General Spanky

film no. 150


technical details:

Production F-12.

Filmed July 22 to Sep. 8, 1936, with additional footage on Sep. 17th and Oct. 19th and 20th. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Previewed during last week of October 1936.

Title sheet prepared by Elmer Raguse on November 9, 1936.

Cutting continuity submitted November 12, 1936.

Dialogue cutting continuity for theatrical trailer submitted December 1, 1936.

Copyrighted December 4, 1936, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP6811. Renewed December 6, 1963, with registration no. R327468. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2031.

Released December 11, 1936. It was the 150th film in the series to be released.

Music cue sheet dated March 5, 1937.

All-talking eight-reeler. 71 minutes, 6,426 feet. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents 'Spanky' McFarland in "General Spanky".'


the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
Credited in the film as a presenter.
Production managed by Sidney S. Van Keuren
This credit doesn't appear in the film.
Directed by Fred Newmeyer and Gordon Douglas
Roach recalled that Douglas probably directed the scenes with the kids.
Photography: Art Lloyd, A. S. C. and Walter Lundin, A. S. C.
This credit appears in the film.
Film Editor: Ray Snyder
This credit appears in the film.
Original Story and Screen Play by Richard Flournoy, Hal Yates and John Guedel, with Carl Harbaugh
Flournoy, Yates and Guedel receive onscreen credit, but not Harbaugh.
Musical Score: Marvin Hatley
This credit appears in the film.
Sound: William Randall, with Elmer A. Raguse
Randall is given onscreen credit, but not Raguse.
Photographic Effects: Roy Seawright
This credit appears in the film. Maltin & Bann credit him with 'special effects.' There is one animation effect in this film, showing an explosion.
Settings: Arthur I. Royce and W. L. Stevens
Both names are listed in the film. The 'W' stands for William. Maltin & Bann list him as William I. Stevens.
Casting by Joe Rivkin
This credit doesn't appear in the film.
Location scouting by Jack Roach
According to Maltin & Bann. This credit doesn't appear 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 Motion Picture Producers & Distributors of America
Certificate no. 2480.
studio personnel
secretary-treasurer-general manager - Mat O'Brien
vice president in charge of production - S. S. Van Keuren
Roach's assistant on production activities - Lawrence Tarver
assistant secretary-treasurer, comptroller - Hugh Huber
film editor and sound department - Elmer Raguse
story department - Jack Jevne
publicity and advertising - Fred Purner
art department - Arthur I. Royce
construction department - C. E. Christensen
paint department - James Follette
property department - W. L. Stevens
electrical department - William Lewis
laboratory superintendent - Charles Levin
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
men's wardrobe - Harry Black
women's wardrobe - Dorothy Callahan
makeup department - Jack Casey
hairdressing - Peggy Zardo
purchasing department - Russell Walker
cashier - Mrs. M. Van Keuren
paymaster - Mrs. Grace Cash
transportation director - Bob Davis
garage - Walter Johnson
commissary - W. M. Furlong
school teacher - Fern Carter
possible uncredited involvement
writing - James Parrott, Hal Law, Felix Adler, Harry Langdon and Gordon Douglas may have been among the gag writers.
property department - Charles Oelze was probably involved in this capacity.
animal training - Tony Campanaro may have been among the animal trainers.

the kids:

