Framing Youth

film no. 159


technical details:

Production K-13.

Release no. C-731.

Filmed August 19 to 25, 1937. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Music cue sheet prepared August 13, 1937. I think this date is probably in error. It would make far more sense if it was September 13th.

Negative shipped on September 3, 1937.

Cutting continuity submitted September 15, 1937.

Title sheet prepared by Elmer Raguse on September 16, 1937.

According to Maltin & Bann, this film was released September 11, 1937, making it the 159th film in the series to be released. However, judging by the above dates, it was probably released closer to its copyright date. The published release date of Sep. 11th was the one set for this production by Fred Quimby of MGM in a document dated Aug. 2, 1937. This short was the first of twelve projected to be released during the 1937/38 season.

Copyrighted September 21, 1937, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP7480. Renewed May 12, 1965, with registration no. R361171. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2032.

All-talking one-reeler.

Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents Our Gang in "Framing Youth". This film was the first with a new title design.

King World Productions episode no. 41b, 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. and Norbert Brodine
Lloyd received sole credit and worked on each of the shooting dates. Brodine joined him for the added scenes.
Film Editor: William Ziegler
This credit appears in the film.
Sound: William Randall
This credit appears in the film.
Musical Director: Marvin Hatley
This credit derives from the call sheets, which state that he played the sideline piano.
Screenplay: Robert A. McGowan
This credit derives from the script.
Script Clerk: Morton
This credit derives from the daily film reports, which don't provide 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. 3680.
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
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.

the kids:

Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as "Alfalfa Switzer"
Lead role. He comes down with a case of 'frog in the throat,' and almost misses out on a radio competition.
George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky" aka "Mr. Spanky"
Lead role. Darla calls him "Boss." He's Alfalfa's manager, and faces a beating from Butch if he doesn't keep his star crooner out of the radio contest.
Tommy Bond as "Butch McGann" aka "Mr. Butch"
Supporting role. He threatens to beat up Spanky if Alfalfa sings in the contest. His name in the script is Clarence "Butch" McGann.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Buckwheat"
Supporting role. He's the 'first offis boy,' and is the first person visitors at the studio meet.
Eugene "Porky" Lee as "Porky"
Supporting role. He's the '2nd offis boy,' and sits next to Buckwheat at the studio.
Darla Hood as "Darla"
Supporting role. She's the operator at the voice studio.
Gary Jasgur
Small part. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Gary Jasgar. He's seen at the beginning of the film as the guard at the studio gate.
girl 159
Extra. She's the girl sitting in the front row of the radio audience.
John Collum
Extra. According to Maltin & Bann. It looks like he's standing in back at the radio station.
Baby Patsy May
She's not in the film itself, but her photo is shown during the opening titles.
other kids
Extras. There are at least four more kids in the audience at the radio station, and at least four seen in the lobby. The original plan was for twelve extra kids, not counting Gary. There are also the voices of the five girls from "Beginner's Luck" (no. 135) singing "Honolulu Baby."

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
Supporting role. The only animal seen in the actual film is the frog.

the adults:

Jack Mulhall as the radio announcer
Supporting role. He introduces the acts.
Ernie Alexander as one of the judges
Small part. He sits at the back of the stage with the other judges, and is the one that speaks to Mulhall. Maltin & Bann credit him as 'the usher,' but this is clearly not the case.
Olive Brasno as the singer on the radio
Bit part. She's heard singing "Here Comes The Ice-Cream Man" in an audio clip taken from "Shrimps For A Day" (no. 133).
other adults
Extras. There are three additional judges at the back of the stage, one male and two female. There are also perhaps eighteen adults in the audience, and perhaps five in the lobby. The original plan was for 13 extra adults (7 men and 6 women), not counting the judges. There was also to be an offscreen piano player and an attendant present, the former being Marvin Hatley.

the music:

"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A17.) This is played over the opening titles and as we first see Gary. The ending part is played as Butch is shown with two black eyes, and the end title appears.
"Colonial Gayeties" by Leroy Shield
This is played as Spanky and Alfalfa arrive at the voice studio.
"Always Plotting" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Mar. 20, 1937. This is the suspense bit played as Butch arrives. This segment of the piece differs from the section heard in "Mail And Female" (no. 161)
"Pick A Star" by R. Alex. Anderson
This is the harmonica solo heard briefly.
"Honolulu Baby" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Oct. 18, 1933. This is heard during the radio broadcast, and is taken from the soundtrack of "Beginner's Luck" (no. 135). This song was introduced in the Laurel & Hardy feature "Sons Of The Desert."
"Pilgrim's Chorus (Tannhauser)" by R. Wagner
This is the classical piano piece heard briefly. Marvin Hatley received an arrangement credit for this.
"Here Comes The Ice-Cream Man," by T. Marvin Hatley and Billy Gilbert
Copyrighted Jan. 25, 1934. Listed by Maltin & Bann as "The Ice Cream Song." Music by Hatley and lyrics by Gilbert. Hatley received sole credit on the music cue sheet. A small part of this is sung over the radio by Olive Brasno, and taken from the soundtrack of "Shrimps For A Day" (no. 133).
"American Rhapsody" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Oct. 4, 1933. This is the violin piece played by Butch over the radio. The cutting continuity mistakenly refers to this as a piano solo.
"Just An Echo In The Valley" by Harry Woods, Jimmy Campbell and Reg Connelly
Published in 1932. This was a number two hit for Bing Crosby and a number three hit for Rudy Vallee & His Connecticut Yankees, both in 1933.
other music
The only remaining music in this short is the sound of Alfalfa 'vocalizing' next to the piano.

unused music
"Without Your Love" by Johnny Lange and Fred Stryker
This song from the 1937 Roach feature "Pick A Star" was slated to be included in the montage scene as a trumpet solo, but was replaced by the song "Pick A Star."
The following songs were all considered for inclusion early in pre-production. It appears that director Douglas was trying to decide which of these would be the one sung by Alfalfa, though the studio memos indicate that "Just An Echo In The Valley" was a frontrunner early on.
"Some Day I'll Find You" by Noël Coward
From the 1930 show "Private Lives."
"Goodnight, My Love" by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel
From the 1936 Shirley Temple feature "Stowaway." Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, with Ella Fitzgerald singing, had a number one hit with this song in early 1937.
"When I'm With You" by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel
From the 1936 Shirley Temple feature "Poor Little Rich Girl." Hal Kemp and His Orchestra had a number one hit with this song the same year.
"When My Dream Boat Comes Home" by Dave Franklin and Cliff Friend
Published in 1936. Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians had a number 3 hit with this song in early 1937.
"The Night Is Young And You're So Beautiful" by Billy Rose, Irving Kahal and Dana Suesse
Music by Suesse, with lyrics by Rose and Kahal. Published in 1936. Both Jan Garber and His Orchestra, and George Hall and His Orchestra, had number five hits with this song in early 1937.
"Trust In Me" by Ned Wever, Jean Schwartz and Milton Ager
Published in 1936. Mildred Bailey had a number four hit with this song in early 1937.
"Boo Hoo" by Edward Heyman, Carmen Lombardo and John Jacob Loeb
Music by Lombardo and Loeb, with lyrics by Heyman. Published in 1936. Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians had a number one hit with this song in early 1937.
"Life Is A Song (Let's Sing It Together)" by Joe Young and Fred E. Ahlert
Music by Ahlert with lyrics by Young. Published in 1935. Ruth Etting had a number one hit with this song the same year.
"All I Do Is Dream Of You" by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed
Published in 1934. From the film "Sadie McKee." Jan Garber and His Orchestra had a number one hit with this song the same year.
"When I Grow Too Old To Dream" by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Romberg with lyrics by Hammerstein. From the 1935 film "The Night Is Young." Glen Gray and The Casa Lama Orchestra had a number one hit with this song early in the same year.

the locations:

Hal E. Roach Studios
The entire film was shot here. All of the barn footage was shot on Stage 4, while the entire radio station sequence was shot on Stage 5.

miscellaneous:

At least 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:
Aug. 9 - A Douglas memo from this date to Funk (and copying in Van Keuren and Raguse) requests information on the following songs for use in this film: "Some Day I'll Find You," "Goodnight My Love," "When I'm With You," " When My Dream Boat Comes Home," "The Night Is Young And You're So Beautiful," "Trust In Me," "Boo Hoo," "Life Is A Song," "All I Do Is Dream Of You," "When I Grow Too Old To Dream" and "Just An Echo In The Valley." A Funk memo to Van Keuren and Douglas from this date states that the following songs were currently being cleared for instrumental, vocal and visual use: "Goodnight My Love," "When My Dream Boat Comes Home," "Trust In Me," "Life Is A Song," "All I Do Is Dream Of You," "When I Grow Too Old To Dream" and "Just An Echo In The Valley."
Aug. 10 - A Funk memo from this date to Van Keuren relays a wire from Mr. Decker from MGM in New York, which states that Jack Robbins in New York or his local representative would need to be contacted for use of the Robbins compositions, and that this is the case for all future requests of songs from the Robbins, Feist and Miller catalogs. The wire also states that "When My Dream Boat Comes Home" can be used at a rate of one hundred dollars for instrumental background use, one hundred and fifty dollars for instrumental, visual or vocal background use, or two hundred dollars for visual vocal use. For "Trust In Me," the respective amounts would be 150, 200 and 250. The memo goes on to state that Robbins is being contacted for clearance of the following songs: "Goodnight My Love," "All I Do Is Dream Of You," "When I Grow Too Old To Dream," "Life Is A Song" and "Just An Echo In The Valley." Also requested was information as to the procedure to follow in clearing future usages of the Robbins, Feist or Miller catalogs.
Aug. 13 - A Funk memo from this date to Van Keuren relays a wire from Jack Robbins which states that a special rate of one hundred dollars will be granted for visual vocal use of "Echo In Valley" as sung by Alfalfa. The wire also states that the rate of one hundred dollars would also be granted for other songs on the list for visual vocal use, and that the usual rate is five hundred dollars. Presumably, the publishers liked the idea of having their songs sung by Alfalfa. A Van Keuren memo from this date to Douglas states that "Echo In Valley" was cleared, and that the other numbers could be cleared if necessary.
Aug. 17 - Robert A. McGowan wrote the script on this date. A list of the needed acting talent was also prepared, and included the five main kids, Tommy Bond, Gary Jasgur, a master of ceremonies, 4 judges, 7 men, 6 women, 12 kids, 1 piano player and 1 attendant. At this point, shooting was planned for August 20th to 25th, but it actually got started a day earlier.
Aug. 18 - A shooting schedule from this date revised the dates to August 19th to 24th. A Douglas memo to Van Keuren from this date suggests the title "Lost In A Frog" for this production. Another Douglas memo to Van Keuren lists the following musical numbers planned for the montage scene: "Honolulu Baby" (girls chorus), "Here Comes The Ice Cream Man" (girl solo), "Tannhauser's Overture" (piano solo, public domain), "Without Your Love" (trumpet solo) and the Hatley composition "American Rhapsody" (violin solo). It also states that they had been advised that there would be no cost or clearance complications, with the exception of the Tannhauser piece, which would require an acknowledgement from Decker. A Van Keuren memo to Raguse relays this request. A Raguse memo to Van Keuren states that all but one of the numbers belong to the Roach company. The one exception, "Tannhauser's Overture," was in the public domain, provided an original arrangement was used, but clearance was being requested through Decker anyway. Finally, a Van Keuren memo to Douglas from this date states that the numbers were properly cleared for usage, but that the Tannhauser piece, though public domain, was in the process of clearance.
Aug. 19 - This was the first day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids, Tommy Bond and Gary Jasgur. Shooting was to take place on the exterior barn set on Stage 4, showing the arrivals of Spanky and Alfalfa, and the interior barn set on Stage 4, showing the indoor activity up until Butch's arrival. The film at this point was referred to as "Untitled (Our Gang)." The daily film report reveals that the exterior barn, interior barn and interior Spanky's office sets were all used, with most of the scheduled footage accomplished. A Carr memo from this date to Van Keuren, Huber and Collum, states that the five main kids and Tommy Bond all 'started' on this date. A Collum memo to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, relates the same piece of information, but leaves off Tommy's name.
Aug. 20 - This was the second day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids and Tommy Bond. Shooting was to take place on the interior barn set on Stage 4 and was to cover the remainder of Butch's opening scene. The daily film report reveals that the interior outer office (that is, interior barn) and interior Spanky's office sets were used, with most of the scheduled shots achieved. A Douglas memo to Van Keuren, Raguse and Funk, suggests the title "Framing Youth" for this film. The film was still untitled on the production documents. A Raguse memo to Van Keuren from this date relays a wire from Decker stating that "Tannhauser Overture" was in the public domain provided an original arrangement was used. A surviving script, written by Robert A. McGowan, carries this date, but also indicates that it was written on Aug. 17.
Aug. 21 - This was the third day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids and Tommy Bond. Shooting was to take place on the interior barn set on Stage 4 and was to cover the remainder of the barn sequence. The film at this point was referred to as "Untitled (Our Gang)." The daily film report reveals that the interior Spanky's office, interior outer office (that is, interior barn) and exterior barn sets were used, with most of the scheduled shots achieved. A Van Keuren memo from this date to Douglas relays the clearance status of the Tannhauser piece. Film costs for the previous week were $4008.25.
Aug. 22 - This was a Sunday. No shooting took place.
Aug. 23 - This was the fourth day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids, Tommy Bond, Jack Mulhall, 2 men judges, 2 women judges, 1 attendant, 13 adults (6 men and 7 women between the ages of 25 and 40), 12 kids (6 boys and 6 girls between the ages of 6 and 12), and Marvin Hatley at the sideline piano. Also needed would be an extra camera and crew. Shooting was to take place on the interior radio station corridor set on Stage 5, showing the boys entering the station, and the interior radio station set on Stage 5, showing the remainder of the film. The film at this point carried the title "Framing Youth." The daily film report reveals that most of the scheduled shots were achieved.
Aug. 24 - This was the fifth day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids, Tommy Bond and Jack Mulhall. Extras would be called back as needed. Shooting was to take place on the interior radio station set on Stage 5, continuing that footage to the end of the film. There was also to be special effects footage using black velvet on Stage 5, showing the closeups of the kids during the montage scene. Also planned were inserts of the frog and Spanky's photograph to be shot on the interior barn set on Stage 4. The daily film report reveals that the four judges and attendant were present, but only 11 of the 26 remaining extras worked on this date, though one of these would have been Hatley. The production was considered 'finished' on this day, but there would soon be footage added. A Carr memo from this date to Van Keuren, Huber and Collum, states that the five main kids and Tommy Bond 'finished' on this date. A Collum memo to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, relays the same information.
Aug. 25 - This was the sixth day of shooting. The daily film report gives the date as August 24th, but a Douglas memo to Van Keuren, Huber and Collum, reveals that the 25th was the correct date. The memo advises that Spanky and Alfalfa were called back for added scenes for one day only. The footage was shot on the interior broadcasting room set and involved the last three shots in the film. However, the second of these three shots is actually the one showing Butch with two black eyes. There are also many more shots in the finished film than can be accounting for by the daily film reports, which would suggest that at least one more day of retakes occurred.
Aug. 28 - Film costs for the previous week were $1868.75, bringing the total to $5877.00 so far.
Sep. 3 - A Raguse memo states that the domestic negative and domestic negative soundtrack were delivered to the MGM lab on this date, and that the domestic positive Movietone print was sent to W. D. Kelly in New York. Judging by the date of the title sheet (Sep. 16th), it stands to reason that some changes were made to the film which would have required that this process be repeated.
Sep. 4 - Film costs for the previous week were $730.39, bringing the total to $6607.39 so far.
Sep. 25 - Film costs for the previous week were $219.99, bringing the total to $6827.38 so far. This late entry suggests some last minute activity for this production.

