Our Gang Follies Of 1936

film no. 141


technical details:

Production G-34.

Release no. C-213.

Filmed probably around the late summer or early autumn of 1935 over the course of three weeks.

Copyrighted October 29, 1935, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP5924. Renewed June 21, 1963, with registration no. R317572. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2030.

Released November 30, 1935. It was the 140th film in the series to be released. It was one of the most successful shorts in series history.

All-talking two-reeler.

Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents "Our Gang Follies Of 1936".'

The soundtrack for this film was used for A Little Rascals Color Special made by King-World Productions and presented by Charles King. The resultant film, using puppet animation, was one of five episodes refashioned this way, which were intended to be marketed as a television series that never came to be.

King World Productions episode no. 5, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions. This version is listed as "Follies Of 1936."


the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
Credited in the film as a presenter.
Directed by Gus Meins
This credit appears in the film.
Photography: Art Lloyd, A. S. C.
This credit appears in the film.
Film Editor: Bert Jordan
This credit appears in the film.
Sound: William Randall
This credit appears in the film.
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.
Approved by the Production Code Adminstration of the Motion Picture Producers & Distributors of America
Certificate no. 1490.
studio personnel
general manager - Henry Ginsberg
assistant general manager - L. A. French
secretary-treasurer - C. H. Roach
assistant secretary - Mat O'Brien
publicity and advertising - Fred Purner
property department - W. L. Stevens
film editor and sound department - Elmer Raguse
construction supervisor - C. E. Christensen
laboratory superintendent - Charles Levin
process department - Roy Seawright
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
musical director - Marvin Hatley
makeup department - Jack Casey
hairdressing - Peggy Zardo
transportation director - Bob Davis
school teacher - Fern Carter
possible uncredited involvement
assistant direction - Probably Gordon Douglas.
writing - Hal Yates, Carl Harbaugh, James Parrott, Charlie Hall, Hal Law, Frank Tashlin and Gordon Douglas may have been among the gag writers.
property department - Charles Oelze was 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:

George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky" aka "Spank"
Featured role. He's the master of ceremonies and leads the other boys in the final dance number.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Buckwheat"
Supporting role. He spends the film running from the pitchfork-wielding monkey, and takes part in a couple of the acts.
Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as "Alfalfa"
Supporting role. He sings to Darla in addition to taking part in the opening medley.
Darla Hood as "Cookie"
Supporting role. She sings her own song as well as being on the receiving end of Alfalfa's. She arrived several days after the production had started and was hastily written in.
Scotty Beckett as "Scotty"
Supporting role. He works backstage and takes part in the final number.
Eugene "Porky" Lee as "Porky"
Supporting role. He blows out the footlights and handles the sound effects during the skeleton dance.
Dickie De Neut
Supporting role. He spends the film sitting on eggs.
Dickie Jones as "Dickie"
Supporting role. He works backstage and takes part in the final number.
Sidney Kibrick
Supporting role. He works backstage and takes part in the final number.
Betty, Doris and Gwen Brian
Small part. Listed as The Bryan Sisters by Maltin & Bann, and listed in casting directories as the Three Brian Sisters. They play the "Three Farmer Girls." They sing their own song, and probably provide the backup vocals for Darla's. Betty, the girl on the right, is the oldest. Doris, sitting in the middle, is the second oldest, while Gwen, on the left, is the youngest. The press release lists this third girl as Gwynn. This doesn't mean much, though, since it lists their last name as Byian.
Jimmy Sommerville, Buddy Londelius, Ward Londelius, Cary McCann and Peter Troncale
Small parts. These five worked for one day on the shooting, making ten dollars each while most of the other kids in the film made $7.50 a day. On other shooting dates, the musical performers consistently made $10, so it seems that these five boys performed the skeleton dance (which would mean that the regulars in the Gang did not). Jimmy Sommerville, for one, was credited in a 1937 casting directory for dancing in this film, and is not seen in any of the other acts.
Jerry Tucker
Small part. He's shown several times in the front row, particularly as he reacts to Darla.
Leonard Kibrick
Small part. He's shown several times in the front row.
Joy Wurgaft
Small part. She sings the introduction to Alfalfa's song, and is also standing next to Jerry in the opening scene.
Junior Cavanaugh and Garrett Joplin
Small parts. According to the press release, they're the two tap-dancing boys in the opening sequence. I don't yet know which is which. Maltin & Bann spell the second boy's first name "Garret."
Patsy Northrup, Georgia Bank and Peggy Speth
Small parts. According to the press release, they're the three hula dancing girls in the opening sequence. I don't yet know which is which.
Rex Downing
Small part. He sits in the front row, and is also seen sneaking two other boys into the barn.
Harold Switzer
Small part. He also sits in the front row.
Patty Brown
Small part. The 1935 directory states that she appeared in this film. It looks like she's the tallest brunette in the chorus line.
Joan Gray
Small part. She's second to the right in the chorus line.
Jackie White
Small part. Spanky helps her with her dress.
Leona McDowell
Small part. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Lona McDowell. She's the usherette with the dialogue.
Daniel Boone
Small part. He's seen in the outdoor scene standing behind Jerry Tucker, and is also the one who gets slid across the front row in his chair.
Frances Bowling
Presumed small part. A casting directory credits her with appearing in this film, and I think she might be the chorus line girl to the far left.
Billy Lee Wolfstone
Small part. He's one of the two fat boys, and is in the middle in their closeup.
Harry McCrillis
Small part. He's the fat boy to the left of Wolfstone, and would later be seen in "Pay As You Exit." Maltin & Bann list him as Marvin Trin (actually Strin).
Philip "Lucky" Hurlic
Small part. He's at the far left among the black boys.
boy 141
Bit part. He's given a closeup looking scared during the skeleton dance.
girl 140
Bit part. She's the one selling tickets.
Kay Frye
Bit part. She appears to be the girl hugging the boy during the skeleton dance.
Dix Davis
Small part. A 1935 casting directory states that he appeared in this film. It appears that he's the boy on the left between the two who are lifted into the air when the fat boys sit down. He's later seen sitting next to Jerry.
Paul Hilton
Extra. He sits in the second row behind Leonard Kibrick and Rex Downing.
Donald Proffitt
Bit part. He's barely seen backstage, but is visible in some of the publicity photos.
Barbara Goodrich
Extra. Not listed by Maltin & Bann. Her face is shown in one of the outdoor shots.
Phyllis Holt
Extra. It appears that she's the blonde girl shown in the shot where the fat boys walk in.
Phillip Marley Rock
Extra. A 1935 casting directory states that he appeared in this film. He's the little fat boy being led through the opening in the fence at the start of the film.
other kids
Small parts, bit parts and extras. The 1935 casting directory states that Moyer "Sonny" Bupp appeared in this film, but I haven't been able to spot him. Maltin & Bann list several names that I'm unfamiliar with: Janet Comerford, Jackie Banning, Patty Kelly, Billy Minder, Therese Bonner and Joyce Kay. Janet Comerford is also credit for this film in a casting directory. They also list Delmar Watson, Priscilla Lyon and Mildred Kornman, but I don't see any kids that look like them. They also list The Bud Murray Dancers, but I'm not sure who they're referring to. Patsy Barry signs photos from this film, but I can't spot her either. The 1935 casting directory states that Moyer "Sonny" Bupp and Yvonne Lohn appeared in this film, but I haven't been able to spot them. Here's a breakdown of the remaining kids:
(1.) The remaining eight girls in the "Follys Chorus." Maltin & Bann list Ten Meglin Kiddies.
(2.) The two remaining usherettes.
(3.) Perhaps another fifty kids in the audience. According to the press release, over 100 kids were in the film, ranging in age from 15 months to 10 years, which seems to be pretty accurate. It's possible the little blonde boy shown behind Daniel Boone in the opening sequence is Billy Diamond, but I'm not sure about this.

