Birthday Blues

film no. 118

technical details:

Production G-11.

Release no. C-622.

Filmed July 30 to August 4, 1932. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Title sheet prepared by Richard Currier on September 12, 1932.

Cutting continuity submitted September 22, 1932.

Copyrighted October 24, 1932, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP3355. Renewed February 17, 1960, with registration no. R252330. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2027.

According to Maltin & Bann, this film was released on November 12, 1932, making it the 118th film in the series to be released. However, when we take the cutting continuity date for "Free Wheeling" (no. 117) into account, it appears that perhaps the two films were switched on the release schedule, and that "Birthday Blues" was released in October. This might explain why Rob Stone lists this film was production G-10 and "Free Wheeling" as production G-11. Re-released in Denmark on Sep. 4, 1967.

All-talking two-reeler.

Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents Our Gang in "Birthday Blues".'

King World Productions episode no. 12, 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.
Recording Engineer: James Greene
This credit appears in the film.
Animal trainer: Tony Campanaro
He trained the current Pete.
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Indicated in the opening title card.
Passed by the National Board of Review
As indicated in the film.
Western Electric System
As indicated in the film.
studio personnel
general manager - Henry Ginsberg
assistant general manager - L. A. French
secretary-treasurer - C. H. Roach
assistant secretary - Mat O'Brien
sound department - Elmer Raguse
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 - Probably Don Sandstrom.
writing - Robert F. McGowan probably headed story development, while Carl Harbaugh, Frank Terry, Charlie Hall, Robert A. McGowan and Gordon Douglas 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.
animation - Probably the work of Roy Seawright.

the kids:

Dickie Moore as "Dickie" aka "Dick"
Lead role. He decides to raise money to buy his mother a birthday present.
Matthew "Stymie" Beard as "Stymie"
Featured role. He helps Dickie to bake the cake and serves it to the kids.
George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Featured role. He provides much of the comedy, both at home and while window shopping.
Bobbie "Cotton" Beard as "Cotton"
Small part. Stymie pulls him around with a rope. He's also present at the party. Studio publicity referred to him as "Baby Cotton."
Jacquie Lyn
Small part. She helps Spanky put extra prizes in the cake. Her names doesn't turn up in the dialogue, but the cutting continuity refers to her as "Jacquie." Studio publicity referred to her as "Baby Jacquie."
Dorothy "Echo" DeBorba as "Dorothy"
Small part. She decorates the dining room.
Kendall "Breezy Brisbane" McComas
Small part. The nickname doesn't turn up in the dialogue, but the cutting continuity refers to him as "Breezy." He puts up the signs advertising the party and is seated at the table, but is barely noticeable. This was his final appearance in the series.
Donald Haines
Small part. He gets a mousetrap on his lip and starts the food fight.
Bobby Mallon
Small part. He takes the mousetrap off of Donald's lip, and then squirts some sort of liquid out of his mouth.
Dickie Jackson
Small part. He eats soap and blows bubbles.
Edith Fellows
Small part. She pulls string out of her mouth.
Betty Jane Beard
Small part. A fake snake pops out of her piece of cake. Identified by Maltin & Bann as her sister, Carlena.
Georgie Billings
Small part. Some sort of powder is coming out of his mouth.
Douglas Greer
Small part. He's the first to get squirted by Bobby Mallon.
Marcia Mae Jones
Small part. She gets a whistle.
boy 111a
Small part. He's the little blonde boy sitting to the left of Edith.
boy 111b
Small part. He's sitting to the left of the hairbrush boy.
Mildred Kornman
Small part. She's the girl on the left side of the table closest to the camera.
other kids
Small parts, bit parts and extras.
(1.) The boy who gets the hairbrush.
(2.) The girl who gets the dolly.
(3.) Two additional girls, one of whom is shown in a publicity photo but not in the film.
(4.) An unclear number of boys on the right side of the table, which seems to depend on the actual camera shot. I think at least six are unidentified, including the one next to the fireplace. Maltin & Bann also list Jackie Williams, but I don't know which kid this is.

the animals:

Pete the Pup IV
Small part. He's seen taking sausages from Dickie until Spanky takes his place.
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film (but was cut from the Cabin Fever print).

the adults:

