Peck's Bad Boy (1921)

Comedy | 24 April 1921

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HISTORY

An 8 Oct 1920 Wid’s Daily item announced that Sol Lesser and Col. Fred Levy, franchise holders for Associated First National Pictures, were “actively interested” in Peck’s Bad Boy Co., a new production entity formed to produce eight pictures, three of which would be based on George Wilbur Peck’s “Peck’s Bad Boy” series of novels. As noted in the 6 Nov 1920 Exhibitors Herald, producer Irving M. Lesser, Sol Lesser’s brother, had purchased film rights to the Peck novels. The first film of the Peck’s Bad Boy Co. series, to be adapted by Bernard McConville and directed by Nate Watt, was set to star Jackie Coogan in the titular role. Coogan had recently completed the Charlie Chaplin picture, The Kid (1921, see entry). Henry Bergman, who had appeared with Coogan in The Kid, was hired as an advisor to Nate Watt, as noted in the 13 Nov 1920 Wid’s Daily, and the director’s brother, Charles Watt, was brought on as his assistant. Filming was set to take place at Louis B. Mayer studios. Exhibitors Herald stated that DeWitte Hagar, a production manager, was “busily preparing the path” for production.
       Supporting cast members were announced in a 4 Nov 1920 Wid’s Daily item. Molly Malone was set to play Coogan’s older sister, William V. Mong was cast as “The village grocer,” George Pearce was hired to play “Pa Peck,” Katherine Griffith was cast in the role of “Ma Peck,” and A. J. Menjou was selected to play “the heavy.” A 13 Nov 1920 Moving Picture World brief also named four-year-old Josephine Adair ... More Less

