Surprised Parties

film no. 207

technical details:

Production 2770.

Release no. C-397.

Filmed February 5 to 10, 1942.

Copyrighted May 28, 1942, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP11377. Renewed May 29, 1969, with registration no. R462537. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2037.

Released May 30, 1942. It was the 207th film in the series to be released.

All-talking one-reeler, lasting 10 minutes and 51 seconds.

Opening title: 'Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Our Gang in "Surprised Parties".' The end title for this film promotes the buying of war bonds and stamps.

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: Walter Lundin, 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:

Billy "Froggy" Laughlin as "Froggy"
Lead role. The gang decides to throw a surprise party for him. Thinking he's uninvited, he shows up as a girl. As a girl, he refers to himself as "Puddin' Tane."
George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky" aka "Spank"
Featured role. He's the leader of the gang.
Janet Burston as "Janet"
Supporting role. It's her idea to throw the party.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Buckwheat"
Supporting role. He brings the chicken.
Mickey Gubitosi
Supporting role. He's seems to be second-in-command in the gang.
Gene Collins
Small part. He abruptly ends Froggy's speech and then exclaims that this party is full of surprises. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Frank Lester Ward.
James Gubitosi
Small part. I'm pretty sure that he's the kid that suggests playing games while the kids are waiting for Froggy to arrive.
Leon Tyler as "Jimmy"
Bit part. This is the kid having the party at the start of the film.
Giovanna Gubitosi as "Gloria"
Bit part. Later known as Joan Blake. She's one of the two girls that Froggy overhears talking about the party.
Tommy Tucker
Bit part. He's the boy that ties the blindfold and then argues with Froggy. It may be that Maltin & Bann's listing of Robert Ferrero was meant for this boy.
John "Buz" Buckley
Bit part. He's on the left, speaking with Frank Ward on the sidewalk, and then the two of them walk away when Froggy arrives.
other kids
Bit parts and extras. Presumably, the kids at the first party are also at Froggy's party. There are perhaps twenty-five more kids in the film. Notable is the boy that Froggy pushes out of the way to pin the tail on the donkey. The first three kids that Froggy encounters on the street are "Peggy," "Gert" and "Spud."

the animals:

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

the adults:

Margaret Bert as "Miss Laughlin," Froggy's mom
Bit part. The gang asks her about Froggy's whereabouts. Spanky addresses her as "Miss Laughlin" twice, but the script probably said "Mrs."

the music:

"Our Gang" by David Snell
This is played over the opening titles. The end version is played over the end title. 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.
"The Curse Of An Aching Heart" by Al Piantadosi and Henry Fink
Published in 1913, with music by Piantadosi and words by Fink. Will Oakland had a number two hit with this song the same year, and Fats Waller had a number four hit with it in 1936. In this film, Froggy is singing it to himself as he enters the clubhouse.
"The Gang Goes Home" by David Snell
This is a shorter version of "Our Gang," including only "London Bridge."
other music
The only remaining music in this film is the chime effect that occurs six times as Froggy thinks to himself.


Six shooting dates went into the making of this film, from February 5 to 10, 1942.

This film was made with two separate end credits. The one in the Warner Brothers DVD set is the usual version seen during this period. The TV print has a different font style and includes the message 'America Needs Your Money, Buy Defense Bonds and Stamps Every Pay Day.'

The surprise party is held at the Our Gang Club House.

The kids live in Greenpoint in this film.

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:
Ray Frieders (for providing casting directory info on Tommy Tucker)
Joe McCaig (for pointing out the alternate end credit in this film)
bigshotjones (for identifying Giovanna Gubitosi)

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