Shrimps For A Day

film no. 133

technical details:

Production G-26.

Release no. C-24.

Filmed Dec. 15 to 22, 1934. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Title sheet prepared by William Terhune on February 8, 1935.

According to the trade publications, this film was released on December 8, 1934, making it the 133rd film in the series to be released. It's clear, though, that it was released around the time of the copyright date in February 1935. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Cutting continuity submitted February 8, 1935.

Copyrighted February 20, 1935, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP5364. Renewed August 1, 1962, with registration no. R299644. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2030.

All-talking two-reeler.

Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents Our Gang in "Shrimps For A Day".'

A segment of "Here Comes The Ice-Cream Man" from this film was later used in "Framing Youth" (no. 159).

King World Productions episode no. 27, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions.

the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
Credited in the film as a presenter. The Monogram print credits the film as "A Hal Roach Production."
Directed by Gus Meins
This credit appears in the film.
Photography: Francis Corby, A. S. C.
This credit appears in the film.
Film Editor: Louis McManus
This credit appears in the film.
Recording Engineer: James Greene
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.
Approved by the Motion Picture Producers & Distributors of America
Certificate no. 554.
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
publicity and advertising - Fred Purner
film editor and sound department - Elmer Raguse
construction supervisor - C. E. Christensen
laboratory superintendent - Charles Levin
process department - Roy Seawright
musical director - Marvin Hatley
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, James Parrott, Charlie Hall, Frank Butler, Robert McKenzie, Nick Grinde, Hal Law, 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.
animation effects - Probably the work of Roy Seawright.

the kids:

George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Featured role. He outsmarts Mr. Crutch and gets to go to the party. He later helps Dick to escape the orphanage.
Leonard Kibrick
Supporting role. His name doesn't turn up in the dialogue, but the cutting continuity lists him as "Leonard." He's reprimanded by Dick, only to turn the tables once Dick becomes a kid.
Scotty Beckett as "Scotty"
Supporting role. He's given some specific attention here and there, particularly during his sleeping scene with Spanky.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas
Supporting role. The nickname doesn't turn up in the dialogue, but the cutting continuity includes it. He's a female in this film. He's given a few closeups and a line of dialogue, providing occasional comic relief.
Cullen Morris
Supporting role. He's the black boy who discovers the lamp. Oddly, the cutting continuity lists him as "Gordon."
Marianne Edwards
Supporting role. Her name doesn't turn up in the dialogue, but the cutting continuity lists her as "Marianne." Mr. Crutch won't help her into the truck, but changes his tune when Mr. Wade is watching.
Alvin Buckelew
Supporting role. He's mostly an ensemble player in this film, but gets a chance to step on Mr. Crutch's foot.
Jerry Tucker
Supporting role. He's almost entirely an ensemble player in this film.
Matthew "Stymie" Beard
Supporting role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. He's given almost nothing specific to do in this film.
Barbara O'Brien
Supporting role. She explains to Mary what happens to the new clothes. She was later seen in "Teacher's Beau" (no. 136).
Jackie Lynn Taylor
Supporting role. She tells Mary to find some other place to sleep. The press release calls her Jacquelyn Taylor.
Gordon Evans
Supporting role. He's the blonde boy with the oversized mouth getting a closeup eating cake and another closeup taking the castor oil. He's also standing between Buckwheat and Marianne in the opening scene. His 15 minutes of fame in 1934 involved impersonating Joe E. Brown.
Donald Proffitt
Supporting role. He's given one closeup while eating cake, but is otherwise part of the ensemble.
Harry Harvey, Jr.
Small part. A blonde boy that looks consistent with him is seen in the longshots both at the party and in one of the beds.
Eileen Bernstein
Small part. She's given one closeup while eating cake, but is otherwise part of the ensemble.
Tommy McFarland
Small part. He's seen only in longshot. As the kids gather at the steps in their new clothes, he's at the upper left corner wearing a beret.
Jackie White
Small part. She's to the left of Spanky as he's told he isn't going to the party.
Philbrook Lyons
Extra. He can be spotted in the last part of the film in one of the beds. He also seems to be standing behind Buckwheat at the start of the film. A press photo verifies his inclusion in the cast.
Barbara Goodrich
Extra. She's shown in the photo in Rebecca Gulick's Those Little Rascals. She's third from the right in the middle row.
Paul Hilton
Extra. He's shown in the photo in Gulick's book standing between Jerry Tucker and Jackie Taylor.
Barbara Boone
Extra. She's to the right of Spanky in the photo in Gulick's book.
Joyce Kay
Extra. She's between Jackie White and Spanky at the start of the film, and to the right of Barbara Boone in the photo in Gulick's book. Her name is also mentioned in the press release for this film.
Phyllis Yuse
Extra. She's the girl behind Buckwheat and Scotty in the photo in Gulick's book.
other kids
Small parts. The payroll ledger lists Barbara Jean Lane, who I think is probably the girl standing next to Marianne Edwards in the Gulick photo. This is the girl who is scared by the goose. The ledger also lists Ambrose Effert and Ira Paulie, who are probably the remaining two unidentified boys in the photo. I say this because there are 26 kids in the photo, and Lane, Effert and Paulie were among 26 kids who worked on Dec. 20th. The remaining 23 kids who worked that day are all in the photo. Bobby Eslinger worked for the first three days of shooting, while George Rogers, Art Berry, Bill James, Harley Wood, Charlotte Stevens, Patsy Green and Marialice Gump (who Maltin & Bann list as Marialise Gumm) worked only on the first day of shooting. Funnily enough, the film doesn't seem to ever need any additional children. It may be that a few of these are adults, but if so, then they wound up on the cutting room floor. Maltin & Bann also list Fred Purner, Jr. (whose father was head of the Roach publicity and advertising department), who doesn't show up in the ledger at all. They also list Dorian Johnston and Delmar Watson, who are also missing from the ledger. Also, Patsy Barry signed photos from this film, but is also not in the ledger, and would have only been two when this film was made, which also rules her out.
(1.) One more brown-haired boy, who's at the party, but not the orphanage.
(2.) One more blonde boy.

