Fishy Tales

film no. 158


technical details:

Production K-12.

Release no. C-592.

Filmed July 26 to August 2, 1937. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Title sheet prepared by Elmer Raguse on August 17, 1937.

Negative shipped on August 19, 1937.

Cutting continuity submitted August 20, 1937.

First preview on August 20, 1937.

Released August 28, 1937. It was the 158th film in the series to be released. Early in the film season, Fred Quimby of MGM set a projected release date for this production of July 17, 1937. This film fulfilled Roach's commitment of 12 one-reelers for the 1936/37 season.

Copyrighted September 8, 1937, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP7425. Renewed May 12, 1965, with registration no. R361170. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2032.

All-talking one-reeler.

Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents Our Gang in "Fishy Tales".'

King World Productions episode no. 53b, 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: Barney Carr
This credit derives from production documents.
2nd Assistant Director: Hal Roach, Jr.
This credit derives from the daily film reports.
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.
Script Clerk: Morton
This credit derives from the daily film reports, which don't give 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. 3603.
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
story department - Jack Jevne
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 - 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.
special effects - Probably the work of Roy Seawright.

the kids:

Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as "Alfalfa"
Lead role. Spanky refers to him variously as "Eagle-Eye Alfalfa," "Professor" and "Professor Eagle-Eye." His William Tell routine leads him into a dilemma with Butch, which leads to a fake injury.
George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky" aka "Spank"
Featured role. He runs the show, both with the William Tell routine, and with the charade put on to fool Butch.
Tommy Bond as "Butch"
Featured role. He changes his mind about beating up Alfalfa after seeing his injury.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Buckwheat"
Supporting role. Spanky introduces him as "Fearless Buckwheat, the William Tell of the South." He fills in for Porky in the act.
Eugene "Porky" Lee as "Porky"
Supporting role. He forfeits his part in the act by eating all the apples.
Sidney Kibrick as "Woim"
Supporting role. The script refers to him as "The Woim." He accompanies Butch through much of the film, serving as a secretary of sorts.
Gary Jasgur as "Junior"
Supporting role. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Gary Jasgar. The script refers to him as "Gary." He sits in the Judges Stand at the beginning of the film, and ultimately is the reason for Alfalfa's troubles.
Harold Switzer
Double and extra. He sits at the far right in the back row. Later in the film, it's his foot we see hanging through the hole in the bed.
Darwood Kaye
Extra. Maltin & Bann indicate that the "Waldo" moniker was used, but he's nameless in this short. He also doesn't wear glasses. He sits at the far right in the front row.
Darla Hood
Extra. She sits at the far left in the front row.
Tommy McFarland
Extra. He sits next to Darwood Kaye.
Dickie De Neut
Extra. He sits next to Darla.
Billy Minderhout
Extra. Not listed by Maltin & Bann. He sits between Dickie and Tommy.
John Collum
Extra. He sits at the far left in the back row.
Barbara Goodrich
Extra. She sits at the center of the back row.
Baby Patsy May
She's not in the film itself, but her photo is shown during the opening titles. She was actually on the set during the first two days of filming, but this only seems to have amounted to at least one promotional photo.
other kids
Extras. There are two more boys in the back row. Maltin & Bann list Dorian Johnston, who isn't either of them. Studio documentation reveals that an additional extra was used on July 26th, but not on the following day, after which they were no longer needed.

the animals:

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
Small parts and bit parts.
(1.) The seven cats that get under Alfalfa's bed.
(2.) Numerous sandcrabs.
(3.) A dead fish.

the adults:

There are no adults in this film.


the music:

"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A15.) This is played over the opening titles and as we first see Buckwheat.
(A17.) This is played as Alfalfa crashes through the wall and the end title appears.
"Colonial Gayeties" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted May 7, 1936. This is played as Spanky introduces Eagle-Eye Alfalfa and Porky eats the apple. This is the version heard in "Hearts Are Thumps" (no. 153), which differs from the version reproduced by the Beau Hunks.
"Up In Room 14" by Leroy Shield
This is played, with an edit at the end, as Alfalfa successfully shoots the apple on Buckwheat's head.
"On To The Show" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. One verse of this piece is played as Butch reads the note. This sounds like it was probably a recent recording at the time and not one of the earlier versions.
"Fastie" by Leroy Shield
Parts of this piece are played as the gang reads the note from Butch.
"Stair Steps" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Dec. 9, 1933. This is played as Junior tickles Alfalfa's foot.
piece 158a
This is played as Butch and Woim walk into the clubhouse. A part of it is repeated as the cats are under Alfalfa's bed.
"Don't Explain" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted July 16, 1937. This is played as Spanky tells Butch the story of Alfalfa's injury.
"Ants (Hurry)" by Leroy Shield
Also known as "Antics" and "Sneaking," but not to be confused with the other pieces with those names. This is played as Spanky shows Alfalfa's leg to Butch and starts hammering it. It's partly repeated as Butch and Woim go for a doctor and let the cats in.
piece 158d
This is a laugh effect piece played as Alfalfa first feels the sandcrab on his toe.
piece 158e
This sounds like bits of various pieces, played as the cats get under the bed and Alfalfa crashes through the wall. Within this collection of bits is a part of piece 158a.

