film no. 114

technical details:

Production G-7.

Release no. C-437.

Filmed January 25 to February 4, 1932. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Title sheet prepared on March 14, 1932.

Previewed in Santa Monica around early-to-mid March 1932, this according to The Long Beach Sun of March 23rd in their story about Harold Wertz.

Cutting continuity submitted March 31, 1932.

Copyrighted May 2, 1932, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP3005. Renewed May 19, 1959, with registration no. R236742. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2027.

Released May 7, 1932. It was the 114th film in the series to be released.

All-talking two-reeler.

Opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "Choo-Choo!".'

King World Productions episode no. 4, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions. This version is listed without the exclamation point.

the crew:

Produced by Robert F. McGowan for Hal Roach
This is the way Maltin & Bann put it. The film credits Roach as a presenter, with a separate credit reading "A Robert McGowan Production."
Directed by Robert F. McGowan
This credit appears in the film, but without his middle initial.
Photographed by Art Lloyd
This credit appears in the film.
Edited by Richard Currier
This credit appears in the film.
Dialogue by H. M. Walker
This credit appears in the film.
Story by Hal E. Roach
This credit doesn't appear in the film.
Recording Engineer: James Greene
This credit appears in the film.
Animal Trainer: Harry Lucenay
He was Pete's owner and trainer.
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Indicated in the opening title card.
Passed by the National Board of Review
As indicated in the film.
Western Electric System
As indicated in the film.
studio personnel
general manager - Henry Ginsberg
assistant general manager - L. A. French
secretary-treasurer - C. H. Roach
assistant secretary - Mat O'Brien
sound department - Elmer Raguse
construction supervisor - C. E. Christensen
laboratory superintendent - Charles Levin
optical effects supervisor - Roy Seawright
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
transportation director - Bob Davis
school teacher - Fern Carter
possible uncredited involvement
assistant direction - Probably Don Sandstrom.
writing - Robert F. McGowan probably headed story development, while Robert A. McGowan, Carl Harbaugh, Frank Terry, Raymond McCarey, Billy Gilbert and Charlie Hall may have been among the gag writers.
property department - Charles Oelze, Don Sandstrom, Thomas Benton Roberts and Bob Saunders were probably involved in this capacity.
titles - Louis McManus probably designed the main titles.
animal training - Tony Campanaro may have been among the animal trainers.
animation - Probably the work of Roy Seawright.

the kids:

George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Supporting role. His character is silent, except for the special introductory title reading 'With Spanky,' in which he says 'Hello, folks!' He mostly punches Del Henderson in the nose throughout the film.
Matthew "Stymie" Beard
Supporting role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. He brings Pete to bed with him, and accidentally releases the monkey.
Kendall "Breezy Brisbane" McComas
Supporting role. Neither nickname was used in this film, but the cutting continuity refers to him as "Breezy." He's basically the leader of the gang.
Dorothy "Echo" DeBorba as "Dorothy"
Supporting role. She switches clothes with Sherwood.
Sherwood Bailey as "Spud"
Supporting role. He switches clothes with Dorothy. The cutting continuity refers to him as "Sherwood."
Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins
Supporting role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. He points out the toupee to the other passengers, plays with the fountain pen, and turns on the steam.
Harold "Bouncy" Wertz
Supporting role. The nickname doesn't turn up in the dialogue. The cutting continuity refers to him as "Bouncer." He has no dialogue and doesn't do anything specific.
Donald Haines
Small part. He's the spokesman among the runaways.
Georgie Billings as "George"
Small part. He's one of the runaways, and has a bit of dialogue.
Wally Albright
Small part. He's one of the runaways, and has a couple of lines of dialogue. This was his series debut.
Jackie Williams
Small part. He's Spanky's counterpart among the runaways.
Reggie Streeter and Clayton Lawrence
Small part. These are the two remaining runaways, who are only seen in longshot.
Betty Allgrunn
Extra. She's one of the orphans on the train in the early scene, sitting to the left in the front row aisle seat. She was Bob McGowan's niece.
Patsy Britten
Extra. She's also one of the orphans, sitting about midway on the right side.
other kids
Initially, there are about twenty additional orphans on the train, including one named "Kenneth." A casting directory lists this film in the credits for Bruce and Edward Cooke without specifying which of the two brothers appeared. Among the orphans, it appears that at least one of the brothers is present, but familial resemblence makes it difficult to say which one. And lastly, the scene at the station shows a kid running past.

