Mail And Female

film no. 161


technical details:

Production K-15.

Release no. C-733.

Filmed October 22 to 27, 1937. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Music cue sheet prepared November 6, 1937.

Negative shipped on November 6, 1937.

Released November 13, 1937. It was the 161st 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 November 6, 1937.

Copyrighted November 17, 1937, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP7624. Renewed May 12, 1965, with registration no. R361173. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2032.

All-talking one-reeler.

Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents Our Gang in "Mail And Female".'

King World Productions episode no. 47b, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions. This version is listed as "Mail & Female."


the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
Credited in the film as a presenter.
Directed by Fred Newmeyer
This credit appears in the film.
Assistant Director: Lawrence Tarver
This credit derives from production documentation.
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.
Writer: Fred Newmeyer
A studio memo indicates that Newmeyer was hired as a writer for this production.
Script Clerks: Murphy and Morton
These credits derive from the daily film reports, which don't provide the first names. Morton performed this duty on the first two days of shooting, and Murphy thereafter.
Teacher - Fern Carter
This credit derives from the location work sheet.
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
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 script describes the gavel hitting the top of an 'Oelze desk.'

the kids:

Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as "Alfalfa"
Lead role. He's made the president of the club and must retrieve a love letter to Darla. He also masquerades as "Cousin Amelia."
George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Featured role. He's essentially the leader of the gang, but not the president.
Henry Lee as "Spike"
Featured role. He's the sergeant-at-arms. Credited as Alvin Buckelew in the 1977 edition of Maltin & Bann's book, and in Maltin's earlier The Great Movie Shorts.
Darla Hood as "Darla"
Supporting role. She helps Alfalfa elude the other boys.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas
Supporting role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. He's the 'messenger,' and tells the gang that Alfalfa has gone to Darla's house.
Eugene "Porky" Lee as "Porky"
Supporting role. He's the '2nd messenger,' and accompanies Buckwheat throughout the film.
Joe "Corky" Geil
Extra. He sits to the right in the foreground.
Harold Switzer
Extra. He sits in back, second from the right.
boy 161a
Extra. He sits right-center and in front.
boy 161b
Extra. He sits up front and to the left.
Darwood Kaye
Extra. Maltin & Bann indicate that the "Waldo" moniker was used in this film, but it wasn't. He sits between Tommy and Harold.
Tommy McFarland
Extra. He sits to the left of Darwood Kaye.
John Collum
Extra. He sits in back at the far left.
Robert Winckler
Extra. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Robert Winkler. He sits in back at the far right.
Freddie Walburn
Extra. He's the blonde boy at the far left.
Baby Patsy May
She's not in the film itself, but her photo is shown during the opening titles.
other kids
There are two additional boys in the club, one of whom is listed by Maltin & Bann as Hugh Chapman, but I don't see him.

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
The only remaining animal in the film is the little dog in the photograph on the clubhouse wall.

the adults:

There are no adults in this film.


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 Spanky. The last part is played as Alfalfa jumps out the window and the end title appears.
"We're Just A Happy Family" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted July 30, 1936. Part of this piece is played during the formation of the club. Another portion is played as the boys visit with Amelia.
"Topper's Love Song" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted July 16, 1937. This is played as Alfalfa gives the note to Buckwheat.
"Always Plotting" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Mar. 20, 1937. This is the short piece played as Spike says he's just the guy that can do it. This segment of the piece differs from the part heard in "Framing Youth" (no. 159).
"Ask Mary Roberts" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Mar. 22, 1937. This is the suspense music played as Alfalfa leaves the meeting to go to Darla's house, and the boys follow him. More of it is played as the boys search for Alfalfa in Darla's house. More of it is played again as Alfalfa punishes the boys.
"You Are The One I Love" by Leroy Shield
The beginning of this piece is played as Alfalfa tells Darla he loves her.
"Finn's Saloon" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Mar. 20, 1937. This is the tiptoe music played as the boys investigate the noise coming from the hall. This version differs from the one heard in "Night 'N' Gales" (no. 157).

the locations:

Hal E. Roach Studios
All of the interior footage and porch footage at Darla's house was actually shot on Stage 3 at the studio. The barn footage was shot on Stage 4.
3345 Keystone Avenue, Palms district, Los Angeles
This location was used for the footage of Alfalfa writing the note, his dialogue with Buckwheat and Porky, and the long shot of the boys approaching Darla's house.

miscellaneous:

Five 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 work sheet, and various memos:
Oct. 18 - A Van Keuren memo to Huber and Cash (copied to O'Brien), requests that Fred Newmeyer be 'started' as a writer on this production as of this date.
Oct. 19 - A rough script from this date carries the title "Woman Hater's Club." At this point, Butch was supposed to be in the film, but his character was soon replaced by Spike.
Oct. 20 to 22 - The final script was worked on over these three dates, and includes Spike.
Oct. 22 - This was the first day of shooting. Scheduled were the four main boys, and the sergeant at arms. Shooting was to take place at 3345 Keystone Avenue in the Palms, showing Alfalfa writing the note, his dialogue with Buckwheat and Porky, and the long shot of the boys approaching Darla's house. Scheduled for the afternoon was footage shot on the exterior barn set on Stage 4, showing Alfalfa running out of the barn, and his dialogue with Porky and Buckwheat. The title at this point was referred to as "Untitled (Our Gang)." The daily film report reveals that shooting kept on schedule throughout the day, even to the extent that some took place on the interior barn set on Stage 4. The location work sheet reveals that 50 people arrived at the Keystone Avenue location, including the four main boys, Henry Lee, Mrs. Carter, the director, the assistant director, the cameraman, a second cameraman, an assistant cameraman, 2 prop men, 3 grips, 1 script clerk, 4 sound technicians, 6 electricians, 1 wardrobe matron, 1 makeup artist, 1 hairdresser, 3 whistlemen, 1 stillman, 8 drivers, 2 officers, plus adults accompanying the five boys, as well as an extra person in Spanky's party. They arrived in 3 automobiles, 1 generator truck, 1 sound truck, 1 prop truck, 1 grip truck, and 1 laboratory wagon. A Tarver memo to Van Keuren, Huber and Collum, states that the four main boys 'started' on this date. A Collum memo to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, states the same, and another Collum memo to the same four people states that Henry Lee 'started' on the same date.
Oct. 23 - This was the second day of shooting. Scheduled were the four main boys, Henry Lee, and 10 extra boys between the ages of 7 and 9, described as 'good types.' Shooting was to take place on the interior barn set on Stage 4, showing Spanky forming the club, the induction of Alfalfa as president, Buckwheat and Porky telling Spanky where Alfalfa has gone, and the four boys exiting. The title at this point was referred to as "Untitled (Our Gang)." The daily film report reveals that everything went pretty much as planned. Film costs for the previous week were $3486.92.
Oct. 24 - This was a Sunday. No shooting took place.
Oct. 25 - This was the third day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids and "Spike." Shooting was to take place on the interior and exterior Darla's house sets on Stage 3, showing Alfalfa's entrance, dialogue with Darla, the gang's entrance, Alfalfa's entrance into the closet, and the 'living room routine.' The title on the call sheet reads "Untitled (Our Gang)," but it also reads 'title just turned in: (Temp.) "Mail & Female".' The daily film report corroborates this information. A Tarver memo to Van Keuren, Huber and Collum, states that Darla 'started' on this date. A Collum memo to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, states the same.
Oct. 26 - This was the fourth day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids and "Spike." Shooting was to take place on the interior Darla's house set on Stage 3, continuing the living room sequence. The title was now listed as "Mail And Female." The daily film report corroborates this information.
Oct. 27 - This was the final day of shooting. Scheduled were the five main kids and "Spike." Shooting was to take place on the interior and exterior Darla's house sets on Stage 3, continuing the living room sequence to the end of the film. The daily film report reveals that only the interior set was needed, and that some sound tracks were recorded. As usual, the number of shots described on the daily film reports doesn't quite add up to what's on screen, so there may have been additional shooting on later dates. Or perhaps the number of shots was increased through editing. A Tarver memo to Van Keuren, Huber and Collum, states that the five main kids 'finished' as of this date.
Oct. 28 - A Tarver memo to Van Keuren, Huber and Collum, requests that Henry Lee be 'closed' as of the previous date. A Collum memo to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, requests that all six kids be 'closed' as of the previous date.
Oct. 30 - Film costs for the previous week were $2018.27, bringing the total to $5505.19 so far.
Nov. 5 - A Raguse memo from this date states that the domestic positive Movietone print was shipped to W. D. Kelly.
Nov. 6 - A memo from this date states that the domestic negative and domestic negative soundtrack were delivered to the MGM lab. Film costs for the previous week were $624.09, bringing the total to $6129.28 so far.
Nov. 17 - A Raguse memo copied to Huber, Milton Bren, Van Keuren, O'Brien and Burch, states that the Canadian dupe negative composite was delivered.
Nov. 27 - Film costs for the previous week were $27.82, bringing the total to $6157.10 so far.

The negative cost on this film was $19,962.

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 Oct. 8th, with the negative cut on Oct. 20th and shipped to MGM on Oct. 23rd, and the film released on Nov. 6th.

The club in this film is called the He-Man Woman-Haters Club.

The party the boys weren't invited to was thrown by the McGillicuddy girls.

This film is 981 feet in length.

The Famous Kids Comedies print of this film is titled "Male And Female."


availability:

The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 14 (VHS) from Cabin Fever and
The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Volume Three (4 LD set) from Cabin Fever
Released 1995. This is a mostly original print, but with a generic end title added on. The picture quality is very good, but gets a bit shabby towards the end. The original footage totals 10:38. 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.
The Little Rascals On Parade (VHS) from NTA Home Entertainment
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 10:20, but the original soundtrack lasts an additional 0:15.
The Little Rascals Book VI (VHS) from Blackhawk Video
This is the Blackhawk print.
The Little Rascals: Readin' And Writin'/Mail And Female (VHS) from Republic Pictures Home Video
Released May 1991. This is the Blackhawk print.
Little Rascals: Mail And Female & Arbor Day (VHS) from Cabin Fever
Canadian release.
Rascal Dazzle (VHS/LD) from Embassy Home Entertainment
Original film released 1981. Video released 1984. Four clips from this film are included. The first lasts 0:06, and is part of the opening montage, showing a closeup of Darla. The second clip lasts 0:07, and shows Cousin Amelia in the closet, with music and narration added. The third lasts 0:05, and shows Alfalfa and Darla acting shy. The fourth lasts 0:31, and shows the opening club meeting.

© 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)
Piet Schreuders (for providing copyright dates for the music)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)


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