Your Own Back Yard

film no. 44


technical details:

Production K-2.

Filmed June 30 to July 29, 1925. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Copyrighted August 28, 1925, by Pathé Exchange, Inc. Registration no. LU21857. Since the copyright was not renewed, this film is now in the public domain.

Released September 27, 1925. It was the 43rd film in the series to be released.

Silent two-reeler.

Probable opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "Your Own Back Yard".' The sheet music for the song "Stay In Your Own Back Yard" reads like this, except that it substitutes the word "Comedy" for "Comedies."


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 and Len Powers
Maltin & Bann list only McGowan, and the film probably reflects this, but without his middle initial. He's credited on the cover of the sheet music mentioned below. According to Rob Stone's list, McGowan and Powers co-directed July 10 to 13.
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 Ernest Tucker
This credit derives from their payroll status as Our Gang prop men during this period. Tucker's name first appears in the payroll summaries the week ending July 11th.
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. H. Cushman
This credit derives from the payroll summaries, which indicate that Cushman served as a watchman for the Our Gang unit during the week ending July 11th.
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
school teacher - Fern Carter was probably away from the studio while this film was being made, though the payroll summaries reveal that she was receiving her salary during this period.
possible uncredited involvement
photography - Since Len Powers co-directed for a few days, he may have also done some photography.
writing - Robert F. McGowan, Carl Harbaugh, Hal Yates, Frank Terry and James Parrott may have been among the gag writers.

the kids:

Allen "Farina" Hoskins as "Farina"
Lead role. He's the star of the film. His mother tells him to stay in his own back yard to avoid being picked on by the white kids.
Mickey Daniels
Supporting role. He cons Farina out of his ice cream cone.
Johnny Downs as "John Downs"
Supporting role. He's the one that sets up the trick camera. His name appears on his scooter, which Farina tries to ride without permission.
Joe Cobb as "Joe"
Supporting role. He excitedly runs home to tell his mother that the doctor has delivered a baby, but she already knows.
Jackie Condon
Supporting role. He assists Johnny with his camera.
Mary Kornman
Supporting role. Like everybody, she falls victim to the trick camera.
other kids
Bit part and extra.
(1.) The Mexican boy who sells the jumping beans to Farina.
(2.) Two black girls who tease Farina because of the hole in the seat of his pants.
(3.) A background kid who gets out of the way of Joe as he runs by, and another background kid roller skating down the street.

the animals:

Pal
Supporting role. He's one of the dogs who's given dental cream, only to be mistaken for a mad dog. His highlight occurs when he 'freezes' in front of a taxidermist's office.
Buster
Supporting role. He's the smallest of the three dogs.
Dinah the Mule
Apparent small part. She's seen in Farina's back yard.
other animals
Small parts.
(1.) The little white goat named Narcippus, who follows Farina everywhere. An alternate print of the film with non-original titles calls him 'Narcissus.'
(2.) The third 'mad dog.'
(3.) Two chickens that have a tug of war over a worm, plus several other chickens, chicks, ducks and geese, in Farina's yard.
(4.) A dog shown in the background accompanying pedestrians.

the adults:

woman 044 as Farina's mom
Supporting role. She tells him to stay in his own back yard.
William Gillespie as half of the quarrelsome couple
Small part. He and Fay Wray have words with each other.
Fay Wray as the other half of the quarrelsome couple
Bit part. According to Maltin & Bann. The surviving footage isn't clear enough for me to tell.
Charley Oelze as the man with the samples
Bit part. According to Maltin & Bann. He's giving away the samples of dental cream. I can't positively identify him in the footage I've seen.
Harry Bowen as the donor
According to Maltin & Bann. Presumably they mean one of the people who put money into Farina's cup.
other adults
Small part and bit parts.
(1.) Several cops chase after the dogs. Farina thinks they're after him.
(2.) Several people exiting a building through a revolving door.
(3.) The man setting down the hot rod of metal.
(4.) Several pedestrians and drivers.

the music (sort of):

"Stay In Your Own Back Yard" by Karl Kennett and Lyn Udall
Written in 1899 with lyrics by Kennett and music by Udall. The sheet music for this song is shown at the beginning of the film. Subsequent to this film's production, the front cover of the sheet music was changed to include a photograph of Farina and his mother in the back yard, with the gang looking over the fence behind them. This later issue of the sheet music mispelled Kennett's last name as Kenneth.

