Welcome To AlbumLinerNotes.com
"The #1 Archive of Liner Notes in the World"

Your Subtitle text
Play The Little Rascals
This release is not available via iTunes.
To buy this recording from Amazon.com, click here:
The Beau Hunks Play the Original Little Rascals Music: 50 Roy Shield Themes


The Beau Hunks Play the Original Little Rascals Music
50 Roy Shield Themes from the Hal Roach Talkies

Playing original period instruments, the Dutch dance band THE BEAU HUNKS render brilliant NEW recordings of favorite Hal Roach background th
emes with note-for-note accuracy.

Why would anyone go to the trouble of re-creating Hal Roach film music more than a half century after it was originally recorded – music which was intended to be heard as background, not as an art in itself?

For one thing, because it is not available in another form; it is, after all, in the nature of background music to be obliterated by film hiss, dialogue, and sound effects.  The second reason has to do with the genius of Leroy Shield, whose music is represented here.  Although his name rarely appeared on a film credit, his music was a staple of hundreds of Roach two-reelers, and it still sounds as fresh, catchy, and intriguing as if it were created yesterday.  Like the timeless comedy created by the Little Rascals, Laurel & Hardy and other Roach artists, the music which accompanied their work deserves to live forever.

Even though these tunes were created to blend with the background, they are known intimately.  There is something about the sound, the sensitive way of the playing, and the toe-tapping melodies that makes them linger in your mind.  Many people may have heard this music, consciously or not, as one of their life’s first musical experiences.  Over the years, Hal Roach Studios have received countless requests for sheet music or commercial releases on disc.  But because the original tracks are believed lost, such a release remained an impossible dream for decades.  We believe this compilation comes as close as possible to fulfilling that dream.

When film companies switched to sound in 1929, experiments by Roach technicians led to the revolutionary use of optical film for sound recording.  By translating sound waves into electrical currents, and having a fine needle “write” these vibrations as transparent lines onto black film, they created a medium which was ideally suited to the filmmaking process: the sound could be replayed instantly after recording, stored on film rolls, and edited just like “normal” film.  It now became possible to produce pictures with absolutely synchronous sound.  There was a slight drawback, however: optical sound film always generates some hiss when passing through the projector.  The solution was to bury the hiss in a constant flow of background music.

Music as noise reduction: this was the state of the art when Hal Roach Studios struck a unique deal with the Victor Talking Machine Company: Victor was to provide everything necessary for the soundtrack – including music.  Roy Shield, Victor’s A&R man for the Western United States, was sent to Culver City to provide background music for sound pictures.  Why he was chosen rather than someone else remains vague, but it is possible that Victor’s sound men, Elmer Raguse and Bert Jordan – originally from New Jersey, then working in exile on the West Coast – knew him and asked for him.  In any case, Shield must have jumped at the chance: this was the perfect time to make it as a film composer in Hollywood.  And in a way, he did just that, but certainly not in the way he’d envisaged.

Born October 2, 1893 in Waseca, Minnesota, Leroy Bernard Shield started out as a touring concert pianist specializing in the works of Ravel, Stravinsky, and Schönberg.  He began working for the Victor organization in 1923, becoming A&R man in 1926.  Remaining on Victor’s payroll, he started work on the Roach pictures in late 1929.  He experimented with synchronized organ music for a while, and also with tracks comprising existing music.  (Film editor Richard Currier apparently assembled these from stock music found at Victor’s head office back in Camden).  The results, as evidenced by the Roach shorts released during the first half of 1930, were unremarkable.  The music consisted mainly of popular standards (such as La Rocca’s “Tiger Rag,” Caesar and Friend’s “Satisfied,” or Fats Waller’s “My Fate Is In Your Hands”), mixed into the films’ soundtracks with no particular regard for the scenes.  Some original compositions were specially commissioned by Roach.  A song called “Smile When the Raindrops Fall,” written by Alice K. Howlett for the Charley Chase comedy Whispering Whoopee (March, 1930), even became a hit of sorts: sheet music was published and the tune was re-used in at least three other pictures that year.

