Telling Whoppers

film no. 56

technical details:

Production K-14.

Filmed September 10 to 18, 1926. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Copyrighted November 11, 1926, by Pathé Exchange, Inc. Registration no. LU23326. Renewed November 12, 1954, with registration no. R140920. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2021.

Released December 19, 1926. It was the 55th film in the series to be released.

Silent two-reeler.

Probable opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "Telling Whoppers".'

Released into TV syndication as Mischief Makers episode no. 1047, "The Big Bully," copyrighted Sep. 1, 1960, with registration number LP17352. 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.
Supervised by F. Richard Jones
Probably credited in the film as supervising director.
Directed by Robert F. McGowan and Anthony Mack
This credit probably appears in the film, but without McGowan's middle initial. The F stands for Francis. Mack was his nephew, whose real name was Robert A. (for Anthony) McGowan. The 1926 studio datebook credits the uncle only. The nephew was listed in the payroll summaries as an assistant director during this period.
Assistant Directors: Charles Oelze and Lloyd French
This credit derives from Oelze's payroll status as Our Gang assistant director during this period and French's comparable payroll status for the week ending Sep. 18th.
Photographed by Art Lloyd
This credit derives from Lloyd's payroll status as the Our Gang cameraman during this period.
Assistant Cameraman: W. V. Draper
This credit derives from Draper's payroll status as the Our Gang assistant cameraman starting the week ending Sep. 18th.
Edited by Richard Currier
This credit probably appears in the film.
Cutters: Lloyd Campbell and Edmund Hannan
This credit derives from Campbell's payroll status as an Our Gang cutter beginning the week ending Sep. 25th, during which this film was in post-production. Hannan was an Our Gang cutter until the same week.
Titles by H. M. Walker
This credit probably appears in the film.
Props by Don Sandstrom and Timothy O'Donnell
This credit derives from their payroll status as Our Gang prop men during this period.
Animation by S. E. Overton
This credit derives from Overton's payroll status as the studio animator during this period. The animation in this film involves Joe and Farina's faces turning white with fear, as well as the words emanating from the phonograph speaker.
Story by Hal E. Roach
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
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
possible uncredited involvement
writing - Robert F. McGowan, Robert A. McGowan, Carl Harbaugh and Frank Butler may have been among the gag writers.
animal training - It's known that Charles Oelze was involved in the scenes featuring the Oelze family dog.

the kids:

Allen "Farina" Hoskins as "Farina"
Featured role. He and Joe have the responsibility of doing away with Toughy, and when the bully is thought dead, they make a run for it.
Joe Cobb as "Joe"
Featured role. He and Farina are basically the stars of the short.
Johnny Downs as "Tuffy" aka "Toughey" aka "the Thompson boy"
Featured role. He's the kid that systematically bullies the neighborhood. The signs he puts up spell his name "Tuffy," but the inter-titles spell it "Toughey."
Bobby "Bonedust" Young as "Bonedust"
Supporting role. He's made to bark like a dog. He has more trouble than the others standing on his head.
Jay R. Smith as "Jay R."
Supporting role. In the TV print, he's the first boy that's made to stand on his head.
Jackie Condon as "Jackie"
Supporting role. In the TV print, he's the first boy that's made to pay the kitty.
Elmer "Scooter" Lowry as "Skooter"
Supporting role. He and Bonedust are made to bark like dogs.
Billy Naylor
Small part. He's the boy that overhears Toughey's mother talking to the cop and reports back to the gang.
Peggy Eames
Small part. She tells Farina and Joe that Toughey has gone off to Chicago.

the animals:

Bit part. This is the Boston Bull Terrier that licks Jay's face as he stands on his head. The dog was owned by Doris Oelze, daughter of Our Gang assistant director Charles Oelze.
Bit part. He rings Johnny's bell, much to the dismay of Joe and Farina.
other animals
Bit part. The only remaining animal in the footage I've viewed is the cat that knocks over the bust of George Washington.

the adults:

Dorothy Vernon as Toughey's mom
Small part. She summons a cop to report that her boy has been murdered, and later wallops Toughey.
Gene Morgan as one of the cops
Small part. He talks to Toughey's mom, and later tells the boys to run along and quit killing people.
Charley Lloyd as the man near the swimming hole
Bit part. He chases Toughey away from the swimming hole. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Charley Young.
F. F. Guenste as one of the cops
Extra. He can be pretty easily spotted in a publicity photo.
other adults
Small parts and bit parts.
(1.) There are at least 10 more cops. Maltin & Bann list Silas D. Wilcox and Charles McAvoy among them, but it's too hard to tell in the footage I've seen.
(2.) The butcher who hangs the noose-shaped sausages.
(3.) The woman that pours water on Bonedust and Scooter as they howl like dogs.
(4.) There's one more man present next to the lake while Toughey's mom talks to the cop.

the locations:

