Babes in Toyland (1934)

77 or 79 mins | Comedy | 30 November 1934

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HISTORY

Although the print viewed was a re-issue version entitled March of the Wooden Soldiers , the above credits were taken from the film's original cutting continuity. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, whose names appear above the title, are listed last in the cast listing. The picture was also re-issued as Revenge Is Sweet . According to an unidentified 7 Dec 1933 news item in the file on Hal Roach at the AMPAS Library, the film was to be produced with $500,000 provided by M-G-M, and was to star Laurel and Hardy as Simple Simon and the Pieman. HR news items provide the following information about the production: preparation for the film, including testing actors for various roles and shooting "stop-motion and miniature material" began as early as Jan 1934. L. A. French was in charge of the two crews working on the special effects, and the dramatic sequences were scheduled to begin shooting on 15 Feb 1934. Roach tried and failed to obtain Ramon Novarro for the romantic lead, then considered Donald Novis and Earl Oxford before awarding the part to Felix Knight. Roach also sought to borrow Patricia Ellis for the female romantic lead, and tested Doris Paxton for an unspecified feature spot. Anita Louise was tested for the part of "Little Miss Muffet," which was turned into "Bo-Peep" and given to Charlotte Henry, while Douglas Wakefield and Charles Rogers (who would later become the co-director) were tested for the role of "Gumio, the Toymaker's assistant," which was cut before production began. According to a 26 Feb 1934 HR news item, Laurel was "out of the ... More Less

