Playin' Hookey

film no. 65


availability:

Our Gang Silent Comedies Volume 7 (VHS) from Video Classics and
Our Gang Comedies VII (VHS) from The Picture Palace
This copy is a home movie print from the Motion Picture Bureau entitled "Who's Afraid?" The inter-titles are original, but the picture quality is very poor. The print totals 12:43, with 12:38 of it original footage. Roughly two-thirds of the original film is included.

Rascals Silents Vol. 2 (VHS) from A-1 Video
A clip from this film lasting 4:50 appears as part of the hybrid Mischief Makers episode entitled "An Average Day.". The picture quality is fairly good, and the footage is not included in the Video Classics version.


technical details:

Production K-23 or K-24. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

K-23 was filmed May 24 to June 7, 1927. K-24 was filmed June 27 to 29, and August 1 to 6, 1927. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Released January 1, 1928. It was the 69th film in the series to be released.

Copyrighted February 6, 1928, by Pathé Exchange, Inc. Registration no. LU24959. 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 "Playin' Hookey".'

Released into TV syndication as Mischief Makers episode no. 1011, "Movie Makers," copyrighted Sep. 1, 1960, with registration number LP17316. Footage also went into episode no. 1053, "Hollywood U.S.A.," copyrighted Sep. 1, 1960, with registration number LP17358. Footage also went into episode no. 1072, "An Average Day," copyrighted Sep. 1, 1960, with registration number LP17774.


the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
Probably credited in the film as a presenter.

Directed by Anthony Mack
This credit probably appears in the film. Mack is actually Robert A. (for Anthony) McGowan, the nephew of series director Robert F. McGowan.

Titles by H. M. Walker
This credit probably appears in the film.

Animal Trainer: Harry Lucenay
He was Pete's owner and trainer.

Teacher: Fern Carter
Released by Pathé Exchange, Inc.
Passed by the National Board of Review
Probably indicated in the film.

studio personnel
possible uncredited involvement


the kids:

Joe Cobb as "Joe"
Lead role. He basically takes the lead role, saving Pete from being shot, then taking him to the studio to act in a film.

Allen "Farina" Hoskins as "Farina"
Supporting role. He's introduced at home with his sister, then joins the gang to observe Pete's debut at the studio.

Jannie Hoskins as "Zuccini"
Supporting role. She's seen with Farina pretty much throughout the film.

Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins
Supporting role. He's Joe's little brother and is seen at the beginning of the film encouraging Pete to tear things up around the yard.

Jay R. Smith
Supporting role. He does mostly ensemble acting in this film.

Harry Spear
Supporting role. He does mostly ensemble acting in this film.

Jackie Condon
Supporting role. He does mostly ensemble acting in this film.

Jean Darling
Small part. She's Joe's little sister and is seen at the beginning of the film.

Mildred Kornman
Bit part. She's the baby the Pete must protect in his film debut.


the animals:

Pete (no. 1) as "Pansy"
Lead role. He's virtually the star of the film, getting himself estranged from his owners and breaking into the movies.

other animals
Bit parts.
(1.) A puppy with a ring around his eye.
(2.) A kitten on Farina's porch.
(3.) Three kittens in the laps of Wheezer and Jean.
(4.) About 17 chickens that have taken refuge on the power lines.


the adults:

at home
Budd Fine as Joe's dad
Supporting role. He decides that the only way to deal with Pete is to shoot him.

Lyle Tayo as Joe's mom
Supporting role. She's fed up with Pete, too, but not enough to want him dead.


at the studio
Edgar Dearing as "Herr Dun der Blitzen"
Supporting role. He's the director of the period drama, and a parody of German directors in general.

William Gillespie as one of the movie stars
Supporting role. He's the lead actor in the period drama, and the victim of the gang's repeated tramplings.

Stanley "Tiny" Sandford as "Mike," the studio guard
Supporting role. He's basically in charge of getting the gang off the studio grounds.

Charlie Hall as the movie star dressed as Chaplin
Supporting role. He's the lead actor in the Keystone-ish comedy.

Charlie Oelze as the property man
Bit part. He instructs Hall on the use of the gun powder.

Dorothy Coburn as the actress at the makeup table
Bit part. She gets hit by a pie.