the animals:

George
Supporting role. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Elmer the Monkey. However, it turns out that the "Elmer" in "Bear Facts" (no. 164) was named George. He chases Buckwheat around throughout the film, and ends up poking a pin into Spanky's rear end during the final number. This could possibly be the earlier Joe the Monk.
Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
other animals
Small parts and bit parts. The remaining animals are the chicken that Dickie De Nuet replaces on the nest, and the three or four chicks that hatch.

the adults:

This is one of the few Our Gang films without adults in its cast.


the music:

"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A15.) This is played over the opening titles. The last half-verse is played over the end title.
"Step Up, Kids!" by T. Marvin Hatley and Gus Meins
Copyrighted Oct. 1, 1935. Music by Hatley and lyrics by Meins. This is the opening medley sung by Spanky and interspersed with piece 141, "She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain" and "Honolulu Baby." An instrumental version plays as the kids enter the barn and take their seats. It returns as the Flory Dory number goes awry.
piece 141
This is the tune that's played during the opening medley while the two boys tapdance.
"She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain"
Originally a negro spiritual entitled "When The Chariot Comes." The retitled version was a popular Appalachian song in the 19th century, and also sung by railroad workers in the latter part of that century. In this film, it's sung by Alfalfa as part of the opening medley. Hatley's arrangement was copyrighted on Mar. 8, 1935. Maltin & Bann state that this is a takeoff on the Gene Autry musical "Comin' Round The Mountain," but this film wasn't released until Dec. 31, 1936.
"Honolulu Baby" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Oct. 18, 1933. In this film, an instrumental version is played while three girls hula dance during the opening medley. This song was introduced in the Laurel & Hardy feature "Sons Of The Desert."
"Crow-Hop" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Feb. 19, 1936. Part of this piece is played as the monkey lights the footlights.
"Good Morning Children" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Jan. 2, 1934. This is the piece that the chorus line dances to.
"How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Farm (After They've Seen Paree)" by Walter Donaldson, Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young
Published in 1919, with music by Donaldson, and lyrics by Lewis and Young. This song was a number two hit for Nora Bayes that same year. In this film, it's sung by The Bryan Sisters. On Mar. 17, 1937, a Hatley arrangement of this song was copyrighted for the film "Pick A Star."
"I'll Never Say 'Never Again' Again" by Harry McGregor Woods
Copyrighted 1935. Ozzie Nelson & His Orchestra had a number 4 hit with this song the same year. In this film, it's sung by Darla.
"The Ghost Frolic" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Oct. 1, 1935. This is the music accompanying the skeleton dance.
"The Object Of My Affection" by Pinky Tomlin, Coy Poe and Jimmie Grier
Published in 1934. Jimmie Grier & His Orchestra (with vocal by Tomlin) had a number one hit with this song the same year. They also backed The Boswell Sisters on their version, which got to number one in 1935. In this film, it's sung by Alfalfa, with the introduction sung by Joy Wurgaft.
"Narcissus" by Ethelbert Woodbridge Nevin
Published in 1891 as part of Op. 13: "Water Scenes." This is played during the Flory-Dory Sixtette sequence.
other music
The only remaining music in this film is the chanting of 'We want the Flory Dories' by some of the audience.

unused music
"Our Gang" by Dave Franklin
Published in 1935. A new theme song with this title was written for this film, but didn't make it into the final print.

miscellaneous:

According to an undated press item, this was the first two-reeler to be accorded a world premiere on Broadway. This was arranged by Joe Rivkin, Roach's eastern representative. The film was set to open at the Capitol the next day (which was a Friday). Spanky was scheduled to attend but was dropped because of his commitment to "Trail Of The Lonesome Pine."

