Arbor Day

film no. 145

technical details:

Production G-38.

Release no. C-218.

Filmed Feb. 12 to 18, 1936. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Title sheet prepared by Elmer Raguse on March 26, 1936.

Cutting continuity submitted March 25, 1936.

Copyrighted April 9, 1936, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP6273. Renewed June 21, 1963, with registration no. R317583. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2031.

Released May 2, 1936. It was the 145th film in the series to be released.

All-talking two-reeler.

Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents Our Gang in "Arbor Day".'

King World Productions episode no. 1a, 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 Fred Newmeyer
This credit appears in the film. Credited in the Official print as Fred Mewmeyer.
Photography: Milton Krasner
This credit appears in the film. Credited in the Official print as Milton Krashner, A. S. C.
Film Editor: Bert Jordan
This credit appears in the film. Credited in the Official print as Bert Jordon.
Sound: W. B. Delaplain
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. 2027.
studio personnel
general manager - David Loew until early to mid 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, Richard Flournoy 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:

Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer
Featured role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. He's enthusiastic about the pageant and has a big singing moment.
George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Featured role. He tries to play hooky, but the truant officer ensures that he takes part in the pageant.
Darla Hood
Supporting role. She's given extra attention during the pageant, particularly during the ballet sequence.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas
Supporting role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. He's clearly a boy in this film, and takes part in the pageant in that capacity.
Pete Troncale
Small part. He's the tall dark-haired boy in the pageant, and along with Joseph O'Brien, is the first to come out onto the stage.
Joseph O'Brien
Small part. He's the blonde boy that comes out with Pete Troncale, and is later second from the left among the boys in the dancing sequence.
Betsy Gay
Small part. She's initially at the far left among the dancing girls, and is later 'dipped' by Spanky.
Mary Walker
Small part. She's second from the left among the dancing girls, and is later 'dipped' by Alfalfa.
Gloria Brown
Small part. This is the girl next to Darla during the ballet sequence.
Daniel Boone
Small part. He's the small brown-haired boy in the pageant.
Bernice Firestein
Small part. She's the third dancer from the left among the girls.
Betty Goble
Small part. She's the third dancer from the right.
Ricardo Cezon
Bit part. He switches clothes with George Brasno at the sideshow.
Barbara Boone
Bit part. She switches clothes with Olive Brasno at the sideshow.
John Collum
Extra. He's sitting at the front desk to the left in virtually all of the long shots of the class.
Jack Egger
Extra. A casting directory credits him with appearing in this film, and it appears that he's sitting two seats behind John Collum.
Mildred Kornman
Extra. The payroll ledger indicates that she worked in this film. She's sitting three seats behind John Collum.
Harold Switzer
Extra. He's at the back of the row to the far right of the room.
other kids
Small parts, bit parts and extras.
(1.) One remaining boy in the pageant. He's the first to put a shovel-full of dirt into the pail, but isn't seen after that.
(2.) The Green Street Grammar School Orchestra, consisting of three boys and one girl.
(3.) Perhaps twelve more kids in the class.

the animals:

Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film (but is cut from the Cabin Fever print).

the adults:

George Brasno as one of the midgets
Featured role. He and his wife switch clothes with a couple of kids to get some fresh air, and find themselves in school. The cutting continuity refers to him as 'midget.'
Olive Brasno as one of the midgets
Featured role. She plays George's wife, even though the two of them were siblings. The cutting continuity refers to her as 'midget's wife.'
Maurice Cass as "Mr. Cass"
Featured role. He's the principal, and introduces the different acts in the pageant.
George Guhl as "Mr. Smithers," the truant officer
Supporting role. He brings the midgets to the school.
Kathryn Sheldon as "Miss Argyle"
Supporting role. She's the one that has organized the pageant.
Bob Murphy as "Murphy," the side show barker
Supporting role. He doesn't want his midgets to wander off. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Dick Rush.
Rosina Lawrence as "Miss Lawrence"
Small part. She plays the piano and leads the musicians.
Hattie McDaniel as Buckwheat's mom
Bit part. She prompts Buckwheat on his lines.
May Wallace as the autograph seeker
Bit part. She gushes over the midgets.
Harry Bayfield as the sideshow clown
Bit part. He's seen briefly interacting with Boone and Cezon.
Florence Morrison
Bit part. She's the teenaged girl sitting next to Hattie McDaniel.
Jessie Arnold
Bit part. She's the woman at the side of the stage with Darla.
Rolfe Sedan
Extra. He's among the crowd outside the sideshow. He's the first on the right side to enter the door after Murphy does his spiel.
Doc Kelly
Extra. He's the rotund man seen in the back of the classroom on the right side of the shots.
other adults
Bit parts and extras.
(1.) The bearded lady at the sideshow.
(2.) The ticket taker at the sideshow.
(3.) Several additional people both inside and outside the sideshow. Maltin & Bann list Bobby Dunn as an 'atmosphere extra,' but he's not listed in the payroll ledger.
(4.) About twenty adults in the classroom.
in still images
The Unfinished Portrait of George Washington is hanging over the pageant.

the music:

"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A15.) Most of this piece is played over the opening titles. The second verse is played as Mr. Smithers gets fired and the end title appears.
"A Nickel In The Slot" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Oct. 18, 1933. This is the piano music playing as the midgets first try to take a walk outside. A small part of it is repeated as the midgets successfully escape.
"Swinging The Blues Away" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Sep. 15, 1933. Written with lyrics by Billy Gilbert and Frank Terry. An instrumental version is played on the piano as the midgets switch clothes with the two kids.
"Planting" by T. Marvin Hatley
Copyrighted Feb. 20, 1936. This is played by Miss Lawrence and her students during the tree planting part of the pageant. The copyright notice describes this as a 'gavotte,' which isn't entirely accurate.
"Willow Trees" by T. Marvin Hatley and Jeff Moffit
Copyrighted Feb. 20, 1936. This is the song in which the girls are willow trees and the boys are oaks.
"The Woodman" by T. Marvin Hatley and Jeff Moffit
Copyrighted Feb. 20, 1936. This is the song in which Spanky wants to chop down the tree.
"Trees" by Joyce Kilmer and Oscar Rasbach
Originally a poem published in August 1913 by Kilmer. Rasbach put music to it and published it in 1922. Isham Jones & His Orchestra had a number 13 hit with this song in 1930, while Donald Novis got to number 12 with it in 1933. In this film, it's sung by Alfalfa. A Hatley arrangment of this song was copyrighted on June 13, 1935.
"Doin' The Crazy Walk"
This is the song sung by the Brasnos. It bears no resemblance to the Duke Ellington tune.
other music
The only remaining music is the sound of the musicians tuning up.

the locations:

Hal E. Roach Studios
It appears that the entire short was shot at the studio. The outdoor scene with Spanky and Alfalfa looks like it was filmed on the New York street set.


Five shooting dates went into the making of this film. Shooting started on Feb. 12th and continued until Feb. 18th. There was no shooting on Feb. 15th, which was a Sunday. After this, almost five months would pass before the Our Gang unit began work on "Bored Of Education" (no. 146).

After making this short, the Our Gang kids went on a nationwide tour beginning on April 12th in Duluth. Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, and Darla, were joined by Pete the Pup, Harold Switzer, and master of ceremonies Joe Cobb. The tour was cut short in June while visiting Detroit. All of the kids came down with the measles, except Alfalfa.

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B321.

An item of August 13, 1936, reveals that this short was shown as part of the "Our Gang" Review along with the newly-released "Bored Of Education" (no. 146) and a silent classic, "The Big Show" (no. 7).

Reissue and television prints are titled "Arbor Days."

The school is called the Green Street Grammar School.

The store Spanky hides in front of has advertisements for Hills Bros. Coffee and Morton Salt.

Reel two begins as Spanky tries to chop down the tree.

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© Robert Demoss.

My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Jesse Brisson (for IDing Harry Bayfield)
Ray Frieders (for passing along the casting directory credit for Jack Egger)
Rob Stone (for providing the production number)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Piet Schreuders (for identifying the Hatley tunes)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)

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