Filmed probably in late August and early September 1922, with some possible retakes later in September. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.
Copyrighted December 16, 1922, by Pathé Exchange, Inc. Registration no. LU18518. Since the copyright was not renewed, this film is now in the public domain.
Released January 28, 1923. It was the 7th film in the series to be released.
Opening title: '"Our Gang" Series - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "The Champeen!".' The exclamation point is in the film,
but not indicated by Maltin & Bann. The poster for the film does not include the exclamation point and switches "Series" with "Comedies."
Released into TV syndication as Mischief Makers episode no. 1013, "Big Fight," copyrighted Sep. 1, 1960, with registration number LP17318. Footage
also went into episode no. 1080, "Play Ball!!" copyrighted Sep. 1, 1960, with registration number LP18381, and recopyrighted May 16, 1961, with
registration number LP19565.
- Produced by Hal Roach
- Credited in the film as a presenter.
- Directed by Robert F. McGowan
- This credit probably appears in the film, but without his middle initial.
- Assistant Director: Clarence Morehouse
- This credit derives from Morehouse's payroll status as the Our Gang assistant director during this period.
- Photographed by Len Powers
- According to Maltin & Bann. This credit might appear in the film. Powers was listed in the payroll summaries as the Our Gang cameraman during this period.
- Titles by H. M. Walker
- This credit probably appears in the film.
- Props by Charles Oelze and Dick Gilbert
- This credit derives from their payroll status as Our Gang prop men during this period.
- Story by Hal E. Roach
- This credit probably doesn't appear in the film.
- Teacher: Fern Carter
- Her name first appears in the studio payroll summaries the week ending Sep. 16th, which means that the new school year probably began on the 11th.
- Released by Pathé Exchange, Inc.
- Passed by the National Board of Review
- Probably indicated in the film.
- studio personnel
- general manager - Warren Doane
- assistant general manager - L. A. French
- secretary-treasurer - C. H. Roach
- construction supervisor - C. E. Christensen
- purchasing superintendent - John L. Murphy
- still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
and Gene Kornman
- possible uncredited involvement
- supervision - Charles Parrott (better known as Charley Chase) was still
director-general at the studio when this film was made, but had stepped down by the time of its release.
- editing - Credit usually went to Thomas J. Crizer during this period.
- titles - Tom McNamara probably illustrated the title cards.
- writing - Tom McNamara was listed in the payroll summaries as an Our Gang writer during this
period. Robert F. McGowan, Thomas J.
Crizer and Leo McCarey may have contributed gags.
- featured players
- Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison as "Sammy"
- Lead role. Ernie is crucial to the plot and appears throughout most of the film. Maltin & Bann list his nickname as "Sunshine Sammy," but only the
second part is revealed in these prints.
- Mickey Daniels as "Mickey"
- Featured role. Mickey is also crucial to the plot, and appears in most of the scenes.
- Jack Davis as "Tuffy" aka "Jackie"
- Featured role. He appears in all of Mickey's scenes, as well as one in which he picks on Jackie Condon. Maltin & Bann list him as Jackie "Tuffy"
- Mary Kornman as "Mary"
- Supporting role. She appears as Jackie Condon's big sister, and is shown frequently throughout the film, defending her little brother and being the center of
the boys' dispute.
- Allen "Farina" Hoskins
- Supporting role. His nickname isn't used in the available prints. He appears frequently throughout the film, first as a fighter in Ernie's earlier failed
attempt at promoting, and then as security guard at the second fight.
- Jackie Condon as "Jackie"
- Supporting role. He's shown mainly in the first half of the film, where he's intregal to the plot, being the reason Mary scolds Jack and is disappointed in
Mickey for not defending her little brother.
- Dorothy Morrison
- Small part. She's shown early in the film boxing with Farina, and then sitting next to him during the 'real' fight.
- other kids
- boy 009a
- Small part. He's the boy that flirts with Mary and gets beaten up.
- Andy Samuel
- Small part. He's Mickey's second trainer and is not shown until the fight starts.
- Richard Billings
- Small part. He's Jack's trainer.
- Gabe Saenz
- Small part. He's seen in the opening sequence with Ernie, and is later seen collecting tickets for the fight.
- George "Freckles" Warde
- Small part. He plays Mickey's trainer. Not to be confused with George "Sonny Boy" Warde.
- Walter Wilkinson
- Bit part. He's turned away at the door, and is later seen looking through a hole in the roof. He went on to be featured pretty strongly in "Fast
Company" (no. 16).
- Joe Cobb
- Bit part. He appears only in a cutaway shot during the fight scene.
- boy 009b
- Bit part. He's seen in the audience laughing. He would later appear in "A Pleasant Journey" (no. 11) and "Back Stage" (no.
- Elmo Billings
- Extra. He's in the scene where Farina and Dorothy are fighting. Later, he's at the far left when Ernie steps out of the door to talk to the boys waiting
- boy 007b
- Extra. He's in the crowd of boys waiting outside, up front. I'm pretty sure he had appeared in "The Big Show" (no. 7)
- boy 007c
- Extra. He's in the back of the crowd of boys waiting outside. I'm pretty sure he had appeared in "The Big Show" (no. 7).