Lillian Rich as "Lillian," the boys' mom
Supporting role. She's unhappy that her husband is ignoring her birthday.
Hooper Atchley as "John," the boys' dad
Supporting role. He's insensitive to his wife until Dickie makes him see the light.
Harry Bernard as the store proprietor
Bit part. He's shown briefly speaking to Dickie.
Gordon Douglas as the delivery boy
Bit part. He waits while Dickie's mother goes to get some money to pay for the dress.
Charles McMurphy as the cop
Cut from the final print.
other adults
Bit part. The only remaining adult is the black man that buys the junk from Dickie.

the music:

"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A1.) Part of this piece is played over the opening titles. It's played in full as the cake is taken out of the oven and Stymie brings it to the table.
"Teeter-Totter" by Leroy Shield
Part of this piece is played as Spanky complains about mush and Dickie complains about sausages. It's played in full and partially repeated as Spanky pretends to be Pete. It's repeated again as the little kids are putting prizes in the batter.
"Little Dancing Girl" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. Also known as "Dancing Girl" and "Dancing Girls." Part of this piece is played as Dickie feeds sausages to Pete. It's played in full as Stymie is sitting on the stove. It's played again as Stymie starts cutting the cake. This is the version reproduced on the first Beau Hunks CD.
"Intermezzo" by Leroy Shield
Most of this piece is played as the dress arrives.
"Prelude" by Leroy Shield
The first half of this piece is played as Dickie comforts his mother. The rest of it is played as Dickie gets punished and his mother opens the present.
"In My Canoe" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. The first half of this piece is played as Dickie and Spanky spot the dress in the store window. Some of the ending part is played as Stymie comes up with the idea for the prize cake, and Brisbane finishes hanging the signs. This is the version reproduced on the first Beau Hunks CD.
"Blue Blue" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. Most of this piece is played as Stymie tries to borrow money.
"Beautiful Lady" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. One verse of this piece is played as we see various kids following the recipe literally. Most of it is played as the kids find their prizes in the cake.
"Bells" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. Most of this piece is played as Dickie puts prizes in the batter and Brisbane calls Dickie and Stymie away from the kitchen. One verse is repeated as Dickie and Stymie put the cake in the oven.
"Here We Go" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted 1930. The very beginning of this piece is played as Stymie lights the stove.
"Sliding" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Aug. 13, 1931. Also known as "Swells." Part of this piece is played as the cake is cooking. Part of it is played again during the food fight.
piece 118
This is the piece with the church bells that's played as Dickie's mother wears the dress to church.
piece 108
This is played over the end title.

the locations:

St. Brendan's Church, Los Angeles
This is at the corner of Van Ness Avenue and Third Street, and is seen at the end of the film.
Van Ness Avenue
The family walks down this street on their way to the church.
Hal E. Roach Studios
The scenes with Dickie and Stymie on the curb appear to be shot on the New York set on the Roach backlot.


6 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Three days after shooting finished for "Free Wheeling" (no. 117), the 'start' date for "Birthday Blues" arrived on July 30th. Shooting continued until the 'finish' date of Aug. 4th. After this, four weeks passed (with the studio closed during three of them) before the Our Gang unit shot retakes for "Free Wheeling" and began shooting "A Lad An' A Lamp" (no. 119).

A story version of "Birthday Blues" appeared in the book Our Gang Annual in 1933.

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B349.


The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 10 (VHS) from Cabin Fever and
The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Volume Two (4 LD set) from Cabin Fever
Released July 6, 1994. Also released as part of 12 VHS boxed set. This is an original print with excellent picture quality. The MGM lion is missing. The total footage lasts 19:09. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs.
The Little Rascals Volume 10: Collector's Edition (VHS) from Hallmark Home Entertainment
Released Aug. 15, 2000. Also included as part of The Little Rascals Volumes 1-10: Collector's Edition (10 VHS set), released Aug. 15, 2000.
The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 9 & Vol. 10 (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.
Rascal Dazzle (VHS/LD) from Embassy Home Entertainment
Original film released 1981. Video released 1984. A clip lasting 0:09 is included, showing the oven going crazy. Another clip lasting 0:13 is included, showing Spanky complaining about mush. Both clips have music and narration added.

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

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