George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky" aka "Spanfield George Leonard"
Lead role. Credited as 'Spanky' McFarland. Marshall calls him "Mr. Spanky," and at one point, "Sonny," which is what he was called offscreen. He's an orphan in this film, who is taken in by a captain in the Confederate army. He forms his own kiddie army, in which he is addressed as "General Spanky."
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Buckwheat"
Supporting role. Credited as Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas in the opening titles, and as Billie Thomas in the end title. He's a lost slave, and teams up with Spanky, and eventually his army.
Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as "Alfalfa"
Supporting role. Credited as Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer in the opening titles, and as Carl Switzer in the end title. He leads his own army, but loses his troupes to Spanky. He then becomes second-in-command.
Flaette Roberts as "Flaette"
Small part. Listed in the cutting continuity and at least one casting directory as Flayette Roberts. She's the nurse in the kiddie army, and accompanies Spanky and Alfalfa to the house and plays piano.
Jerry Tucker
Small part. He's part of the kiddie army and has a few lines of dialogue.
Harold Switzer
Small part. He's part of the kiddie army and has a few lines of dialogue.
John Collum
Small part. He's part of the kiddie army, but has no dialogue.
Dickie DeNeut
Small part. He's part of the kiddie army, but has no dialogue.
Rex Downing
Bit part. He's the lookout at the gang's cave and announces that the Yanks are coming.
Eugene "Porky" Lee
Extra. He's bringing up the rear behind Dickie De Nuet in the first shot we see of Alfalfa's army, but is absent in the remainder of the scene. He's also in the longshot as Spanky and Alfalfa leave the fort carrying the white flag. Presumably, Porky was ill during some of the shooting dates and would have otherwise been given more to do.
Joe Strauch, Jr.
He served as Spanky's stand-in for this film.
Donald "Duck" Carlucci
Since Strauch was unable to dive or swim, Carlucci is the one who stood in for Spanky as he dove off the sternwheeler into the river.
other kids
Extras.
(1.) The initial boy who serves as the lookout at the gang's cave hideout. Close scrutiny indicates that this is somebody other than Rex Downing.
(2.) The kids in the yard having a birthday party, including three boys and three girls.
(3.) At least two kids among the slaves on the boat.
(4.) Two people, presumably kids, doubling for Spanky and Buckwheat as they swim to shore after going overboard.

the animals:

Von the Dog as "Von"
Small part. He eats the chicken in place of Buckwheat, and later discovers the wounded Mr. Marsh.
Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
other animals
Bit parts and extras.
(1.) The mule that Spanky and Alfalfa ride to the northern camp.
(2.) The kitten followed by Buckwheat on the boat.
(3.) Numerous horses ridden by the various soldiers.

the adults:

Phillips Holmes as "Marshall Valient" aka "Marsh"
Featured role. He receives onscreen credit. Spanky calls him "Mr. Marsh." The cutting continuity introduces him as "Captain Marshall Valient." He takes Spanky into his home, but leaves to fight in the war. He returns after being wounded and is arrested for being a spy.
Irving Pichel as "Capt. Simmons"
Featured role. He receives onscreen credit. He's a crooked gambler that's befuddled by Spanky, and later becomes a corrupt captain in the union army and almost has Mr. Marsh executed. An insulted Alfalfa calls him "Mr. Simmons."
Ralph Morgan as the Yankee general
Supporting role. He receives onscreen credit. He befriends Spanky and intervenes in Mr. Marsh's trial.
Rosina Lawrence as "Louella Blanchard" aka "Miss Louella"
Supporting role. She receives onscreen credit. She's in love with Mr. Marsh, and has to deal with the fast-moving Simmons.
Louise Beavers as "Cornelia"
Small part. She receives onscreen credit. Maltin & Bann indicate that her character name is "'Mammy' Cornelia," but I haven't noticed the "Mammy" part. She's the black woman normally seen doing chores and talking with Louella.
James Burtis as the boat captain
Small part. He receives onscreen credit, but only during the end titles. He's repeatedly bufuddled by Buckwheat.