Although the print viewed was a re-issue version entitled March of the Wooden Soldiers , the above credits were taken from the film's original cutting continuity. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, whose names appear above the title, are listed last in the cast listing. The picture was also re-issued as Revenge Is Sweet . According to an unidentified 7 Dec 1933 news item in the file on Hal Roach at the AMPAS Library, the film was to be produced with $500,000 provided by M-G-M, and was to star Laurel and Hardy as Simple Simon and the Pieman. HR news items provide the following information about the production: preparation for the film, including testing actors for various roles and shooting "stop-motion and miniature material" began as early as Jan 1934. L. A. French was in charge of the two crews working on the special effects, and the dramatic sequences were scheduled to begin shooting on 15 Feb 1934. Roach tried and failed to obtain Ramon Novarro for the romantic lead, then considered Donald Novis and Earl Oxford before awarding the part to Felix Knight. Roach also sought to borrow Patricia Ellis for the female romantic lead, and tested Doris Paxton for an unspecified feature spot. Anita Louise was tested for the part of "Little Miss Muffet," which was turned into "Bo-Peep" and given to Charlotte Henry, while Douglas Wakefield and Charles Rogers (who would later become the co-director) were tested for the role of "Gumio, the Toymaker's assistant," which was cut before production began. According to a 26 Feb 1934 HR news item, Laurel was "out of the picture for the time being," and Roach suspended production until Laurel could be "brought back to the fold." Modern sources assert that this delay was caused by Laurel's announcement that he was returning to his native England. The announcement was supposedly a ploy to avoid Laurel's alimony difficulties.
       Preparations for filming began again in mid-Jun 1934. Ray McCarey was scheduled to direct the film, but in early Jul, he was replaced by Gus Meins, and Margaret Seddon was engaged for the role of "the Widow Peep." Soon after production began in early Aug 1934, Laurel suffered a serious leg injury and production was halted on 16 Aug. Contemporary news items conflict about the exact date shooting resumed, but apparently some work was done on the picture while Laurel recovered. By the time production fully resumed, Seddon had been replaced by Florence Roberts, possibly because Seddon was no longer available. The film's pressbook noted that Rogers, who had frequently worked with Laurel and Hardy as a writer, directed their comedy sequences, while Meins was responsible for the other portions of the film. The following actors were included in the cast by HR production charts, and their roles are supplied by modern sources: Kewpie Morgan ( Old King Cole ); Marie Wilson ( Mary Quite Contrary ); Charlie Hall ( Toyland townsman ); Billy Bletcher ( Chief of police ); Alice Moore ( Queen of Hearts ); Pete Gordon ( Cat and the fiddle ); Richard Powell ( King's guard ); and Sumner Getchell ( Tom Thumb ). Other actors listed on HR production charts who are not listed in modern sources are: Alice Lake, May Wallace and Arthur Lovejoy. According to a HR news item, the "Three Little Pigs" appeared through a deal with Walt Disney Productions, which was to supply their voices. The film's pressbook stated that after the film was completed, Roach donated the set of Toyland to the city of Los Angeles. Actor Henry Kleinbach, who later changed his name to Henry Brandon, was twenty-two when he played "Silas Barnaby" in this film, which marked his screen-acting debut. He noted in a modern source that his makeup was done by Jim Collins, the former head of the Paramount makeup department.
       Modern sources assert that Roach wrote the film's original script in late 1933, and hired Ray Harris to polish it. Roach's material was largely rewritten, however, by Frank Butler and Nick Grinde, who are credited on screen, and Laurel. According to modern sources, Gordon Douglas was an assistant director on the film, and photographer Art Lloyd was assisted by special effects director Roy Seawright with the filming of the march of the wooden soldiers. Modern sources also include the following actors in the cast: Scotty Beckett, Marianne Edwards, Tommy Bupp, Georgie Billings , Jerry Tucker, Jackie Taylor and Dickie Jones ( Schoolchilden ); Sam Lufkin, Jack Hill, Baldwin Cooke, Jack Lipson, Robert Burns, Bob O'Conor , Ernie Alexander, Ham Kinsey, Charles Dorety, Edward Earle and Margaret Nearing ( Toyland townspeople ); Scott Mattraw ( Toyland townsman, also the town crier ); Alice Dahl ( Little Miss Muffet ); Payne Johnson ( Jiggs, one of the Three Little Pigs ); Angelo Rossitto ( Elmer, one of the Three Little Pigs ); Dick Alexander ( King's guard ); Tiny Sandford and Eddie Baker ( Duckers ); John George ( Barnaby's minion ); Frank Austin ( Justice of the peace ); Gus Leonard ( Candle snuffer ); Charles Rogers ( Fisherman ); Jack Raymond and Eddie Borden ( Demon bogeyman ); Alice Cooke ( Mother Hubbard ); and Fred Holmes ( Balloon man ).
       Jack Donohoe directed Ray Bolger, Tommy Sands and Annette Funicello in the 1961 Walt Disney Productions version of Victor Herbert and Glen MacDonough's operetta (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; F6.0238). The many television versions, all entitled Babes in Toyland , include a 25 Dec 1950 NBC broadcast directed by Bill Corrigan and starring Dennis King; a 18 Dec 1954 NBC Color Special , directed by Max Liebman and starring Wally Cox and Dennis Day, which was rebroadcast on 24 Dec 1955; an episode of Shirley Temple's Storybook , broadcast on 25 Dec 1960, starring Temple and Jonathan Winters; and a 19 Dec 1986 NBC presentation directed by Clive Donner and starring Drew Barrymore, Richard Mulligan and Eileen Brennan. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17-Nov-34
---
Daily Variety
2 Aug 34
p. 4.
Daily Variety
8 Aug 34
p. 4.
Daily Variety
17 Oct 34
p. 3.
Daily Variety
10 Nov 34
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Jun 34
p. 10.
Film Daily
28 Jul 34
p. 4.
Film Daily
12 Nov 34
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 34
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 34
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jan 34
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Feb 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jun 34
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 34
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jul 34
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 34
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Aug 34
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 34
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 34
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 34
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Aug 34
p. 2, 12
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 34
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 34
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 34
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 34
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Oct 34
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 34
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Nov 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Nov 35
p. 5.
Motion Picture Daily
27 Nov 35
p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald
24 Nov 34
pp. 36, 39
MPSI
1 Feb 35
p. 15.
New York Times
13 Dec 34
p. 28.
Variety
13 Dec 34
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
PRODUCER
Pres
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Photog
Photog
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec eng
PRODUCTION MISC
Studio manager
Chief draughtsman
Supv of stop-motion and miniature seq
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the operetta Babes in Toyland, music by Victor Herbert, book and lyrics by Glen MacDonough (New York, 13 Oct 1903).
SONGS
"Toyland," "Don't Cry, Bo-Peep," "Go to Sleep, Slumber Deep," "I Can't Do the Sum," "March of the Toys" and other songs from the operetta Babes in Toyland , music by Victor Herbert, book and lyrics by Glen MacDonough.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Revenge Is Sweet
March of the Wooden Soldiers
Release Date:
30 November 1934
Production Date:
early August--late October 1934.
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
28 November 1934
Copyright Number:
LP5161
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
77 or 79
Length(in feet):
7,123
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
401
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In the village of Toyland, evil old Silas Barnaby threatens to evict the Widow Peep, who lives in a shoe, unless she allows him to marry her daughter Bo-Peep. The widow refuses his demand, much to the relief of Bo-Peep, who is in love with handsome Tom-Tom Piper. Desperate for money to pay off her mortgage, Widow Peep asks for help from her well-meaning but simple lodgers, Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee, who assure her that they can borrow the money from their employer, the Toymaker. After they arrive at work, however, their hopes for a loan are dashed when it is discovered that they made a mistake in an order for Santa Claus. Instead of the 600 one-foot tall toy soldiers that Santa needs, the boys told the toymakers to build 100 six-foot tall soldiers. The enraged Toymaker fires them and they return home just as Barnaby is again threatening Bo-Peep and her mother. Unable to pay Barnaby, the boys resolve to obtain the deed to the shoe, and so, that night, Ollie hides in a box that Stannie takes to Barnaby as a Christmas present. The boys intend to steal the deed while Barnaby sleeps, but he discovers their ruse, and the next day, Old King Cole proclaims that the would-be thieves are to be ducked in the pond and permanently banished to Bogeyland. Ollie's dignity is dampened by the ducking, but he and Stannie are saved from banishment by Bo-Peep, who agrees to marry Barnaby if he drops the charges and allows her mother to move back into the shoe. Soon after, Bo-Peep and her mother are sadly ... +


