The Pigskin Palooka

film no. 160


technical details:

Production K-14.

Release no. C-732.

Filmed September 18 to 25, 1937. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Negative shipped on October 14, 1937.

Music cue sheet prepared October 16, 1937.

Released October 23, 1937. It was the 160th 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 October 9, 1937.

Copyrighted November 2, 1937, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP7549. Renewed May 12, 1965, with registration no. R361172. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2032.

All-talking one-reeler.

Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents Our Gang in "The Pigskin Palooka".'

King World Productions episode no. 1b, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions. This version is listed as "Pigkin Palooka."


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: Hal Roach, Jr.
This credit derives from studio documentation.
2nd Assistant Directors: Alex Finlayson
This credit derives from the daily film reports, which list "Finlayson" on each shooting date except the 18th, when the name is "Alexander." Since a company memo states that Finlayson started on that date, it seems likely that they're one and the same.
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.
Animal trainer: Tony Campanaro
He trained the current Pete.
Script Clerk: Morton
This credit derives from the daily film reports, which don't provide the first name.
Security: Jim Trigg, Eddy Maier, O. B. Olsen, L. E. McDonald, E. V. Burns, J. W. Smith, A. Coller, C. Leiser and S. Muchmore
These credits derive from various memos, which state that Trigg worked on the 21st, 22nd and 24th, Maier on the 21st and 24th, Olsen on the 22nd and 25th, McDonald, Burns and Smith, on the 18th, Coller and Leiser on the 23rd, and Muchmore on the 24th.
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
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.
animation effects - Probably the work of Roy Seawright.

the kids:

Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as "Alfalfa"
Lead role. He brags about being a football star, and then has to prove himself on the field. He wears number 0.
George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Supporting role. He's the captain of his team and wears number 1.
Dickie Jones as "Spike"
Supporting role. I'm assuming that his name is Spike, since he's the leader of the opposing team, which is called Spikes Tigers. He wears number 29.
Sidney Kibrick
Supporting role. He's second-in-command on the opposing team and has most of the dialogue with Dickie Jones. He wears number 9.
Darla Hood as "Darla"
Supporting role. She's Alfalfa's sweetheart and leads the cheers at the game. The photo of her that Alfalfa looks at was later used in "Feed 'Em And Weep" (no. 167).
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Buckwheat"
Small part. He scores the gang's first touchdown. Interestingly, his jersey has number 7 on the front and number 11 on the back. At one point, the script refers to him as "Bucky."
Eugene "Porky" Lee as "Porky"
Small part. He wears number 12 and calls the plays on the field.
Gary Jasgur
Small part. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Gary Jasgar. They also indicate that the "Junior" moniker was used in this film, but this isn't the case. The script refers to him as "Gary." Listed in the daily film reports as Gary Jasquer. He's the 'time keaper' at the game.
Delmar Watson
Small part. He's the captain of the military academy's football team, and takes Alfalfa to task for wearing his uniform. The script refers to him as "Captain."
Cullen Johnson
Small part. He's the scorekeeper at the game.
Harold Switzer
Small part. He's number 44 on the team, and is best seen carrying Alfalfa to the game.
Larry Harris
Small part. He's the other boy besides Harold to carry Alfalfa on his shoulder.
Roger McGee
Small part. He wears number 20 on the opposing team, and is easily seen among the boys who say 'Right!' He's also sitting in the stands as Buckwheat tells Alfalfa that he'll be next. Oddly enough, he wears number 29 in the shot where the opposing team stands in the end zone, even though Dickie Jones also wears that number in the same shot.
Rex Downing
Bit part. He's the photographer taking Alfalfa's picture in the first scene. The script refers to him as "Cadet."
Norman Salling
Extra. A 1938 casting directory states that he played the bass drum in the marching band in this film. Maltin & Bann include Leon Holland in their cast listing, but the only kid that looks similar to him is Salling, so perhaps this is who they meant.
girl 160
Extra. She sits to the left in the stands, and is also near the front of the crowd at the train station.
Joe Strauch, Jr.
Extra. He's the fat boy in the marching band. Maltin & Bann list Marvin Trin, presumably for this role, but it's clearly not him.
Vincent Graeff
Extra. He's the trumpet player in the marching band. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Billy Ray Smith.
Darwood Kaye
Extra. Maltin & Bann indicate that the "Waldo" moniker was used in this film, but this isn't the case. He's on the gang's team, and not the referee, who's made up to look like him.
Drew Roddy
Extra. He's sitting to the right of Henry Lee in the shot where Alfalfa gets ready to take the field, as well as other later shots in the film. He also seems to be on the Our Gang team and stands to the left wearing a numberless jersey in the shot where Alfalfa is carried off the field.
John Collum
Extra. He's on the gang's team.
Henry Lee
Extra. He sits two rows behind Darla in the stands. Not listed by Maltin & Bann. However, they list Alvin Buckelew in the 1977 edition of their book, and in Maltin's earlier The Great Movie Shorts. In these earlier books, they consistently list Henry Lee as Alvin Buckelew in films from this era.
Joe Levine
Extra. He's number 24 on the opposing team. He's also in the crowd in the closing shot.
Donald Proffitt
Extra. He's number 9 on the gang's team.
Tommy McFarland
Extra. He's number 43 on the gang's team.
Charles Flickinger
Extra. He's number 5 on the gang's team.
Daniel Boone
Extra. He's number 6 on the gang's team.
Barry Downing
Extra. He sits to the left of Darla in the stands. There's also a player on the gang's team, wearing number 16, that resembles him.
boy 141
Extra. He's number 34 on the opposing team. He's also sitting in the right portion of the stands.
Freddie Walburn
Extra. He's number 2 on the opposing team. He's also in the stands as the team first walks onto the field, and is later seen in the top row wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt.
Dix Davis
Extra. He sits on the right side in the stands, and later in the upper left. He's also towards the left in the final shot. It also appears that he wears number 33 for the opposing team.
Hugh Chapman
Extra. Judging by the placement of his signature on photos from this film, he's a member of the opposing team. It appears that he's the boy wearing number 17, though not necessarily for the entire film.
Paul Hilton
Extra. He can be seen carrying a sign at the beginning of the train station scene. He's also a member of the gang's team.
girl 148
Extra. She sits towards the left in the stands.
girl 159
Extra. She sits somewhere to the left of Barry Downing in the stands, as revealed in a couple of the shots. She's also noticeable in the final shot as the kids are leaving the field.
Floyd Fisher
Extra. He's sitting behind Barry Downing and in front of Payne Johnson in the stands.
Payne Johnson
Extra. He's standing to the right of Darla during the train station scene. He's later sitting in the back row of the bleachers on the left side. Later in the film, he's sitting to the right of Gary.
Robert Winckler
Extra. He's sitting in the back row in the stands.
Bobby Callahan
Extra. He can be seen among the kids in the final shot.
Baby Patsy May
She's not in the film itself, but her photo is shown during the opening titles.
other kids
Extras. It should be kept in mind that the seating arrangements shifted around from day to day, so the above descriptions don't necessarily apply to every shot. It's also possible that a few replacements were made over the course of shooting. Maltin & Bann list Priscilla Lyon, but I can't spot her anywhere.
(1.) The referee, who is made to look like Waldo, but isn't him. I suspect this is Joe "Corky" Geil.
(2.) The two stretcher bearers.
(3.) The film shows two additional musicians in the marching band, though documentation states that it should be three additional musicians.
(4.) One more member of the gang's team, and three more members of the opposing team.
(5.) Ten more kids in the stands, if documentation holds true. It looks like there could be more than that.

the animals:

Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
Pete the Pup IV
Bit part. He's seen as the kids are walking onto the football field. He's not mentioned in any of the documentation.

the adults:

adults
Bit parts. The only adults shown in the film are the porter and the engineer on the train. Only the porter is mentioned in the studio documentation, which would mean that the engineer is the real thing. There are also photos of football players on the wall of Alfalfa's room.