Robert Middlemass as the overseer
Small part. He receives onscreen credit, but only during the end titles. I'm assuming that Maltin & Bann are referring to the man in charge of the slaves on the boat, who repeatedly apologizes to the captain for Buckwheat's mischief.
Hobart Bosworth as "Colonel Blanchard"
Small part. He receives onscreen credit. He throws Marshall out of his house for being against the war.
Buddy Roosevelt as "Lieutenant Johnson"
Small part. He's the guy with the moustache who answers to Simmons, and is the one who informs Marshall of his impending execution. Maltin & Bann list him as the 1st Lieutenant.
Carl Voss as the 2nd Lieutenant
Small part. According to Maltin & Bann. He's presumably the other lieutenant under Simmons that's present in most of the scenes with Roosevelt.
Ernie Alexander
Small part. He's the friend of Marshall's that brings him to win back their friends' money, and earlier turns down a shoeshine from Spanky.
Richard R. Neill as "Colonel Parrish"
Small part. Listed by Maltin & Bann as an extra, but it looks to me like he's the colonel that the Yankee general speaks to the most.
Walter Gregory as "Captain Haden"
Small part. According to Maltin & Bann. I'm not familiar with this actor. The character name matches the officer standing behind Morgan's desk.
Willie "Sleep 'n' Eat" Best as "Henry"
Bit part. He receives onscreen credit as William Best, but only during the end credits. He's seen painting the floor next to the front door of the mansion.
Frank H. LaRue as a slavemaster
Bit part. Listed as an extra by Maltin & Bann. It looks to me that he's one of the two slavemasters (the one on the left) discussing runaway slaves as Buckwheat listens.
Henry Hall as a slavemaster
Bit part. He's the other slavemaster (the one on the right) discussing runaway slaves.
Jeffrey Sayre
Bit part. His presence in this film is revealed by a casting directory. It appears that he's one of the two friends of Marshall's who are losing their money, specifically the one on the left. The two are named "Chris" and "Gregory," but it isn't specified in the film which is which.
Harry Bernard as a man on the boat
Bit part. He's the first man that Buckwheat asks to be his master.
Hooper Atchley as one of the southern gentlemen
Bit part. Maltin & Bann list him as a slavemaster, which is a logical assumption, but is not specifically stated in the film. As the men in Colonel Blanchard's home become indignant at Marshall's reluctance to rush to war, Atchley exclaims 'He's not with us!'
Karl Hackett
Bit part. Maltin & Bann list him among the extras, and I'm pretty sure he's the man steering the steamboat.
Ham Kinsey
Bit part. Listed by Maltin & Bann as a bit player. It appears that he's second in line to have his shoes shined among the men with paint on their shoes.
other adults
Small parts, bit parts and extras. Maltin & Bann list several extras that I've yet to identify in this film, including Jack Hill, Jack Cooper, Slim Whittaker, Alex Finlayson, Harry Strang, and Portia Lanning. They also state that Jack Daugherty plays the general's aide, but it's not clear who they're talking about.
(1.) Marshall's other gambling friend, either "Chris" or "Gregory."
(2.) Marshall's head slave, "Jessie."
(3.) The Yankee soldier who discovers the cave.
(4.) "Captain Gehrig," in charge of the fourth battalion. The cutting continuity identifies this character as "Captain Gerry."
(5.) The second man Buckwheat asks to be his master.
(6.) "Colonel Baker."
(7.) The soldier who Spanky gets rid of as Marshall hides nearby.
(8.) About ten remaining friends of Colonel Blanchard.
(9.) The passengers on the riverbank, including the one that tells the captain about Jefferson Davis.
(10.) The men reading the war notice.
(11.) The various passengers on the boat, including several shoeshine customers.
(12.) The adult slaves on the boat, including the one that finds Buckwheat in the barrel.
(13.) The orderly that takes the message to the general.
(14.) The three women and the black man in the yard with the birthday party.
(15.) Various military personnel for both the Union and the Confederacy, including those seen in the stock footage, and various townspeople shown in the stock footage.

