Mischief Makers (TV series)

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Mischief Makers was a children's television series created by National Telepix that debuted on television syndication in 1960. The fifteen-minute series consisted of shortened Our Gang silent shorts that were originally released through Pathé, as well as various shorts from rival series including Mickey McGuire, Buster Brown, and others. Films from Hal Roach's all animal series the Dippy Doo Dads were also occasionally shown. The series ended production in 1961, but continued to be aired by certain local television stations well into the 1970s, and even during the 80's in Latin America.

The Series[edit]

The series mainly featured shorts from Hal Roach's Our Gang series, but shorts from other series were also sometimes shown. Each episode ran about fifteen minutes, with the featured short only being about twelve minutes in length (the shorts originally ran about twenty minutes long).

The shorts were always given a new, relatively simple title (i.e. Every Man For Himself became Shoeshine Shop). Most of what was deleted from the shorts were from the first half of the film, though some of the first half were retained in the episodes. The deleted footage sometimes wound up in other episodes, known as 'hybrid episodes'; these contained clips from more than one short. The original inter-titles were usually cut, though a few episodes did retain some of the titles. To compensate for the absence of the titles, most episodes were narrated by two kids who are identified as 'Bobby' and 'Bunny'. Bunny typically used the catchphrase "Skeedly Skeedly!". Carnival-like music (composed by Jack Saunders) and rather inappropriate sound effects were also added onto the films.

Theme[edit]

The animated opening and closing theme featured a song titled "Hip, Hip, Hooray". It was written by Jack Saunders and Phyllis Brandell Saunders. An instrumental version of this song was among the several soundtrack tunes added onto the silent films.

The animation was produced by Gene Deitch. It featured four animated characters in front of a picket fence doing various activities. The animated characters were a fat kid with a beanie hat (probably meant to be Joe Cobb, a girl (probably Mary Kornman), a freckled-face boy (probably Mickey Daniels), and a dog with a ring around his eye (obviously meant to be Pete the Pup).

Narration[edit]

Most episodes were narrated by two kids identified as 'Bobby' and 'Bunny'. The way the two interact with each other makes it seem plausible that the two are intended to be siblings, with Bobby being the older of the two. When narrating an episode, they typically leave very little space in between their comments. Today, most fans of the Our Gang series who have come across narrated Mischief Makers episodes find the narration to be rather irritating.

The writers for the narration sometimes gave rather odd names to some of the kids in the shorts. Others however were identified by their familiar names. Our Gang members Mickey, Mary, Ernie, Farina, Jackie, and Johnny all had their familiar names retained. Meanwhile, Joe Cobb was called 'Joey', Jack Davis was referred to as 'Rocky', and Jay R. Smith was called 'Freckles'.

Episode List[edit]

Currently Incomplete

[*] indicates hybrid episode with more than one short used.

Episode Title Original short
1. Galloping Ghosts Shootin' Injuns
2. Treasure Hunt Buried Treasure
3. Private Eyes The Mysterious Mystery
4. Monkey Magic Chicken Feed
5. Mary's Dream Mary, Queen of Tots
6. Carnival Time Boys Will Be Joys
7. Ride Em' Cowboy War Feathers
8. Little Officers Official Officers
9. All Aboard The Sun Down Limited
10. Animal Hunters It's a Bear
11. Movie Makers Playin' Hookey
12. Runnaway Taxi One Wild Ride
13. Big Fight The Champeen
14. Warm Up Olympic Games
15. The Big Fire The Fourth Alarm
16. Fourth of July The Glorious Fourth
17. A Double Birthday Ten Years Old
18. A Crazy Dream Seein' Things
19. Little Heroes Young Sherlocks
20. The Rich Uncle Baby Clothes
21. County Fair The Big Show
22. Puppy Love July Days
23. The Haunted House Shivering Spooks
24. The Pirates The Buccaneers
25. Rockaby Baby Baby Brother
26. Spring Fever Circus Fever
27. Little Jockeys Derby Day
28. The Baby Show Cradle Robbers
29. Little Red Schoolhouse Commencement Day
30. Grandma Knows Best Ask Grandma
31. Boarding School Boys to Board
32. Shoeshine Shop Every Man For Himself
33. A Birthday Present Dog Days
34. Little Orphans Bring Home the Turkey
35. The Barber Shop Big Business
36. Title Unknown Film Unknown
37. Dog Catchers Love My Dog
38. The Secret Meeting Lodge Night
39. Sweet Revenge Tired Business Men
40. The Big Adventure The Big Town
41. Operation Tonsills No Noise
42. The Lucky Shoemaker The Cobbler
43. The Outing One Terrible Day
44. The Beauty Parlor The Love Bug
45. Music Lesson Saturday Morning
46. The Flea Circus Thundering Fleas
47. The Big Bully Telling Whoppers
48. A Roamin' Holiday Seeing the World
49. Little Firemen Fire Fighters
50. The Little League Giants vs. Yanks
51. Mickey’s New Home High Society
52. The Big Switch Fast Company
53. Hollywood U.S.A. Dogs of War
Playin' Hookey
54. Farina’s Friend Monkey Business
55. Happy Holiday Good Cheer
56. Battleground Dogs of War
57. Stage Struck Better Movies
58. The Cure Tire Trouble
59. Sparky Tags Along Film Unknown
60. Title Unknown Film Unknown
61. Title Unknown Film Unknown
62. Title Unknown Film Unknown
63. Brave Chimp Film Unknown
64. Rival Clinic* No Noise
Unknown Hey Fellas short
65. Title Unknown Film Unknown
66. The School Play Stage Fright
67. Ernie’s Adventure* High Tide (Sunshine Sammy and George Rowe short)
Young Sherlocks [1]
68. Wild Northwest Film Unknown
69. Monkey Clown Film Unknown
70. Title Unknown Film Unknown
71. Sparky Rides High Film Unknown
72. An Average Day* Playin' Hookey
Telling Whoppers
Love My Dog
Ten Years Old
73. Title Unknown Film Unknown
74. Title Unknown Film Unknown
75. Quiet Sunday Sunday Calm
76. Sparky and the Tutor Buster's Skyrocket (1926 film)
77. Let Me Dream Film Unknown
78. Back to School Mickey in School (Mickey McGuire short)
79. Football Rivals Film Unknown
80. Play Ball!* Fast Company
The Cobbler (film)
Official Officers
The Champeen
High Society

Episode production numbers for the following titles are still unknown.

  • Sparky the Star
  • Summer Daze (Buster Brown short)
  • Sparky at School (Buster Brown short)
  • Monkey Mischief
  • Rival Circus
  • The Monkey Story

Comedy Capers[edit]

After the cancellation of Mischief Makers, National Telepix produced Comedy Capers, a spin-off series consisting of various comedy films produced by Hal Roach and Mack Sennett. Top billing for the series went to Laurel and Hardy (even though very few of their films as a team were shown), Ben Turpin, Harry Langdon, Billy Bevan, and The Keystone Kops. Other films shown starred Will Rogers, Charley Chase, Snub Pollard, Billy West, Larry Semon, Clyde Cook, and Mabel Normand, among others.

The beginning to the opening theme immediately recognized the series as a spin-off of Mischief Makers, as the singers of the theme song mention "The Mischief Makers present...".[2] Although actual Our Gang shorts were not featured on Comedy Capers, the opening theme featured clips from Our Gang shorts Official Officers and Playin' Hookey.

References[edit]

External links[edit]