The Ol' Gray Hoss

film no. 78

technical details:

Production G-12.

Filmed May 7 to 26, and August 16, 1928. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Music and sound effects recorded Aug. 9, 1928 (for reel 1) and Aug. 10, 1928 (for reel 2).

Copyrighted October 20, 1928, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP25747. Renewed December 7, 1955, with registration no. R160737. This copyright expired at the end of 2023, and the film is now in the public domain.

Released October 20, 1928. It was the 78th film in the series to be released.

Silent two-reeler, with synchronized music and sound effects, on disc only.

Opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "The Ol' Gray Hoss".'

the crew:

Produced by Robert F. McGowan for Hal Roach
This is the way Maltin & Bann put it. The film probably credits Roach as the presenter, with a separate credit reading "A Robert McGowan Production."
Supervised by Robert F. McGowan
This credit appears in the film, but without his middle initial.
Directed by Robert F. McGowan and Anthony Mack
The film credits only Mack, who was actually Robert A. (for Anthony) McGowan, the nephew of Robert F. The 1928 studio datebook credits the uncle with directing the film.
Photographed by Art Lloyd
This credit appears in the film.
Edited by Richard Currier
This credit appears in the film. Currier also prepared the soundtrack while at the Victor headquarters in New York.
Titles by H. M. Walker
This credit appears in the film.
Animation by Roy Seawright
This credit derives from Seawright's payroll status as the studio animator during this period. The animation in this film includes popcorn, an electric shock and sound effects in word form.
Story by Robert F. McGowan
This credit probably doesn't appear in the film.
Animal Trainer: Harry Lucenay
He was Pete's owner and trainer.
Music performed by the Motion Picture Orchestra
According to the Victor ledgers, as described at the DAHR website. The musical director was David Mendoza, assisted by Don Albert, with choral director Bradley Barker.
Teacher: Fern Carter
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Probably indicated in the opening title card.
Passed by the National Board of Review
Probably indicated in the film.
studio personnel
director-general - Leo McCarey
general manager - Warren Doane
assistant general manager - L. A. French
secretary-treasurer - C. H. Roach
construction supervisor - C. E. Christensen
laboratory superintendent - Charles Levin
optical effects supervisor - Roy Seawright
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
transportation director - Bob Davis
possible uncredited involvement
assistant direction - Probably Charles Oelze.
cutting - Possibly Lloyd Campbell.
writing - Robert A. McGowan, Jean Yarbrough and Charlie Hall may have been among the gag writers.
property department - Charles Oelze, Don Sandstrom and Thomas Benton Roberts were probably involved in this capacity.
animal training - Tony Campanaro may have been among the animal trainers.

the kids:

Allen "Farina" Hoskins
Featured role. He and Joe run Chief Cummings' taxi service, and he's given a lot of the gag material.
Joe Cobb
Featured role. He's essentially the leader of the gang and runs the horse-drawn cab with Farina.
Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins
Featured role. He's given a running gag where he wants to be given something to do.
Mary Ann Jackson
Supporting role. She cooks breakfast for the chief.
Harry Spear
Supporting role. He's given mostly ensemble work in this film, but is the one that pipes the exhaust into the rival's cab.
Jean Darling
Supporting role. She does mostly ensemble acting in this film.
Jimmy Farren
Supporting role. He mostly stands around, but helps Harry to pipe the exhaust into the rival's cab.

the animals:

horse 014 as "Duke"
Featured role. He's the center of the story and is in danger of being sent to the glue factory. Presumably the same white horse seen previously.
Pete (no. 1)
Supporting role. He's given some gag material and goes after the rival at one point.
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
cat 060
Bit part. This is merely a guess, since this cat is hard to identify in this film, but it looks consistent with the cat from "Tired Business Men" (no. 60).
other animals
Bit parts. Several chicks are hatched by Wheezer.

the adults:

Richard Cummings as "Chief Cummings"
Featured role. He's the retired fire chief whose taxi route is being taken by a rival.
Clarence L. Sherwood as the rival cab driver
Featured role. He's the mean cab driver that sabotages the chief's business, only to have the tables turned on him.
Charley Lloyd as the creditor
Small part. He's seen a couple of times threatening to foreclose on the chief. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Charley Young.
Charles A. Bachman as "Mulligan"
Small part. He's seen near the end of the film settling the chief's debt.
Mary Gordon as the first cab passenger
Bit part. She's the wife of the bearded cab passenger.
Lyle Tayo
Bit part. She and her husband wind up with blackened faces after the cab's exhaust has been piped into the car.
Charles A. Millsfield
Bit part. He's the bearded man who's splattered with milk or paint.
Hayes Robertson
Bit part. He's the black man who gets pelted by the flying food. Previously seen in "The Big Town" (no. 34), among others.
Clara Guiol
Bit part. She's hit by some flying food, and winds up with polka dots all over her.
Ellinor Van Der Veer as the dowager
Bit part. She's seen getting splattered by the flying food.
Grace Woods
Bit part. She's briefly seen getting splattered by food.
Jack O'Brien and Ham Kinsey as the piano movers
Bit parts. O'Brien is on the right and Kinsey is in the center once the cop joins them.
other adults
Bit parts and extras.
(1.) The bearded cab passenger who's alarmed by the speed of the vehicle.
(2.) The photographer who flies into the air. Lord Heath's site credits Ed Brandenburg, and the ledger indicates that he worked in this film.
(3.) The sidewalk merchant whose merchandise is hurled into the air.
(4.) One more man getting pelted by food.
(5.) Lyle Tayo's husband, whose face is also blackened. Maltin & Bann list Tenen Holtz as a bearded passenger, and maybe they meant this guy, but the ledger doesn't corroborate this. One name in the ledger is Anton de Winton, who may or may not be the same person as Albert de Winton, who looks like he could possibly be the man in question.
(6.) The two male passengers who are electrocuted.
(7.) The guy supervising the piano movers and the cop who helps them.
(8.) The man who falls into the water and the man who soon joins him.
(9.) One man and five women inadvertently given a free cab ride. The man is listed by Maltin & Bann as Charles King, but the ledger doesn't support this, and on closer inspection, I don't think he sufficiently resembles the actor from "Fair And Muddy."
(10.) Several pedestrians. During the piano-moving scene, a short guy is walking in the background. It looks like this is probably Sammy Brooks, but if so, he must have been borrowed by the Our Gang unit without any indication of this in the payroll ledger.

the locations:

National Boulevard, Palms district, Los Angeles
The two cabs pick up their passengers at the Palms Depot. The cab passengers are seen on the side of the building facing the tracks, while the cabs are parked on the side facing the street. The Eureka Glue Factory is actually a mock-up located at the back fence of the yard next to the Palms Garage.
Motor Avenue, Palms district, Los Angeles
During the wild ride, the horse-drawn taxi travels north along the 3400 block of Motor, with views of the Palms Chamber of Commerce at 3438 Motor, and the Home Made Bakery at 3466 Motor. The rival cab driver drops off his customers in front of the new version of the Masonic Hall at 3402 Motor. Seen in some of these shots is the opposite side of the street, and the house at 3435 Motor. As the kids escape with the horse, they ride south along the 3200 block of Motor, with the gas station at 10367 National shown in the background, as well as the Palms Garage at 3304 Motor.
Hal E. Roach Studios
The New York exterior set was used extensively near the end of this film.
Wheezer jumps off the same bridge seen in "Thundering Fleas" (no. 51).


19 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Roughly seven and a half weeks after shooting finished for "Growing Pains" (no. 77), the 'start' for "The Ol' Gray Hoss" arrived on May 7th. The studio had been closed for over five of those weeks. Shooting continued until the 'finish' date of May 26th. No shooting took place on May 6th, 13th, or 20th, which were all Sundays. After this, about a week and a half passed before shooting began for "School Begins" (no. 79). Through the summer, shooting started and finished for this film as well as "The Spanking Age" (no. 80) and "Election Day" (no. 81). Almost two weeks after the initial finish date for this last film, retakes for "The Ol' Gray Hoss" were shot on Aug. 16th. About a week after this, retakes began for "Election Day." Robert F. McGowan directed on each of the shooting dates for "The Ol' Gray Hoss."

The 16-inch disc masters containing the music and sound effects were Victor matrix MVE-46734 (for reel 1) and Victor matrix MVE-46753 (for reel 2). The takes were all recorded at the Church Bldg. in Camden, NJ. The takes for reel 1 were numbered 1A, 2, and 2A, with take 2 becoming the master. The takes for reel 2 were numbered 1, 1A, 2, and 2A, with take 2A becoming the master. The orchestra was made up of 28 men (27 for reel 1), while the chorus (which more likely provided sound effects rather than singing) was made up of 3 women, 1 man, 3 boys and 2 girls. The Victor ledgers use the word "Inaudible" to indicate that the soundtrack contains no dialogue or other closely synchronized sound.

Most secondary sources identify this film as "Old Gray Hoss," including Maltin & Bann's book. The cutting continuity for the film, as well as the Victor ledgers, reveal that the title is actually "The Ol' Gray Hoss," which is corroborated by a lobby card.

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© Robert Demoss.

My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Henry Sorenson (for providing info about the European video release of this film)
Rob Stone (for providing the production number and shooting dates)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Ed Slonina (for pointing out the DAHR website containing the sound-on-disc info)

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