film no. 200

technical details:

Production 2710.

Release no. C-298.

Filmed December 3 to 6, 1940.

Released April 26, 1941. It was the 199th film in the series to be released.

Copyrighted April 30, 1941, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP10444. Renewed May 2, 1968, with registration no. R434831. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2036.

All-talking one-reeler, lasting 10 minutes and 21 seconds.

Opening title: 'Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Our Gang in "1-2-3-Go!".' The titles still had the earlier artwork with the sideview MGM lion in relief.

the crew:

Produced by M-G-M
The film credit reads: Produced by Loew's Incorporated. For some reason, Jack Chertok and Richard Goldstone are not credited by Maltin & Bann, but they were in charge of the short subject department during this period.
Directed by Edward Cahn
This credit appears in the film.
Director of Photography: Jackson Rose, A. S. C.
This credit appears in the film.
Film Editor: Leon Bourgeau
This credit appears in the film.
Screenplay 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 as "Spanky"
Featured role. He organizes the safety society and is basically the spokesman.
Mickey Gubitosi as "Mickey Gubitosi"
Featured role. It's his accident and resultant broken leg that inspires the formation of the safety society.
Billy "Froggy" Laughlin as "Froggy"
Featured role. He provides a few comic moments along the way and gives the speech at the end of the film.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Buckwheat"
Supporting role. He's present with the main group throughout the film, but is only given a few specific things to do.
Giovanna Gubitosi
Small part. Later known as Joan Blake. She's the girl eating ice cream during the meeting, and interacts with the cab driver later on.
James Gubitosi
Small part. He's the boy that has to give up a home run because it went into the street. He's more easily seen in the shot where Spanky faints.
Edward Lewis as "Big Shot"
Bit part. Buckwheat pulls him out of the street and scolds him.
Freddie Walburn
Bit part. He's mostly in the background, but is also the boy that retrieves the home run from the street.
boy 200
Bit part. He's the first kid to demonstrate the safety procedure on the street.
girl 199
Bit part. She's the second kid to demonstrate the safety procedure on the street.
Vincent Graeff
Extra. He's the umpire in the baseball game.
other kids
Bit parts and extras.
(1.) Perhaps twenty to twenty-five additional kids at the baseball games, which probably are the same that make up the club. The first boy at bat is named "Jimmy." There is also one more boy featured demonstrating the safety procedures.
(2.) The additional bedridden kids in the children's ward, numbering perhaps ten, plus the six Italian siblings of one of the patients.

the animals:

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

the adults:

John Dilson as the mayor of Greenpoint
Small part. Spanky calls him "Mr. Mayor." He gives a speech at the end of the film.
Margaret Bert as one of the nurses
Small part. She's the nurse at the reception desk.
May McAvoy as "Miss Jones," one of the nurses
Small part. She's called away and gives Mickey's seditive to another nurse.
Joe Young as the man at the accident scene
Small part. He witnesses the accident and calls for an ambulance.
Arthur Hoyt as "Horace," one of the pedestrians
Small part. He shows his wife that he's a member of the safety society.
Anne O'Neal as one of the pedestrians
Small part. She's Horace's wife.
Barbara Bedford as "Ann," one of the nurses
Bit part. She gives Mickey his seditive.
William Tannen as the cab driver
Bit part. He shows Giovanna that he's also a member.
woman 182
Extra. She's one of the dignitaries with the mayor.
other adults
Bit parts and extras. Maltin's earlier The Great Movie Shorts lists Charles Evans, but this name is omitted from Maltin & Bann's book.
(1.) The driver of the car that hits Mickey.
(2.) The cop at the accident scene.
(3.) The other mothers in the children's ward, numbering probably no more than five, and most notably the Italian woman.
(4.) The other adults in the last scene, including two press photographers.
(5.) The two ambulance workers.
(6.) The nurse operating the switchboard at the hospital, and at least one more nurse in the children's ward.
(7.) At least two hospital orderlies, one leaving the elevator and one in the children's ward.
(8.) Three women and one man in the hospital lobby.
(9.) Various pedestrians and drivers.

the music:

"Our Gang" by David Snell
This is played over the opening titles. 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.
"Drums And Cymbals"
This is the title given to the uncopyrighted cacophony produced by the boys at the hospital reception desk.
"Traffic Montage" by Daniele Amfitheatrof
This is the music played as the kids use their safety measures out on the street and adults join in the club, too. It continues through the second baseball game and ends right before the radio broadcast.
"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 December 3 to 6, 1940.