- other kids
- Small parts, bit parts and extras.
- (1.) Jack's second trainer, not shown until the fight starts.
- (2.) The two girls accompanying Mary to the fight. The one on the left looks similar to the arm-pulling girl in "A Pleasant Journey" (no.
- (3.) The boy watching Farina and Dorothy fight.
- (4.) The boy in the audience that gets punched by Mickey. I think he might have been in "The Big Show" (no. 7).
- (5.) Probably about 15 to 20 additional boys in the fight scene, some of whom look familiar from "The Big Show" (no. 7). A few even get
- questionable listings
- Both Johnny Downs and Billy Lord are listed by Maltin & Bann, but I don't see them anywhere in these prints.
- Supporting role. He's Jackie Condon's dog in this film, and fights Jack's dog.
- dog 007
- Supporting role. This is Jack Davis's dog. Seems to be the 'Afriken Poler Bear' from "The Big Show" (no. 7).
- Dinah the Mule
- Bit part. Not listed by Maltin & Bann. She appears very briefly during the big fight.
- Charles Stevenson as the police officer
- Supporting role. He catches Ernie stealing apples, and then reappears at the end of the film.
- Wallace Howe as the smoker
- Bit part. He appears briefly during the chase scene between Ernie and Stevenson.
- Sammy Brooks as the green grocer
- Bit part. Not listed by Maltin & Bann. He's the very short man who gets the dart thrown into his rear end.
- other adults
- Small parts and bit parts.
- (1.) "Knockout Johnson," who advises Ernie on how to make money. This may very well be a parody of the boxer Jack Johnson, who was
appearing in films around this time.
- (2.) The fight promoter.
- (3.) The sidewalk diner attendant seen during the soda pop scene.
- (4.) The two men that help Jackie down from the car in the opening scene. We don't get a good look at their faces.
- (5.) Four prisoners and three prison guards seen in Ernie's fantasy scene.
- Motor Avenue and Woodbine Street, Palms district, Los Angeles
- The northeast corner is shown during the soda pop sequence, just as it would be several years later in "Boxing Gloves" (no. 91). The brick
building is the People's Water Company, located at 3392 Motor Avenue. It's also shown in the background as Ernie is hiding in the ash can, which is on
the southeast corner in front of the Masonic Hall at 3402 Motor.
- Motor Avenue
- The brick arch where Sammy Brooks works is also in "Fire Fighters" (no. 2), in which it's to the right of a loans and mortgage business. This
location was on the west side of the 3300 block of Motor Avenue, even though the street number on the building is 7556.
- Palms Chamber of Commerce, Palms district, Los Angeles
- This is shown in the scene where the two dogs are fighting, and also where Stevenson catches up with Ernie. It was located on the 3300 block of Motor Avenue, and
was later occupied by the Micholithic company. The chamber by that time had moved to the 3400 block.
- Palms Lumber Company
- Ernie is briefly seen running out of this property while trying to escape the cop. It was located at 10321 National Boulevard.
The 1922 studio datebook reveals the shooting dates for all of the films made during the year - except this one. It's almost certain that production number
A-8 (meant for "The Cobbler") was pencilled in on shooting dates for production A-9 ("The Champeen!"). In fact,
"The Cobbler" was a basic enough production that it probably wouldn't have required the 26 shooting dates credited to it in the datebook. It's also
possible that some of the added scenes and retakes credited to production A-7 ("The Big Show") were actually meant for "The
Champeen!" since these overlap so much with the dates for "The Cobbler." See the pages for both of those films for more details. It should also be
noted that directors Bob McGowan and Tom McNamara were beginning to be credited separately during this period. Later in the year, production for McNamara's
"Boys To Board" (no. 10) overlapped somewhat with McGowan's "A Pleasant Journey" (no. 11), with both films being shot on the
same dates. This may have also occurred with McNamara's "The Cobbler" and McGowan's "The Champeen!"
It's also interesting to note that Joe Cobb joined the Gang at the beginning of September, but doesn't seem to have worked in the series for the first week
or two, since he was appearing in the Snub Pollard short "A Tough Winter." In "The Champeen!" Joe is shown only in a very brief cutaway shot,
which suggests that most of the film was shot before his arrival. His brief appearance was probably filmed as an 'added scene' sometime later than the initial
This film was the first of six in the second 'series' of Our Gang films.
The Motion Picture News of Dec. 23, 1922, reported: "'Our Gang' Comedies were announced and issued by Pathe as a series of six pictures. But
exhibitor reaction, according to reports, was so prompt that this Hal Roach production unit - including the studio 'zoo' - prepared to continue indefinitely with
the successful novelty at the rate of one comedy every four weeks. Accordingly Pathe now announces a second series of six 'Our Gang' Comedies, to be released one
every four weeks, beginning with 'The Champeen,' to be issued on January 28.
