Alfalfa's Double

film no. 187

technical details:

Production 2656.

Release no. C-134.

Filmed October 2 to 6, 1939.

Copyrighted December 29, 1939, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP9494. Renewed December 30, 1966, with registration no. R399227. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2034.

Released January 20, 1940. It was the 187th film in the series to be released.

All-talking one-reeler, lasting 10 minutes and 42 seconds.

Opening title: 'Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Our Gang in "Alfalfa's Double".'

the crew:

Produced by Jack Chertok for M-G-M
The film credit reads: Produced by Loew's Incorporated.
Directed by Edward Cahn
This credit appears in the film.
Director of Photography: Sidney Wagner, A. S. C.
This credit appears in the film.
Film Editor: Albert Akst
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
Passed by the National Board of Review
As indicated in the film.
Teacher: Fern Carter

the kids:

Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as "Alfalfa" aka "Alfie" aka "Alf" and as "Cornelius Smythe III" aka "Corny"
Lead role. He switches places with his lookalike. The servants address Cornelius as "Master Cornelius." Alfalfa introduces himself as "Alfalfa the First."
Darla Hood as "Darla"
Supporting role. Cornelius is as smitten with her as Alfalfa is.
George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Supporting role. He takes a leadership role within the gang.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Buckwheat"
Supporting role. He's purely an ensemble player.
Leonard Landy as "Leonard"
Supporting role. He's purely an ensemble player.
Mickey Gubitosi as "Mickey"
Supporting role. He's purely an ensemble player.
other kids
Small part and bit part.
(1.) A publicity photo reveals a deleted scene in which Alfalfa had a baby brother in this film. As usual, the baby was made up to look like him.
(2.) There is at least one moment in which a double is used for Alfalfa.

the animals:

Bit part. The only animal in this film is the MGM lion.

the adults:

Anne O'Neal as "Miss Webley," the governess
Supporting role. She does most of the ordering around, and also plays piano during the dance lesson.
Barbara Bedford as Alfalfa's mom
Small part. She orders Alfalfa to clean up the yard.
woman 182 as "Aunt Patricia"
Small part. She warns Cornelius about the Our Gang kids, and is then aghast at his behavior.
Hank Mann as the railway agent
Small part. He gives up the bottle after seeing two Alfalfas.
Milton Parsons as "Willoughby"
Small part. Alfalfa calls him "Willfultree." He's seen at the railroad station, and then briefly at the estate.
Emil Zarek as "The Professor"
Small part. He's Cornelius' dance instructor.
other adults
Small parts, bit parts and extras.
(1.) The proprietor at the ice cream parlor.
(2.) "Williams," the butler.
(3.) "Uncle Roger" aka "Roger Smythe."
(4.) The chauffeur.
(5.) The other man next to the governess at the train station.
(6.) At least four extras at the train station.

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.
"Pizzicato Polka" by Johann Strauss II and Josef Strauss
Written in 1869 by both brothers. This is played twice during Cornelius's dancing lesson. Alfalfa whistles a variation as he walks back into his yard.
"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 October 2 to 6, 1939.

A publicity photo reveals some deleted footage in which Alfalfa has a baby brother. The scene is set in the backyard, indicating that Alf probably had to take care of the baby, in addition to his other chores.

Alfalfa and Cornelius cross paths at the Greenpoint train station. Alfalfa picks up his package at the Greenpoint Transfer Co. The town name also turns up in the dialogue.

In the category of unseen characters, Cornelius's mother is named "Gwendolyn."

See page 236 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:
Matthew Lydick (for identifying Emil Zarek)
Bryan Bishop (for identifying "Pizzicato Polka")
Eric Feick (for information about "Our Gang's Favorite - Alfalfa")
Doug Curran

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