Motor Avenue and Woodbine Street, Palms district, Los Angeles
The kids repeatedly run around the Masonic Hall at 3402 Motor Avenue, which was located at the southeast corner of Motor and Woodbine. All sides of the building are shown during this chase, as well as the side of the Shoe Repairing shop run by J. A. Pryor at 3406 motor. Johnny's signs listing the kids he's licked and the kids he hasn't licked are leaning against the back wall of the hall. Bonedust and Scooter bark like dogs alongside the People's Water Co. at 3392 Motor. They're specifically at the far end of the building on Woodbine. There is no window above them, so presumably the woman pouring the water was filmed at the Roach studio. Johnny seems to be across the street while talking to them, but he's actually in the vacant area between the building and the alley. This vacant area is also where Jackie is forced to 'feed the kitty.' The alley is shown just to the right of him. The fence facing the right side of the alley also faces the north side of Woodbine, and this is where the boys are forced to stand on their heads. When the kids finally get fed up and start chasing Johnny, he runs east of the alley on the south side of Woodbine, all the way to the southwest corner of Woodbine and Vinton. Seen in this part are the palm trees lining this part of Woodbine, and from Johnny's point of view, we can see the back of the Masonic Hall in the distance. This stretch is also seen earlier in the film as Joe approaches the area in bandages. It also appears that the location where Johnny steals the sheet is at the first garage as you enter the alley north from Woodbine.
Motor Avenue, Palms district, Los Angeles
Johnny acquires the sheet to wrap around himself in the space between the Micholithic Mfg. Co. and the grocery store on the east side of the 3300 block of Motor. As Joe and Farina run from Johnny's 'ghost,' they run south down the middle of the 3300 block. They later travel down this stretch again, with views of the Palms Hardware Co. at 3351 Motor and the Arthur Boetsch Barber Shop at 3347 Motor. Also seen in the background of some of these shots is the house at the corner of Motor and Irene where Dickie Moore lived in "Free Wheeling" (no. 117). Later, they run down the 3500 block, with brief views of both sides of the street. Of special note is The Palms School on the east side of the block, which can be partially seen.
Motor and Featherstone Avenues, Palms district, Los Angeles
During Joe and Farina's wild ride, they spin around at one point in the middle of this intersection. Seen as a blur in the background are the Palms Feed & Fuel on the southwest corner, the Palms Garage on the southeast corner, and the Palms Lumber Co. towards the east on National Boulevard. The northeast corner now has a structure or two, though the picture isn't sharp enough to tell what it is. Presumably, it's the gas station later seen in "Hook And Ladder" (no. 116). The northwest block has both the house normally seen midway up the block, plus the house at the southwest corner of Motor and Irene. Featherstone Avenue is now part of a rerouted National Boulevard.
Culver Hotel, Culver City
Joe and Farina run past the Adams Hotel as they start encountering the police, and then are seen along the Putnam Avenue (now Culver Boulevard) side of the Culver Hotel as the police run back and forth. In the background of these shots is the Adams Hotel. There's also a shot in which they run into the underground walkway at the eastern corner of Washington Boulevard and Van Beuren Place, only to immediate emerge with the cops following them. The Culver Hotel is seen in the background of this shot. This was also the location of the blindman's chair in "Your Own Back Yard" (no. 56).
Overland Avenue, Palms district, Los Angeles
At one point, the baby carriage is rolling down the long hill on this street that ends at about Featherstone Avenue (now Rose Avenue). This hill was also featured in "One Wild Ride" (no. 45) and "Free Wheeling" (no. 117).
Star Cars Auto Parts
As the cops are gathered in front of this building, Farina and Joe are hiding in a baby carriage in front of the furniture store to the right.
Putnam Avenue, Culver City
This street is now part of Culver Boulevard. The police truck is seen going west on this street and making a left turn onto Irving Place (which is unseen in the shot). On the north side of Putnam, where Washington Boulevard crosses it at the 'Culver/Washington X,' a business called Classy Cleaners can be seen. In another shot, the group of running cops is at the eastern corner of Putnam and Irving.


8 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Nearly a week after shooting finished for "War Feathers" (no. 54), the 'start' date arrived for "Telling Whoppers" on Sep. 10th. Shooting continued until the 'finish' date of Sep. 18th. No shooting took place on Sep. 12th, which was a Sunday. Robert F. McGowan directed on every shooting date. A week and a half after the finish date, shooting started for "Bring Home The Turkey" (no. 57).

The one-reel home movie version is entitled "Telling Stories."

The gang's clubhouse is called "Our Shack."

The lake in the film is called Coogan Lake.

In addition to Jackie, Skooter, Jay R. and Bonedust, the names on Tuffy's "Kids I Have Licked" list are Pinky, Micky, Toad, Skinny, Perk, James, Chuck, Chink, Sam, Eb, Marty, Ted, Snow-Ball, Egebert and Percie. In addition to Joe and Farina, the names on Tuffy's "Kids I'm Gonna Lick" list are Spuky, Turtle, Tom, Jonesy, Lefty and Billy.

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


Rascals Silents Vol. 2 (VHS) from A-1 Video
A clip from this film lasting 2:54 appears as part of the hybrid Mischief Makers episode entitled "An Average Day.".

special note
In addition to the TV episode, I've been able to view some of this short in home movie form.

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 and shooting dates)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Joe Blatterman (for identifying the location of Classy Cleaners)
Doris Oelze & Nancy Thompson (for identifying Diamond the dog in this film)

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