the locations

Motor Avenue and Woodbine Street, Palms district, Los Angeles
The ice cream is eaten in front of the Masonic Hall at 3402 Motor Avenue, which housed an ice cream parlor among other things. This building was at the southeast corner of Motor and Woodbine. Seen right next to it is the Shoe Repairing shop run by J. A. Pryor at 3406 Motor. Seen in the background on the northeast corner is the People's Water Company, located at 3392 Motor Avenue. When Joe excitedly runs past Mary, he runs right by the Micholithic Mfg. Co. on the east side of the 3300 block of Motor. This building had previously housed the Palms Chamber of Commerce. The grocery store at 3384 Motor is also shown in this scene.
Culver Hotel, Culver City
As Farina spins around in dizziness, he's situated at the intersection of Culver Boulevard and Main Street. We see both the Culver Hotel, as well as the Adams Hotel on the opposite side of Main, in this extended shot, and also get a view looking north on Main. Farina also walks along the Washington Boulevard side of the Culver Hotel right after this, with a view of the entrance to the underground walkway at the corner of Washington and Main. When he sits on the hot piece of metal, he's at the narrow part of the building that faces the Culver Washington 'X.' A shoe store can be seen in the background of this shot across Culver Boulevard. When he sits in the blind man's chair, he's next to the First National Bank of Culver City at 9434 Washington Boulevard, at the eastern corner of the T-intersection with Van Beuren Place. As people put money in his cup, the Culver Hotel is seen behind him across Washington. The underground walkway that's entered at this spot presumably leads to the earlier location.
Farina's house
This location also served as Farina's home in "Monkey Business" (no. 48). Location information connected with "Bring Home The Turkey" (no. 57) reveals that this house was on or around Motor Avenue.
Bacon's Pharmacy and Safeway Stores, Palms district, Los Angeles
This was located at 3568-3570 Motor Avenue. William Gillespie and his girl walk by the Safeway store and stop at the northeast corner of Motor Avenue and Tabor Street, where the pharmacy is located. This is also where we get Mickey's first glimpse of Farina in his new duds. In the zoom-in on Farina, we're looking south on the east side of Motor, with Tabor right behind him. The business on the left is the Bacon Pharmacy.

miscellaneous:

Reportedly, 21 shooting dates went into the making of this film, more than usual for this time period. It seems likely that unused footage from this production went into "One Wild Ride" (no. 45), which was shot in only four days. Two weeks after filming finished on "Better Movies" (no. 43), the 'start' date for "Your Own Back Yard" arrived on June 30th. Shooting continued until July 16th, after which it was suspended for some reason. According to Maltin & Bann, some of reel one was reshot after a disappointing preview, so presumably this explains the delay. The datebook entry for the 17th reads 'will not shoot until July 20th,' and for the 18th, it similarly reads 'not working until 20th.' Filming resumed, not surprisingly, on July 20th, but lasted only until July 23rd. The entry for the 24th reads 'will not shoot until Monday,' while the entry for the 25th similarly reads 'not shooting until Monday.' Sure enough, filming resumed on Monday, July 27th (though the production is mistakenly labeled E-2 rather than K-2), and lasted until July 29th. After this, four days of shooting went into "One Wild Ride," with August 4th being the day when filming was 'finished' (something that hadn't been indicated since "Better Movies"). No shooting took place on July 5th, 12th, 19th or 26th, which were all Sundays, nor on July 4th, which was Independence Day. It should also be noted that McGowan shared his directorial duties with Len Powers on July 10th, 11th and 13th.

It must have been raining the day Farina twirled around in the intersection of Main and Culver, since there's water on the ground.

The Oct. 31, 1925, issue of Motion Picture News reported a publicity stunt by the management of Shea's Hippodrome in Buffalo, NY, in which a series of letters, all purportedly signed by Farina, were sent out to various prominent locals. It read:
"Dear Mister__________
I have lots of trubbles becaus evrybudy pix on me but i will get even with them if you will tell the little boys and little girls that i will be at mister Shay's Hipodroum next Sunday and they made me cal my show "Your Own Back Yard." I just know how much you will like me and my gang and my show and pleas tell all yore frinds about me."

There were 35 copies of this film printed for its initial release.


availability:

This film is not officially available, and has, until recently, been considered lost. A reel containing all of reel one and a bit of reel two has been found in England, while most of reel two was donated to the Library Of Congress in 1979. There is also a company named Televista which has a negative of this film awaiting restoration.


© Robert Demoss.


My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Robin Cook (for pointing out the presence of an unidentified Mexican boy in the cast, and verifying the absence of any 'beggar' in the film, as well as various other details)
Rob Stone (for providing the production number and shooting dates, as well as a more accurate directorial credit)
Michelle Schacht (for the correct spelling of Karl Kennett's last name)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Geoff Lucas (for clarifying the name of the goat)


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