the music:

"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A17.) This is played over the opening titles, and as Alfalfa poses for the photograph.
(A18.) The marching band plays this piece over the end title.
None of the new Hatley pieces for this film were copyrighted under the titles shown below. However, a piece called "Alfalfa's March" was copyrighted on Oct. 26, 1937. This was included in the feature film "Zenobia," but doesn't turn up in "The Pigskin Palooka."
"Porky's March" by T. Marvin Hatley
The marching band plays this as Alfalfa arrives at the train station.
"Buckwheat's March" by T. Marvin Hatley
The marching band plays this as Alfalfa is carried to the football field. This piece was later copyrighted on Mar. 13, 1940, along with other pieces used in "Saps At Sea."
"Darla's March" by T. Marvin Hatley
The marching band plays this as Alfalfa first enters the game.
"Spanky's March" by T. Marvin Hatley
The marching band plays this after the gang scores their first touchdown. The last part is continued briefly during the short montage sequence.
"Elmira" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted August 29, 1932. The marching band plays this as the last play of the game begins. This tune derives from the Boy Friends comedy "You're Telling Me."
"Porky's March" by T. Marvin Hatley
The marching band plays this final piece at the end of the film, which segues into "Good Old Days." The title is the same as the second piece listed above, but I don't hear any similarities other than from a stylistic standpoint.

the locations:

Lafayette Place, Culver City
This is the location of the football field, though the contracts with the land owners refer to it as Lafayette Street. These contracts specifically state that lots 61, 62, 63 and 64, were leased by the studio. The location work sheets routinely refer to the location as Lucerne Street, which forms a T-intersection with Lafayette.
Palms Depot, 10305 National Boulevard
Seen at its original location on National Boulevard in Palms, just east of Motor Avenue. It is currently located in Heritage Square on North Homer Street. The tracks are still tucked between the Santa Monica Freeway and the businesses on the north side of National Boulevard.
Hal E. Roach Studios
The opening segment showing Alfalfa at school was shot on Stage 2.

miscellaneous:

Seven shooting dates went into the making of this film. Here's a breakdown of the activity, deriving from the call sheets, daily film reports, location worksheets, location contracts, and various memos:
Sep. 17 - A surviving script carries this date. Originally, Butch was supposed to be the leader of the rival team. Presumably, Tommy Bond was unavailable, which led to the hiring of Dickie Jones. There's also a scene in the script in which Darla shows Alfalfa's letter to Spanky and they decide to use Alfalfa in the game. A Van Keuren memo from this date to Huber and Cash states that Alex Finlayson would 'start' as an assistant director on this production the next day, but would go off salary upon completion of the picture.
Sep. 18 - This was the first day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids, Rex Downing, Delmar Watson, Dickie Jones, 10 members of Spanky's team, 3 members of "Butch's team," 6 band members, 1 pullman porter, 17 extra children and 8 extra adults. Shooting was to take place at the railroad station at Palms and the interior Alfalfa's room set on Stage 2. The film at this point was referred to as "Untitled (Our Gang)." The daily film report reveals that everything went as planned, with all of the footage at the train station and at the studio completed. However, the six band members aren't mentioned. The location work sheet corroborates the call sheet exactly, but adds an accompanying adult for every one of the children, plus a director, 2 assistant directors, a cameraman, a second cameraman, an assistant cameraman, 4 prop men, 4 grips, 1 script clerk, 5 sound men, 6 electricians, 1 painter, 2 wardrobe matrons, 1 makeup artist, 1 hairdresser, 3 whistlemen, 1 stillman, 1 location man, and 13 drivers. It also indicates that the permits were in order and that 2 police officers were provided. It doesn't mention the adult extras, however. The vehicles taken to the location were 2 busses, 4 automobiles, 1 sound truck, 1 camera car, 1 prop truck, 1 grip truck, 1 honeywagon (they crossed out the term 'lavatory truck'), 1 generator truck, and 1 'electrical buss' (actually a truck according to later sheets). So basically, in order to shoot one scene at the Palms train station, 148 people arrived in 13 vehicles. A Roach, Jr., memo from this date to Van Keuren, Huber and Collum, states that the five main kids and Dickie Jones 'started' as of this date. A Collum memo to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, states the same. A Van Keuren memo to Huber indicates that policemen L. E. McDonald and E. V. Burns were hired for the day at the train depot. A second memo adds J. W. Smith, who was probably also a policeman. Film costs for the previous week were $2487.59.
Sep. 19 - This was a Sunday. No shooting took place.
Sep. 20 - This was the second day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids, Dickie Jones, 10 members of the opposing football team, 10 members of Spanky's team, 20 extra kids, 6 band members, and Gary Jasgur. Shooting was to take place at the Lafayette Street location. The film at this point was referred to as "Untitled (Our Gang)." The daily film report reveals that only a portion of the projected shooting was actually achieved. Again, the six band members are not included on the list. The location work sheet corroborates with the call sheet as far as the kids go, except that it doesn't mention Gary. There was an accompanying adult for each one of them. It also corroborates the previous day's location work sheet when it comes to crew members, except that only 2 prop men were present, no painter was needed, and 3 'swing gang' were included, which I think might refer to overnight security. So basically, 155 people descended upon that vacant lot in Culver City on this day. A memo from this date states that 45 extras were used, which is slightly less than stated on the other documents, and that there were five teachers present. Two contracts were signed on this date granting permission to use the location of the football field. The first was signed by Adrienne B. Giegerich, who owned lots 62, 63 and 64, on Lafayette Street. The other contract involved lot 61, but I wasn't able to make out the name.
Sep. 21 - This was the third day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids, Gary Jasgur, Dickie Jones, 10 members of Spanky's team, 10 members of "Butch's team," 6 band members, and the same 20 extras from the previous day. Shooting was to take place at the Lafayette Street location. The film at this point was referred to as "Untitled (Our Gang)." The daily film report doesn't mention Gary. The location work sheet gives the same details as on the previous day. A Van Keuren memo from this date to Huber and Cash indicates that policemen Jim Trigg and Eddy Maier were used at the location.
Sep. 22 - This was the fourth day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids, Dickie Jones, 10 members of the "A" Team, 10 members of the "B" Team, 20 extra kids, 6 band members, and Gary Jasgur. Shooting was to take place at the Lafayette Street location. The film at this point was referred to as "Untitled (Our Gang)." The daily film report states that only 9 opposing team members were present, but lists Sid Kibrick separately, which evens everything out. It also mentions that it was cloudy all day. The location work sheet gives the same details as on the previous day. A memo from this date indicates that only 22 extras were used, with five teachers also in attendance. A Raguse memo from this date states that the title "Pigskin Palooka" was being cleared via wire. A Van Keuren memo to Huber and Cash states that policemen O. B. Olsen of the Identification Bureau and J. E. Trigg (whose name is pencilled in), worked at the location.
Sep. 23 - This was the fifth day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids, Gary Jasgur, Dickie Jones, 10 "A" team members, 10 "B" team members, 20 extra kids, and 6 band members. Shooting was to take place at the Lafayette Street location. The film at this point was referred to as "Pigskin Palooka." The daily film report restores the number of opposing players to 10, but still lists Sid Kibrick. This was supposed to be the final day of shooting, but it became necessary to continue the following day. The location work sheet gives the same details as on the previous day. A memo from this date states that only 22 extras were used, with five teachers also in attendance. A Van Keuren memo to Huber and Cash states that policemen A. Coller and C. Leiser were used at the location.
Sep. 24 - This was the sixth day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids, Dickie Jones, 10 "A" team members, 10 "B" team members, a referee and a scorekeeper. Shooting was to take place at the Lafayette Street location. The film at this point was referred to as "Pigskin Palooka." Again, the daily film report lists 10 opposing players, but also lists Sid Kibrick. It also mentions that production was one day behind. Nevertheless, shooting was not finished on this day. The location worksheet corroborates the addition of the referee and the scorekeeper, with an accompanying adult for each, but also states that the band members and 20 extras were not present. It also states that only one bus was necessary and no automobiles.
Sep. 25 - This was the final day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids, Dickie Jones, 10 "A" team members, 10 "B" team members, the referee, the scorekeeper, and 2 stretcher bearers. Shooting was to take place at the Lafayette Street location. The film at this point was referred to as "Pigskin Palooka." The daily film report corroborates this information, and states that production was two days behind. However, it also states that shooting was completed on this date. In addition to finishing footage of the football game, an early scene in which Darla shows Alfalfa's note to Spanky was also shot and ultimately deleted from the film. The location work sheet is the same as on the previous day, but now adds the two stretcher bearers, with accompanying adults for each, and states that four automobiles were used. A Roach, Jr., memo from this date to Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, states that the five main kids and Dickie Jones 'finished.' As usual, the daily film reports describe fewer shots than what's actually in the film, so there is the possibility that additional filming was done at some point. Film costs for the previous week were $4595.08, bringing the total to $7082.67 so far.
Sep. 27 - A Collum memo to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, relays the information from the Sep. 25th Roach, Jr., memo. A Collum memo to Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, states that Dickie Jones was to be paid for one week and one day. A Van Keuren memo to Huber and Cash, indicates that policemen E. A. Maier and S. Muchmore worked at the location on Friday the 24th, and that policemen O. B. Olsen and J. Trigg did the same on Saturday the 25th.
Oct. 2 - Film costs for the previous week were $1287.06, bringing the total to $8369.73 so far.
Oct. 9 - Film costs for the previous week were $1699.13, bringing the total to $10068.86 so far.
Oct. 14 - A Raguse memo from this date states that the domestic negative and domestic negative soundtrack were delivered to the MGM lab, and that the domestic positive Movietone print was shipped to W. D. Kelly in New York.
Oct. 16 - Film costs for the previous week were $795.29, bringing the total to $10864.15 so far.
Oct. 22 - A Raguse memo copying in Milton Bren, Van Keuren, O'Brien, Huber and Burch, states that the Canadian negative composite was delivered.
Nov. 27 - Film costs for the previous week were $269.52, bringing the total to $11133.66 so far (which is actually a penny off, but that's what the paperwork says).

