Second Childhood

film no. 144

technical details:

Production G-37.

Release no. C-217.

Filmed probably in January 1936.

Copyrighted March 17, 1936, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP6234. Renewed June 21, 1963, with registration no. R317582. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2031.

Released April 11, 1936. It was the 144th film in the series to be released.

All-talking two-reeler.

Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents Our Gang in "Second Childhood".'

The soundtrack for this film was used for A Little Rascals Color Special made by King-World Productions and presented by Charles King. The resultant film, using puppet animation, was one of five episodes refashioned this way, which were intended to be marketed as a television series that never came to be.

King World Productions episode no. 25, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions.

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, A. S. C.
This credit appears in the film.
Film Editor: Louis McManus
This credit appears in the film.
Sound: William Randall
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. 1936.
studio personnel
general manager - Henry Ginsberg was replaced in Jan. 1936 by David Loew
assistant general manager - L. A. French until early 1936
construction and lot manager - Matt O'Brien
Roach's assistant on production activities - Lawrence Tarver
secretary-treasurer - C. H. Roach
film editor and sound department - Elmer Raguse
story department - Jack Jevne
publicity and advertising - Fred Purner
construction supervisor - C. E. Christensen
property department - W. L. Stevens
laboratory superintendent - Charles Levin
process department - Roy Seawright
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
musical director - Marvin Hatley
makeup department - Jack Casey
hairdressing - Peggy Zardo
transportation director - Bob Davis
school teacher - Fern Carter
possible uncredited involvement
assistant direction - Probably Gordon Douglas.
writing - Hal Yates, Carl Harbaugh, Charlie Hall, Hal Law, John Guedel, Harry Langdon and Gordon Douglas may have been among the gag writers.
property department - Charles Oelze was probably involved in this capacity.
titles - Louis McManus probably designed the main titles.

the kids:

George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Featured role. He's the leader among the kids and has most of the dialogue.
Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as "Alfalfa" aka "Carl"
Featured role. He's featured almost as much as Spanky, as the two of them spend quite a lot of the film alone with Tilbury. She absentmindedly calls him "Carl" at one point.
Dickie DeNeut
Supporting role. His name doesn't turn up in the dialogue, but the cutting continuity refers to him as "Dickie." He teaches Grandma good manners.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas
Small part. The nickname doesn't turn up in the dialogue, but the cutting continuity includes it. He waters the lawn.
Darla Hood
Small part. Her name doesn't turn up in the dialogue, but the cutting continuity includes it. She gathers flowers.
Eugene "Porky" Lee as "Porky"
Small part. He isn't given too much of anything specific to do, other than getting squirted with water.

the animals:

Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
other animals
There's a painting on the wall of two cats. There's also a strange high-pitched sound in the opening scene, which could possibly be a caged bird, much like the sound in "Anniversary Trouble" (no. 134).
There's a fly buzzing around Grandma's head at one point.

the adults:

Zeffie Tilbury as "Grandma"
Lead role. It's her 65th birthday, and her crabby disposition is transformed by the kids.
Sidney Bracey as "Hobson," the butler
Supporting role. He's repeatedly the victim of Grandma's new-found zest for life.
Greta Gould as the maid
Small part. She doesn't appear as much as Hobson, but she has a fair amount of dialogue.
other adults
Small part. There's a stunt double for Grandma in this film, presumably David Sharpe, who was still involved at the studio during this period.

the music:

"Good Old Day" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A15.) This is played over the opening titles and as we're introduced to Grandma, the butler and the maid. The last half part is played as Grandma is in the fountain and the end title appears.
"Oh! Susanna" by Stephen Collines Foster
Published in 1848. Wendell Hall & Shannon Four had a number eight hit with this song in 1924. In this film, it's sung by Alfalfa, Grandma and Spanky. Marvin Hatley received arrangement credit for this version, which was copyrighted on Jan. 6, 1936.


Visiting the set and being photographed with the new batch of Our Gang kids was former Gangster Joe Cobb. A newspaper photo of Joe with the kids was published on February 5th, so the filming was underway by this time.

According to the press release, all of the kids grabbed for the toy airplane and broke it.

In the category of unseen characters, one of Grandma's prescriptions is from a "Dr. Jones."

Reel one ends as the three singers walk into the house.

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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 providing copyright dates for the music)
Matthew Lydick (for the correct spelling of Dickie DeNeut's last name)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)

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