Calling All Kids

film no. 215

technical details:

Production 2810. The script is numbered B4935.

Release no. C-494.

Filmed December 28 to 31, 1942.

Cutting continuity submitted April 12, 1943.

Copyrighted April 13, 1943, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP12011. Renewed April 14, 1970, with registration no. R482800. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2038.

Released April 24, 1943. It was the 214th 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 "Calling All Kids".'

the crew:

Produced by M-G-M
According to Maltin & Bann. The film credit reads: Produced by Loew's Incorporated. The script was okayed by Jerry Bresler, indicating that he was the actual producer.
Directed by Sam Baerwitz
This credit appears in the film.
Director of Photography: Jackson Rose, A. S. C.
This credit appears in the film.
Editing by Leon Bourgeau
This credit appears in the film.
Story by Sam Baerwitz
This credit appears in the film, but it reads 'Written and Directed by Sam Baerwitz.'
Dances Staged by Steven Granger
This credit appears in the film.
Musical Score: Max Terr and Nathaniel Shilkret
This credit appears in the film.
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
Certificate no. 8961.
Passed by the National Board of Review
As indicated in the film.
Teacher: Fern Carter

the kids:

Billy "Froggy" Laughlin
Featured role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. He's featured in a skit with Mickey.
Marlene Kinghorn
Featured role. She sings the opening song, and later impersonates Judy Garland.
Janet Burston
Supporting role. She impersonates Carmen Miranda.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas
Supporting role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. He impersonates Eddie "Rochester" Anderson.
Bobby "Mickey" Blake
Supporting role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. He's the 'head recrooter' in the skit.
Jackie Horner
Supporting role. She impersonates Eleanor Powell.
Marlene Mains
Supporting role. She impersonates Virginia O'Brien.
Dickie Love
Supporting role. He impersonates Fred Astaire.
Jerry Baker
Small part. He's at the far right among the five Navy kids.
Gene Collins
Small part. It appears that he's second from the left among the five 'Marines.' Listed by Maltin & Bann as Frank Lester Ward.
Eleanor Taylor
Small part. It appears that she's the middle kid among the five 'Marines.'
Giovanna Gubitosi
Extra. She's shown in the audience, in footage left over from "Ye Olde Minstrels." At that time, she was still known as Giovanna Gubitosi, but by the time of "Calling All Kids," her professional name had become Joan Blake.
James Gubitosi
Extra. He's in the second row of the audience, in footage left over from "Ye Olde Minstrels."
Tommy McFarland
Extra. He's shown in the audience, in footage left over from "Ye Olde Minstrels."
other kids
Supporting roles, small parts and extras. Among the remaining kids in the show are five each representing the Army, the Navy, and the Marines (including the three listed above). These appear to be the same kids used in the final number.

the animals:

Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.

the adults:

Eddie "Rochester" Anderson as the voice-over for Buckwheat
Small part. He provides the voice as Buckwheat impersonates him.
Mark Daniels as the NBC radio announcer
Bit part. He announces the start of the radio program.
other adults
Extras. There appear to be at least seventy adults in the audience, and hundreds of military personnel in the stock footage.