The script for this film gives details about the other acts in the contest. Jimmie Conlan is the first contestant and gives a dramatic recitation. He's followed by Spike Hogan and his band. This is followed by a cornet solo, a vocal trio of kids, a harmonica solo, and finally Clarence "Butch" McGann. Already slated as Alfalfa's song was "Just An Echo In The Valley."

The negative cost on this film as of Aug. 28th was $24,058.54, which doesn't jibe too well with the weekly totals.

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B426.

A document prepared at the beginning of the film season gave projected dates for all of the one-reelers to be released. Editing on this film was to begin on Aug. 13th, with the negative cut on Aug. 25th and shipped to MGM on Aug. 28th, and the film released on Sep. 11th.

The title of this film is likely a takeoff on the 1923 feature "Flaming Youth."

The photograph of Spanky used in this film is the same seen in the opening titles of all the shorts from "Bored Of Education" (no. 146) through "Fishy Tales" (no. 158).

The film is 979 feet in length.


availability:

The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 9 (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 a complete original print with excellent picture quality. The total footage lasts 10:43. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs.
The Little Rascals Volume 9: 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 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.
The Little Rascals Book XXI (VHS) from Blackhawk Video
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 10:22, but the original soundtrack lasts an additional 0:14.
The Little Rascals: Pinch Singer/Framing Youth (VHS) from Republic Pictures Home Video
Released May 1991. This is the Blackhawk print.
Rascal Dazzle (VHS/LD) from Embassy Home Entertainment
Original film released 1981. Video released 1984. A clip lasting 2:02 is included, showing Alfalfa singing, with music and narration added.

© 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)
Piet Schreuders (for providing copyright dates for the music)
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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