Rover's Big Chance

film no. 209

technical details:

Production 2780.

Release no. C-399.

Filmed April 25 to 29, 1942.

Released August 22, 1942. It was the 209th film in the series to be released.

Copyrighted August 25, 1942, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP11594. Renewed September 4, 1969, with registration no. R467997. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2037.

All-talking one-reeler, lasting 10 minutes and 49 seconds.

Opening title: 'Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Our Gang in "Rover's Big Chance".' With this film, the end title reverted to the earlier lion-in-relief version, and lingers longer than usual.

the crew:

Produced by M-G-M
The film credit reads: Produced by Loew's Incorporated. It's likely that Richard Goldstone okayed the script for this short, which would indicate that he was still running the short subject department. Jack Chertok may have still been around as well, but his name disappears from the scripts during this period.
Directed by Herbert Glazer
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.
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"
Featured role. He's the pitcher on the gang's team, and later directs the other kids as they demonstrate acting for Rover.
George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Featured role. He's the catcher on the gang's team, and later plays Rover as the kids act out his scene for him.
Janet Burston as "Janet"
Supporting role. She's the 'ofishal skorer' at the game, and later plays 'fire.'
Bobby Blake as "Mickey"
Supporting role. He plays the little boy Tim as the gang acts out the scene. This is the first film in which Maltin & Bann list him as Bobby Blake rather than Mickey Gubitosi, but they indicate that they're merely approximating. However, he definitely had the screen name by this time, since this film was shot in April, the same month that the feature film "Mokey" was released, which credited him as Bobby Blake.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Bucky"
Supporting role. He plays Tim's father as the gang acts out the scene. It sounds very much like Froggy calls him "Bucky," which was what the other kids called him offscreen, and was also his character name in some of the later comic books.
Clyde Demback as "Fatty"
Small part. He's the second baseman on the gang's team, and gets replaced by Rover.
Freddie Chapman as "Tony"
Bit part. He's the second batter after Rover enters the game, and makes the last out of the inning.
Bobby Anderson
Bit part. Also known as Robert Anderson. It appears that he's the batter that hits the pop fly that's caught by Rover.
other kids
Bit parts and extras. Maltin & Bann list Billy Finnegan, but I can't find him anywhere. There are at least fifteen more kids at the game, including the umpire, and players with names that sound like "Eddie" and "Petie."

the animals:

Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
other animals
Featured role. The only remaining animal in this film is the dog that plays "Rover."

the adults:

Byron Shores as "J. D. Broderick," the casting director
Supporting role. He witnesses Rover's abilities on the baseball diamond and arranges for the audition.
Horace McNally as "Wm. Paterson" aka "Bill," the director
Supporting role. He receives onscreen credit. Later known as Stephen McNally. He unsuccessfully tries to direct Rover.
Hugh McCormick as "Professor Ventriloko"
Small part. The gang meets him in the casting office, and then again at the end of the film.
Barbara Bedford as the studio clerk
Small part. She's the first person the gang talks to at the studio.
Ben Hall as "George," the propman
Bit part. He brings dog biscuits to Froggy.
Bert Le Baron as the grip
Extra. I don't which of the crew members this is.
other adults
Bit parts and extras.
(1.) "Bentley" the chauffeur.
(2.) Perhaps another ten people present on the movie set.
(3.) Ten to fifteen more people in the casting office, including "Gert," the other clerk.
(4.) Other motorists in the early scenes, and at least one bicyclist.

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.
"The Gang Goes Home" by David Snell
This is a shorter version of "Our Gang," including only "London Bridge."

the locations:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios
An aerial view of the studio is shown, where it's passed off as Mammoth Studios.


Five shooting dates went into the making of this film, from April 25 to 29, 1942.

The two baseball teams are Our Gang and the Gas Housers.

The fake studio in this film is Mammoth Picture Studios, Inc.

The script that Broderick is reading is for a film called "Atop The Cliff Or Over The Valley." This fictitious script was written by McGowan & Law. I can't make out the name of the producer who okayed it.

In the category of unseen characters is "Mr. Russell," who is in conference. Two of the characters in the script read by Broderick are "Fearless Dan" and "Killer McSneer." In Rover's audition, he plays "Trey," and his master is a little boy named "Tim."

See page 236 of Maltin & Bann's book for this film's expenses and profits. This film suffered a net loss at the box office.

© Robert Demoss.

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