Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Boy Friends

A little about "The Boy Friends" series at the Roach studio.

The Boy Friends

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Boy Friends is a series of American comedy short films released between 1930 and 1932. The series consisted of fifteen films and was spun off from the long running Our Gang film series (also known as The Little Rascals).


Like the Our Gang shorts of the time, The Boy Friends films were two-reel short subjects produced by Hal Roach through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. They featured teenaged actors including some, particularly Mickey Daniels and Mary Kornman, who as children had starred in the early silent Our Gang shorts. Grady Sutton was also a lead player in the series. Daniels appeared in every short, Kornman appeared in all but one.
Roach released three The Boy Friends films in 1930: Doctor's Orders, Ladies Last, and Bigger and Better. The series added seven installments in 1931: Blood and Thunder, High Gear, Love Fever, Air Tight, Call a Cop, Mama Loves Papa, and The Kickoff. Finally, 1932 saw the release of the last five films: Love Pains, The Knockout, Too Many Women, Wild Babies, and You're Telling Me. Mickey Daniels appeared in each short, as did Mary Kornman with the exception of You're Telling Me. At least some of the films in the series took place at Elmira College, an actual school located in Roach's home town of Elmira, New York.




  • Doctor's Orders
  • Bigger and Better
  • Ladies Last


  • Blood and Thunder
  • High Gear
  • Love Fever
  • Air-Tight
  • Call a Cop!
  • Mama Loves Papa
  • The Kick-Off!


  • Love Pains
  • The Knock-Out
  • You're Telling Me
  • Wild Babies
  • Too Many Women

                                               *                          *                          *

"The Boy Friends" was like a teenage version of "Our Gang". The idea had potential, and the films even had some of the same cast members as the earlier series, but the series was not a success. Best thing that I can say about these movies is that they had pretty girls in them. Betty Bolen and Jacqueline Wells appeared in addition to Mary Kornman, Gertrude Messinger, and Dorothy Granger.

The series was said to have been the brainchild of George Stevens, who later became one of the most famous directors of all time. GUNGA DINN, THE MORE THE MERRIER, SHANE, and THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD are among the many classics he had to his credit. He also had another two-reel comedy series at RKO, "The Blondes And The Redheads", which was similar to "The Boy Friends", only with more emphasis on the girls..

Cast members Grady Sutton, Dorothy Granger, David Sharpe, Gertrude Messinger, Mickey Daniels, and Mary Kornman all autographed this photo.

Looking at these photos, it seems to me that the idea was that each couple resembled each other somewhat, and therefore looked as if they belonged together.

                                                                         Leg art.

No doubt about it, in each case those legs look like they belong together.
In another publicity photo, they form a human pyramid.
 George Stevens ( seated ) directs a "Boy Friends" comedy.
Mickey Daniels and Mary Kornman in TOO MANY WOMEN.

The idea is that she's showing him pictures of them together that were taken when they were kids. The movie showed flashbacks from Our Gang comedies that they had made together in the silent era. This was an interesting idea, but it wasn't followed up on afterwards.
Jacqueline Wells, Mary Kornman, and Betty Bolen in THE KNOCKOUT
Notice the toy Mickey Mouse in this scene from THE KNOCKOUT.
 Since Kay Kamen handled the merchandising of Hal Roach's properties as well as those of Walt Disney, it's not too surprising that Roach was actually involved in the promotion of toy "Mickey Mouses" in this period.
Hal Roach photographer Stax shot this photo of the "Boy Friends" with this 1932 Studebaker just in case it might be wanted for advertising purposes. But like the series itself, it didn't sell.


FILM FAN MONTHLY with "Boy Friends" cover.


The Blondes And The Redheads:

The Boy Friends:



Betty Bolen:

Mickey Daniels:

Dorothy Granger:

Mary Kornman:

Gertrude Messenger:


Mickey Mouse ( And Hal Roach ):

David Sharpe:

George Stevens:

Grady Sutton:

Jacqueline Wells:


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this feature and the wonderful photos, but Mary Kornman does not look like Mickey Daniels, save for the way her hair is curled. Betty Bolen was very cute in these shorts, I wish she had been featured more.