the animals:

Laughing Gravy
Bit part. This is the little white dog that finds the lamp.
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
other animals
Bit parts. The only remaining animal in this film is the goose that scares the little girl.

the adults:

Olive Brasno as "Mary" aka "Miss Wade" as a child
Featured role. After changing into a child, she and her boyfriend discover how things really are at the orphanage. The press release mistakenly refers to her as Oliver Brasno.
George Brasno as "Dick" as a child, and as "Mr. Crutch" as a child
Featured role. He escapes the orphanage to tell Mr. Wade about it. Maltin & Bann credit Dick Brasno, the youngest of the three Brasno siblings, with playing Mr. Crutch as a child, but he's not listed in the payroll ledger. Instead, George, who was already making a weekly salary during the filming, was given an additional $10 check on December 21st, presumably for this extra bit of acting.
Clarence Wilson as "Mr. Crutch" as an adult
Featured role. He's the head of the orphanage and mistreats the kids.
Rosa Gore as "Mrs. Crutch"
Supporting role. She's virtually as bad as her husband.
Doris McMahan as "Mary" aka "Miss Wade" as an adult
Supporting role. She's given a fair amount of screen time, but is supplanted by Olive Brasno in most of the scenes. The press release lists her as Doris McMahon.
Joe Young as "Dick" as an adult
Supporting role. He's supplanted by George Brasno in the most of the scenes.
Wilfred Lucas as "Mr. Wade"
Supporting role. He's not crazy about having the kids at his home.
Herbert Evans as the butler
Small part. He takes the kids into the house to show them the new clothes.
Ray Turner as the frightened man
Bit part. He gets spooked by a sheet-covered Dick.
Monte Vandergrift as the cop
Bit part. He shows up at the house when Mr. Wade discovers that his daughter is missing.

the music:

"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A14.) A portion of this is played over the opening titles and as we're introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Crutch. A fragment is played over the end title.
"Bells" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. This is played as the kids arrive at the Wade estate.
"Little Dancing Girl" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. Also known as "Dancing Girl" and "Dancing Girls." This is played as the kids run into the house and emerge with new clothes on.
"(We're Going To) Arrowhead" by Leroy Shield
This is played as Dick reprimands Leonard and as Dick and Mary discover the lamp.
"Teeter-Totter" by Leroy Shield
Most of this piece is played as Mary and Dick change into children.
"The Moon And You" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. Most of this piece is played as the kids feast on cake and ice cream.
"Here Comes The Ice-Cream Man," by T. Marvin Hatley and Billy Gilbert
Copyrighted Jan. 25, 1934. Listed by Maltin & Bann as "The Ice Cream Song." Music by Hatley and lyrics by Gilbert. This is sung by Olive Brasno, with help from George Brasno and Spanky. The instrumental music heard over the radio right before Olive starts singing is the same song, as is the incidental music heard as the kids are making a racket and Mr. Crutch arrives to take them back to the orphanage.
"Ah! 'Tis Love" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Dec. 23, 1930. Most of this piece is played as Mr. Crutch takes Mary and Dick with him.

the locations:

Hal Roach Studios
The Happy Home Orphanage is actually a brownstone facade that had recently been built on the New York exterior set at the studio. The street number is 7805.


Seven shooting dates went into the making of this film. Three weeks had passed since shooting finished for "Mama's Little Pirate" (no. 132). Shooting for "Shrimps For A Day" started on Dec. 15th and continued until Dec. 22nd. There was no shooting on Dec. 16th, which was a Sunday. After this, a month would pass before the Our Gang unit began filming "Anniversary Trouble" (no. 134).

The trade publications, such as The Motion Picture Herald, list the release date for this film as December 8, 1934. However, it's now clear that this was probably a projected release date for production G-26 prior to the start of the film season, and that the short was not released until around the time of its copyright date of February 20, 1935. A perusal of the webpages for "Washee Ironee" (no. 131) and "Mama's Little Pirate" (no. 132) will explain a lot about the reasons for this delay. But when it comes to "Shrimps For A Day," the evidence for this delay is overwhelming. Not only do we have the title sheet and cutting continuity dates of February 8th, but we also have the following:
1. A memo of Dec. 15th stating that Meins, Corby, McManus and Greene were the main crew members for "Men For A Day," the earliest known working title for the film.
2. A memo of Dec. 18th signed by William Terhune in which the title "Life Begins At Forty" is substituted for "Men For A Day."
3. An undated item from Henry Ginsberg which states that both "Life Begins At Forty" and the Laurel & Hardy short "Tit For Tat" both finished the previous night, which was a Thursday, and that no further companies would go into production until after the holidays. According to Randy Skretvedt's Laurel & Hardy book, "Tit For Tat" wrapped on December 20th, which was indeed a Thursday.
4. A memo of Dec. 22nd which states that the film had been sent to the MGM distributors in NY.
5. A memo of Dec. 27th which states that Fox Films objected to the title "Life Begins At Forty." They were, incidentally, about to release a Will Rogers feature with the same title.
6. Another memo of Dec. 27th, signed by Terhune and copied to Roy Seawright, substituting the main title with a new one: "Shrimps For A Day."
7. A memo of Jan. 16th indicating that the publicity stills for the film (numbering 1 to 20 incl.) were shipped to Howard Dietz.
8. A memo of Feb. 1st, signed by Terhune, indicating that the picture negative and track were returned from the MGM laboratory for re-editing.
This explains, by the way, why Spanky McFarland is wearing his "Shrimps For A Day" outfit in the famous photo of him visiting Laurel & Hardy on the set of "Tit For Tat." And, incidentally, the press release for this film still retained the title "Life Begins At Forty."

The press release states that there were over fifty players in this film, counting both adults and children. I'm pretty sure that the number was less than forty, though. It states that there were more than 30 kids, not counting Spanky, Scotty and Stymie, but it would be more accurate to say 'more than 20 kids.'

From the press release: "While tussling with some of the other 'gangsters,' Scotty tackled a blonde little fellow about his own size and threw him to the ground. Much to his amazement, his victim sprang to his feet and in well chosen words informed him that he was not a kid but was twenty-three year old George Brasno, a midget, who was attired in youngster's clothing because he was playing a child's part in the comedy. And was Scotty's face red!"

Reel two starts as the kids arrive back at the orphanage.

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B601.

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© 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)
Piet Schreuders (for identifying "Here Comes The Ice-Cream Man")
Elliot Unkefer (for clarifying the info regarding "Here Comes The Ice-Cream Man," and for pointing out the 'A14' arrangement of "Good Old Days")
Matthew Lydick (for helping out with Gordon Evans and Cullen Morris)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)

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