The gang's club is called the Our Gang 1-2-3-Go Safety Society. At the end of the film, their barn is turned into a National Headquarters.

The gang lives in Greenpoint in this film, and Mickey is taken to the Greenpoint Hospital.

In the category of unseen characters are "Angelina" and "Rosa," the two Italian kids that can't visit their sister in the hospital because they're helping their papa in the restaurant. Also, there's "Dr. Williams" and "Police Chief Hobson."

MGM published a bi-monthly publication called Shortstory, and an article relating to this film appears in the edition of May/June 1941. It reads as follows:
'The National Motion Picture Traffic Safety Council which represents twenty-odd safety councils and works in close cooperation with innumerable civic organizations, governmental bodies, industrial groups, professional societies, motor clubs and the like, has thrown its entire resources behind M-G-M's Our Gang comedy "1-2-3 Go!"
There is only one purpose of this organization and that is to cut down the number of traffic accidents. Since "1-2-3 Go!" was made with their collaboration and has as its theme a new idea for accident prevention the Committee wants as many people as possible to see the film. Their interests, therefore, and the interests of exhibitors who show this one-reeler are the same.
Stills and mats on the film are being distributed by the Committee to hundreds of publicity outlets. They have arranged with their member organizations to approach exhibitors, first, to show the film, second, to work with exhibitors in publicizing the showing, using the influence they have in their community to aid in any way possible.
At the suggestion of the Committee M-G-M has made up Our Gang 1-2-3 Go! Safety Club buttons to be used in the formation of local Our Gang Safety Clubs. Affiliates of the Committee have all the details on the formation of such clubs and are ready to aid exhibitors in doing so.
Efforts of the Traffic Committee have already born fruit in Los Angeles where, at a preview of the film, 600 representatives from schools, churches, fraternal organizations, Boy and Girl Scout groups and prominent women's organizations attended and pledged their organizations to cooperation with exhibitors when the film was shown.'
An illustration of the safety button is shown, with a caption stating that the buttons 'are available to exhibitors at a cost of one cent apiece. Order through M-G-M Shorts Subjects department, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY.'
There are also three photos shown of the kids of Our Gang attending the preview of the short. The first caption reads 'For a preview of the Our Gang short "1-2-3 Go!" Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer arranged a special program to urge greater traffic safety in the city of Los Angeles, particularly during the summer months when school children are on vacation. Inspector E. W. Lester and Los Angeles student traffic officers taught the "Gangsters" the proper procedure in conducting people across the street.'
For the second photo, the caption reads: 'Mickey Gubitosi and E. B. Lefferts, member of the Motion Picture Traffic Safety Committee, with whose collaboration the film was made, inspect the award which the Committee presents annually to the producers of the film which does most to encourage safer use of the nation's highways. Last year M-G-M's "Drunk Driving" won the statue. "1-2-3 Go!" is a candidate for this year's award.'
For the third photo, the caption reads: 'Edward Cahn, director of the film, and "Froggy" Laughlin, the "Gangster" with the basso voice, entertained on the program which was attended by school traffic officers and faculty advisors from more than six hundred elementary, junior and senior high schools. The gathering was also attended by civic officials, church leaders, and officers of prominent women's organizations.'
There is also a fourth photo, not taken at the preview, the caption for which reads: 'At New York City's most dangerous intersection, Broadway and 45th Street, Dwight McCracken, secretary of the Motion Picture Traffic Safety Committee, shows Dr. Miller McClintock, Committee chairman and traffic expert, the safety idea presented in M-G-M's Our Gang short, "1-2-3 Go!" The film will receive the exploitation cooperation of twenty-odd safety organizations represented by the Committee.'

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:
Lynn Paden (for alerting me to The Greenbriar Picture Shows website, which contained info on the safety campaign associated with this film)
bigshotjones (for identifying Giovanna Gubitosi, and for solving the Vincent Graeff/Billy Ray Smith dilemma)

The Lucky Corner Homepage