the music:

"I'se Gwine Up De Ribba" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted July 21, 1936. This is played over the opening titles and as we first see the slaves and Spanky shining shoes. Another version is played during the bedtime scene. Later, it's sung by Willie Best before Simmons barges in. Still later, Buckwheat sings this tune after clobbering Simmons, where it overlaps "Oh! Dem Golden Slippers!." He also whistles it as he returns to the cave. The piece is played a last time as the Yankee general is inducted into the kiddie army and the end title appears.
"Comin' Round The Bend" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted June 1, 1934. A version of this piece is played on traditional instruments as the captain hands Buckwheat back to his master. An orchestrated version is played, and followed by the traditional version, during the card game. The orchestrated version is repeated as Spanky and Buckwheat go overboard. This version is played again as the kids hide Marshall behind a bush as Simmons goes by. It's repeated again as Spanky and Alfalfa ride off to the Union camp. The music cue sheet also credits this piece with turning up at the end of the dinner scene, but it's actually "Let's Get Acquainted."
"I'se A-Daubin" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Oct. 7, 1936. Oddly enough, this title seems to refer to the middle section of "Comin' Round The Bend." The title refers to the paint on the captain's derriere. The music cue sheet lists it separately as Buckwheat follows the cat onto the roof of the steamboat, but doesn't mention it as it's interspersed with the other song during the card game. After Spanky and Buckwheat go overboard, it's very briefly heard before the scene fades out, and this instance is indicated in the cue sheet. It's also listed separately during the scene where the kids hide Marshall behind a bush, even though it intertwines with the other tune.
"The Apologizing Planter" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Oct. 7, 1936. The title of this piece refers to the slavemaster's repeated apologies to the boat captain. It's played on traditional instruments as he puts Buckwheat in the barrel and continues as Spanky looks for a customer. An orchestrated version is played as Marshall is in the cave with the kids and Spanky tells him about his plans to reunite him with Louella. This version returns as the Yankee general arrives at the plantation and restarts the trial.
"Let's Get Acquainted" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Oct. 7, 1936. An orchestrated version of this is played as Spanky shines Mr. Marsh's shoes. A traditional version is played during the shoeshine gag. A short bit of the orchestrated version is repeated at the end of the dinner scene, where the music cue sheet misidentifies it as "Comin' Round The Bend." This version is played again as Simmons barges into the house. It's repeated again as Marshall puts on the robe and crown for the Yankee general.
"Ezekiel's Wheel"
Also known as "Ezekiel Saw The Wheel" and "Zekiel Saw The Wheel." The music cue sheet lists it as "Ezekiel Saw De Wheel," and credits Hatley with the arrangement. This is sung by the slaves as Marshall saves Spanky from Simmons. This version was copyrighted on July 23, 1936.
"Oh! Dem Golden Slippers!" by James A. Bland
Published in 1879. Hatley received the arrangement credit for this version, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. This is played as the slaves leave the boat. It's repeated as the kids trap Simmons and Marshall makes it back to the cave. It's played again as the second trial ends.
"Old Folks At Home" aka "Swanee River" by Stephen Collins Foster
Published in 1851. Hatley received arrangement credit for this version, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1936. This is played as Buckwheat overhears the two slavemasters talking. It's played again as Spanky gets a second helping of chicken.
"Deep River"
This is an African-American spiritual of unknown origin. Hatley receives arrangement credit for this version, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. It's played as Buckwheat realizes he's alone, and as he meets Spanky.
"My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night" by Stephen Collins Foster
Published in 1853. Hatley received arrangement credit for this version, which is listed in the music cue sheet simply as "My Old Kentucky Home." This is played as Louella and Cornelia talk, and as Marshall arrives. It's played again as Marshall invites Spanky to stay at his home and dinner starts. It's played a third time as the kids barge in on Simmons and Louella. This version was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937.
"Long, Long Ago" by Thomas Haynes Bayly
Published around 1830. Hatley received arrangement credit for this version, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. This is played as Marshall argues with the other southern gentlemen. It's played again as Spanky gives Marshall advise about fighting in the war. It's played a third time as Buckwheat goes in through the window during dinner time. It's played a fourth time as Spanky gets rid of the Union soldier while Marshall is hiding.
"Nellie Gray" by Benjamin R. Hanby
Written in 1856. Hatley received arrangement credit for this version. The music cue sheet lists it as "My Darling Nellie Gray." This is played as Col. Blanchard kicks Marshall out of his house. It's played again as the boys from Alfalfa's army join Spanky. A short bit is repeated as Marshall and Louella meet at their rendezvous point. It's played again as Marshall is informed of his impending execution. This version was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937.
"Listen To The Mockingbird" by Septimus Winner
Winner published this song in April 1855 under the pseudonym Alice Hawthorne. Hatley received arrangement credit for this version. This is played as Spanky and Buckwheat cry over being hungry, and as Spanky reunites with Marshall. It's played again as the kids are in the cave and decide not to use blood. This version was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937.
"Sweet Evalina"
