Three Smart Boys

film no. 154


technical details:

Production K-8.

Release no. C-587.

Filmed February 15 to 19, 1937. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Negative shipped on March 8, 1937.

Cutting continuity submitted March 9, 1937.

Title sheet prepared by Elmer Raguse on March 10, 1937.

Music cue sheet prepared March 10, 1937.

Copyrighted March 31, 1937, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP7034. Renewed July 27, 1964, with registration no. R341922. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2032.

Released May 13, 1937. This is the date given by Maltin & Bann. However, IMDb lists it as Mar. 13, 1937, which would be a Saturday, the usual day of release for MGM shorts. Early in the film season, Fred Quimby of MGM set a projected release date for this production of March 27, 1937.

All-talking one-reeler.

Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents Our Gang in "Three Smart Boys".'

King World Productions episode no. 49a, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions.


the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
Credited in the film as a presenter.
Directed by Gordon Douglas
This credit appears in the film.
Assistant Director: Charles Oelze
This credit derives from production documents.
Photography: Art Lloyd, A. S. C.
This credit appears in the film.
Film Editor: William Ziegler
This credit appears in the film.
Sound: William Randall
This credit appears in the film.
Prop Man: Aldrich
This credit derives from the production sheets, which don't reveal the first name.
Script Clerk: Morton
This credit derives from the daily film reports, which don't reveal the first name.
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. 3127.
studio personnel
vice president in charge of production - S. S. Van Keuren
secretary-treasurer - Mat O'Brien
Roach's assistant on production activities - Lawrence Tarver
assistant secretary-treasurer, comptroller - Hugh Huber
film editor and sound department - Elmer Raguse
casting - Joe Rivkin
story department - Jack Jevne
art department - Arthur I. Royce
property department - W. L. Stevens
process department - Roy Seawright
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
musical director - Marvin Hatley
men's wardrobe - Harry Black
paymaster - Mrs. Grace Cash
transportation director - Bob Davis
school teacher - Fern Carter
possible uncredited involvement
writing - Hal Yates, James Parrott, Hal Law, Felix Adler, Harry Langdon, Richard Flournoy 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"
Featured role. Waldo refers to him as "Master Spanky." He contrives an epidemic to close the school.
Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as "Alfalfa"
Featured role. He accompanies Spanky throughout the film and has virtually the same amount of dialogue.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Buckwheat"
Featured role. Spanky and Alfalfa thinks that he's been changed into a monkey.
Eugene "Porky" Lee as "Porky"
Supporting role. He spends the film trying to remember where Waldo's note is.
Darwood Kaye as "Waldo"
Small part. He sends Porky with a note to tell the boys that the epidemic is unnecessary.
Darla Hood
Bit part. She's shown on the school steps at the beginning of the film.
Shirley Coates
Bit part. She's shown on the school steps at the beginning of the film.
Baby Patsy May
She's not in the film itself, but her photo is shown during the opening titles.
other kids
About six additional kids can be seen in the background during the school scene, though the production sheets reveal that there were actually seven. It appears that perhaps Tommy McFarland and Robert Winckler are among them.

the animals:

George
Supporting role. This is the monkey that Spanky and Alfalfa think is Buckwheat. This identification is an assumption on my part, as the monkey looks like the same one from "Bear Facts" (no. 164)
Jiggs
Bit part. He's the dog in the pen that scares Buckwheat.
Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
Pete the Pup IV
He's not actually in the film, but his photo is shown during the opening titles.
other animals
Extras. There are other animals in the pens at the veterinarian's office, including at least one monkey.

the adults:

Sidney Bracey as "O. T. Hertz," the veterinarian
Supporting role. He examines Buckwheat. The cutting continuity refers to him as "Doctor."
Jack Egan as "Jack," the assistant
Small part. He prepares the serum for the monkey. The cutting continuity refers to him as "Assistant." The production sheets list him as Jack Eagan.
Rosina Lawrence as "Miss Lawrence"
Small part. She wants to close the school to attend her sister's wedding.
Nora Cecil as "Miss Witherspoon," the superintendent
Small part. She refuses to close the school until she sees the exemplary grades the students have received.

the music:

"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A17.) This is played over the opening titles and as Miss Witherspoon arrives at the school. The last part is played as the boys realize that Buckwheat isn't a monkey, and the end title appears.

the locations:

Hal E. Roach Studios
The entire film was shot here. Studio documentation indicates that Stage 1 was used, with perhaps a bit of last day footage shot on Stage 2.

