Better Movies

film no. 43


technical details:

Production K-1. The original production number was A-43, which is used in the 1925 studio datebook.

Filmed May 27 to June 16, 1925. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Copyrighted August 20, 1925, by Pathé Exchange, Inc. Registration no. LU21738. Since the copyright was not renewed, this film is now in the public domain.

Released November 1, 1925. It was the 44th film in the series to be released.

Silent two-reeler.

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

Released into TV syndication as Mischief Makers episode no. 1057, "Stage Struck," copyrighted under original title "A Dog's Life" Sep. 1, 1960, with registration number LP19431. Recopyrighted under new title Apr. 17, 1961, with registration number LP19563.


the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
Probably credited in the film as a presenter.
Supervised by F. Richard Jones
Probably credited in the film as supervising director.
Directed by Robert F. McGowan
This credit probably appears in the film, but without his middle initial.
Assistant Director: Robert A. McGowan
Later credited as Anthony Mack. This credit derives from his payroll status as an Our Gang assistant director during this period.
Photographed by Art Lloyd
This credit derives from Lloyd's payroll status as the Our Gang cameraman during this period.
Edited by Richard Currier
This credit probably appears in the film.
Titles by H. M. Walker
This credit probably appears in the film.
Props by Charles Oelze and Don Sandstrom
This credit derives from their payroll status as Our Gang prop men during this period. Sandstrom's name is missing from the payroll summaries after the week ending June 13th.
Story by Hal E. Roach
This credit probably doesn't appear in the film.
Animal trainer: Tony Campanaro
He was Pal's trainer.
Watchman: L. Sentello
This credit derives from the studio payroll summaries, which indicate that Sentello was a watchman for the Our Gang unit during the week ending June 13th. Presumably, he was to guard the elaborate movie sets overnight.
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
laboratory superintendent - Charles Levin
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
transportation director - Bob Davis
possible uncredited involvement
writing - Robert F. McGowan, Carl Harbaugh, Frank Terry and James Parrott may have been among the gag writers.

the kids:

the moviemakers
Mickey Daniels
Featured role. He's the director of the movie, and one of the main players. As usual, he's the one in charge. His first name is used in the narrated Mischief Makers print.
Joe Cobb
Featured role. He seems to be the male lead in the gang's movie. He's referred to as "Joey" in the narrated Mischief Makers print.
Martha Sleeper
Featured role. She's the female lead in the movie, and gets a lot of screen time. She's referred to as "Cindy Lou" in the narrated Mischief Makers print.
Allen "Farina" Hoskins
Featured role. The nickname doesn't appear in this print, but is included in the narrated Mischief Makers print. He's given a lot of small comic moments in this film.
Jackie Condon
Featured role. He and Jay are left out of the fun, so they sabotage the gang's screening. His first name is used in the narrated Mischief Makers print.
Jay R. Smith as "Turkey-egg"
Featured role. He basically acts in unison with Jackie in this film. He's referred to as "Freckles" in the narrated Mischief Makers print.
Donald Hughes
Featured role. He's the rich boy that happens to own a movie camera and subsequently becomes the cinematographer. Maltin & Bann identify him as Billy Lord. He's referred to as "Lester" in the narrated Mischief Makers print.
Johnny Downs
Featured role. He's given a few moments here and there. His first name is used in the narrated Mischief Makers print.
Mary Kornman
Supporting role. She appears only sporadically, and seems to be overshadowed by Martha Sleeper. Her first name is used in the narrated Mischief Makers print.
boy 042
Small part. He's one of the shirtless boys in the gang's movie.
other boys
Small parts. There are five additional shirtless boys in the gang's movie. Presumably, the three additional crew members in the gang's movie unit are among them.

the audience
Jackie "Husky" Hanes
Small part. There are several closeups of him in the audience.
Bobby "Bonedust" Young
Small part. The nickname doesn't appear in this print. He gets a few closeups as he's watching the gang's movie. This was his series debut.
other kids
Bit parts and extras. There are perhaps 15 to 20 additional kids in the audience. One of these could possibly be David Durand, who was recently one of three prize winners in the Los Angeles Evening Express Baby Contest. Because of this, he was awarded a hundred dollars to work in the Our Gang unit for one week, which turned out to be the week ending May 30th according to the payroll summaries. Unlike the other two winners (Todd Roark and Nancy McKee), Durand had worked in the series previously.

the animals:

Pal
Supporting role. He takes part in Jackie and Jay's plot against the gang. He's referred to as "Buster" in the narrated Mischief Makers print.
dog 043
Bit part. This is the dog dressed as a sea lion. It may be dog 027a, but I think it's more likely to be the dachshund shown in later films.
other animals
Bit part. Also appearing is a large goose dressed as a peacock, which may have appeared previously.

the adults:

William Gillespie as the police officer
Small part. He shows up at the end of the film to break up the proceedings.
Lyle Tayo
Small part. She plays the mother of boy 007a. She's visited by Jackie and Jay, who let her know what's become of the movie camera.
other adults
The one remaining adult shown in the available footage is the movie star in Martha's fan magazine.

miscellaneous:

16 shooting dates went into the making of this film. About four and a half weeks after filming had finished for "Boys Will Be Joys" (no. 42), the 'start' date arrived for "Better Movies" on May 27th. Shooting continued until June 16th, when it was considered 'finished.' No shooting took place on May 31st, June 7th, or June 14th, which were all Sundays, on May 30th, which was Decoration Day, nor on June 5th. In the case of May 30th and 31st, activity was written in but then crossed out, but this appears to be a common mistake with the datebooks, in which the person filling in the information forgets to leave the pages for the days off blank. Two weeks after the finish date, filming began on "Your Own Back Yard" (no. 44).

Assuming that the watchman was needed to guard the elaborate movie sets for the gang's homemade film, then this footage would have been shot during the week ending June 13th.

The working title for this film was "Making Movies."

The sneezing in this film is caused by Newmark's Pure Pepper.

In the scene where Jackie and Jay have the cop behind them, the background changes. In the initial shots, the street is to the right, and in the later shots, the street is to the left.

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


availability:

Our Gang Silent Comedies Volume 1 (VHS) from Video Classics and
Our Gang Comedies I (VHS) from The Picture Palace
This copy is a TV print from the Mischief Makers series entitled "Stage Struck." The end title is added by Video Classics. The print totals 15:07, with 14:52 of it original footage. Roughly two-thirds of the original film is included.

special note
I've also been able to watch a very short home movie clip from the end of this film. It doesn't reveal any additional players, but it does include a couple of inter-titles.

© Robert Demoss.


My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Rob Stone (for providing the production number and shooting dates)
Drina Mohacsi (for providing a positive ID for Donald Hughes)
James Gipson (for providing Jay R.'s character name)
Matthew Lydick (for providing an explanation for David Durand's presence in the payroll ledgers)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)


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