Seek" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Dec. 23, 1930. This is played as Pete plays keep-away with the kite. This seems to be going at a faster tempo than it did in "Pups Is Pups" (no. 100). A very fast version is played as Grandma summons the cop.
other music
The only remaining music is the piano improvisation by Margaret Mann, which is overlapped by the Shield tune "Grandma Plays."

the locations:

Overland Avenue, Palms district, Los Angeles
The site of the vacant lot where the kite is flown is on this street between Regent Street and Francis Place. Shown in the background are several houses across the street, including 3650, 3658 and 3668 Overland Avenue.
Cadillac Avenue and Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles
The cop is leaning against the street sign at the southeast corner of these two streets.
Hal Roach Ranch
The scene with the telephone pole was shot along the access road that led into the ranch. It was located roughly where David Avenue is nowadays, just west of Robertson Boulevard.
546 Orange Drive, Los Angeles
This is Grandma's address as shown on the envelope from the Imperial Steel Company, and the number is also shown on the house.


12 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Four weeks after shooting finished for "Bargain Day" (no. 106), the 'start' date arrived for "Fly My Kite" on Mar. 2nd. Shooting continued until the 'finish' date of Mar. 14th. No shooting took place on Mar. 1st or 8th, which were both Sundays. After this, ten weeks passed before the Our Gang unit began to film "Big Ears" (no. 108). The studio was closed for six of those weeks.

From a press release for this film: "'But, Daddy, you haven't done so bad, yourself,' was the answer Charles 'Chic' Sales Jr. gave his paternal parent after a long talk on the advantages and disadvantages of a career in the moving picture industry. Young Charles had a yen for the movies, and without the consent of his Dad went over to the Hal Roach Studios to apply for work in the famous Our Gang Comedies. Father found out, however, and because his son did not first ask him about it, penalized Charles, Jr. to the extent that he was to ride to and from the studio on his bike - no help would be given, and because Charles, Jr. is a good sport, no help was asked. The result of an interview with Robert McGowan, director of the famous kid troupe, was a call the next morning to work on "Fly My Kite," a current Our Gang comedy. Charles, Jr. got out his bike and pedaled his way out to Culver City with high hopes of being famous some day - like his Dad. Master Sales had quite a 'bit' in this Our Gang comedy, which is now on the program at the _____ Theatre, and he liked the work so well he is hoping he can play again with Our Gang. Who knows?" The working copy of this item named him Charles ("Chick") Sales, Jr., but pencilled-in corrections rendered it as Charles ("Chic") Sale, Jr.

Grandma is reading from the Wild West Weekly of Nov. 1, 1930, at the beginning of this film.

Reel one ends just as Wheezer finds the bonds.

The set for the stock broker's office was also used in the concurrently filmed Laurel & Hardy short "Chickens Come Home."

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B421.

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© 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)
Piet Schreuders (for identifying "Heap Big Injun," "Go Get Him" "Grandma Plays" and "Fanfare," and for the date of the recording session and the date on the music cue sheet)
Bob Satterfield & Richard Bann (for identifying the location of the ranch)
Steven Wright (for pointing out that the discs continued to be made up until this film)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)
Jim Kondek (for noticing the person looking out the window of the house)

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