The press release states that this short inaugurated the fifteenth year of the series, and that more than 140 of the comedies had been produced.

The Flory-Dory Sixtet was a takeoff on Broadway's Flora Dora Sextette.

If you look closely, you can see an old trunk backstage in this film that reads 'Hal Roach's Rascals "Our Gang".'

Some reissue and television prints carry the title "Little Rascals Follies."


availability:

The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 19 (VHS) from Cabin Fever and
The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Volume Four (3 LD set) from Cabin Fever
Released 1995. This is a complete original print with excellent picture quality. The total footage lasts 17:40. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs. There's also a clip lasting 0:01 included in the opening montage of all the Cabin Fever releases, which shows a closeup of Darla.
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 XIX (VHS) from Blackhawk Video
This is a home movie print from Blackhawk. The opening title is remade, but the crew credits and end title are original. The picture quality is very good. The original footage totals 17:20, but the original soundtrack lasts an additional 0:14.
The Little Rascals: Our Gang Follies Of 1936/The Awful Tooth (VHS) from Republic Pictures Home Video
Released May 1991. This is the Blackhawk print.
The Best Of Spanky (DVD) from Genius Entertainment
Released Mar. 27, 2007. Also included as part of The Little Rascals In Color! (3 DVD set). This is a print from Monogram Pictures Corporation entitled "Little Rascals Follies," included both as a colorized print, and in the original black-and-white. The original footage totals 17:05, while the original soundtrack totals 17:20. The picture quality is very good.
Little Rascals Varieties (VHS/DVD) from GoodTimes Home Video
Included as part of Our Gang Collector Series 4 Pack (4 DVD set) released Mar. 21, 2001 and Our Gang Collector Series 5 Pack (5 DVD set) released Mar. 2004. The latter was also released as a 5 VHS set in Feb. 2002. Also included as part of The Best Of Our Gang Volume 2 (DVD) released June 1, 2004. Almost the entire film is included, with the original footage totaling 16:43.
Rascal Dazzle (VHS/LD) from Embassy Home Entertainment
Original film released 1981. Video released 1984. A clip lasting 1:16 is included, showing the beginning of the opening segment, with music and narration added. This is followed by a clip lasting 0:22, showing the kids entering the barn.
The Our Gang Story (VHS/DVD) from GoodTimes Home Video
VHS released 1994. DVD released May 21, 2002. Also included as part of Our Gang Collector Series 4 Pack (4 DVD set), released Mar. 21, 2001, Our Gang Collector Series 5 Pack (5 VHS/DVD set), released Feb. 2002 (VHS) and Mar. 2004 (DVD), and The Best Of Our Gang Volume 1 (DVD) released June 1, 2004. A clip lasting 0:12 is included in the introduction, showing Alfalfa's hillbilly number. Another five clips are included, all with narration added. The first lasts 1:55, and shows various scenes. The second lasts 0:09, and shows Darla. The third lasts 0:24, and shows Porky blowing out the candles. The fourth lasts 0:18, and also shows Porky. Two more clips, lasting 0:02 and 0:07, are taken from the theatrical trailer for "Little Rascals Varieties."
Superstars Of Our Gang (DVD) from Legend Films
Released Mar. 27, 2007. Also included as part of The Little Rascals In Color! (3 DVD set). Footage from this film is included in the theatrical trailer for "Little Rascals Varieties."
The Little Rascals Clay Animation (VHS)
The claymation version has appeared on various homemade VHS tapes and DVDs on eBay.

© Robert Demoss.


My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Ray Frieders (for passing along the casting directory credits for Frances Bowling)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Rob Stone (for providing the production number)
Piet Schreuders (for identifying "Step Up, Kids" and "Good Morning, Children")
Matthew Lydick (for the correct spelling of Dickie De Neut's last name)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)
Steven R. Wright (for pointing out the old trunk backstage)


The Lucky Corner Homepage