Big Business

film no. 23


technical details:

Production A-23.

Filmed September 11 to 21, 1923. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Copyrighted January 26, 1924, by Pathé Exchange, Inc. Registration no. LU19862. Since the copyright was not renewed, this film is now in the public domain.

Released February 10, 1924. It was the 22nd film in the series to be released.

Silent two-reeler.

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

Released into TV syndication as Mischief Makers episode no. 1035, "The Barber Shop," copyrighted Sep. 1, 1960, with registration number LP17340.


the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
Probably 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 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 and E. P. Norris
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. Mark Goldaine was listed in the payroll summaries as an Our Gang writer during this period. As explained below in the miscellaneous section, Stan Laurel did not write the story for this film.
Teacher: Fern Carter
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
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
transportation director - Bob Davis
possible uncredited involvement
editing - Credit usually went to Thomas J. Crizer during this period.
writing - Robert F. McGowan, Thomas J. Crizer, James Parrott and Leo McCarey may have been among the gag writers.

the kids:

Mickey Daniels as "Michael" aka "Mickie"
Lead role. He's the Fauntleroy character in this film, but just wants to be part of the gang. He gets the lead role. The spelling of his name might be due to the non-original inter-titles, but it's spelled this way in the original print of "Derby Day" as well.

barber shop employees
Joe Cobb as "Joe"
Featured role. He's the head barber. This is the first time he's given a leadership role in one of the shorts.
Allen "Farina" Hoskins as "Farina"
Featured role. He's the shoeshine boy. When confronted with bare feet, he improvises. He later brings animals in for Jackie.
Mary Kornman as "Mary"
Supporting role. She's the cashier. Mickey flirts with her, but she's not interested.
Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison as "Sunshine Sammy"
Supporting role. He's the janitor, as well as being partners with Sing Joy. A sign in the laundry section reads "Sunshine Samy Sing Joy Inc".
Jackie Condon as "Jackie"
Supporting role. He's the superintendent of exploitation. Eventually, he gets to do some cutting, experimenting with various animals.
Andy Samuel
Supporting role. He's the apprentice barber. He uses hedge clippers. For some reason, the titles don't reveal his name, but this is the film in which he essentially replaces Jack Davis in the gang.
Jannie Hoskins as "Mango"
Supporting role. She gets to teethe on a razor and serve as a shaving lotion repository.
George "Sonny Boy" Warde as "Sing Joy"
Supporting role. Listed by Maltin & Bann by the character name. The payroll summaries verify that Warde played this role. He runs the laundry service at the gang's barber shop.
girl 021
Small part. The fat girl from "Derby Day" (no. 21). She's the manicurist.

barber shop customers
boy 021
Small part. He's worked on by Joe, and ends up with a Mohawk. Previously seen in "Derby Day" (no. 21).
other kids
Small parts, bit parts and extras.
(1.) The boy with the beard. He later gets spun around by Farina.
(2.) The boy with the moustache. Farina paints his legs.
(3.) The boy getting his hair clipped off by Andy.
(4.) The boy getting a manicure. He appears to be the one that gets shorn by Mickey.
(5.) The boy getting the steam bath. Ernie and Sing Joy ruin his overalls.
(6.) At least two more boys, if not more. It's hard to get an accurate count, as sometimes the same boy will be seen exiting the barber shop, only to be present later on.

the animals:

skunk 014
Small part. Presumably the same skunk as in "Dogs Of War!" (no. 14). Farina brings him into the barber shop for the film's finale.
other animals
Bit parts.
(1.) The dog that's taken into the barber shop.
(2.) The dog that's taken out, a hairless breed.
(3.) A shaggy goat that goes into the barber shop.
(4.) A goat that emerges from the barber shop with shorter hair.
(5.) A chicken that serves as Jackie's first victim.
(6.) A squirrel that turns the wheel connected to the fan in the barber shop.

the adults:

William Gillespie as Mickey's dad
Supporting role. He wants his boy to be a regular kid, but his wife has the last word.
Lyle Tayo as Mickey's mom
Supporting role. She's responsible for Mickey's sissy appearance.
Edmond Fortune as the cop
Small part. Previously seen in "Stage Fright" (no. 17).
Charley Lloyd as the gardener
Bit part. He giggles when he sees Mickey, but cowers when the boy threatens him. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Charley Young.
Chris Lynton as the office worker
Bit part. He watches the fight through the window with Gillespie. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Allen Cavan.
other adults
Bit parts.
(1.) Two maids, one of whom resembles Beth Darlington.
(2.) A butler.
(3.) Several irate mothers, numbering perhaps nine, and joined by a man playing Sing Joy's father.