the locations:

Hal E. Roach Studios
Almost the entire film was shot on Stage 4. The one exception would be the scene in front of Butch's house, which was shot on Stage 1.

miscellaneous:

Six shooting dates went into the making of this film. Here's a breakdown of the activity, deriving from the call sheets, daily film reports, and various memos:
July 22 - A document from this date lists the kids that would be needed to make this film, consisting of the five main kids, Patsy, Tommy Bond, Sid Kibrick, Gary Jasgur and 10 extras.
July 24 - Film costs for the previous week were $1744.11.
July 26 - This was the first day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids, Patsy Mae (sic), Gary Jasgur, Tommy Bond, and 10 extra kids over the age of six. In the category of 'may work' was Sid Kibrick. Shooting was to take place on the exterior yard set, and the exterior barn and fence set, both on Stage 4. Also needed would be the special effects department for the shot of the rubber dart being fired. The title at this point was listed as "Our Gang - Untitled." The daily film report reveals that Sid Kibrick did indeed work on this day, but that all of the footage was shot on the exterior yard set. The entire day's footage went into the opening "Eagle-Eye Alfalfa" segment. A Carr memo from this date to Van Keuren, Huber and Collum, indicates that the five main kids, Patsy, Tommy and Sid all 'started' on this date. A Collum memo to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, states the same, but leaves out Tommy Bond's name.
July 27 - This was the second day of shooting. Scheduled were the four main boys, Tommy Bond, Sid Kibrick, and Gary Jasgur. Shooting was to take place on the exterior yard set on Stage 4. Originally, this day was to focus on the portion between Alfalfa fainting to the end of the scene. By the time the call sheet was prepared, it was apparent that some of the earlier part of the scene still needed to be finished. The daily film report reveals that Darla and Patsy were both present, as well as nine of the extras. The exterior yard and fence footage leftover from the previous day, and showing Buckwheat arriving, was accomplished, as well as the majority of the opening sequence. The title at this point was listed as "Untitled - 'Our Gang'." A Raguse memo from this date states that the title "Gun With The Wind" was being cleared. A Carr memo from this date to Van Keuren, Huber and Collum, states that Darla and Patsy both 'closed' on this date. A Collum memo to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, states the same.
July 28 - This was the third day of shooting. Scheduled were the four main boys, Tommy Bond, Sid Kibrick and Gary Jasgur. Shooting was to take place on the exterior yard set and interior barn set, both on Stage 4. Also scheduled was footage shot on the exterior 'Butch's house' set on Stage 1. The daily film report reveals that the exterior barn, interior barn and exterior fence sets were used, but not the set on Stage 1. The last part of the opening sequence, after Alfalfa faints, was finished, as well as the scene where the boys read Butch's note. The film at this point was listed as "Untitled - Our Gang."
July 29 - This was the fourth day of shooting. Scheduled were the four main boys, Gary Jasgur, Tommy Bond, and Sid Kibrick. Shooting was to take place on the interior barn set on Stage 4, as well as the delayed footage on the exterior 'Butch's house' set on Stage 1. The daily film report reveals that the Stage 1 footage was finally accomplished, as well as much of the earlier interior barn footage. The title at this point was listed as "Untitled (Our Gang)."
July 30 - This was the fifth day of shooting. Scheduled were the four main boys, Tommy Bond, Sid Kibrick, and Gary Jasgur. Shooting was to take place on the interior barn set and the exterior barn wall set, both on stage 4. The daily film report reveals that Harold Switzer worked as an extra on this date. For the most part, the remainder of the interior barn footage was shot, and the production was considered to be completed. The title at this point was listed as "Title Being Cleared (Our Gang)." A Carr memo from this date to Van Keuren, Huber and Collum, states that the four main boys, plus Tommy and Sid, all 'closed' on this date. A Collum memo to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, states the same.
July 31 - Film costs for the previous week were $4160.26, bringing the total to $5904.37 so far.
Aug. 2 - This was the final day of shooting. Scheduled were Harold Switzer and Gary Jasgur. Shooting was to take place on the interior barn set on Stage 4 and was to consist solely of inserts. It seems almost certain that this refers to the shots of Gary under the bed with Alfalfa's foot hanging through the hole. But instead of Alfalfa showing up to work, his part was played by his brother Harold. The presence of Harold on the 30th may indicate that these inserts were supposed to be shot at that time, but Gary's tender age may have greatly limited his on-set time, requiring more footage to be shot on this day. The title at this point was listed as "Gun With The Wind." A Raguse memo from this date to Van Keuren and Douglas relays a wire from Mr. Orr of MGM in New York which states that "Gun With The Wind" was not available due to objections from Selznick.
Aug. 3 - A Douglas memo from this date to Van Keuren, Raguse and Funk, suggests the title "Fishy Tales" for this production. A Raguse memo states that this title replaced "Gun With The Wind."
Aug. 7 - Film costs for the previous week were $1039.75, bringing the total to $6944.12 so far.
Aug. 14 - Film costs for the previous were were $685.57, bringing the total to $7629.69 so far.
Aug. 18 - A Raguse memo from this date states that the domestic positive Movietone print was shipped to W. D. Kelly in New York, and that the Canadian negative and Canadian negative soundtrack were delivered.
Aug. 19 - A Raguse memo from this date states that the domestic negative and domestic negative soundtrack were delivered to the MGM lab in Culver City.
Sep. 18 - Film costs for the previous week were $318.05. The total so far was reported to be $7847.74, though this is a hundred dollars less than it should be. This late addition to the film costs suggests some last minute activity on this production.

