The Fourth Alarm!

film no. 53

technical details:

Production K-11.

Filmed May 24 to June 14, 1926. See the 'miscellaneous' below for details.

Copyrighted September 17, 1926, by Pathé Exchange, Inc. Registration no. LU23126. Since the copyright was not renewed, this film is now in the public domain.

Released September 12, 1926. It was the 53rd film in the series to be released.

Silent two-reeler. Also released as a five-reeler for the European market.

Opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "The Fourth Alarm!"' The lobby card doesn't put the exclamation point in the title (and neither do Maltin & Bann).

Released into TV syndication as Mischief Makers episode no. 1015, "The Big Fire," copyrighted Sep. 1, 1960, with registration number LP17320.

the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
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 Directors: Robert A. McGowan and Charles Oelze
McGowan was later credited as Anthony Mack. The payroll summaries were listing McGowan as the assistant director for the Our Gang unit during this period, but were still listing Oelze as a prop man. Rob Stone's list gives sole credit to Oelze.
Photographed by Art Lloyd
This credit probably appears in the film.
Edited by Richard Currier
This credit probably appears in the film.
Cutter: Lloyd Campbell
This credit derives from Campbell's payroll status as the Our Gang cutter during this period.
Titles by H. M. Walker
This credit probably appears in the film.
Props by Don Sandstrom
According to Rob Stone's list. Oelze is also listed as a prop man in the payroll summaries from this period.
Animation by E. H. Young
This credit derives from Young's payroll status as the studio animator during this period. Also listed as R. H. Young. The animation in this film involves the kitchen fire.
Story by Hal E. Roach and Robert F. McGowan
This credit probably doesn't appear in the film.
Animal trainer: Tony Campanaro
He was Pal's trainer.
Teacher: Fern Carter
Released by Pathé Exchange, Inc.
Passed by the National Board of Review
As 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 A. McGowan, Hal Yates, Carl Harbaugh and James Parrott may have been among the gag writers.

the kids:

Joe Cobb as "Joe"
Featured role. He's the chief of the gang's fire department, and has to periodically give Mildred her worm remedy.
Allen "Farina" Hoskins
Featured role. The nickname doesn't appear in this print. He's given a few comedy moments, particularly the one with the fire hose.
Mildred Kornman as "Mildred"
Supporting role. She's featured pretty strongly in this short, as Joe has to keep feeding her the worm remedy.
Bobby "Bonedust" Young as "Bonedust"
Supporting role. He's given a few comic moments, getting stuck while trying to slide down the pole, and getting his pants on fire.
Mary Kornman
Supporting role. She helps Joe take care of Mildred, and discovers the explosives. This was her last appearance in the series barring reunion appearances.
Johnny Downs
Supporting role. He's in a partial leadership role in this short, not the chief, but still somewhat in charge.
Jay R. Smith as "Turkie-egg"
Supporting role. He's sent out with Abie to look for a fire.
Elmer "Scooter" Lowry
Supporting role. He's given a bit of extra screen time, but is mostly part of the ensemble.
Jackie Condon
Supporting role. He mostly does ensemble acting in this film.
Jannie Hoskins
Supporting role. She's seen mostly with Farina in the barn scene.
boy 032
Small part. This is the blonde boy previously seen in "Every Man For Himself" (no. 32).
Billy Naylor
Extra. I haven't been able to spot him in the film itself, but he is clearly shown on at least one lobby card, and would have been present during the firehouse scenes.
Mickey Daniels
He was present on at least one day of shooting. In a publicity photo from that day, the kids are all in their firefighting outfits and are posing with a visiting elderly couple. Standing with the group is Mickey, wearing regular clothes. A lobby card from this film includes a photo that seems to show Mickey posing with the gang. He's still in regular clothes, but his shorts have been replaced with long pants and his jacket is off. Looking at the film, the one boy not in a firefighting uniform does indeed resemble Mickey.
Julia Blake
A publicity photo reveals her to be one of the kids in the opening bathing suit sequence.
Howard "Brandy" Brandenburg
He's also identified in the publicity photo as one of the kids in the opening sequence.
other kids
Supporting role and small parts.
(1.) The boy that plays "Abie."
(2.) There are at least 3 additional boys in the fire department, most notably the one driving the hook and ladder, and the one picking his nose as he sleeps.
(3.) Several additional kids in the opening swimsuit sequence, one of whom was named Paul.

the animals:

Pal as "Pal"
Supporting role. He's the motor power for one of the vehicles, as well as part of the alarm system.
Small part. This dog is the one that takes Joe's pants.
Dinah the Mule as "Humidor"
Small part. She pulls the wagon driven by Johnny and Mary.
mule 053 as "Cuspidor"
Small part. Or maybe it's a donkey. It has bigger ears and is smaller than Dinah, but still resembles her. Could possibly be the mule from "Uncle Tom's Uncle" (no. 50). It pulls the hook and ladder.
other animals
Small parts. The two goat pulling Jackie's vehicle, named "Violet" and "Sweet Willium".
See the fly crawling on Pal's collar at the end of the film?

the adults:

Gene Morgan as the fire chief
Supporting role. He's the most prominent adult in the film.
George B. French as the chemist
Small part. He's the one that keeps explosives in his office.
Ham Kinsey as one of the firefighters
Bit part. In the scene at the end of the film where the firefighters join up with the gang, he's in the back and to the right.
other adults
Small parts, bit parts and extras.
(1.) The housewife whose kitchen fire is put out by the gang.
(2.) At least three more firemen, one of whom is listed by Maltin & Bann as Ed Brandenberg, but I'm not sure which one.
(3.) Charles Bachman is listed as a cop, but it's pretty hard to tell.
(4.) One other cop as well.
(5.) There are also dozens of pedestrians. Maltin & Bann list Sam Lufkin among them, but I don't know which one they mean. The old man that gets drenched looks like he might be William A. Orlamond.

the locations:

Van Beuren Place, Culver City
Footage was shot in Culver City June 1st through 5th. This would have presumably included the footage shot at the actual Fire Department shown in the film, with the makeshift merry-go-round and water slide built next to it. This was located at 415 Van Beuren Place, just south of the First National Bank of Culver City. Just to the left of the Fire Department and housed in the same building, but not shown in the film, were the City Hall and Police Department. This was actually an interim City Hall which existed until the better-known third variation was built elsewhere. The original City Hall had been replaced by the Culver Hotel.
Motor Avenue and Woodbine Street, Palms district, Los Angeles
Footage was shot in Palms on June 5th, 7th and 8th. There was also footage shot back at the studio on the 8th. When the kids first leave in their fire wagon, we see it moving south and exiting the alley onto Woodbine midway between Motor and Vinton. During its journey, it travels up the 3300 block of Motor, with background views of the house at 3359 Motor and a brief glimpse of part of the Palms Hardware Co. at 3351 Motor. In the shot of Jackie riding along, the Palms Chamber of Commerce is seen behind him at 3438 Motor. In the shot where Bonedust is trying to put on the 'brakes,' they're at the intersection of Motor and Stilson. The buildings behind the Home Made Bakery are shown in the background. I haven't been able to specify the locations elsewhere on this journey, but the spot where Bonedust gets hosed off is right next to the vacant lot featured in "Olympic Games" (no. 63). Also, at the end of the film when the mule runs off with the wagon, she's seen against the back wall of the Masonic Hall at 3402 Motor.
Hal Roach Studios, Culver City
The barn set was used May 24th through 28th. Some of the June 8th footage was also shot here. The downtown scene with the fire was shot on the New York exterior set on June 10th and 11th.
Culver City
Footage was shot here from June 1st to 5th.
Footage was shot here on June 5th, 7th and 8th.


18 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Three and a half weeks after shooting finished for "Shivering Spooks" (no. 52), the 'start' date arrived for "The Fourth Alarm!" on May 24th. Shooting continued until the 'finish' date on June 14th. No shooting took place on May 23rd, May 30th, June 6th or June 13th, which were all Sundays. There was also no shooting on May 31st, which was Decoration Day. Information was entered in for this date, but crossed out, probably indicating that the person entering the information absent-mindedly forgot to skip the page for that date. Over seven weeks passed before the Our Gang unit started shooting "War Feathers" (no. 54). The studio was closed during four of these weeks, but director McGowan was shooting overseas footage for "Seeing The World" (no. 55).

The Gang's fire station is called Engine Comp. No. 2.

In an easily missed gag, there's a 'for sale' sign in the window of the burning building which has been altered later in the film to read 'fire sale.'

On the wall of the firefighters' sleeping quarters is a drawing of a horse previously seen in "Circus Fever" (no. 35).

40 still images were printed into numerous press photos to promote this film.

The calendar in the woman's kitchen is for April, which makes it a Monday through Sunday calendar.