the locations:

Mentone Avenue, Palms district, Los Angeles
The gang's barber shop, or at least the outside of it, was located in the backyard of a home on Mentone, probably at the southeast corner with Woodbine. Farina lures the little dog away from the back porch of this house. The shot of Mickey and his parents retreating from the skunk shows the Berean Chapel Foresquare Church at 3371 Mentone (on the northwest corner with Woodbine).
Motor Avenue and Woodbine Street, Palms district, Los Angeles
Jackie is standing on the north side of Woodbine, just west of Motor, as he advertises for the barber shop. Shown in the background is the People's Water Co. at 3392 Motor. The whiskered boys are working in the vacant lot on the northwest corner. Behind them is the vacant lot on the southwest corner and the house at 3435 Motor. In the scene where the various mothers are dragging their sons back to the barber shop, one of the mothers walks with her son along the Woodbine side of the People's Water Co. A little later, two mothers meet each other with their sons in tow at the corner of this building. There is also a mother and son who walk by the Shoe Repairing shop at 3406 Motor. When Mickey and the other boys get ready to return to the barber shop, they're seen walking out of the front door of the Masonic Hall at 3402 Motor. The angry parents all congregate in the vacant lot on the southwest corner, with Motor shown in the background.
wealthy neighborhood
It appears that Mickey lives at the same house in the same wealthy neighborhood seen in "One Terrible Day" (no. 4) and "Tire Trouble" (no. 22).

miscellaneous:

10 shooting dates went into the making of this film. A week after filming ended for "Tire Trouble" (no. 22), shooting began for "Big Business" (no. 23) on Sep. 11th. The 'finish' date was September 21st, however, the production number was written into the datebook for Saturday the 22nd but crossed out, indicating that perhaps production went more quickly than anticipated. After this, one week passed before the Our Gang unit began shooting "The Buccaneers" (no. 24).

The 1923 studio datebook reveals what the weather was like on the various shooting dates. On most days, it was 'clear,' but it's described as 'cloudy' on the 12th, 14th and 17th, with 'rain' on the 11th. No description was given for the non-shooting dates.

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

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

According to Maltin & Bann, Stan Laurel sold the story for this film to Hal Roach in November 1923, and it was originally called "A Close Shave." However, Rob Stone's Laurel Or Hardy book reveals this to be in error. The title probably refers to a Laurel script from 1926.


availability:

The Little Rascals Book XXIV (VHS) from Blackhawk Video
This copy is a Blackhawk home movie print with all of the inter-titles remade, but it appears that the wording hasn't been altered. The picture quality is generally good throughout. The print totals 27:13, with about 21:30 of it original footage. Ignoring the inter-titles, it appears that virtually all of the original film is included.
Our Gang Volume #1 (VHS) from Grapevine Video and also from The Picture Palace
This copy seems to be the same as Blackhawk's except for the opening title, which is generic, and the fact that it's projected at a faster speed. The picture quality is fairly good. The print totals 19:26, with about 16:15 of it original footage. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs.
Our Gang Silent Comedies Volume 9 (VHS) from Video Classics
This copy is essentially the same as Grapevine's.
The Our Gang Collection - Volume 1 (DVD) from Reelclassicdvd.com
Released Feb. 2007. This version derives from the commonly-seen print, but replaces all of the titles with newly-made titles which are meant to look authentic, but fall somewhat short of this goal. The opening title, for instance, derives from the one for "Derby Day" (no. 21). The footage totals 25:00, with approximately 21:00 of it original.
Our Gang's Greatest Hits (VHS) from Video Dimensions
Released 1981. This is the Blackhawk print.
Our Gang Silent Comedies Vol. 6 (VHS) from HenryButch
This derives from the Video Dimensions release, with fairly poor picture quality.
Our Gang (CD-ROM) from Rom-Man Technologies
Copyright 1994 by Onscreen Entertainment, Inc. This is essentially the same as the others, but is missing the section where the gang first meets up with Mickey. The print totals 16:36, with about 13:40 of it original footage.

© Robert Demoss.


My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Rob Stone (for providing the production number and shooting dates)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Lynn Paden (for alerting me to the reelclassicdvd release)


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