Hook And Ladder

film no. 116

technical details:

Production G-9.

Release no. C-621.

Filmed May 18 to 28, 1932. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Title sheet prepared by Richard Currier on July 28, 1932.

Cutting continuity submitted August 9, 1932.

Released August 27, 1932. It was the 116th film in the series to be released, and the first of the 1932/33 season.

Copyrighted September 14, 1932, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP3240. Renewed February 17, 1960, with registration no. R252324. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2027.

All-talking two-reeler.

Opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "Hook And Ladder".'

King World Productions episode no. 20, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions.

the crew:

Produced by Robert F. McGowan for Hal Roach
The film credits Roach as a presenter, and designates it as "A Robert McGowan Production." Maltin & Bann list Roach only for this credit.
Directed by Robert F. McGowan
This credit appears in the film, but without his middle initial.
Photographed by Hap Depew
This credit appears in the film. Art Lloyd is credited in the Erko print.
Edited by Richard Currier
This credit appears in the film.
Dialogue by H. M. Walker
This credit appears in the film.
Recording Engineer: James Greene
This credit appears in the film. Elmer Raguse is credited in the Erko print.
Story by Hal E. Roach and Robert F. McGowan
This credit doesn't appear in the film.
Animal trainer: Tony Campanaro
He trained the current Pete.
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 - Carl Harbaugh, Frank Terry, Raymond McCarey, Billy Gilbert, Charlie Hall, Robert A. McGowan and Gordon Douglas 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.

the kids:

Dickie Moore as "Dickie"
Featured role. He's the 'cheef' in the gang's fire department, and as a result, is the leader of the gang.
George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Featured role. He, like most of the other kids, is a 'sistant cheef.' He's a constant nuisance to the bigger kids, and consequently provides most of the gags.
Matthew "Stymie" Beard as "Stymie"
Featured role. He's the 'hoseman cheef.' He gets most of the remaining dialogue not handled by Dickie and Spanky.
Kendall "Breezy Brisbane" McComas as "Breezy"
Supporting role. He serves as the lookout and alerts the gang when he spots the fire engine leaving the station.
Dorothy "Echo" DeBorba as "Dorothy"
Supporting role. She does mostly ensemble acting, but is featured in a scene with Spanky and a hose with powder in it. She later recalled being knocked unconscious (for the second time, see "Spanky") after being rammed by a goat during the making of this film.
Sherwood Bailey as "Spud"
Supporting role. He has a little bit of dialogue, but mostly does ensemble acting. This was his last appearance.
Thomas "Buddy" McDonald as "Speck"
Supporting role. He drives the hook-and-ladder. This was his last appearance.
Harold "Bouncy" Wertz as "Bouncy"
Supporting role. He's given virtually nothing specific to do, but is present through most of the film. This was his last appearance.

the animals:

Pete the Pup IV as "Pete"
Small part. He activates the gang's alarm system. This was the fourth Pete's series debut.
mule 111 as "Billie"
Small part. Maltin & Bann list Dinah the Mule, but it's not her. This mule pulls Stymie's wagon.
cat 080
Small part. This is the cat that Pete chases.
Laughing Gravy
Small part. He provides locomotion for Dickie's car.
cat 060
Bit part. This cat is what Laughing Gravy goes after while powering Dickie's car.
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
other animals
Small parts.
(1.) The two goats pulling Brisbane's wagon. One is consistent with the goat in "Spanky" (no. 113), while the other could be the one from "Uncle Tom's Uncle" (no. 50).
(2) The horse pulling Buddy's wagon.

the adults:

Harry Arras as the fireman
Small part. He's one of the two firemen talking to Sandstrom, but doesn't actually do the talking. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Gene Morgan.
Don Sandstrom as the man guilty of a fire hazard
Bit part. According to Maltin & Bann. I haven't familiarized myself with his face.
other adults
Small parts and extras.
(1.) The fireman doing the talking to Sandstrom.
(2.) At least two firemen riding the fire engine out of the station and two pedestrians standing nearby.
(3.) Two people sitting on a porch as the kids ride by.
(4.) A woman in her yard looking through the fence as the kids arrive at the scene of the fire.

the music:

"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A1.) This is played over the opening titles and as we're introduced to the kids. It's repeated one and a half times as Spanky drinks the bottle of medicine and the end title appears.
"Little Dancing Girl" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. Also known as "Dancing Girl" and "Dancing Girls." Most of this piece is played as the kids talk about being 'volumeteers.' It's played in full as Dickie and Stymie struggle to get Spanky to put on his pants. This is the version reproduced on the first Beau Hunks CD.
"Me-Ow" by Mel B. Kaufman
Published in 1918 with lyrics by Harry D. Kerr. Most of this piece is played as Pete chases the cat. A small part is repeated as Pete chases the cat a second time.
"Bells" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. Most of this piece is played as the kids go to bed. Most of it is repeated as Dickie tries to get Spanky to put his coat on.
"Teeter-Totter" by Leroy Shield
This is played, minus the introduction, as Dickie tries to give Spanky his medicine. It's repeated one and a half times as Spanky plays pranks on Stymie and Dorothy.
"Blue Blue" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. Most of this piece is played as Dickie and Stymie talk about worms. This is played at a slower tempo than the version by the Beau Hunks. The version they reproduced is played partially as Stymie throws the rotten egg over to Dorothy and she throws it to the mule.
"Violetta" by Abe Olman
Arranged by R. Brewer. This is played as the boys are snoring and wake up from the smell of the rotten egg.
"Laugh" by Leroy Shield
This is played when the mule smells the rotten egg. It's the third piece with this title on the first Beau Hunks CD.
piece 116a
This is played as Breezy sees the fire engine leaving the station.
piece 116b
This is played as the kids get ready to go off to the fire.
piece 116c
This is played as the kids are riding to the fire. It continues as the kids arrive at the fire station and see the burning building in the distance.
piece 116d
This is played as Stymie's wobbly wagon loses a wheel.
piece 116e
This is played as the kids battle the fire. It could possibly be more than one piece.
piece 116f
This is played briefly as the two firemen arrive at the scene.

the locations:

Los Angeles City Engine Co. 43, Palms district, Los Angeles
Located at 10416 Featherstone (now part of National Boulevard). The sign over the door reads 'Engine 43.' This is where the fire engine is leaving the station. In his book on movie locations, Leon Smith states that this address is at 10420, but if so, then the number has changed over the years. The film clearly shows it as 10416.
Motor Avenue, Palms district, Los Angeles
At least part of the gang's journey takes them down this street between Woodbine and Featherstone Streets. Visible are the People's Water Company at 3392 Motor Avenue, Moycey Barber Shop at 3388 Motor, the grocery store at 3384 Motor, Master Ornamental Iron and Electric Welding Shop at 3316 Motor, and the Palms Garage at 3304 Motor. There's a Texaco station beyond the garage. Buddy is seen riding past the Home Made Bakery at 3466 Motor. Stymie rides south past the Shoe Repairing shop run by J. A. Pryor at 3411 Motor. This business had been relocated in recent years from across the street.


11 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Nine weeks had passed since shooting finished for "The Pooch" (no. 115). The studio was closed for five of those weeks. The 'start' date for "Hook And Ladder" arrived on May 18th, and shooting continued until the 'finish' date of May 28th. Included in the shooting schedule was a rare working Sunday on May 22nd. After this, seven weeks passed before the Our Gang unit began filming "Free Wheeling" (no. 117). The studio was closed during one of those weeks.

The Portland Evening Express (ME) of May 25, 1932, reported the following: "After five weeks' holiday, little three-year-old Spanky, child wonder of Hal Roach's group of Our Gang youngsters, returned to Hollywood to be greeted by Dickie Moore, who recently signed a contract as a member of the famous gang. Master Moore congratulated Spanky on his screen achievements in Our Gang and expressed his pleasure on becoming one of them."

The newspaper article that opens the film mentions "Fire Chief Robert Scott."

Quoted in the Apr. 21, 1975, Independent-Gazette of Berkeley, CA, Dorothy DeBorba had this to say: "Another time I had to hitch up a billygoat to a little fire cart and he butted me in the breadbasket."

Reel one ends as Dickie requests Stymie's help in getting Spanky's pants on.

A story version of this film, entitled "The Fire Brigade," appeared in the book Our Gang Annual in 1933.

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B455.

See anything that needs changing? Contact me at BtheW@aol.com.

© Robert Demoss.

My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Rob Stone (for providing the production number and shooting dates)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Piet Schreuders (for identifying "Violetta")
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)

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