miscellaneous:

Five shooting dates went into the making of this film. Here's a breakdown of the activity, deriving from the call sheets, production sheets, daily film reports and various memos:
Feb. 11 - No shooting took place, but there is a crew production sheet prepared for this date.
Feb. 12 - No shooting took place, but there is a crew production sheet prepared for this date.
Feb. 13 - Film costs for the previous week were $986.31.
Feb. 15 - This was the first day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids, plus Rosina Lawrence, Nora Cecil, Darwood Kaye, 4 boys over six years of age, and 4 girls over six years of age. Shooting was to take place on the exterior school and interior office sets on Stage 4, and on the exterior barn set on Stage 1. A camera crane and a Ford car would be needed. The production sheet places the entire day's work on Stage 1, listing the five main kids, Lawrence, 1 bit woman (no doubt Cecil), 9 extras, and 1 school teacher. This last person would have probably been the real thing and not an actress. A Rivkin memo to Van Keuren, O'Brien, Huber and Cash, states that Rosina Lawrence and the five regular kids all 'started' on this date. A surviving script carries this date.
Feb. 16 - This was the second day of shooting. Scheduled were the four main boys, Sidney Bracey, and Jack Eagan. Shooting was to take place on the exterior barn set and the interior veterinary's office set, both on Stage 1. The Ford car, a monkey and other animals would be needed. The production sheet reveals that the four boys and Bracey worked on Stage 1, but doesn't mention Eagan or the monkey. A Rivkin memo to the same four people states that Rosina Lawrence and Darla both 'closed' as of Feb. 15th.
Feb. 17 - This was the third day of shooting. Scheduled were the four main boys, Sidney Bracey, and Jack Eagan. Shooting was to take place on the interior veterinary's office set on Stage 1. A monkey and other animals would be needed. The production sheet reveals that Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, and '2 bits' were involved, with Porky on standby. The monkey isn't mentioned. A Raguse memo reveals that the title "Three Smart Boys" was finalized on this date.
Feb. 18 - This was the fourth day of shooting. The four main boys and '2 bits' worked on Stage 1 on this date.
Feb. 19 - This was the final day of shooting. Scheduled were the four main boys. Shooting was to take place on the interior veterinary office set on Stage 2. A monkey and other animals would be needed. The production sheet mentions the four boys working on Stage 1, but not the monkey.
Feb. 20 - The production sheet for this date lists Douglas, Oelze, Aldrich and Lloyd, but states that the production closed the previous day. A Rivkin memo to Van Keuren, O'Brien, Huber and Cash, from this date states that Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat and Porky, were 'closed' as of Feb. 19th. Film costs for the previous week were $2765.26, for a total of $3751.57 so far.
Feb. 22 - No shooting took place, but there is a crew production sheet prepared for this date.
Mar. 8 - A Raguse memo from this date indicates that the domestic negative and the domestic negative soundtrack were shipped to the MGM lab, and that the domestic positive Movietone print was sent to W. D. Kelly in New York.
Mar. 22 - A Raguse memo from this date indicates that the Canadian negative and Canadian negative soundtrack were shipped.

The negative cost on this film as of April 24th was $18,429.51.

Inspired by the feature, "Three Smart Girls."

There was a flu epidemic that closed the studio for weeks around the Christmas holiday.

This film was 968 feet in length.

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B643.


availability:

The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 17 (VHS) from Cabin Fever and
The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Volume Three (4 LD set) from Cabin Fever
Released 1995. This is a complete original print with very good picture quality. The total footage lasts 10:35. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs.
The Little Rascals Comedy Classics Vol. 2 (VHS) from Republic Pictures Home Video
Released Apr. 1991. This is a home movie print from Blackhawk. The opening title and crew credits are remade, but the end title is original. The picture quality is very good. The original footage totals 10:08, but the original soundtrack lasts an additional 0:19.
The Little Rascals Book XI (VHS) from Blackhawk Video
This is the Blackhawk print.
The Little Rascals: Pups Is Pups/Three Smart Boys (VHS) from Republic Pictures Home Video
Released May 30, 1991. This is the Blackhawk print.
The Little Rascals - The Complete Collection (8 DVD set) from Genius Products
Released late Oct. 2008. This is the Blackhawk print. There is also a clip from this film included in the documentary The Story Of Hal Roach And Our Gang.

© Robert Demoss.


My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Rob Stone (for providing the production number)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)


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