Wild Babies!  
 
18 June 1932
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
sound short
2-reels

 

Directors: Anthony Mack, Lloyd French  Producer: Hal Roach  Dialogue: H.M. Walker
Cinematography: Len Powers  Editor: Richard C. Currier  Sound recording: James Greene

A stage production is taking place where a beautiful woman is berated by her master, who whips her for disobeying him.  His whip catches on a sandbag above the stage, bringing down the weight on his head and knocking him out.  The stage manager (Nelson McDowell) continues with the audition by introducing a song written by Mickey Daniels and telling them the entire production is reliant upon the success of the song.
Mickey takes to the piano as Alabam (Grady Sutton) sings along with him.  The song is nothing short of awful and the guys are told in no uncertain terms by their girlfriends (Mary Kornman and Betty Bolen).  The manager gives them another chance to improve their sing before everybody leaves for the night.  Two girls turn up with food for the rest of the stage cast but as they have already gone home the food is entrusted to Mickey and Alabam.
In a dream sequence, brought on by the over consumption of all the food, the guys arrive on Mince Pie Island to find a bunch of wild animals dressed up in strange costumes (a la Our Gang's Barnum & Ringling, Inc.).  They are there to steal a song for their stage play but are chased away and up a tree by a horse with a Mickey Daniels-esque laugh.
A tribal ritual around a campfire gives the guys the idea they can steal the song they are singing but before they can implement their plan they are captured and thrown into a big cooking pot.  Shortly afterwards a light aircraft lands on the island (through a rather crude animated sequence, it must be said).  Two explorers (Charley Rogers and Charlie Hall) get out and begin exploring.  They find the cooking pot, now full of vegetables with Mickey and Alabam being boiled.  Rogers sticks his cane into the water and spends the next half minute trying to shake off the sticky contents from it.
Explorer Hall smashes his club over the head of a slightly eccentric and bare-backed beauty (if that's what you want to call it?) making her disappear.  The boys question her sudden vanishing act and Rogers tells them this is all a dream (which it is, remember?)  Mickey starts to cry in frustration before Grady's arm gets a bite from a hungry black boy.  The chef tells him to wait and proceeds to pour the contents of the pot over Mickey's head.  When Mickey retaliates the chef disappears also.  Finally, Mickey and Alabam get out of the pot to find a tribe member playing a tune on a xylophone made from human skulls (and one with glasses!)
The cannibal plays a tune on the heads using a drumstick but every time he gets to the seventh skull it makes a dull sound.  Mickey and Alabam humour the man by clonking their own heads with sticks and it turns out Alabam's sound is the exact match for the missing note in the cannibal's tune.  The cannibal pulls out a large knife and tries to entice Alabam to follow him behind a screen so that a decapitation of sorts can take place.  Mickey rescues Alabam by swiping the man over the head with a club, but he too disappears.
The sound of chanting coming from the campfire leads the men over where a group of near-naked ladies are performing a ritual with a lot of stretching, a lot of bending and a lot of wiggling.  The guys sieze the opportunity to cash in on their performance by sitting down at the piano and mimick the girls.  As they sit there, a cannibal sneaks up from behind and clubs them both over the head but before the blow strikes, Mickey and Alabam disappear and return to reality (at the stage from the beginning of the film).
They are too late - a new pianist (recognise him?) and a new song have already been found and the guys suffer one last indignity as two sandbags swing from the sky and knock them through an advert board.

Favourite bit
Just for a brief moment the film comes to a standstill as Charley Rogers spends 37 seconds trying to shake off this goo he has become entangled in.

Facts
•Production S-8 - All Star series with The Boy Friends.
•The last film in the Boy Friends series.
•Filmed March 22-25, 1932.
•Copyrighted June 28, 1932.
•This film included footage from the unreleased film Hopping Off.
Did you notice?
•There is an excalamation mark (!) after the film's title.  It is hard to see because of the inverted commas, but it's there (!)  I must admit, I didn't see it until it was pointed out to me (!)
•The Elmira Dramatic Class is where the play is being rehearsed.
•When Mickey and Alabam arrive on Mince Pie Island, the shot of the sea in the background is a rear-projection.
As Mickey and Alabam run away from the horse on the island the thudding of their footsteps running is very heavy, meaning it was shot on a sound stage as opposed to terrain.
The slightly unhinged woman with the LEGS looks like she is naked at the back, but a close-up shot reveals her to be wearing a flesh-coloured wrap around her chest.
Charley Rogers takes 37 seconds in trying to free himself from the goo he picks up from the cooking pot.
Why did Mickey and Grady just sit in the cooking pot?  I mean, there was nobody around but they didn't attempt an escape?
At what point do we realise the island is inhabited by cannibals?  Is it when the men are put into the cooking pot - or when the boy attempts to take a chunk out of Grady's arm?
There is a pretty obvious rear projection back shot after Mickey and Alabam get out of the cooking pot as they walk up to the guy using skulls as a xylophone.
There are twelve women dancers in the final sequence.
So Alabam, is that how you play a piano is it?

Mickey Daniels
Mickey
Mary Kornman
Chorine
Grady Sutton
Alabam
Charley Rogers
Explorer
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/ Charlie Hall
Wellington
Betty Bolen
Chorine
Lois January
Woman with food
Nelson McDowell
Stage manager
Marvin Hatley
Pianist
Jimmy Robinson
Native boy
   
UNIDENTIFIED
Cast from the film








and from the Risqué section...


STILLS FROM "HOPPING OFF"




Acknowledgements:
Ralph Celentano (HOPPING OFF stills)
Richard Finegan (WILD BABIES! stills)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Lois January)
Joe Davis (help with Jimmy Robinson identification)

This page was last updated on: 16 June 2017>