Honky-Donkey

film no. 129


technical details:

Production G-22.

Release no. C-826.

Filmed Apr. 2 to 7, 1934. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Title sheet prepared by William Terhune on April 28, 1934.

Cutting continuity submitted May 24, 1934.

Copyrighted May 25, 1934, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP4750. Renewed August 30, 1961, with registration no. R281108. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2029.

Released June 2, 1934. It was the 129th film in the series to be released.

All-talking two-reeler.

Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents Our Gang in "Honky-Donkey".'

King World Productions episode no. 32b, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions. This version is listed without the hyphen.


the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
Credited in the film as a presenter.
Directed by Gus Meins
This credit appears in the film.
Photography: Francis Corby
This credit appears in the film. The Blackhawk print adds the A. S. C. designation to his name.
Film Editor: Bert Jordan
This credit appears in the film.
Recording Engineer: Harry Baker
This credit appears in the film.
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.
NRA
The National Recovery Administration emblem is shown in both the opening and end titles.
studio personnel
general manager - Henry Ginsberg
assistant general manager - L. A. French
secretary-treasurer - C. H. Roach
assistant secretary - Mat O'Brien
film editor and sound department - Elmer Raguse
construction supervisor - C. E. Christensen
laboratory superintendent - Charles Levin
process department - Roy Seawright
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
transportation director - Bob Davis
school teacher - Fern Carter
possible uncredited involvement
assistant direction - Probably Gordon Douglas.
writing - Hal Yates, Carl Harbaugh, Frank Terry, Billy Gilbert, James Parrott, Charlie Hall, Robert McKenzie, Frank Tashlin 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.
animal training - Tony Campanaro may have been among the animal trainers.

the kids:

George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky" aka "Spank"
Featured role. He and Scotty are giving plenty of funny dialogue throughout the film, as they serve as sideline observers.
Scotty Beckett as "Scotty" aka "Scott"
Featured role. He accompanies Spanky throughout the film, and has his fair share of dialogue.
Wally Albright as "Wallace"
Featured role. He's the rich kid who's pampered by his mother, but would rather drive down some alleys.
Matthew "Stymie" Beard
Supporting role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. He's the only one who seems to have any influence over the mule.
Tommy Bond as "Tommy"
Supporting role. He has a few lines of dialogue, but is mostly an ensemble player.
Willie Mae Walton as "Buckwheat"
Supporting role. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Willie Mae Taylor. She's given little of anything specific to do, but is present through most of the proceedings.
Philbrook Lyons
Supporting role. He's purely an ensemble player in this film, which was his last.

the animals:

mule 111 as "Algebra"
Featured role. Credited as Dinah the Mule by Maltin & Bann. She'll move only when somebody sneezes, and stop only when a bell is rung.
Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.

the adults:

Don Barclay as "Barclay," the chauffeur
Lead role. He's basically the star of the film, and sneezes at all the wrong times.
Julia Griffith as "Cynthia," the household servant
Supporting role. She tries to remove the mule from the house. The 1977 edition of Maltin & Bann's book, and Maltin's earlier The Great Movie Shorts, credit the part to Natalie Moorhead.
Peggy Leon as Wallace's mother
Supporting role. She pampers her son at the start of the film, and returns near the end.
Charles McAvoy as the cop
Small part. He helps Barclay put the mule in the car.
William Wagner as the realtor
Small part. He chases the kids out of the vacant lot.
Ed Brandenburg as "Julius," the butler
Small part. He unsuccessfully tries to gain control over the mule. Listed as Ed Brandy in the payroll ledger.
Russ Custer as the bike rider and possibly the cab driver
Small part. He's getting such a laugh out of the mule that he rides right into a mailbox. Maltin & Bann list Pete Gordon, but his name isn't listed in the payroll ledger. Custer also worked on one of the later shooting dates when Peggy Leon was present, so I suspect that he's driving the cab that drops her off at the house.
Sue Gomes as the maid
Small part. She appears briefly with Griffith when they first see the mule and the kids on the property. Maltin & Bann list Bess Flowers, but her name isn't listed in the payroll ledger.
Betty Danko
On Lord Heath's website, she's credited with handling the stunt work for Peggy Leon. In an Aug. 2, 1936, Detroit Free Press article, she states that among her past stunts, she had "been chased into a mill pond by a donkey." This all makes sense, since she was present on one of the same days Leon worked. This would have been the one day that Brandenburg worked, and he also did stunt work in the film.
Mickey Daniels as the voice-over for the mule
Bit part. His distinctive laugh is used twice for the mule.
other adults
Bit parts and extras. Two people who worked on the first day of shooting (the same day Wagner worked) were Lyle Tayo and Margaret Nearing. Nearing also worked on the second day, when the multitude of pedestrians were present. Nearing may be among the pedestrians, but Tayo wound up on the cutting room floor. Which brings us to the rest of the extras used in the film: Ed Thomas, Rod Bacon, Richard Lewis, Harry Northrup, Bill O'Brien, Harvey Shepard, Hans Roth, Chester Bishop, Virginia Dare, Dot Hoffman, Pauline High, Vida Hunter, Dorothy Stockman, Ruth Stovall, Joan Dix, Loretta Russell, Betty Todd, Virginia Crawford, Charlotte Stevens, Evelyn Burns, Viola Porter, Andy Prevoust, Everett Hawkins, Jack Kenney, Bill Dill, Gene Coogan, Harold Erickson, Winona Bell, Doc Kelly and Norman Taylor. All of these people were either making $10 or $7.50 for the day, and were mostly pedestrians, though one of them would have been the doorman who let Wally's mother into the department store. Also listed is Charlie Hall, who made $25 for the day, but I haven't noticed him anywhere in the film.

the music:

"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A14.) This is played over the opening titles and as we're introduced to Wally and his mother and Barclay. A small portion is repeated at the final scene at the fountain and during the end title.

the locations:

Bagley Avenue, Palms district, Los Angeles
In the longshot in which the car pulls into the alley, it's leaving Bagley Avenue just north of Venice Boulevard in Palms. The alley stretches between Bagley Avenue and Cardiff Avenue. Seen in the background on the corner of Bagley and Venice is Ayres Apparel Shop on the Northwest corner of Venice and Bagley. This building had been occupied by Turner's Style Shop when "The Smile Wins" (no. 66) was made. Also shown in this shot is a portion of the west side of Main Street in Culver City, with the top of the Culver Hotel rising above.
Hal E. Roach Studios
The shot of the mule chasing the woman into the studio pond was filmed in front of the administration building. It also appears that the remaining street scenes were shot on the New York exterior set at the studio.

miscellaneous:

Six shooting dates went into the making of this film. Over a week had passed since shooting finished for "The First Round-Up" (no. 128). Shooting for "Honky-Donkey" started on Apr. 2nd and continued until Apr. 7th. After this, over six weeks would pass before the Our Gang unit began filming "Mike Fright" (no. 130).

Reel one ends with the line "Well, give him time."

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B454.


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)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Jesse Brisson (for sharing the newspaper article on Betty Danko)
Elliot Unkefer (for pointing out the 'A14' arrangement of "Good Old Days")
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)


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