Hatley received arrangement credit for this version, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. The music cue sheet lists it as "Dear Evalina." Part of this piece is played as Spanky and Marshall finish their conversation as they walk. It's played again as Marshall gives Spanky final instructions before going off to war. Part of it is played again at the end of the second trial scene.
"Old Black Joe" by Stephen Collins Foster
Published in 1860. Hatley received arrangement credit for this version, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. This is played as Von gets under the table with Buckwheat. It's played again as Marshall discovers Buckwheat under the table.
"Double Quick Time"
This is the drum and bugle music played at the beginning of the war sequence. Hatley received arrangement credit.
"Dixie (I Wish I Was In Dixie Land)" by Daniel Decatur Emmett
Published in 1859. Also known as "Dixie's Land." Hatley received arrangement credit for this version, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. This is played as Marshall swears in the two soldiers. It's played again at the beginning of the scene at the kiddie fortress. It's played again as the kids fire on the Union army. A part of it is played again as the kids pretend to bring in reinforcements. It's played again as Buckwheat spills the gun powder.
"Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!" by George F. Root
Originally a civil war song, this was featured in the musical "Naughty Marietta" and was a number one hit for Byron Harlan & Frank Stanley in 1910. It was later given new lyrics and retitled "Jesus Loves The Little Children." Hatley received arrangement credit for the instrumental version heard in this film, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. It's first played as the two kiddie armies meet. It's played again as Alfalfa joins Spanky's army.
"Columbia, The Gem Of The Ocean" by David T. Shaw
Published in 1843. Hatley received arrangement credit for this version, which is listed in the cue sheet as "Columbia, Gem Of The Ocean," and was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. This is played as Simmons is given his orders. It's played again as the orderly arrives to tell the Yankee general of the battle at Blanchard Hill. It's played again with the Union's victory over the gang. A vocal version is played, and followed by the instrumental version, as Spanky and Alfalfa arrive at the Union camp.
"Yankee Doodle"
This derives from a 15th century Dutch harvesting song. Richard Schuckburgh wrote the words as we know them today during the French and Indian War to ridicule the colonists. During the Revolutionary War, colonists used it as a rallying anthem. Hatley received arrangement credit for the instrumental version heard in this film, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. It's first played as Rex Downing announces that the Yanks are coming. A part of it is played again as the Union army arrives near the gang's fort. A short bit is played at the end of "Charge Of Victory."
"Captain Jinks" by T. MacLagan
Maclagan wrote the music, with lyrics by William Horace Lingard, in the 19th century. The song was featured in the Broadway show "Captain Jinks Of The Horse Marines" in 1901. Hatley received arrangement credit for the instrumental version heard in this film, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. This is played as Simmons sends the orderly for reinforcements. Part of it is repeated as the Union fires back on the kiddie fort. It's repeated again as Buckwheat tries to clobber Simmons. It's played again as the gang prepares for Marshall's initiation into their army, and soon continues as he joins the kiddie army and the cave is discovered by the Union.
"Commence Firing"
This is the bugle piece played as the Union starts their barrage of gun fire on the gang's fortress. Hatley received arrangement credit.
"Cease Firing"
This is the bugle piece played as the gang surrenders. Hatley received arrangement credit.
"The Battle Hymn Of The Republic"
Published in 1862. Hatley received arrangement credit for the instrumental version heard in this film, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. It's played as Simmons brags to the general about his triumphant victory.
"The Battle Cry Of Freedom" by George F. Root
Published in 1862. Hatley received arrangement credit for the instrumental version heard in this film, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. A short bit of this piece is played as Simmons is ordered to stay behind at Blanchard Hill.
"The Charge Of Victory" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Oct. 27, 1936. Also known as "Charge Of Victory." This is the piece played during the adult battle footage. There's a bit of "Yankee Doodle" at the end.
"Just Before The Battle, Mother" by George F. Root
Published in 1864. Hatley received arrangement credit for the version sung by Alfalfa in this film, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937.
"Raccoon Jig" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Oct. 7, 1936. This is played as Simmons excuses himself after listening to Alfalfa sing.
"Tenting Tonight On The Old Camp Ground" by Walter C. Kittredge
Published in 1863. Hatley received arrangement credit for the version heard in this film. The music cue sheet lists it as "Tenting Tonight On Old Camp Ground." This is the spiritual song played as Marshall is wounded and Spanky finds him. This version was copyrighted Oct. 27, 1936.
"When Johnny Comes Marching Home" by Louis Lambert
Published in 1863. Hatley received arrangement credit for the instrumental version heard in this film, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. It's played as Marshall and the kids are back in the cave after his rendezvous with Louella.
"Massa's In The Cold, Cold Ground" by Stephen Collins Foster
Published in 1852. Hatley received arrangement credit for the instrumental version heard in this film, which was copyrighted on Mar. 19, 1937. This is played as Marshall is in the robe and crown and Simmons arrests him.
"The Sad Comic" by Nathaniel Shilkret
This is played during the initial trial.
other music
The only remaining music is the tune that Cornelia briefly hums to herself. She ends it after very few notes, but it's likely that she's humming "I'se Gwine Up De Ribba," since other characters sing and whistle it elsewhere in the film.

