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The Pigskin Palooka

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Thepigskinpalooka

Length: One Reel
Producer: Hal Roach
Director: Gordon Douglas
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: William Ziegler
Titles: None
Writer: Hal Roach
Released: October 23, 1937
Studio: M-G-M

Main Cast

Supporting Cast

  • Barry Downing as #16
  • Charles Flickinger as #5
  • Cullen Johnson as scorekeeper
  • Daniel Boone as #6
  • Delmar Watson as the Military Academy football captain
  • Dix Davis as opposing team #33
  • Floyd Fisher as spectator
  • George Rayes as the trombone player
  • Henry Lee
  • Hugh Chapman as oposing team 17
  • Joe Levine as opposing team #24
  • Joe Strauch Jr. as the fat boy in the marching band
  • Larry Harris
  • Leon Holland (unconfirmed)
  • Norman Salling as bass drum marching band
  • Paul Hilton
  • Payne Johnson as spectator
  • Priscilla Lyon (unconfirmed)
  • Rex Downing as photographer
  • Robert Calahan as spectator
  • Robert Winckler as spectator
  • Roger McGee as opposing team #20

The Short

Plot: Alfalfa is away at military school, but he's been writing home and claming to be a big football hero to Darla, even dressing up in his "captain"'s uniform to pose for a photo to send to her. The truth of the matter is that he's never played the game at all. His deception backfires when he gets home and is asked to play on Spanky's football team. They've taken his stories at face value, calling him "The Tarzan of Football." Spike and his gang challenge the Rascals to a game of football. They try every attempt to stop Alfalfa from winning the game. Alfalfa himself tries to stay out of the game as much as possible. When he tosses his helmet in the air, it collides with the ball and keeps the other team from converting an extra point. However, despite his bumbling and every effort to keep from getting the ball, he does win the game with banana peels from Junior's lunch on the bench falling from his trousers and tripping the other team, making him the hero after all - even with the football stuck to his hand by chewing gum.
Quotes:

  • None

Notes/Trivia:

  • This short was released to coincide with that start of the 1937-1938 football season.
  • This short borrows its name from Fox's "Pigskin Parade," starring Judy Garland and former Rascal Johnny Downs.
  • The band in the short actually plays the Our Gang theme.
  • Early scripts reveal that Butch was to have been the leader of the rival gang. Tommy Bond was more than likely working at other studios at this point, therefore making him unavailable. Dickie Jones was hired in his place, and was given the nickname "Spike;" it seems plausible that this was meant to be the same character that Henry Lee eventually played, as Lee replaced Tommy Bond in the next film.
  • Oddly enough, although Butch is absent from this film, Woim is still in the film (as Spike's sidekick), although he is never referred to by name.
  • Buckwheat's uniform has number 7 on the front and number 11 on the back.
  • After the Tigers' first touchdown, two team members (Spike and Roger McGee) celebrating in the endzone are wearing number 29.
  • Recap of football game:
    • Spike receives the opening kickoff and after a violent midfield collison, emerges with the ball in the endzone with all of his teammates.
    • Spike's extra point attempt is short and low. Score is 6-0.
    • Alfalfa refuses to replace an injured player, so Buckwheat is sent in instead. When Spanky realizes "two men are down," Porky also enters the game.
    • On the ensuing kickoff by Spike, Buckwheat catches the ball, and after a violent midfield collision, Spike emerges with the ball and Buckwheat on his back with his arms around Spike's neck. Spike carries the ball and Buckwheat into the endzone for a second touchdown.
    • Spanky orders Alfalfa into the game. Alfalfa looks for a helmet that fits. For some reason lots of helmets are lying on the field of play near the goalposts. Alfalfa tosses them in the air one at a time until one blocks Spike's extra point attempt, which would have been good. In a continuity error, Buckwheat is seen standing without a helmet near Alfalfa when he throws the last helmet in the air. The camera cuts to show the football hitting the thrown helmet. When the camera cuts back, Buckwheat is wearing his helmet and is there wtih Spanky to congratulate Alfalfa, who has no idea he did something useful. Score is 12-0.
    • On the next kickoff, Spike kicks the ball to Alfalfa. Terrified, he laterals the ball to Spanky as all but one of Spike's Tigers tackle Alfalfa. The remaining Tiger chases Spanky, who laterals the ball just before he would be tackled to Buckwheat. The Tiger changes course and pursues Buckwheat, who laterals back to Spanky. After a total of six laterals, Buckwheat scores the touchdown, quite possibly the first time on film an African-American is shown scoring a touchdown for an integrated team.
    • For the extra point, Spanky's kick from Buckwheat's hold is destined to be low until it hits Alfalfa in the head and bounces over the goalpost. Score is 12-7.
    • Alfalfa remains on the ground after being hit, faking he is hurt worse than he really is to stay out of the game.
    • Despite the first three plays taking a total of about thirty seconds, fifteen minutes have run off the game clock. There is no more scoring until the last minute of the game.
    • Ice cubes fall into Alfalfa's pants and he jumps up, causing Junior's discarded banana peels to fall into the seat of his pants and Darla to announce that Alfalfa is ready to play.
    • On the last play, Spike has stuck his and Woim's chewing gum on the ball so Alfalfa can't pass it. Spanky does manage to pass the ball to Alfalfa, but the ball sticks to Alfalfa's hand. With no choice, Alfalfa runs downfield, and his pursuers all slip on the banana peels that fall out of his pants. He scores the game-winning touchdown. Final score: 13-12.

Sequence


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