Release no. C-738.
Filmed April 4 to 7, 1938. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.
Music cue sheet prepared May 14, 1938.
Released May 7, 1938. It was the 167th film in the series to be released. Early in the film season, Fred Quimby of MGM set a projected release date for this production of March 26, 1938.
Copyrighted May 11, 1938, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP8054. Renewed June 16, 1965, with registration no. R362818. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2033.
Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents Our Gang in "Feed 'Em And Weep".'
King World Productions episode no. 42a, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions. This version is listed as "Feed 'Em & Weep."
Four shooting dates went into the making of this film. Here's a breakdown of the activity, deriving from the call
sheets, daily film reports and various memos:
Mar. 25 - A Funk memo from this date to Van Keuren states that "Happy Birthday To You" was being cleared for vocal-visual usage through Mr. Decker at MGM in New York.
Mar. 26 - A Funk memo from this date to Van Keuren states that "Many Happy Returns Of The Day" was being cleared for vocal visual use with partially new lyrics through Decker. This was requested by Douglas.
Mar. 28 - A Raguse memo from this date to Van Keuren relays a wire from Decker which states that visual vocal use of "Many Happy Returns" would cost two hundred dollars normally, but changing lyrics would bring the total fee to three hundred dollars.
Mar 31 to Apr. 2 - A surviving script derives from these dates. Alfalfa is referred to as "Alf," and Leonard Landy's character is called "Mortimer." Most significant, though, is Buckwheat, who is included in a script that was finished just two days prior to the first day of shooting.
Apr. 2 - A Van Keuren document from this date states "We are going to make only three of the remaining five pictures in our series, at which time The Gang unit will be transferred to Metro and they will continue the series thereafter." This reflects the fact that Roach owed MGM twelve one-reelers per season from 1936 to 1938. The current season had started with "Framing Youth" (no. 159), but only made it to ten films with "Hide And Shriek" (no. 169).
Apr. 4 - This was the first day of shooting. Scheduled were Alfalfa, Porky, Darla, Phillip Hurlick (sic), Gary Lee (sic), Wilma Cox, Johnny Arthur, and an animal man to handle the dog, the baby ducks and the frog. Also ordered was a birthday cake and other food. Shooting was to take place on the interior home set on Stage 4. The film was untitled at this point. The daily film report adds a cat to the list of animals and lists Gary as Gary Jasquer. The first portion of the film was mostly completed on this date, using the interior kitchen and interior dining room and hall sets. A Collum memo from this date to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, requested that Alfalfa, Darla, Porky, Johnny Arthur, Wilma Cox and Phillip Hurlic, all be 'started' as of this date.
Apr. 5 - This was the second day of shooting. Scheduled were Alfalfa, Porky, Darla, Phillip Hurlick (sic), Gary Jasgur, Wilma Cox, Johnny Arthur, and the animal man. Shooting was to take place on the interior home set on Stage 4. The film was untitled at this point. The daily film report reveals that Alfalfa was sick and did not work. So basically, the cast and crew worked around his shots. I suspect that Porky and Phil were seated right next to Johnny Arthur at the dinner table so that work could be accomplished on this date, especially since the previous date dealt with the part of the film that takes place before the boys sit down. Only the dining room set was used on this date. A Raguse memo from this date copying in Van Keuren, O'Brien, Burch, Douglas and Tarver, stated that the title "Feed Them And Weep" was being cleared through Mr. Orr in New York.
Apr. 6 - This was the third day of shooting. Scheduled were Alfalfa, Porky, Darla, Phillip Hurlick (sic), Gary Jasgur, Wilma Cox, Johnny Arthur, and the animal man. Shooting was to take place on the interior home set on Stage 4. It appears that this was originally intended to be the last day of shooting, but a note on the call sheet states that more shooting was scheduled for the next day. The call sheet was still listing this film as untitled. The daily film report specifies that a dog, a cat and ducks were used on this date. All of the activity took place on the interior dining room set.
Apr. 7 - This was the final day of shooting. Present were Alfalfa, Porky, Darla, Phil, Johnny, Wilma and Gary. Also present was Marvin Hatley, 'recording on set.' This was the day on which Alfalfa's song was shot, as well as Leonard Landy's series debut. Shooting took place on the interior dining room and hall set, and the interior kitchen set. The daily film report for this date states that the production was completed. A Collum memo from this date to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, requests that Alfalfa, Porky, Darla, Johnny, Wilma, and Phillip be 'closed' as of this date.
A March 24th Van Keuren letter from this date to Fred Quimby of MGM suggests the hiring of several members of the Our Gang crew, pending the agreement of the proposed transference by the two companies. These members were director Gordon Douglas, cameraman Art Lloyd, assistant director Lawrence Tarver, property man Charles Oelze, school teacher Fern Carter, writer Bob McGowan, and writer Hal Law. "The above persons have been associated with the Gang for many years, understand their peculiarities, and I feel are best suited to economically expedite the pictures. With the exception of Gordon Douglas, they all work on a week to week basis, and while we cannot guarantee delivery to you, I feel certain that they would be very glad of the opportunity to continue with the Unit." The last three people on the list did indeed move to MGM with the Gang. Douglas was loaned to MGM by Roach for two months.
A document prepared at the beginning of the film season gave projected dates for all of the one-reelers to be released. Editing on this film was to begin on Feb. 25th, with the negative cut on Mar. 9th and shipped to MGM on Mar. 12th, and the film released on Mar. 26th.
A press item states that Alfalfa was the first honorary bat boy for the Hollywood Stars baseball team at Wrigley Field, where they played the San Francisco Seals as part of a 'father and son' day. The date given is April 7th, which would conflict with Alfalfa's shooting schedule. However, a perusal of newspaper archives reveals that the Stars and the Seals did indeed play each other on this date, though there were more games over the weekend. Saturday the 9th seems to be a likelier candidate for the Alfalfa game.
© Robert Demoss.