Release no. C-739.
Filmed April 12 to 16, 1938. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.
Title sheet prepared by Elmer Raguse on April 14, 1938.
Cutting continuity submitted May 20, 1938.
Music cue sheet prepared June 15, 1938.
Copyrighted May 26, 1938, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP8062. Renewed December 2, 1965, with registration no. R374807. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2033.
Released May 28, 1938. It was the 168th 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 April 23, 1938.
Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents Our Gang in "The Awful Tooth".'
King World Productions episode no. 40a, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions.
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, and various memos:
Feb. 1 - A rough synopsis written by Hal Law carries this date. The production number is K-19, which was soon reassigned to "Came The Brawn" (no. 166). This early version of the story features Spanky, as well as Alfalfa, Buckwheat and Porky. Pete the Pup and Elmer the monkey are also included. It's actually a football that the boys want, so Spanky suggests that Alfalfa have Butch punch him in the mouth to knock out a tooth. Unfortunately, Butch has promised his father that he'd stay out of fights for a month, the reward being a new bike. The boys come across Porky, who's running away because his mother pulls his teeth instead of letting them fall out. Porky is unwilling to let the boys have his teeth. They eventually end up in the dentist's office, where Porky is the patient. The monkey hides in the medicine cabinet and receives an effect from the laughing gas, which eventually affects everybody in the room.
Apr. 5 - A treatment written by Law carries this date. Spanky is not part of the story, but Tommy Bond is. Alfalfa is now in the dentist's chair. A gag from the synopsis involving a three dollar dentist's bill at the end of the story is included.
Apr. 6 and 8 - A script dated April 12th indicates that it was actually written on these two dates. The writing credit went to the 'staff.' Neither Spanky nor Butch were included, but instead there was a character named "Jerry," who may have possibly been Jerry Tucker. Buckwheat is referred to as "Buck."
Apr. 11 - A Raguse memo from this date copying Van Keuren, O'Brien, Burch and Watt, states that the title "The Awful Tooth" was being cleared via wire. A work order from this date describes the schedule for the next five days. Tuesday the 12th would involve shooting in front of the sporting goods store on the New York street, with 3 men and 2 women to serve as extras, and an animal man to handle the monkey and dog. The next four days were to involve the interior dentist office set on Stage 4.
Apr. 12 - This was the first day of shooting. Scheduled were Alfalfa, Porky, Buckwheat, Henry Lee, five extras (three men and two women) and one animal man with monkey and dog. Shooting was to take place in front of the sporting goods store on the New York Street set. The daily film report reveals that almost all of the opening street footage was shot. Two Collum memos from this date to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, requested that the four boys be 'started' as of this date.
Apr. 13 - This was the second day of shooting. Scheduled were Alfalfa, Porky, Buckwheat, Henry, Jack Norton, Mary (sic) Townsend, and one animal man with monkey and dog. Shooting was to take place on the interior dentist's office set on Stage 4. The call sheet refers to the film as "Untitled (Our Gang)," even though the title had been decided upon. The daily film report reveals that the dog was not present, and that both the dentist's office and the waiting room were used. Most of the footage shot involved the portion of the film in which the boys first arrive at the dentist's office.
Apr. 14 - This was the third day of shooting. Scheduled were Alfalfa, Porky, Buckwheat, Henry, Marj. Townsend, Jack Norton, and one animal man with monkey. Shooting was to take place on the interior dentist's office set on Stage 4. The call sheet refers to the film as "The Awful Tooth." The daily film report reveals that things went pretty much as scheduled.
Apr. 15 - This was the fourth day of shooting. Scheduled were Alfalfa, Porky, Buckwheat, Henry, Marjorie Townsend, Jack Norton, and one animal man with monkey. Shooting was to take place on the interior dentist's office set on Stage 4. The daily film report reveals that shooting remained more or less on schedule.
Apr. 16 - This was the final day of shooting. Scheduled were Alfalfa, Porky, Buckwheat, Henry, Marjorie Townsend, Jack Norton, and one animal man with monkey. Shooting was to take place on the interior dentist's office set on Stage 4. The daily film report reveals that not only were the dentist's office and waiting room sets used, but the shot of Buckwheat rounding the street corner was also filmed, using the New York outdoor set. The production was considered complete on this date. Film costs for the previous week were $3013.24, bringing the total to $3332.67.
Apr. 18 - Two Collum memos from this date requested that the four boys be 'closed' as of Apr. 16th.
May 14 - A Raguse memo states that the domestic negative and domestic negative soundtrack were delivered to the MGM lab, and that the domestic positive Movietone print was shipped as of this date.
June 4 - A Raguse memo from this date copying Huber, Van Keuren, O'Brien and Burch, states that the Canadian dupe negative composite was delivered.
The press material states that Alfalfa presented his pet gosling to Marjorie Townsend.
Another press item relates that the four main kids (Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Porky and Darla) all got into cowboy duds on the last day of shooting as a gag for director Nate Watt, who directed many westerns in his career. At the opportune moment, they all said, "Shoot, pardner!"
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 Mar. 26th, with the negative cut on Apr. 6th and shipped to MGM on Apr. 9th, and the film released on Apr. 23rd.
The script submitted to MGM was given the number B324.
Spanky and Butch were both included in early drafts of the script.
The film title is a spoof of "The Awful Truth" from 1937.
The Our Gang exhibit at the Hollywood Wax Museum is based on this film.
This film was 909 feet in length.
© Robert Demoss.