the locations:

Sacramento River
Filmed along an eight-mile stretch for the duration of a week. The boat was called the Cherokee.
Hal E. Roach Ranch
A location sheet of October 19th for "Pay As You Exit" (no. 148) reveals that footage was shot here for "General Spanky," specifically the shot of Spanky and Alfalfa riding the mule.
Fox Hills Country Club, Los Angeles
According to the Los Angeles Times of Aug. 18th, some filming had recently taken place at this location.

miscellaneous:

At least 42 days went into the shooting of this film. Six days had passed since shooting finished for "Bored Of Education" (no. 146). Principle shooting began on July 22nd and continued until Sep. 8th. No shooting took place on July 26th, Aug 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, and Sep. 6th, which were all Sundays. However, shooting DID take place on Sunday, Aug. 30th. This was presumably to make up for Wednesday, Aug. 28th, on which shooting didn't take place. On the other hand, since I'm deriving these dates based on when the day players were working, it might be that shooting took place that day with only contract players. There were also no day players working on the film on Monday, Aug. 31st, and Monday, September 7th, though one of these would likely have been in observance of Labor Day. The final day of principal shooting, September 8th, was also the first day of shooting for "Two Too Young" (no. 147). After that film was finished, additional footage for "General Spanky" was shot on September 17th. The Our Gang unit then shot "Pay As You Exit" (no. 148). On the last day of shooting for that film, Oct. 19th, more footage was shot for "General Spanky," and this continued into Oct. 20th. After this, it would be about three weeks before the Our Gang unit began filming "Spooky Hooky" (no. 149).

The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune from July 18th reported that Claude Gillingwater and Sidney Toler were being considered for roles. Neither of them wound up in the film. It also refers to the film as "Colonel Spanky."

The Baltimore Sun of May 31st reported the following: "'Spanky' McFarland, juvenile star of Hal Roach's Our Gang, will be starred in a full-length feature picture called 'Spanky.' Written for the screen by Fred Newmeyer, Hal Yates and John Geudel, it is a story of the Civil War period. Supporting cast and director will be announced shortly."

The Nevada State Journal from July 29th reported that the dining room scene had already been shot and referred to the film by its release title.

A press release from August of 1936 states that the film was in its third week of production, which is accurate if we're looking early in the month. Another press release states that shooting took about six or seven weeks, which is accurate if you only count the principal shooting.

According to a casting directory entry for Flayette Roberts, she worked in this film for three months, which is accurate if the added scenes are taken into account.

A location work sheet for "Pay As You Exit" (no. 148) reveals that added scenes were scheduled to be shot at the Hal Roach Ranch on October 19th, involving a white mule. This was in addition to footage shot that day for the one-reeler.

The July 13th issue of The Hollywood Reporter reported the following: "Production resumes today after a six week shutdown at Hal Roach on an Our Gang comedy with Gordon Douglas, promoted from assistant, directing. The youngsters immediately on finishing the short go into the feature, 'Colonel Spanky,' which Fred Newmeyer directs, starting next week.

The July 22nd issue of The Hollywood Reporter reported the following: "The 'Col. Spanky' company at Hal Roach, which launched production yesterday, will go on location on the Sacramento river Monday. Completed cast of 'Col. Spanky' includes Phillips Holmes, Rosina Lawrence, Ralph Morgan, Irving Pichel, Claude Gillingwater, Robert Middlemess, Louise Beavers, Buckwheat Thomas, Alfalfa Switzer and James Burtis. Fred Newmeyer is directing, with Art Lloyd on the camera.

The July 25th issue of The Hollywood Reporter reported the following: "Fifty-nine members of the 'General Spanky' troupe at Hal Roach studios leave tomorrow night for Sacramento for a week's location shooting on the sternwheel steamer Cherokee, the same boat used by Will Rogers in 'Steamboat 'Round the Bend.'"

On July 25th, The Sacramento Bee reported the following: "Fifty-nine members of a Hal Roach comedy cast will arrive here from Hollywood to-morrow night for location scenes on the Sacramento River. Headed by the juvenile star, Spanky McFarland, the actors are to make the comedy feature, Colonel Spanky. The stern wheel steamboat Cherokee, used in the late Will Rogers's Steamboat 'Round the Bend, has been chartered.
"S. S. Van Keuren, vice president in charge of production for the Hal Roach studios, will be in charge of the party. Fred Newmeyer, assisted by Gordon Douglas, will direct the picture. The schedule calls for approximately a week on location. Interesting sequences of Colonel Spanky, an original screen play of the Civil War days, will be filmed, starting Monday morning (July 27th). A number of extras have been assembled here to work in the picture.
"Other staff members include Art Lloyd, cameraman; William Ryan, unit manager; Jack Roach, location manager; Fred A. Purner, director of advertising and publicity; Mrs. Fern Carter, school teacher; and the following members of the cast: Spanky McFarland and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. R. E. McFarland, Phillips Holmes, Irving Pichel, Robert Middlemass, Buckwheat Thomas and and his mother, James Burtis.
"The working crew includes: William Randall, soundman; Stax Graves, still cameraman; Charles Morton, script clerk; Jack Casey, make-up man; Peggy Zardo, hair dresser; Don Sanderson, props; Mary Bernard, costumes; Bones Vreeland, grips; Harry Black, costumes; Charles Oelze and Bob Saunders, props; William Lewis, electrician, and members of their staffs. The visitors will stay at the Hotel Senator."