The negative cost on this film as of Oct. 23, 1937, was $37,155.39.

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 Sep. 10th, with the negative cut on Sep. 22nd and shipped to MGM on Sep. 25th, and the film released on Oct. 9th.

The title was a takeoff on "Pigskin Parade" from 1936, which featured Judy Garland and Johnny Downs.

Alfalfa's school is Dover Military Academy.

The game is between Spikes Tigers and Spankys All-Stars.

There is an ad for Delaware Punch on the fence next to the football field.

This film is 980 feet in length.


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 excellent picture quality. The total footage lasts 10:41. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs.
The Little Rascals - The Complete Collection (8 DVD set) from Genius Products
Released late Oct. 2008. This is identical to the Cabin Fever version. There is also a clip from this film shown in the main menu.
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 Book XII (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 10:19, but the original soundtrack lasts an additional 0:17.
The Little Rascals Two Reelers Vol. 6 (VHS) from Spotlite Video
This is the Blackhawk print, but with the company name blacked out. It was also included as part of a 6 VHS boxed set.
Rascal Dazzle (VHS/LD) from Embassy Home Entertainment
Original film released 1981. Video released 1984. A clip lasting 1:24 is included, showing the opening scene at the train station. This is followed by a clip lasting 2:01, showing Alfalfa winning the game, with music 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)
Elliot Unkefer (for clarifying the information on "Alfalfa's March")
Steven R. Wright (for identifying Joe Levine,) and for noticing Buckwheat's varying jersey numbers)
Debby Mendelsohn (for verifying the spelling of Gary Jasgur's last name)
bigshotjones (for researching Gary Jasgur and getting discussion started on this matter, and for solving the Vincent Graeff/Billy Ray Smith dilemma)


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