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.
"We're On The Air" by Max Terr
The cutting continuity states that this is a new version composed by Terr. This is played during the opening radio announcement. It's played again as the skit with Froggy and Mickey begins.
"Opening - Salute To The Army, The Navy, And The Marines" by Felix Bernard and Sam Baerwitz
This is the song sung by Marlene Kinghorn that salutes the Army, the Navy and the Marines. The song returns at the end of the film, and has three military tunes incorporated into it. It continues through the end title.
"Manual Of Arms" by Felix Bernard and Sam Baerwitz
This is a continuation of the previous song and played while the military kids are doing their routine with the rifles.
"The Girl I Left Behind Me"
Also known as "The Girl I Left Behind." Previously known in Ireland as "The Rambling Labourer" and also as "The Spailpin Fanach," and first published in 1791. The melody was printed in 1810 under the familiar title. Listed in the cutting continuity as "Girl I Left Behind Me," with an arrangement credit by Max Terr. This tune ends Froggy and Mickey's skit.
"Our Favorite Stars" by Felix Bernard and Sam Baerwitz
This is played during the recited introduction to the impersonation segment.
"Our Love Affair" by Arthur Freed and Roger Edens
Published in 1940. From the film "Strike Up The Band." Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra had a number five hit with this song the same year. In "Calling All Kids," it's sung by Marlene Kinghorn as she impersonates Judy Garland, and by Marlene Mains as she impersonates Virginia O'Brien. The music that starts off the impersonations sequence seems to be part of this song.
"You Are My Lucky Star" by Nacio Herb Brown
Music by Brown with lyrics by Arthur Freed. Eddy Duchin and His Orchestra had a number one hit with this song in 1935. An instrumental version is played in this film as Jackie Horner impersonates Eleanor Powell.
"Rochester Routine" by Max Terr
This is played at the beginning of Buckwheat's impersonation of Rochester.
"I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much)" by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren
Published in 1941, with words by Gordon and music by Warren. From the film "That Night In Rio." The Andrews Sisters had a number eleven hit with this song the same year. In the cutting continuity, it's listed as "Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay." In this film, it's sung by Janet as she impersonates Carmen Miranda.
"Torpedo Dance" by Felix Bernard
This is played during the Fred Astaire impersonation, and incorporates a bit of "Yankee Doodle."
"Our Favorite Stars - Part 2" by Felix Bernard and Sam Baerwitz
This is played during the ending recitation.
"The Caisson Song" by Edmund L. Gruber
Written in March 1908. Written in the Philippines with lyrical help from several other soldiers. It became a popular march with the U. S. Field Artillery Corps, and was later incorporated into "The U. S. Field Artillery March" by John Phillip Sousa. Listed in the cutting continuity as "Caisson Song." In this film, it accompanies the stock footage of the Army. H. W. Arberg later arranged the song into the official tune of the U. S. Army, renaming it "The Army Goes Rolling Along," which was copyrighted in 1956.
"Anchors Aweigh" by Lieutenant Charles A. Zimmerman
The theme song of the U. S. Navy, it was written for the Army-Navy football game of November 1906. The first two stanzas of lyrics were written by Midshipman First Class Alfred Hart Miles, with the final stanza being added about twenty years later by Midshipman Royal Lovell. This was a number thirteen hit for the U. S. Naval Academy Band in 1921, and a number eighteen hit for Paul Tremaine & His Orchestra in 1930. In this film, an instrumental version accompanies the stock footage of the Navy.
"Marines' Hymn"
According to Marine tradition, Major Richard Wallach wrote the first part of the lyrics in 1878, loosely based on an 1859 melody by French composer Jacques Offenbach. Each campaign in which the Marines participate brings about an additional unofficial verse. It was first used as their official anthem in 1929. The film uses the Arthur Tregina arrangement.
"End Title" by Felix Bernard and Sam Baerwitz
Perhaps because there's a pause, the last bit of the song is given a separate title on the cutting continuity.


Four shooting dates went into the making of this film, from December 28 to 31, 1942. Here's a breakdown of the script activity:
Sep. 19, 1942 - A Sam Baerwitz script, including lyrics, derives from this date, and was okayed by Jerry Bresler. Included is "A Salute To The Army, The Navy And The Marines," and a rhyming recitation by the kids called "We Want To Be Stars."
Oct. 29, 1942 - A Baerwitz synopsis derives from this date, and was okayed on Nov. 16th.
Nov. 14, 1942 - A Baerwitz script derives from this date. The Froggy & Mickey skit was included, as well as the following celebrity impersonations: Judy Garland ("Our Love Affair"), Virginia O'Brien (Special Arrangement - "Our Love Affair"), Laurel & Hardy (comedy bit), Eleanor Powell (dance - "You Are My Lucky Star"), Rochester (comedy bit), Carmen Miranda (song - "I, Yi, Yi, Yi") and Fred Astaire (dance - "Torpedo dance from Holiday Inn").
Nov. 16, 1942 - A Baerwitz script derives from this date, and was okayed by Bresler. At this point, Froggy exits to the first eight bars of "The Girl I Left Behind Me," and "Our Favorite Stars" is included.

At least some of the audience footage was filmed January 13 to 16, 1941, for "Ye Olde Minstrels" (no. 198).

The gang is broadcasting their show over the MBC radio network.

On January 21st, The Pittsburgh Press reported the following: "The Our Gang youngsters have reasons to be joyous over their new musical picture, 'Calling All Kids.' First, they feel like grown-up stars. They are working with a band, and have songs and dances. Best of all they have become the social lions at M-G-M since each will imitate some noted screen star. Jackie Horner, who will mimic Eleanor Powell, was invited to the star's home for a dancing lesson. 'Buckwheat' Thomas spent a day at Rochester's (Eddie Anderson) home. The star of 'Cabin in the Sky' heard that Buckie was to do a 'take-off' on him, so he instructed him in all the well known Rochester mannerisms of radio and screen." Since this film was shot in late December, these encounters probably took place earlier that month.

On January 23rd, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the following: "With studios going all out for all-star casts, M-G-M has gathered an assemblage of important 'names' for the Our Gang musical, 'Calling All Kids.' The 'stars' and their youthful counterparts include 'Eleanore Powell' - Jackie Horner; 'Fred Astaire' - Dickie Love; 'Judy Garland' - Marlene Kinghorn; 'Carmen Miranda' - Janet Burston; 'Rochester' - Buckwheat Thomas, and 'Virginia O'Brien' - Marlene Mains."

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 pointing out the use of "You Are My Lucky Star" in this film)
bigshotjones (for identifying Giovanna Gubitosi)
Bob Satterfield (for helping to clarify Jackie Horner's actual name)

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