The Champeen!

film no. 9


availability:

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) from HenryButch
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 Grapevine Video
Released early Mar. 2006. This is essentially the same as the other available prints.

Our Gang Classics (VHS) from Jef Films
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.


technical details:

Production A-9.

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.

Silent two-reeler.

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.


the crew:

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.

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.

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
possible uncredited involvement


the kids:

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" Davis.

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 Saienz
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. 13).

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. 11).
(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 closeups.


questionable listings
Both Johnny Downs and Billy Lord are listed by Maltin & Bann, but I don't see them anywhere in these prints.


the animals:

dog 001
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.


the adults:

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.


the locations:

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.


miscellaneous:

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 production.

There were 38 copies of this film printed for its initial release.


©Jan. 11, 2005, by Robert Demoss.
2005 updates: 2/27, 3/18, 4/25, 5/7, 9/6, 12/15.
2006 updates: 1/3, 1/9, 1/16, 3/7, 3/12, 4/3, 5/16, 6/12, 7/8, 10/25.
2007 updates: 4/1, 10/20, 10/21, 10/22, 11/4, 11/5, 11/16.
2008 updates: 2/21, 3/31, 4/26, 7/6.
2009 updates: 5/9, 5/17, 5/18, 7/19, 7/23.


Thanks to Rob Stone, Joe Moore, John Frank and mtw12055 for assistance on this page.


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