the animals:

Pete the Pup III as "Pete" aka "Petey"
Supporting role. The kids keep bringing him out of the animal car, much to the annoyance of the conductors.
Joe the Monk
Small part. This is presumably Joe. He lets loose the rest of the animals and starts the fireworks.
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
other animals
Small parts and bit parts.
(1.) The bear, which appears to be quite young.
(2.) The mule.
(3.) The pony.
(4.) The cow (more like a calf).
(5.) Two goats.
(6.) Two ducks.
(7.) Two chickens.

the adults:

Del Henderson as "Mr. Henderson"
Lead role. It's his job to transport the boys, even though he hates kids.
Harry Bernard as one of the pullman conductors
Supporting role. He warns Henderson several times.
Hayes Robertson as the porter
Supporting role. This is the black man that tries to keep Pete out of the Pullman car. The cutting continuity refers to him as "Porter."
Estelle Ettere as Dorothy's mom
Supporting role. The 1977 edition lists her as Belle Hare. She has a perpetual headache, which isn't helped when her daughter switches clothes with Sherwood.
Otto Fries as the novelties salesman
Small part. He's drunk, and gives the boys noisemakers in the middle of the night.
Adele Watson as the woman in charge of the orphans
Small part. She's frantic at having to leave without the missing children.
Lyle Tayo as the secretary
Small part. She assigns Henderson with the task of transporting the boys.
Silas D. Wilcox as one of the pullman conductors
Bit part. He's only seen from a distance in the terminal scene, but it looks reasonably like him.
Eddie Baker as the cop
Bit part. He turns the boys in at the station.
Oliver Hardy as the voice-over for Otto Fries
Bit part. This is heard as Fries reacts to the bear.
Eleanor Fredericks
Bit part. She's the woman assisting with the orphans on the train.
other adults
Small parts, bit parts and extras.
(1.) The man delivering the telegram.
(2.) At least 18 additional passengers shown inside the passenger car, which may or may not be all of the same people shown in the Pullman car. Among them, according to Maltin & Bann, are Bud Fine and Baldwin Cooke, but I haven't been able to verify this.
(3.) A doctor and three nurses shown at the end of the film.
(4.) Various passengers and pedestrians seen in the background of exterior shots at the train station and in the terminal.

the music:

"Fanfare" by Leroy Shield
This is played over the MGM lion.
"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A1.) Most of this piece is played over the opening titles and as we're introduced to the boys.
"Riding Along" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Dec. 23, 1930. Most of this piece is played during the scene on the train with the orphans.
"Teeter-Totter" by Leroy Shield
This is played as the gang meets the runaway orphans.
"Candy Candy" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Dec. 23, 1930. A very short bit of this piece is played as the gang switches clothing with the runaways.
"Bride's Song" by Leroy Shield
Most of this is played during the scene inside the terminal.
piece 108
This is played over the end title.

the locations:

Santa Fe Railroad Station
This is near the 1st Street Viaduct, and is used during the outdoor scenes.


10 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Five weeks had passed since shooting finished for "Spanky" (no. 113). The studio had been closed for about a week and a half during this period. The 'start' date for "Choo-Choo!" arrived on Jan. 25th, and shooting continued until the 'finish' date of Feb. 4th. No shooting took place on Jan. 24th or 31st, which were both Sundays. After this, five weeks passed before the Our Gang unit began filming "The Pooch" (no. 115). The studio was closed during one of those weeks.

The original script for this film reveals that, prior to what we see at the beginning, the kids are shooed off of a stationary train car where they've been pretending to be taking a ride.

A story version of this film, entitled "Choo-Choo," appeared in the book Our Gang Annual in 1933.

Presumably, the scene inside the terminal was filmed on Tuesday, January 26th, since this is what the calendar on the wall says. The scene showing all the orphans on the train was probably shot on the 26th as well, since this is the only date from this period on Patsy Britten's work permit.

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B380.

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© Robert Demoss.

My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Rob Stone (for providing the production number and shooting dates)
Jesse Brisson (for identifying Eleanor Fredericks and for help with Betty Allgrunn)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)
Piet Schreuders (for identifying "Fanfare")
Matthew Lydick (for pointing out the script pages shown on eBay)

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