"Gun With The Wind" was also the working title for "The Little Ranger" (no. 170).

The negative cost on this film as of Aug. 28th was $29,348.95.

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B419.

On July 17th (about midway between the previous film and this one), Spanky took part in a baseball game between film comedians and leading men at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. The comedians won the game 7 to 6. Spanky got a hit, but Vince Barnett wheeled him around to second base in a perambulator. A protesting Spanky insisted on running the rest of the way himself.

The gang's club is called The Wise Owl Club.

This film was 976 feet in length.


availability:

The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 6 (VHS) from Cabin Fever and
The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Volume One (4 LD set) from Cabin Fever
Released July 6, 1994. Also released as part of 12 VHS boxed set. This is a nearly complete print, missing only the MGM lion. The picture quality is excellent. The total footage lasts 10:30. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs. There's also a clip lasting 0:02 included in the opening advertisement of all the Cabin Fever VHS releases, showing a closeup of Butch.
The Little Rascals Volume 6: 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. 5 & Vol. 6 (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 Digitally Remastered - Collector's Edition III (DVD) from Hallmark Home Entertainment
Released Nov. 15, 2005. This derives from the Cabin Fever release.
The Little Rascals - The Complete Collection (8 DVD set) from Genius Products
Released late Oct. 2008. This is identical to the Cabin Fever version.
Little Rascals: Fishy Tales & The Kid From Borneo from Cabin Fever
Canadian release.
The Little Rascals Colorized Collection (VHS) from Hallmark Home Entertainment
Released Apr. 19, 1999. One of six same-named VHS releases, each with three colorized films, deriving from the Cabin Fever versions.
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 10:16, but the original soundtrack lasts an additional 0:17.
The Little Rascals: Choo-Choo!/Fishy Tales (VHS) from Republic Pictures Home Video
Released May 30, 1991. This is the Blackhawk print.
The Little Rascals Book XIII (VHS) from Blackhawk Video
This is the Blackhawk print.
Rascal Dazzle (VHS/LD) from Embassy Home Entertainment
Original film released 1981. Video released 1984. A clip lasting 0:01 is included, showing Alfalfa shooting a rubber dart, with music added.
Jackie Remembers Our Gang - Memories From Little Rascals Family Theater (VHS/DVD) from Jackie Taylor
A clip lasting 1:16 is included, showing Butch and Woim arriving to inspect Alfalfa's foot.

© Robert Demoss.


My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Paul Fitzpatrick (for identifying "Stair Steps" and "Don't Explain")
Rob Rebar (for clarifying Alfalfa's nickname in this film)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Rob Stone (for providing the production number)
Piet Schreuders (for providing copyright dates for musical numbers)
Matthew Lydick (for the correct spelling of Dickie De Neut's last name)
Debby Mendelsohn (for verifying the spelling of Gary Jasgur's last name)
bigshotjones (for researching Gary Jasgur and getting discussion started on this matter)


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