Our Gang Comedies (3 LD set) from MGM/UA Home Video
Released 1994. This copy has an original opening title and inter-titles, but no crew credits. The picture quality is very good, and the main body of the film is essentially complete. The original footage totals 20:30.
The Our Gang Collection - Volume 2 (DVD) from
Released Mar. 2007. This is comparable to the MGM/UA version. The original footage totals 21:38.
The Little Rascals Collection (5 DVD set) from Passport Video
Released July 13, 2004. This copy is essentially like the one on the laserdisc. The Pathé rooster appears at the end, but is followed by a remade end title. The picture quality is good. The name of the boxed set is superimposed in the lower righthand corner. The print totals 20:29, with 20:24 of it original footage. There's also a clip lasting 0:02 included in the main menu of all 5 DVDs, showing Joe.
Our Gang Silent Comedies Volume 7 (VHS) from Video Classics and
Our Gang Comedies VII (VHS) from The Picture Palace
This copy is essentially the same as Passport's, but the Pathé rooster is followed by a PathéComedy end title. The picture quality is fairly good. The print totals 20:29, with 20:28 of it original footage.
Our Gang Silent Comedies Vol. 2 (VHS) from HenryButch
This copy is essentially the same as Passport's, but with a different end title, and at least one of the inter-titles missing. The print totals 20:11, with 20:09 of it original footage.
Our Gang Volume #8 from Grapevine Video and also from The Picture Palace
This copy is essentially the same as Passport's, except that the end title is generic, some of the footage is missing, and the picture quality is fairly poor. The print totals 18:16, with 18:14 of it original footage. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs.
Our Gang Silent Comedies #2 (VHS) from Nostalgia Family Video
This copy is essentially the same as Grapevine's, but with a different soundtrack. The print totals 18:21, with 18:18 of it original footage.
Hal Roach's Rascals 3-Tape Set (3 VHS set) and
Hal Roach's Rascals (DVD) from Brentwood Video
VHS released Feb. 2000. DVD also included in a 2 DVD set with same-named volume. This copy is identical to Grapevine's. Also included is a documentary entitled Hollywood Hall Of Fame, with 16 clips from this film. The 1st lasts 0:04, and shows Farina with the fire hose. The 2nd lasts 0:01, and shows the burning house. The 3rd lasts 0:23, and shows the gang putting out the stove fire. The 4th lasts 0:10, and shows the gang leaving the station. The 5th lasts 0:07, and shows the gang pumping water. The 6th lasts 0:03, and shows the gang racing to the fire. The 7th lasts 0:29, and also shows the gang racing to the fire. The 8th lasts 0:05, and shows Farina with the fire hose. The 9th lasts 0:07, and shows the gang playing in the water. The 10th lasts 0:02, and shows the gang discouraged. The 11th lasts 0:02, and shows Pal the dog with the mule. The 12th lasts 0:03, and shows Mildred. The 13th lasts 0:13, and shows Joe trying to give medicine to Mildred. The 14th lasts 0:06, and shows Joe trying to give medicine while on the run. The 15th lasts 0:02, and shows a man getting hosed. And the 16th lasts 0:20, and shows the gang being awakened by the alarm.
Our Gang Comedies presents Hal Roach's Rascals 2 Pack (2 VHS set) from Brentwood Video
Released Nov. 2000. Also released as part of Our Gang Comedies presents Hal Roach's Rascals 10 Pack 10 VHS set.
The Little Rascals & Our Gang Collection Vol. 1 (DVD) from Janus Entertainment Inc.
This was also released with Vol. 2 as a 2 DVD set entitled The Little Rascals Our Gang Collector's Edition
Laurel and Hardy and Friends - Volume Seven (VHS) from Hal Roach Studios
Released June 1, 1999.
Our Gang Volume 2 (DVD) from TV Classics
Released Sep. 5, 2003.
TV Time Comedy 100 TV Episodes (10 DVD set) from TV Time
Three Stooges, Little Rascals & East Side Kids Collection (5 DVD set) from Diamond Ent. Corp.
Released Aug. 30, 2005.
Classic Troublemakers (3 DVD set) from St. Clair Entertainment
Released Oct. 25, 2005.
Laurel And Hardy Collection (2 DVD set) from Warner Home Video
Released Apr. 18, 2006. Includes a documentary entitled "Added Attractions: The Hollywood Shorts Story. This documentary contains a clip from this film lasting 0:07 and showing Jay and Abie.

See anything that needs changing? Contact me at

© Robert Demoss.

My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Rob Stone (for providing the production number, shooting dates, location info, and some of the crew credits)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
'mrsoandso' (for noticing the drawing of the horse's head in this film and one other)

The Lucky Corner Homepage