The Big Town
film no. 34
- Our Gang Silent Comedies Volume 4 (VHS) from
Video Classics and
- Our Gang Comedies IV
(VHS) from The Picture Palace
- This copy is original except for the end title, which is the same as the versions listed below. The print
totals 23:31, with 23:26 of it original footage. It appears that almost all of the original film is included. A
version of this film has appeared on numerous bootlegs, presumably from this source.
- Square Shoulders (1929) and The Big Town
(1925) (DVD) from
- A Festival Of Silent Comedy Volume Five
(DVD) from Reelclassicdvd.com
- Released 2006.
- other releases
- A homemade copy was briefly available on eBay. It's a home movie print entitled "New York,"
which has a generic opening title card, but the original crew credits. The inter-titles are remade, but retain the
original wording. The original footage totals about 15:00.
Filmed September 22 to October 2, 1924. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.
Copyrighted December 9, 1924, by Pathé Exchange, Inc. Registration no. LU20871. Since the copyright was not
renewed, this film is now in the public domain. Interestingly enough, the film shows the copyright year of 1925.
Released January 11, 1925. It was the 34th film in the series to be released.
Opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "The Big
Released into TV syndication as Mischief Makers episode no. 1040, "The Big Adventure," copyrighted
Sep. 1, 1960, with registration number LP17345.
- Produced by Hal Roach
- Credited in the film as a presenter.
- Directed by Robert F. McGowan
- This credit appears in the film, but without his middle initial.
- Photographed by Art Lloyd
- This credit appears in the film.
- Edited by T. J. Crizer
- This credit appears in the film. The 'T' stands for Thomas.
- Titles by H. M. Walker
- This credit appears in the film.
- Story by Hal E. Roach
- This credit doesn't appear in the film.
- Teacher: Fern Carter
- Released by Pathé Exchange, Inc.
- Passed by the National Board of Review
- As indicated in the credits.
- studio personnel
- possible uncredited involvement
- Mickey Daniels as "Mickey" aka "Micky Daniels"
- Featured role. The postcard from Skinny spells Mickey's name as "Micky Daniels," but the
implication might be that Skinny doesn't know the correct spelling. As usual, he's the leader and controls most of
the gang's activity.
- Allen "Farina" Hoskins as "Farina"
- Featured role. He gets quite a lot of footage as the comedy relief in this film, particularly on the
train with the insects and the spaghetti.
- Joe Cobb as "Joe"
- Featured role. He's featured pretty strongly in this short, getting almost as much attention as
Mickey and Farina.
- Mary Kornman as "Mary"
- Supporting role. She's first seen in her scene with Jackie, then reluctantly goes along the gang on
- Jackie Condon as "Jackie"
- Supporting role. Mary calls him "Winfield" while they're playing house, but I think the
implication is that this is their father's name. Aside from his scene with Mary, he does mostly ensemble
- Eugene "Pineapple" Jackson
- Supporting role. He basically does ensemble acting throughout the film.
- David Durand
- Bit part. He's seen briefly as the child of the woman who lets Mary sleep in their berth with
- other kids
- Small parts. It's my opinion that the gang did not go to New York to make this picture, and therefore
are replaced by doubles in all of the New York shots that couldn't have been made in California.
- dog 034
- Supporting role. A different dog than usual in this short. He specializes in raising his
- Bit parts. The rest of the animals are made up of the variety of exotic insects that take over the
- Jack Gavin as the police officer who escorts the kids home
- Supporting role. He's featured strongly in the second half, but gets more misery from the insects
than from the kids.
- Pat Kelly as the farmer
- Small part. Not listed by Maltin & Bann, but it's clearly him. He blames the kids for the fire
that he himself set.
- Gus Leonard as "Prof. J. Tillingham Hornett," the entomologist
- Small part. He's featured during the train sequence.
- Helen Gilmore as one of the train passengers
- Small part. She's married to Sammy Brooks.
- man 034 as the porter
- Small part. He's a black man that later appeared in "Boys Will Be Joys" (no.
- woman 016 as Joe's mom
- Small part. She's shown at the end of the film, vowing punishment. She appears to be the same woman
who played his mom in "Fast Company" (no. 16).
- Dorothy Vernon as Mickey's mom
- Bit part. Not listed by Maltin & Bann. She's shown at the end of the film.
- Lyle Tayo as Mary and Jackie's mom
- Bit part. Maltin & Bann state that she's one of the train passengers, but she appears with the
other mothers at the end of the film.
- William Gillespie as one of the train passengers
- Bit part. He's shown in his berth scratching himself.
- other adults
- Bit parts and extras.
(1.) Gene and Farina's mother.
(2.) The mother of the younger girl on the train. She lets Mary sleep in the same berth with them.
(3.) Two motorcycle cops, one of whom gets in a sizable part.
(4.) Four additional train passengers from what I can see.
(5.) A waiter and three black busboys on the train.
(6.) The guy on the ferry that sends the kids away.
(7.) The cop that posts the bulletin.
(8.) The railyard worker that gets the kids out of the freight car.
(9.) The cop that walks in front of bus when the kids first get inside.
(10.) Three man and two women arriving at the scene of the fire.
(11.) Several other people in the background in the New York scenes.
- New York
- Shown in the film are Fifth Avenue, the Washington Square arch, the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn
- Santa Fe Railroad Station
- Shown at the end of the film. The railyard in the early part of the film is presumably near
- F. L. Craig & Co.
- Actually, I'm guessing the first two initials, but a building with this sign is in the background at
the train station.
- other locations
- The New York scenes sometimes show places that look like they could just as easily be shot in California.
This is always true when the gang is clearly seen. All shots that are clearly in New York show the gang at a distance,
when they could easily be doubled. The building in the background when the gang get on the bus looks similar to the Culver
Hotel, which was built during this year, but I think it might be something else. Also, the building that the two
motorcycle cops are front of when the gang's bus goes by looks similar to the Adams Hotel in Culver City, but this,
too, may very well be something else. Funnily enough, when the cops finally stop the bus, they're back in front of the
10 shooting dates went into the making of this film. This doesn't count the footage that was actually shot in New
York City, which was probably filmed during the studio closure in August. When the studio re-opened, new footage was
shot for "The Mysterious Mystery!" (no. 33), and then after nearly a week, the Our Gang unit began
shooting "The Big Town," the 'starting' date for which was Sep. 22nd. Shooting continued until Oct. 2nd,
when filming was considered 'finished.' No shooting took place on Sep. 21st and 28th, both of which were Sundays.
Roughly two and a half weeks later, filming began for "Circus Fever" (no. 35).
The working title for this film was "In New York," which it retained for home-movie release.
The kids in the film are from Elmira (with Mickey living at 231 Oak St.), which is Hal Roach's hometown in
New York State. The telegram from Elmira shown in the film is from C. H. Roach, which is the name of Hal
Roach's father, and is dated October 16th.
There were 40 copies of this film printed for its initial release.
©Feb. 5, 2005, by Robert Demoss.
2005 updates: 2/27, 3/18, 4/25, 4/27, 12/15.
2006 updates: 1/9, 5/16, 6/12, 7/5, 10/25.
2007 updates: 4/1, 10/22, 11/25.
2008 updates: 2/21, 3/31, 7/6.
2009 updates: 7/26.
Thanks to Rob Stone and Joe Moore for assistance on this page.