An 8 Oct 1920 Wid’s Daily item announced that Sol Lesser and Col. Fred Levy, franchise holders for Associated First National Pictures, were “actively interested” in Peck’s Bad Boy Co., a new production entity formed to produce eight pictures, three of which would be based on George Wilbur Peck’s “Peck’s Bad Boy” series of novels. As noted in the 6 Nov 1920 Exhibitors Herald, producer Irving M. Lesser, Sol Lesser’s brother, had purchased film rights to the Peck novels. The first film of the Peck’s Bad Boy Co. series, to be adapted by Bernard McConville and directed by Nate Watt, was set to star Jackie Coogan in the titular role. Coogan had recently completed the Charlie Chaplin picture, The Kid (1921, see entry). Henry Bergman, who had appeared with Coogan in The Kid, was hired as an advisor to Nate Watt, as noted in the 13 Nov 1920 Wid’s Daily, and the director’s brother, Charles Watt, was brought on as his assistant. Filming was set to take place at Louis B. Mayer studios. Exhibitors Herald stated that DeWitte Hagar, a production manager, was “busily preparing the path” for production.
       Supporting cast members were announced in a 4 Nov 1920 Wid’s Daily item. Molly Malone was set to play Coogan’s older sister, William V. Mong was cast as “The village grocer,” George Pearce was hired to play “Pa Peck,” Katherine Griffith was cast in the role of “Ma Peck,” and A. J. Menjou was selected to play “the heavy.” A 13 Nov 1920 Moving Picture World brief also named four-year-old Josephine Adair as a cast member. However, none of the aforementioned actors remained with the project through its completion.
       On 13 Nov 1920, Exhibitors Herald reported that the film company was en route to Pleasanton, CA, where exterior rural scenes would be shot. Due to lack of adequate hotels, two “specially equipped Pullman cars” were brought to the location, to house cast and crewmembers during their two weeks’ stay.
       A 28 Dec 1920 Wid’s Daily brief reported that, on 12 Nov 1920, Jackie Coogan endured a fractured skull in an automobile accident. The injury halted production, but the 18 Dec 1920 issue of Moving Picture World reported that Coogan had made a full recovery and was back on set. In the meantime, Irving M. Lesser decided to reorganize the picture as a “more artistic and elaborate production,” as noted in a 5 Feb 1921 Motion Picture News article. Lesser brought on Louis E. Loeb as general production manager, and together, he and Loeb hired director Sam Wood to replace Nate Watt. Actors Molly Malone, William V. Mong, George Pearce, Katherine Griffith, and A. J. Menjou were replaced by Doris May, Raymond Hatton, James Corrigan, and Lillian Leighton, respectively. Josephine Adair was replaced by Baby Gloria Wood, the daughter of director Sam Wood, and the film marked her motion picture debut. As an adult, Baby Gloria Wood appeared in numerous films and television programs, first billed as either Katharine or Katherine Stevens, and later under the name by which she became best known, K. T. Stevens.
       With the personnel change, filming moved from Louis B. Mayer Studios to Brunton Studios, as noted in the 29 Jan 1921 Exhibitors Herald. The 5 Feb 1921 issue of Motion Picture News anticipated that principal photography would be completed in several weeks. On 12 Feb 1921, the same publication reported that Coogan nearly had another automobile accident on set, when his shoe was caught in a “small gasoline hand-car” that he and Wheeler Oakman were riding in a scene. The boy was unable to jump from the handcar as a moving train approached, and Oakman saved him by throwing on the car’s brakes and derailing the vehicle in time to escape the oncoming locomotive.
       The completion of principal photography was announced in the 19 Feb 1921 issue of Motion Picture News. On 12 Mar 1921, an Exhibitors Herald item noted that Irvin S. Cobb was at work on the titles, and Peck’s Bad Boy would be released as soon as they were finished.
       A news brief in the 15 Apr 1921 Wid’s Daily reported that the picture would be released through Associated First National Pictures, although the distribution deal was still pending. A 24 Apr 1921 premiere at the Mark Strand Theatre on Broadway in New York City was arranged. The 30 Apr 1921 Moving Picture World stated that Peck’s Bad Boy would have a one-week run at the Mark Strand, before moving to the Strand Theatre in Brooklyn, NY.
       An interview with Jackie Coogan in the Sep 1921 issue of Motion Picture Magazine noted that the child actor preferred The Kid to Peck’s Bad Boy, which he called “mediocre.” Items in the 20 Aug 1921 Moving Picture World cited various ways theater owners promoted the film, including an ice-cream-cone giveaway at the Empress Theatre in Owensboro, KY; a scooter chute built outside the Wigwam Theatre in San Francisco, CA; and a Jackie Coogan impersonator contest, with the prize of a Jackie Coogan doll, at the T. & D. Theatre in San Jose, CA.
       Among the other film versions of George Wilbur Peck's stories are: the 1908 Essanay short Peck's Bad Boy (see entry); the 1934 Twentieth Century-Fox release Peck's Bad Boy , starring Jackie Cooper and directed by Eddie Cline (see entry); and the 1938 RKO release Peck's Bad Boy with the Circus , starring Tommy Kelly and directed by Cline (see entry).
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Herald
6 Nov 1920.
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Exhibitors Herald
13 Nov 1920.
---
Exhibitors Herald
20 Nov 1920.
---
Exhibitors Herald
29 Jan 1921.
---
Exhibitors Herald
12 Mar 1921.
---
Film Daily
1 May 1921.
---
Motion Picture Magazine
Sep 1921
p. 29.
Motion Picture News
5 Feb 1921.
---
Motion Picture News
12 Feb 1921.
---
Motion Picture News
19 Feb 1921.
---
Moving Picture World
13 Nov 1920.
---
Moving Picture World
18 Dec 1920.
---
Moving Picture World
30 Apr 1921.
---
Moving Picture World
20 Aug 1921.
---
New York Times
25 Apr 1921
p. 9.
Variety
29 Apr 1921
p. 41.
Wid's Daily
8 Oct 1920.
---
Wid's Daily
22 Oct 1920.
---
Wid's Daily
4 Nov 1920.
---
Wid's Daily
13 Nov 1920.
---
Wid's Daily
28 Dec 1920.
---
Wid's Daily
14 Apr 1921
p. 1.
Wid's Daily
15 Apr 1921
p. 1.
Wid's Daily
1 May 1921
p. 2.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
Dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Adpt
Titles
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa and other titles by George Wilbur Peck (1883 and later).
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 April 1921
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 24 April 1921 at the Marchk Strand Theatre
Production Date:
November 1920--February 1921
Copyright Claimant:
Peck's Bad Boy Co.
Copyright Date:
8 June 1921
Copyright Number:
LP16659
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
5,000
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

When a circus comes to town, Jackie, his pal, and his dog cause a commotion by releasing a lion from its cage, and consequently Jackie's father refuses him circus money. So Jackie disguises his pal as a girl, contrives to have Mr. Peck keep a date with "her," and collects "blackmail" just before his father and mother discover the "girl's" true identity. In other escapades, he puts ants in his father's pleurisy pad while the family is in church; rescues his dog from the dogcatcher; and conceals some important papers in the pocket of young Dr. Martin, his sister's beau, causing the doctor's arrest. Jackie admits to the last offense, and the doctor saves the boy and the dog from an oncoming ... +


When a circus comes to town, Jackie, his pal, and his dog cause a commotion by releasing a lion from its cage, and consequently Jackie's father refuses him circus money. So Jackie disguises his pal as a girl, contrives to have Mr. Peck keep a date with "her," and collects "blackmail" just before his father and mother discover the "girl's" true identity. In other escapades, he puts ants in his father's pleurisy pad while the family is in church; rescues his dog from the dogcatcher; and conceals some important papers in the pocket of young Dr. Martin, his sister's beau, causing the doctor's arrest. Jackie admits to the last offense, and the doctor saves the boy and the dog from an oncoming train. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Domestic


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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