"Each of the series thus far released is recognized as a box office winner. The Capitol theatre, New York, attests their popularity by selecting 'Saturday
Morning' for Christmas week, and Pathe reports that exhibitors in most of the cities and towns of the United States will 'go strong' on 'Our Gang'
throughout the holidays in recognition of the children's claim to have their preference considered."
The Motion Picture News of Jan. 27, 1923, reported: "Beginning with 'The Champeen,' announced for release on Jan. 28, the new 'Our
Gang' comedies will go to exhibitors accompanied by the exploitation paper and accessories. They will, in fact, be handled like features with a specially designed
24-sheet. Cuts, mats, lobby displays, five black and whites and a stock slide are supplied for 'The Champeen' and forthcoming pictures in the Our Gang
second series. 'The Champeen' - presenting the prize ring and its traditions from the 'Our Gang' juvenile angle depicts Sunshine Sammy, as promoter
and highly sophisticated manager; Mickey (Freckles) Daniels and Jackie Davis, as the battling Romeos; tousle-headed Jackie Condon, Little 'Farina'
and the full strength of 'Our Gang' are active participants."
The Motion Picture News of Feb. 3, 1923, carried the following review by Lillian Gale: "The title is not difficult to recognize, since champions from
Sullivan down have been described as 'the champeen,' by fight fans, and this two reeler is principally about how Sunshine Sammy became a promoter and staged a
non-professional bout, with two tiny blacks as opponents. The title describes not only the action, but the picture as a whole, for it is the 'champeen' of
"The usual juvenile cast, including Freckles Daniels, Jackie Davis, Little Farina and the rest, are all present in roles designed to accentuate, particularly
their respective abilities.
"Sunshine Sammy gets in trouble 'swiping' apples. When finally caught by a policeman, he is ordered to pay the fruit man one dollar, if Sammy would keep
out of jail. He happens into a training quarters, where he learns that the men who make the real money in connection with a fight, are the promoters. Then, he finds
Freckles and Jackie about to go to the mat over the affections of a golden-haired little girl, which decides Sammy upon staging a prize fight. Therefore, the
professional tricks he picks up with amusing alacrity, keeps the action fast and the comedy at an even tempo. This one will get many a hearty laugh from fight fans, and
38 still images were printed into numerous press photos to promote this film.
For awhile, an actor named Bill Brokaw was erroneously credited in IMDb and Wikipedia for appearing in this film.
- Our Gang Silent Comedies Vol. 5 (VHS) from
Video Classics and
- Our Gang Comedies V
(VHS) from The Picture Palace
- This is a home movie print. The opening title card is original, but the crew credits don't appear after it. The ending title card is from Laff-Movie, Inc. in
New York, which identifies the series as "The Original Our Gang." The picture quality in this and the prints listed below is less than ideal. The print totals
22:22, with 22:16 of it original footage. It appears that almost the entire original film is included.
- Rascals Silents Vol. 1
(VHS) from A-1 Video
- This print is another variation, with a rooster shown on the end title, but not the Pathé one. The print totals 18:50, with 18:46 of it original
footage. The shorter running time, as compared to the Video Classics version, would be the result of being run at a faster speed.
- Our Gang Silent Comedies Vol. 2 (VHS)
- This print is identical to the one from A-1 Video.
- Our Gang Silent Comedies (Volume 1)
(VHS) from Nostalgia Family Video
- This print adds an opening title card for Thunderbird Films, followed by the original title card like the others. It also has the ending title for Laff-Movie,
Inc. The print totals 19:01, with 18:45 of it original footage.
- Our Gang Volume #14 (VHS) from
Grapevine Video and also from
The Picture Palace
- This is a 1973 print from Thunderbird Films, which is superimposed over the first inter-title. The sound effects are synched with the action in this print. The
print totals 18:44, with 18:40 of it original footage. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs.
- Our Gang - Volume #1
(1922-1923) (DVD-R) from
- Released early Mar. 2006. This is essentially the same as the other available prints.
- Our Gang Classics (VHS) from
- Released 1997. This version is comparable to the one from Grapevine, except for a Jef Films copyright shown at the bottom of the screen.
- The Our Gang Story (VHS/DVD) from
GoodTimes Home Video
- VHS released 1994. DVD released May 21, 2002. Also included as part of
Our Gang Collector Series 4 Pack (4 DVD set), released Mar. 21, 2001,
Our Gang Collector Series 5 Pack (5 VHS/DVD set), released Feb. 2002 (VHS)
and Mar. 2004 (DVD), and The Best Of Our Gang Volume 1 (DVD) released June 1,
2004. Four clips from this film are shown. The first is a clip lasting 0:20, showing the opening title and Ernie stealing an apple. The second lasts 0:08, and
shows Ernie breaking up the fight between Mickey and Jack. This is followed by a clip lasting 0:10 taken from the boxing sequence. The final clip lasts 0:11, and
shows Jackie in the car. All of these clips have narration added.
See anything that needs changing? Contact me at BtheW@aol.com.