Come Back, Miss Pipps

film no. 199

technical details:

Production 2720.

Release no. C-392.

Filmed January 28 to 31, 1941.

Copyrighted October 14, 1941, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP10783. Renewed October 17, 1968, with registration no. R445655. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2036.

Released October 25, 1941. It was the 202nd film in the series to be released.

All-talking one-reeler, lasting 10 minutes and 52 seconds.

Opening title: 'Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Our Gang in "Come Back, Miss Pipps".' This film has new designs for both the opening and end titles.

the crew:

Produced by M-G-M
The film credit reads: Produced by Loew's Incorporated. The script indicates that Jack Chertok and Richard Goldstone were still running the short subject department.
Directed by Edward Cahn
This credit appears in the film.
Director of Photography: Clyde DeVinna, A. S. C.
This credit appears in the film.
Film Editor: Leon Bourgeau
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.
Art Director: Richard Duce
This credit appears in the film.
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:

George "Spanky" McFarland
Featured role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. He's the leader among the kids and also plays "Mr. Pratt" in the play, whose name had previously been "Simon Legree."
Mickey Gubitosi as "Mickey"
Featured role. It's his birthday party that leads to the trouble, and he's the one that introduces the play.
Billy "Froggy" Laughlin as "Froggy"
Featured role. In the play, it's his birthday that's being celebrated.
Darla Hood as "Darla"
Featured role. She plays "Miss Pipps" in the play.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas
Supporting role. The nickname doesn't appear in the dialogue. He's present with the rest of the kids, but isn't given a lot of specific attention.
Leon Tyler
Supporting role. He plays "Mr. Smith" in the play.
Giovanna Gubitosi
Small part. Later known as Joan Blake. She's the girl in the audience that tells her father how mean Mr. Pratt is.
James Gubitosi
Extra. He's the kid standing to the right in the scene in which Mr. Swanson talks to the kids. He later is standing to the left at Mr. Pratt's birthday party.
Venita Vincent
Extra. A 1941 casting directory states that she appeared in this film. In the onstage classroom, she sits next to Froggy.
Tommy McFarland
Extra. He sits next to Mr. Pratt during the play.
girl 199
Extra. She's the girl that sits behind Darla in class.
other kids
Small parts and extras. There are nineteen additional kids in the class. Maltin & Bann list Teresa Mae Glass among them, but I haven't familiarized myself with her yet.

the animals:

Bit part. The MGM lion appears during the opening titles.
other animals
Small part. The only other animal in the film is "Charlie," the horse that pulls Mr. Swanson's carriage.

the adults:

Clarence Wilson as "Mr. Pratt" aka "Alonzo K. Pratt"
Featured role. He's chairman of the school board, and gets Miss Pipps fired for throwing a birthday party.
Sara Haden as "Miss Pipps"
Featured role. She's given onscreen credit. She's the kindly schoolteacher who gets fired.
Christian Rub as "Mr. Swanson"
Featured role. He's given onscreen credit. He's the custodian at the school, and comes up with the idea of the play. Maltin & Bann mistakenly identify his character name as "Mr. Swenson."
Byron Foulger as "Attorney Arthur Prince"
Supporting role. He presides over the board meeting and then does the same when the parents demand that something be done about Pratt.
Billy Bletcher as Froggy's dad
Small part. He's given one line of dialogue.
Barbara Bedford as one of the parents
Small part. She sits to the right of the board members and accuses Pratt of running the school like a prison.
other adults
Small parts and extras.
(1.) "Steve," the caterer.
(2.) Four additional board members.
(3.) Perhaps fifteen to twenty additional parents, most notably Darla's dad and the father of girl 189.

the music:

"Our Gang" by David Snell
This is played over the opening titles, and artificially lengthened to accomodate an extra title card. This is the earlier recording, used prior to "The Big Premiere" (no. 189). 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.
"Happy Birthday To You" by Mildred J. Hill and Patty Smith Hill
Originally published in 1893 as "Good Morning To All" in a songbook called Song Stories For The Kindergarten. It was later renamed "Good Morning To You." Later, an unknown person changed the words and retitled the song "Happy Birthday To You." The earliest known publication of this version was in 1924. In this film, the class sings it to Mickey.
"The Gang Goes Home" by David Snell
This is a shorter version of "Our Gang," including only "London Bridge."


Four shooting dates went into the making of this film, from January 28 to 31, 1941. Here's a breakdown of the script activity:
Nov. 18 - A McGowan & Law script entitled "Come Back, Miss Pipps" derives from this date, and lists Nov. 9th, 13th and 18th, as the dates on which it was written. The ice cream man is referred to both as "Steve" and "Stephen." Froggy mentions "Uncle Walt" and "Aunt Minnie." The horse is named "Charlie." And Leon Tyler's stage character is referred to as "Citizen." Essentially, very little changed between this script and the finished film. A second copy of the script, also from this date, was okayed by Jack Chertok and Richard Goldstone.
Dec. 7 - Changes were made to the script on this date. Strangely enough, the folder holding the script had previously been labeled with another film title. The title "Come Back, Miss Pipps" was pasted over the earlier title. This folder credits Ann Cunningham with the original story, but it isn't clear if she worked on the Our Gang film or not. Perhaps the earlier title was a working title for this Our Gang short, or perhaps the folder had been used for an unrelated project.

The title of this film is a spoof on "Goodbye, Mr. Chips."

The kids attend Greenpoint Public School, although Spanky calls it the Greenpoint Grammar School. The ice cream is delivered by Greenpoint Caterers.

In the category of unseen characters, Froggy quotes his "Uncle Walt." Could this be a reference to Walter Wills? He also quotes his "Aunt Minnie."

See page 236 of Maltin & Bann's book for this film's expenses and profits.

A story version of this film was included in the book Our Gang On The March in 1942.

© Robert Demoss.

My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
bigshotjones (for identifying Giovanna Gubitosi)

The Lucky Corner Homepage