Edith Fortier
Bit part. According to Maltin & Bann. She was Farina's aunt and onset guardian. She's wearing a maid's outfit and gets hit by a pie.

other adults
Bit parts and extras.
(1.) The director who gives Pete a tryout.
(2.) The directors of the other three films the gang disrupts, plus cameramen for all four. There's also a wardrobe assistant, perhaps four musicians and a handful of other assistants. Charles Meakin, Lincoln Plummer and Harry Arras are listed by Maltin & Bann as movie-makers, but the faces can't be made out in this print.
(3.) The leading actress in the period drama.
(4.) The old woman in the melodrama.
(5.) The bearded man in the slapstick comedy.
(6.) The waiter in the slapstick comedy.
(7.) The other actor playing a surgeon.
(8.) Eight Keystone-ish cops in the slapstick comedy, five of whom are listed by Maltin & Bann as Ed Brandenberg, Chet Brandenberg, Jack Hill, Arthur Millett and Sam Lufkin.
(9.) Seven cops from the prison film chasing the kids around.
(10.) The convict from the prison film.
(11.) Four villains that threaten Mildred.
(12.) Various actors in costume chasing the kids around. Initially there are two lions, three monkeys and a bear, but there seems to be an additional monkey and bear later on. Then there is a devil and four skeletons, and then two guys in a triceratops costume.


the locations:

Hal E. Roach Studios
Including Stage One, which is seen in the shot where the camera follows the gang as they walk onto the stage. Much of the studio is shown in this film.


miscellaneous:

Maltin & Bann list this film as the 65th in the series, which would logically mean that it was production K-23, and that the 66th film, "The Smile Wins," was production K-24. However, in the lists given to me by Rob Stone, the two films are switched, making "The Smile Wins" production K-23, and "Playin' Hookey" production K-24. It should be noted, though, that Rob's list also makes the same kind of switch with "Free Wheeling" (no. 117) and "Birthday Blues" (no. 118), as well as "Divot Diggers" (no. 142) and "The Pinch Singer" (no. 143), and in these cases, independent evidence shows Maltin & Bann's order of production to be correct. So far, I haven't come across any independent evidence to break the tie between productions K-23 and K-24. One point that supports Rob's list is the fact that the 1927 datebook credits McGowan with directing K-23 and Mack with directing K-24, which corresponds to the onscreen credits for "The Smile Wins" and "Playin' Hookey," respectively. However, the datebooks consistently contradict onscreen credits during this period. One point that supports Maltin & Bann's list is the fact that Jannie Hoskins, who was almost always a day worker during her stint with Our Gang, was given a weekly salary during the filming of K-24. Her most prominent role in the series was in "The Smile Wins."

12 shooting dates went into the making of production K-23. Only two days after filming had finished for "The Glorious Fourth" (no. 64), the start date arrived for production K-23 on May 24th. Shooting continued until June 7th, when it was considered 'finished.' No shooting took place on May 22nd, May 29th, or June 5th, which were all Sundays, nor on May 30th, which was Decoration Day. Robert F. McGowan directed on each of the shooting dates. It should be noted that May 23rd was originally written in as the start date for this production, but was crossed out. This may have simply been an error by the person filling in the information, as it also occurs on Sunday, June 5th. One week after filming ended, the Our Gang unit began shooting "Yale Vs. Harvard" (no. 67).

9 shooting dates went into the making of production K-24. Just three days after shooting finished for "Yale Vs. Harvard," the 'start' date arrived for production K-24 on June 27th. Shooting continued only until June 29th, after which four and a half weeks of non-activity passed while the studio was closed for the summer. Filming resumed on Aug. 1st and continued until Aug. 6th, when it was considered 'finished.' Anthony Mack directed on each of the shooting dates. No shooting took place on June 26th or July 31st, which were both Sundays. Two days after shooting finished, the Our Gang unit began to film "The Old Wallop" (no. 68).

An excerpt from this film was used for the opening titles of the TV series "Comedy Capers," produced by National Telepix, the same folks who brought us "Mischief Makers."


©Mar. 8, 2005, by Robert Demoss.
2005 updates: 3/16, 4/3, 4/25.
2006 updates: 6/12, 10/25.
2007 updates: 4/1, 10/22, 12/8.
2008 updates: 2/21, 3/31, 7/6.
2009 updates: 5/9, 5/22, 5/23, 6/15, 6/19, 7/26.


Thanks to Rob Stone and Joe Moore for assistance on this page.


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