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.
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.
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.
© Robert Demoss.