Back Stage

film no. 13

technical details:

Production A-13.

Filmed December 15, 1922 to January 9, 1923. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Released on June 3, 1923. It was the 13th film in the series to be released.

Copyrighted June 6, 1923, by Pathé Exchange, Inc. Registration no. LU19038. 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 "Back Stage".' The heading may have instead read '"Our Gang" Comedy' or '"Our Gang" Series.'

the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
Probably credited in the film as a presenter.
Directed by Robert F. McGowan and Tom McNamara
The film probably credits McGowan only, but without his middle initial F. McNamara's status as a co-director is revealed by Camera magazine for the week starting Jan. 8th.
Assistant Director: Clarence Morehouse
This credit derives from Morehouse's payroll status as the Our Gang assistant director during this period, as well as Camera magazine for the week starting Jan. 8th.
Photographed by Len Powers
This credit is based on Powers' payroll status as the Our Gang cameraman up until the week ending Jan. 13th, as well as Camera magazine for the week starting Jan. 8th. It's also possible that Harry W. Gerstad worked on the film, since he had been involved with the series by this time.
Titles by H. M. Walker
This credit probably appears in the film.
Props by Charles Oelze and Dick Gilbert
This credit derives from their payroll status as Our Gang prop men during this period.
Story by Hal E. Roach and Tom McNamara
This credit probably doesn't appear in the film. McNamara was credited as a scenario writer in Camera magazine for the week starting Jan. 8th. R. H. Fahe was listed in the payroll summaries as an Our Gang gag man during this period.
Teacher: Fern Carter
Released by Pathé Exchange, Inc.
This was, incidentally, the 13th and last film delivered as per the original contract. A second contract arranged for films to be distributed through the current season and to the end of the following season.
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
purchasing superintendent - John L. Murphy
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves and Gene Kornman
possible uncredited involvement
supervision - Charles Parrott (better known as Charley Chase) may still have been director-general at the studio when this film was started, but had stepped down by the time of its release.
editing - Credit usually went to Thomas J. Crizer during this period.
titles - Tom McNamara probably illustrated the title cards.
writing - Robert F. McGowan, Thomas J. Crizer and Leo McCarey may have contributed gags.

the kids:

featured players
Allen "Farina" Hoskins as "Farina"
Featured role. He's featured more than any of the other kids, and has his most notable outing so far, particularly when he's disrupting the show. He's a 'he' in this film.
Mickey Daniels as "Mickey"
Featured role. He's the tour guide on the gang's bus, and gets involved in helping the vaudevillian.
Jackie Condon as "Jackie"
Supporting role. He's the bus conductor in the early scenes, and helps the vaudevillian with his show in the later scenes.
Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison as "Ernie"
Supporting role. He's the bus engineer in the earlier scenes, and takes part in the show later on.
Jack Davis as "Jack"
Supporting role. He's seen early in the film collecting bugs, which he unwittingly lets loose in the theater.
Joe Cobb as "Joe"
Supporting role. He's shown assisting Jack with his bug collecting, and then becomes a nuisance to the adults in the theater.
Andy Samuel
Supporting role. He's shown during the stage show, and is one of the main kids during this portion.

other kids
Dorothy Hughes as "Pansy"
Small part. She's seen briefly flirting with Mickey as she boards the bus.
boy 009b
Bit part. The second boy to board the bus, he was previously seen in "The Champeen!" (no. 9) and "A Pleasant Journey" (no. 11).
Peggy Ahern
Extra. She's the brunette girl with bangs shown in the audience with Lassie Lou Ahern.
Lassie Lou Ahern
Extra. She's the chubby brunette girl next to Peggy.
Gabe Saenz
Extra. He appears on the upper deck of the bus.
girl 011
Extra. She's seen riding on the upper deck of the bus and may also be in the audience during the stage show sequence. She looks like the girl from "A Pleasant Journey" (no. 11).
boy 009a
Extra. He's to the right and in front among the boys that Mickey waves to in the balcony.
other kids
Bit parts and extras.
(1.) The first boy to board the bus. He just might be boy 001.
(2.) At least fifteen or twenty additional kids in the audience during the stage show. Mickey addresses some of the boys in the balcony from the stage, referring to one of them as "Hap." Three additional boys are shown on the upper deck of the bus.

the animals:

monkey 004
Featured role. Presumably the same monkey from "One Terrible Day" (no. 4), he appears throughout the stage sequence.
Bill the Bulldog
Supporting role. He appears off and on throughout the film with Jack and Joe.
donkey 013
Small part. He serves as locomotion for the bus. Maltin & Bann misidentified him as Dinah the Mule.
Dinah the Mule
Bit part. She appears during the stage sequence.
pony 001
Bit part. This is the larger of the two ponies, previously seen in "Our Gang" (no. 1), "Young Sherlocks" (no. 3) and "One Terrible Day" (no. 4).
pony 002
Bit part. The smaller of the two ponies, this seems to be the one from "Fire Fighters" (no. 2), or maybe "The Big Show" (no. 7).
other animals
Bit parts and extras.
(1.) A goat seen at the beginning of the film, and probably the same one seen during the stage sequence.
(2.) Three rabbits appear during the magician's act.
(3.) Four geese are shown during the stage sequence.
(4.) At least one chicken in the background of the bus sequence.
(5.) A dog appearing in the background at the beginning of the film and later during the stage sequence. Similar to dog 002, but with different coloring.
Several bugs are shown both in the early and later parts of the film.