In the village of Toyland, evil old Silas Barnaby threatens to evict the Widow Peep, who lives in a shoe, unless she allows him to marry her daughter Bo-Peep. The widow refuses his demand, much to the relief of Bo-Peep, who is in love with handsome Tom-Tom Piper. Desperate for money to pay off her mortgage, Widow Peep asks for help from her well-meaning but simple lodgers, Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee, who assure her that they can borrow the money from their employer, the Toymaker. After they arrive at work, however, their hopes for a loan are dashed when it is discovered that they made a mistake in an order for Santa Claus. Instead of the 600 one-foot tall toy soldiers that Santa needs, the boys told the toymakers to build 100 six-foot tall soldiers. The enraged Toymaker fires them and they return home just as Barnaby is again threatening Bo-Peep and her mother. Unable to pay Barnaby, the boys resolve to obtain the deed to the shoe, and so, that night, Ollie hides in a box that Stannie takes to Barnaby as a Christmas present. The boys intend to steal the deed while Barnaby sleeps, but he discovers their ruse, and the next day, Old King Cole proclaims that the would-be thieves are to be ducked in the pond and permanently banished to Bogeyland. Ollie's dignity is dampened by the ducking, but he and Stannie are saved from banishment by Bo-Peep, who agrees to marry Barnaby if he drops the charges and allows her mother to move back into the shoe. Soon after, Bo-Peep and her mother are sadly waiting with Stannie and Ollie for the wedding ceremony to begin. As Ollie laments having to give Bo-Peep away, Widow Peep goes to Barnaby's house to plead for mercy, which he refuses to give. Ollie then arrives with the bride, who is demurely covered with a heavy veil, and the wedding commences. After the ceremony, Barnaby gives the deed to Ollie, who tears it up, but when Barnaby lifts the veil to kiss his bride, he finds Stannie, not Bo-Peep. Barnaby vows revenge, and later that night, kidnaps Elmer, one of the Three Little Pigs, and plants evidence to make Tom-Tom appear guilty. The next day, during Tom-Tom's trial, Stannie and Ollie find Elmer in Barnaby's cellar, but by the time they bring him back, Tom-Tom has already been sent to Bogeyland. Bo-Peep rushes off to find her sweetheart, while the townspeople chase Barnaby, who goes to Bogeyland through a secret passageway in his well. Stannie and Ollie follow him and find Bo-Peep and Tom-Tom, then are chased back to Toyland by Barnaby and the monstrous bogeymen whom he controls. Back at Toyland, everyone welcomes the returned heroes, but chaos breaks out as the village is overrun by Barnaby's mauraders. A resourceful mouse takes to the air in a toy blimp and drops miniature torpedoes on the bogeymen, while Stannie and Ollie start up the giant wooden soldiers. The soldiers march out of the toy factory and soon rout the bogeymen. Stannie and Ollie attempt to shoot a parting volley of darts at the fleeing monsters, but the cannon tips over and covers Ollie's backside with darts. +

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

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