The July 27th issue of The Hollywood Reporter reported that the film had been shooting for six days so far.

The Sacramento Bee of July 28th reported that filming on the Sacramento River had begun that day.

On July 30th, the Montana Standard of Butte reported the following: "'General Spanky' McFarland demolished 17 fried chickens in three days in dining room scenes after his picture. Studio had figured on six, but had to send out for replacements twice. After six 'drumsticks' disappeared the propman admonished the eight-year-old that he wouldn't be able to eat his dinner, and Spanky opened wide eyes with: Why not? I just had lunch.' "

The August 12th issue of The Hollywood Reporter reported that Henry Hall and Ted Thompson had been assigned to work in the film.

The August 13th issue of The Hollywood Reporter reported that Anthony Pawley and Dick Winslow has been assigned to work in the film.

The August 22nd issue of The Hollywood Reporter reported the following: "Marriage last Saturday of John Guedel, co-author of 'General Spanky' for Hal Roach, to Beth Pingree was revealed yesterday.

According to the copyright deposit, this film was an eight-reeler, which seems consistent with its length. However, the cutting continuity divides everything into four reels. In this setup, reel one ends as Spanky and Buckwheat are feeling hungry, with reel two beginning with the birthday party on the lawn. Reel two ends as the Yankee general gives Simmons his orders. Reel three ends as Spanky takes the injured Marsh to the cave.

The shot of the cannons firing derives from footage left over from D. W. Griffith's 1930 feature "Abraham Lincoln." In the original film, they fire one at a time, but in "General Spanky," they fire simultaneously. Otherwise, the setting is identical. Maltin & Bann state that stock footage was also derived from Buster Keaton's 1926 feature "The General," but I haven't spotted any identical footage. The shots of the Union army marching might have been left over from that film.

In his Jan. 1, 1937, "It's True!" newspaper panel, Wiley Padan reported that Rosina Lawrence had a severely injured ankle during shooting. Her hoop skirt concealed the heavy bandages. He also mentions that the suit worn by Hobart Bosworth was one that he bought 46 years earlier.

On Jan. 8, 1937, The Evening Bulletin of Deer Lodge, MT, reported the following: "The fortification set and the army encampment, which figure in the exciting action and human-interest story of the new Hal Roach feature length comedy, 'General Spanky'...created a new golfing hazard. The location bordered the fairways of the Fox Hills course, and it was necessary to place some of the sun reflectors, cables and other equipment in the lanes through which the club-swingers shoot. The Fox Hills golfers didn't seem to mind the new hazard. A sign 'Pitch Out Without Penalty' permitted them to lift their balls when they did drive into the sets and they would linger around and watch the movie-making. Some of the sequences for 'San Francisco' were filmed at the same location and they had become accustomed to having the movies around. When away from the camera Spanky and his 'Our Gang' playmate, 'Alfalfa' Switzer, put in their time putting and playing on the greens, and they proved expert with the little clubs."

The gang's army is called The Loyal Protection of Women and Children Regiment Club of the World and Mississippi River.

In early 1935, Roach contracted with MGM to make an Our Gang feature called "Crook's Incorporated," which would have co-starred Thelma Todd, Patsy Kelly and Charley Chase. The script was written by Roach himself.

Nominated for the Academy Award in the Best Sound Recording of 1936 category. The awards ceremony took place on Mar. 4, 1937.

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B430.


See anything that needs changing? Contact me at BtheW@aol.com.


© Robert Demoss.


My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
James A. Gipson (for identifying "Old Black Joe")
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Piet Schreuders (for providing copyright dates for the music)
Rob Stone (for providing the production number)
Matthew Lydick (for the correct spelling of Dickie DeNeut's last name)


The Lucky Corner Homepage