Stage Fright

film no. 17

technical details:

Production A-17.

Filmed March 17 to April 11, and June 21 to July 2, 1923. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Released October 21, 1923. It was the 18th film in the series to be released.

Copyrighted November 9, 1923, by Pathé Exchange, Inc. Registration no. LU19585. Since the copyright was not renewed, this film is now in the public domain.

Silent two-reeler.

Probable opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "Stage Fright".'

Released into TV syndication as Mischief Makers episode no. 1066, "The School Play," copyrighted Sep. 1, 1960, with registration number LP17768.

the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
Probably credited in the film as a presenter.
Directed by Robert F. McGowan and Tom McNamara
Maltin & Bann list only McGowan, and the film probably reflects this, but without his middle initial. According to Rob Stone's notes, McGowan directed only the retakes, while McNamara served as the original director. McNamara was credited in the payroll summaries as an assistant director until the week ending June 2nd, but probably never served in this capacity for this film
Assistant Director: Clarence Morehouse
This credit derives from Morehouse's payroll status as the Our Gang assistant director during this period.
Photographed by Harry W. Gerstad
This credit derives from the weekly studio payroll summaries, which indicate that Gerstad was the regular Our Gang cameraman during this period.
Titles by H. M. Walker
This credit probably appears in the film.
Props by Dick Gilbert, Charles Oelze and L. Barker
This credit derives from their payroll status as Our Gang prop men during this period. Oelze's name was missing from the payroll summaries during the June and July dates, during which time Barker is listed.
Story by Hal E. Roach
This credit probably doesn't appear in the film. Hal Conklin was listed in the payroll summaries as an Our Gang gag man during this period.
Teacher: Fern Carter
Her name appears in the studio payroll summaries until the week ending June 30th, after which she seems to have had the summer off.
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
driver - Bob Davis joined the Roach studio the week ending June 9th.
possible uncredited involvement
editing - Credit usually went to Thomas J. Crizer during this period.
writing - Robert F. McGowan, Tom McNamara, Thomas J. Crizer and Leo McCarey may have been among the gag writers.

the kids:

featured players
Mickey Daniels
Featured role. He's featured apart from the gang in the fruit sequence, in addition to being in the play, where he spends most of his time fighting with Jack. He eventually ends up with the "Marcus Antonius" role, which is originally Jackie's. He refers to himself as "Marcus th' Mighty."
Joe Cobb
Featured role. He gets to play "Nero" in the play.
Louise Tordera as "Little Irma"
Featured role. She's passed over for the "Cleopatra" role. Her mother keeps putting her on the stage to recite.
Jack Davis
Supporting role. He's featured throughout the play sequence, particularly in the bit where his mother puts makeup on his face. Most of his time is spent fighting with Mickey.
Mary Kornman
Supporting role. She gets picked to play "Mrs. Nero" in the play.
Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison
Supporting role. The nickname is provided by Maltin & Bann. He and Farina do a native dance, as they're passed off as two of the starving Trombonians, named "Salto" and "Peppo." He also appears in the play. The 9.5mm print refers to him as "Ernie."
Allen "Farina" Hoskins
Supporting role. The nickname doesn't appear in this print. He and Ernie are passed off as "Salto" and "Peppo" early in the film. His big moment is when he gets rolled up in some scenery.
Jackie Condon
Supporting role. He's initially introduced as "Marcus Antonius," a part later taken by Mickey. His big scenes are the ones in which he keeps entering from the wrong side, and at the end when he puts the firecrackers on the cow's tail.

other kids
Jannie Hoskins
Bit part. Seen in a single closeup shot in the audience. This was her series debut.
Gabe Saenz
Bit part. His name is written into the payroll ledgers during the making of this film, and I think he might be the boy that Mickey gets to buy fruit for him. The ledgers also seem to indicate that he was in the crowd during the performance.
Andy Samuel
Extra. Not one of the main gang, but sitting in the audience.
other kids
Extras. Besides Andy Samuel, there looks to be three or four more kids in the audience.

the animals:

Bill the Bulldog
Supporting role. He's featured mainly in the fruit sequence chasing the cat.
monkey 004
Bit part. Presumably the same monkey as in other films from this period. He belongs to Tony the fruit vendor, and is obtained by El Faro. He spends some time climbing on a cuckoo clock.
parrot 008
Extra. Presumably the same parrot previously seen. In this film, the parrot is in the birdcage at Mrs. McFiggetty's house.
other animals
Small parts and bit parts.
(1.) The dog that pulls the refreshment stand away as the boys lunge for it.
(2.) The cow whose tail Jackie ties the firecrackers to. This is probably the same cow from "Fire Fighters" (no. 2).
(3.) The cat chased by dog 001 during the apple sequence.
(4.) The gopher that Ernie grabs out of the hole instead of the hot potato.

the adults:

Helen Gilmore as Mickey's mom
Supporting role. She seems to have a lot to do with the production, as she's backstage throughout.
Vera White as "Miss Fawn Ocheltree"
Supporting role. She's the authoress who wrote the play, and is in charge of the production. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Clara Guiol.
Richard Daniels as Mickey's dad
Supporting role. He's in charge of scenery and various other things, and messes things up almost as much as the kids do.
William Gillespie as "Prince Dalmar El Faro"
Small part. He convinces the community to raise money for the starving Trombonians, and is seen at Mrs. McFiggetty's house.
Charles Stevenson as "Tony," the fruit vendor
Small part. He gets harassed by the kids and sicks a cop on them.
Madge Hunt as "Mrs. McFiggetty"
Small part. I'm assuming that the woman whose name is on the poster is the one hosting the casting meeting in her home. She later appeared in "No Noise" (no. 20).
Edmond Fortune as the cop
Small part. This is an old guy that I'm pretty sure reappears in "Derby Day" (no. 21).
woman 014 as Mary's mom
Small part. She's seen off and on, both at the casting meeting and backstage at the show. This is a preliminary identification, as it might not be the same woman.
woman 013 as Jack's mother
Bit part. She's sitting next to Irma's mom while the kids are cast for the play. She's later seen putting makeup on Jack's face.
other adults
Supporting role, bit parts and extras.
(1.) Irma's mother, who repeatedly puts her child on the stage to recite.
(2.) Another woman serving as a backstage hand and seen carrying Joe away to get his face washed.
(3.) Several adults at the meeting to cast the play, and probably 40 or 50 in the audience. According to Maltin & Bann, Jack Hill is among them. My guess is that is the guy to the left of Andy Samuel. The guy to the right of Andy kind of looks like the fireworks salesman in "Fast Company" (no. 16). There's a man in the audience that looks like Mark Jones, who I'm assuming is the one Maltin & Bann identify as Roy Brooks, since they do this with other films. They also list Sam Lufkin, but I don't think it's possible to identify him in the TV print. Presumably, the black woman holding Jannie Hoskins is Florence Hoskins, Jannie and Farina's mother, but her face isn't shown.

the locations:

Motor Avenue and Woodbine Street, Palms district, Los Angeles
The northeast corner of this intersection is shown during the apple sequence. The brick building was the People's Water Company at 3392 Motor Avenue. Also seen in the background is the Masonic Hall at 3402 Motor.
Motor Avenue, Palms district, Los Angeles
The opening 'hot potato' sequence was shot on the block east of Motor Avenue and north of Featherstone Avenue (now National Boulevard).
National Boulevard, Palms district, Los Angeles
When the kids finally escape the cop and run down the alley, they're heading south along the alley running parallel to and between Motor and Vinton Avenues. The camera was situated at the north end of the alley at National Boulevard.
Hal Roach Studios backlot
It appears that the sequence with Tony's Fruit Stand was shot on the New York exterior set.


32 days of shooting went into the making of this film. Filming on "Fast Company" (no. 16) went into a very long delay after director Charles Parrott (aka Chase) was called away to New York on business. This resulted in an idle day for the Our Gang unit on Mar. 16th. The next day, Mar. 17th, the 1923 studio datebook indicates a 'start' date for "Stage Fright" with Tom McNamara directing. Filming continued until Apr. 11th, when the Our Gang unit divided its activities between the McNamara-directed 'finish' for "Stage Fright," and Robert McGowan-directed retakes for "Dogs Of War!" (no. 14). No shooting took place on Mar. 18th, Mar. 25th, Apr. 1st, or Apr. 8th, which were all Sundays. Filming then commenced on "July Days" (no. 18), "Sunday Calm" (no. 19), and "No Noise" (no. 20). On June 20th, the day after this last film was completed, McGowan began retakes for "Stage Fright," which continued until July 2nd. No shooting took place on June 24th or July 1st, which were both Sundays. To be technical, though, the word 'retakes' isn't used in the datebook for the dates June 26th, 29th, 30th, or July 2nd.

The datebook also describes what the weather was like on the various shooting dates. The weather is almost always described as 'clear' during the initial March/April dates. However, it's described as 'cloudy' on Apr. 4th and 6th, 'cloudy - rain' on the 2nd, 'rain' on the 5th, and 'rain AM clear PM' on the 10th. No description was given for any of the Sundays. During the June/July retakes, the weather is described as 'clear' on every one of the dates, with the exception of the two Sundays, for which no description is given.

This film was the sixth of six in the third 'series' of Our Gang films.

There were 40 copies of this film printed for its initial release.

For awhile, both IMDb and Wikipedia credited Louise Tordera with playing Little Irma in this film.


The Return Of "Our Gang" (VHS) from Video Yesteryear
Released 1987. This is a TV print from the Mischief Makers series entitled "The School Play." The music has been replaced by Rosa Rio playing the organ, and the film is shown at a slower speed. The print totals 21:32, with 20:50 of it original footage. Roughly two-thirds of the original film is included.
Our Gang Volume #5 (VHS) from Grapevine Video and also from The Picture Palace
This is also the TV print, but with the original soundtrack and shown at a faster projection speed. The print totals 12:29, with 11:57 of it original footage. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs.
Our Gang Silent Comedies Vol. 8 (VHS) from Video Classics
This is also from the TV print.
The Little Rascals Collection (5 DVD set) from Passport Video
Released July 13, 2004. This is the TV print, but without the opening title card. The title of the DVD set is superimposed in the lower right hand corner of the screen.
Rascals Silents Vol. 3 (VHS) from A-1 Video
This is a home movie print from Exclusive Movie Studios entitled "Amateur's Delight." The opening portion of the film is missing, but the portion pertaining to the play seems to be complete, and includes the original inter-titles. The opening and end titles are not original. The picture quality is fairly good. The footage totals 17:30, with about 17:29 of it original.
Our Gang Silent Comedies Vol. 3 (VHS) from HenryButch
This is the Mischief Makers print.

special note
I've also been able to view a 9.5mm copy of this film, though the beginning is missing, and the inter-titles are remade. It doesn't look like the wording is original.

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© Robert Demoss.

My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Rob Stone (for providing the production number and shooting dates, and a more accurate directorial credit)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Matthew Lydick (for the correct spelling of Gabe Saenz's last name)
James A. Gipson (for alerting me to the different version of this film on the A-1 video)

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