the adults:

William Gillespie as the head of the touring show
Featured role. He's virtually the star of the film, particularly during the second half.
Wallace Howe as the manager of the theater
Supporting role. He's seen frequently during the stage sequence, threatening to arrest the vaudevillian if the show doesn't go on.
Richard Daniels
Small part. He tries to slap the fake spider.
Beth Darlington
Bit part. Looks like her to me as part of the vaudeville troupe, but she's not listed by Maltin & Bann.
woman 013
Bit part. The woman with the frizzy hair to the right of the woman with the spider over her head. She later appeared in "Lodge Night" (no. 15) and "Stage Fright" (no. 17).
James W. Cobb
Bit part. He's disturbed by Farina while sitting in a box seat.
Roy Brooks as the traffic cop
Bit part. Maltin & Bann don't list him, but it sure looks like him.
Dick Gilbert as an outside worker
Extra. He's much easier to pick out than Young.
Charley Lloyd as an outside worker
Extra. According to Maltin & Bann, but I don't see how they were able to identify him. They list him as Charley Young.
Robert F. McGowan
Extra. He's seen briefly getting out of the way of the bus.
other adults
Small parts, bit parts and extras.
(1.) The cross-eyed custodian of the theater.
(2.) The woman Joe irritates with the fake spider. Looks similar to the woman with the little dog in "A Pleasant Journey" (no. 11).
(3.) The three men in the show troupe besides Gillespie.
(4.) Jack's dad, who appears briefly.
(5.) Scores of people in the theater audience, many of whom are seen in closeup. According to Maltin & Bann, Jack Hill is among them, but I've yet to spot him. Perhaps he's the guy in the balcony that coaxes the dog to run to the stage.

the locations:

vacant lot
I don't know the location, but the vacant lot shown when Ivadell Carter is picked up, and also the previous passenger, is the same one featured in "Olympic Games" (no. 63).
Hercules Motor Oil
This is where the gang goes for a fill-up.


20 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Shooting began on Dec. 15th, the day after initial shooting had ending for "Giants Vs. Yanks" (no. 12), and continued until Jan. 9th, when the 1923 datebook reads 'finishing.' It should be noted that on Dec. 19th, shooting took place for both "Back Stage" and "Giants Vs. Yanks." No shooting took place on Dec. 24th, Dec. 31st, or Jan. 7th, which were all Sundays, nor on Dec. 25th, which was Christmas, or on Jan. 1st, which was New Year's Day. There was also no shooting done on Dec. 23rd, giving the company a three-day weekend. To compensate for this, they worked on Sun., Dec. 17th. Shooting for "Back Stage" was scheduled to continue on Jan. 10th, but retakes for "The Big Show" (no. 7) were started instead.

A datebook belonging to Lassie Lou Ahern (and presumably compiled by her mother) reveals that the footage of the theater audience, which included extra parts for Lassie Lou and her sister Peggy, was shot on Jan. 6th.

The datebooks also give information regarding what the weather was like on each of the shooting dates. Most of the dates were described as 'bright.' Specifically, the weather was 'bright & warm' from Dec. 23rd to 27th, and 'fairly bright' on the 29th. The 15th was described as 'dark - showers etc.' the 17th as 'showers & dark,' and the 28th as 'dark - showers.' No description was given for Dec. 31st.

This film was the first of six in the third 'series' of Our Gang films.

There were 38 copies of this film printed for its initial release.


The Our Gang Collection - Volume 3 (DVD) from
Released July 2007. Like the versions listed below, this is a home movie print from Exclusive Movie Studios with original inter-titles. However, in this case, the picture quality is noticeably better, and two of the inter-titles which are only briefly on the screen in the other versions are freeze-framed in this one. The footage totals 26:11, with 26:01 of it original. This appears to be a nearly complete print.
Rascals Silents Vol. 1 (VHS) from A-1 Video
This is the home movie print from Exclusive Movie Studios. The picture quality can be described as fair. The print totals 19:50, with 19:47 of it original footage. The shorter running time is primarily the result of faster projection.
Our Gang Silent Comedies Vol. 2 (VHS) from HenryButch
This seems to be copied from the A-1 version.
Our Gang Volume #1 (VHS) from Grapevine Video and also from The Picture Palace
This is essentially the same as the A-1 version, but it adds an Exclusive Movie Studios end title. The footage totals 19:47, with 19:41 of it original. This version has appeared numerous times on bootlegs.
Our Gang Silent Comedies Vol. 6 (VHS) from Video Classics and
Our Gang Comedies VI (VHS) from The Picture Palace
These versions are essentially the same as Grapevine's.
Little Rascals Volume 5 (DVD) from East West Entertainment
This is the Exclusive print.

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© Robert Demoss.

My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Rob Stone (for providing the production number and shooting dates)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Matthew Lydick (for the correct spelling of Gabe Saenz's last name)
James A. Gipson (for correcting the number of geese in this film)

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