Duel Personalities

film no. 178

technical details:

Production 2610. The script is numbered B956.

Release no. C-937.

Filmed January 22 to 26, 1939.

Copyrighted March 9, 1939, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP8784. Renewed March 9, 1966, with registration no. R381646. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2034.

Released March 11, 1939. It was the 178th film in the series to be released.

Cutting continuity submitted April 10, 1939.

All-talking one-reeler, lasting 9 minutes and 51 seconds.

Opening title: 'Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Our Gang in "Duel Personalities".'

the crew:

Produced by Jack Chertok for M-G-M
The film credit reads: Produced by Loew's Incorporated.
Directed by George Sidney
This credit appears in the film.
Photographed by Jackson Rose, A. S. C.
This credit appears in the film.
Screen Play by Hal Law and Robert A. McGowan
This credit appears in the film, but without McGowan's middle initial.
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Indicated in the opening title card.
Western Electric Sound System
As indicated in the film.
Approved by the Motion Picture Producers & Distributors of America
Certificate no. 5066.
Passed by the National Board of Review
As indicated in the film.
Teacher: Fern Carter

the kids:

Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as "Alfalfa"
Lead role. He's hypnotised into thinking he's d'Artagnan, and challenges Butch to a duel.
Tommy Bond as "Butch"
Featured role. Alfalfa calls him "Rochefort." He gets cold feet about fighting the duel, and suggests a fake duel using cap pistols.
George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Supporting role. The hypnotist refers to him as "Porthos," but Alfalfa calls him "Porthole." He protests the hypnosis and later officiates over the duel.
Darla Hood as "Darla Hood"
Supporting role. She likes the idea of the duel, but then tries to stop it.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas
Supporting role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. The hypnotist refers to him as "Athos," but Alfalfa calls him "Apos." He does mostly ensemble acting.
Eugene "Porky" Lee
Supporting role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. The hypnotist refers to him as "Aramis," but Alfalfa calls him "Automatics." He does mostly ensemble acting.
Sidney Kibrick as "The Woim"
Supporting role. He accompanies Butch to the gang's clubhouse.
Darwood Kaye as "Waldo"
Small part. He observes the duel with the other kids, and then escorts Darla away afterwards.
Shirley Coates
Bit part. The "Muggsy" moniker doesn't show up in the dialogue, but it's clear that she's playing this character. She points out to Darla that the boys might get killed.
Priscilla Lyon
Extra. She's one of two additional girls standing there as Muggsy reprimands Darla, and is more visible than the other one, turning towards the camera and nodding.
Grace Bohanon
Extra. She's to the far left among the kids peering over the fence. Maltin & Bann list Becky Bohanon, presumably for this role.
boy 178
Extra. It appears that he's just to the right of the corner of the fence.
other kids
Bit parts and extras. There is one additional girl in the scene where Darla and Muggsy speak to each other, and there are perhaps twenty additional kids at the duel, presumably including the aforementioned girl. Maltin & Bann list Allan Randall and Ruth Tobey, but I can't spot them in the film.

the animals:

Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.

the adults:

John Davidson as "Professor William Delmore," the hypnotist
Supporting role. He hypnotises Alfalfa, but gets knocked out by a brick, giving Alfalfa plenty of time to arrange the duel with Butch.
Phillip Terry as the hypnotist's assistant
Small part. He's the assistant that introduces the different parts of the professor's performance.
Winstead "Doodles" Weaver as the other assistant
Small part. He's the assistant that's initially hypnotised by the professor.
Lester Dorr as one of the onlookers
Small part. He's the man who speaks the dialogue and is accompanied by a woman.
other adults
Bit parts and extras.
(1.) The two construction workers. The scripts refer to the one who drops the brick as the 'hod carrier.'
(2.) The onlookers at the demonstration, numbering perhaps 25. Maltin & Bann list Marry Milford, but I'm not sure which onlooker they're referring to.
(3.) A handful of pedestrians walking by in the background, which may be some of the onlookers.

the music:

"Our Gang" by David Snell
This is played over the opening titles. This is a medley of three songs:
(1.) "London Bridge" - The earliest reference to this nursery rhyme is in a play from 1659, and it was associated with children by 1720. It may derive from a part of the "Heimskringla" by Snorri Sturluson, which was composed around 1225.
(2.) "Mulberry Bush" - Also known as "So Early In The Morning" and "This Is The Way." It was probably originally called "Here We Go Round The Bramble Tree" in the mid 18th century, with the type of tree changed by inmates of Wakefield Prison, who exercised around a mulberry bush.
(3.) "The Farmer In The Dell" - This nursery rhyme is of uncertain origins.
"The Gang Goes Home" by David Snell
This is a shorter version of "Our Gang," including only "London Bridge."


Five shooting dates went into the making of this film, from January 22 to 26, 1939. Here's a breakdown of the script activity:
Jan. 11 - A treatment by McGowan & Law derives from this date. The original title "In Love Again!" is crossed out and replaced by "Duel Personalities." The story begins at the breakfast table with Alfalfa's parents. His father reads about hypnotist Professor Von Hinten in the newspaper. Alfalfa meets up with the gang and they head over to Darla's house, only to find Butch there. Most of the rest of the story matches the finished film. However, after Darla leaves with Waldo (following the fake duel), Alfalfa and Butch becomes pals. This ends when a pretty girl happens by.
Jan. 13 - A treatment by McGowan & Law derives from this date. At this point, the hypnotist's name is Professor Vibro. The breakfast table scene is still intact, and Alfalfa's mother is named Barbara, suggesting that Barbara Bedford probably would have played this role had it ended up in the film.
Jan. 17, 18 and 19 - A script by McGowan & Law derives from these dates. This script was okayed by Jack Chertok. Everything is essentially as it is in the film. The breakfast table scene has been omitted and the hypnotist is now named Professor William Delmar.

Prof. Delmore gives his free public demonstration in front of the Greenpoint Herald. This is the first reference to Greenpoint in this series.

The cutting continuity provides some variation regarding Buckwheat and Porky's musketeer names. Buckwheat is listed as "Aphis," even though it sounds much more like "Apos" (or perhaps "Apus"), while Porky is listed as "Aromatic," even though Alfalfa clearly calls him "Automatics" in the film.

See page 235 of Maltin & Bann's book for this film's expenses and profits.

© Robert Demoss.

My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)

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