Additional “mood music” was licensed from the Sam Fox Publishing Company in Cleveland.  In many Roach comedies from the early 1930s one encounters compositions by Mel B. Kaufman, who wrote the novelty songs “Taxi” and “Me-Ow,” or J.S. Zamecnik, the author of such themes as “Redemption,” “Fear Stricken,” “Furioso,” and “Evil Plotter.”  But compared to what came next, their music sounds bland and uninspired.

By mid-1930, Shield hit his stride.  With an uncanny feel for what the Roach comedies needed, he was composing at a furious pace.  Between late 1929 and early 1931 he wrote more than sixty tunes – varying in length from half a minute to three – and had them recorded.

Conveniently, these music recordings were made in the same buildings where the films were shot: the Hal Roach Studios, 8822 Washington Boulevard, Culver City.  For some time, the Roach Studios had been hired by recording companies (among them Shield’s employers, Victor) to make commercial music recordings (for instance, Shield himself supervised the March, 1930 recording of Grace Hayes’ “I Like to Do Things For You”).  The personnel playing on the film music recordings is not known, but recent findings indicate that the orchestras of Harry E. Green and Charles Bradshaw were involved.

Like the soundtracks of the day’s filming, Shield’s musical themes may have been recorded directly onto film, copies of which were then stored in a jukebox-like machine holding up to 50 or 60 film loops at any one time.  A sound operator could bring up a tune at the touch of a button.

The success of Shield’s wildly original themes such as “Hide and Go Seek,” “On to the Show,” “Fliver Flops,” and “Little Dancing Girl” was immediate, making the Roach talkies released before the summer of 1930 and those released after seem decades apart.  Brilliantly illustrated and paced by the music, most films from the 1930-31 season stand out as comical masterpieces.  Like so many technical elements in the fledgling film industry, the music was invented on the spot because there was an immediate need for it, and no suitable material existed.  Fusing the pictures with sound effects and music was a skill quickly mastered at the Roach Studios, and just as quickly developed into an art.  The themes formed a rich musical vocabulary from which the Roach sound editors could assemble entire 20-minute music tracks efficiently and intelligently.  Thanks to their easy-to-work-with lengths of a half a minute, or a minute and a half, three or four music tracks could be recorded within a single working day.  For instance, the music tracks for Charley Chase’s One of the Smiths, Thelma Todd’s Let’s Do Things, Laurel & Hardy’s Our Wife, and Our Gang’s Fly My Kite were all recorded on April 2, 1931.

Some ultra-short musical effects were recorded together as “suites.”  For instance, Shield’s “School Room Suite” consisted of the individual compositions “By Rote,” “Your Piktur,” “Ezra,” and “Miss Crabtree,” while themes such as “Goofs,” “Nothing At All,” and “Bassooning” formed the “Goofs Suite.”

Shield managed to transform each mood – upbeat or sad, dramatic or quiet, funny or serious – into a simple, unpretentious gem.  His music usually leaves the listener with the happy feeling that this is how a tune ought to go – which makes even the sad tunes sound happy.  He was a master of melody; to name but two examples, the melodic lines in “The One I Love Best” (1930) and “On A Sunny Afternoon” (1936) are of an unearthly beauty, shamelessly sentimental while never clichéd.  With the benefit of hindsight, comparing Shield’s work with that of his peers, we can now safely state that Shield’s themes constituted nothing less than a miracle.

As Richard W. Bann and Leonard Maltin noted in their authoritative Little Rascals book (1992), Shield’s themes added “an essential rhythm and pacing a director or editor was often incapable of achieving on his own.”  Describing the Our Gang short Fly My Kite (May 1931), the authors take care to stress the relevance of the film’s music: “The entire film, particularly the spectacular climax, benefits enormously from an intricate and rousing musical background score.  Suspenseful when need be, light and frothy at other times, the scoring both paces the action and punctuates individual gags.”

In a sense, the high quality of Shield’s work proved to be the composer’s undoing.  Although he had set out to score entire pictures with specific tunes for specific purposes, the Roach sound editors soon began to stuff each film soundtrack with Shield’s music.  Roach was able to use them as he pleased, whether Shield liked it or not.  (Documents survive indicating that he did not.)  Moreover, even though his music was everywhere, the film credits rarely mentioned the name Shield.

In late 1930 Shield left Roach (and Victor) to work as a conductor with NBC in Hollywood.  In 1932 he started as manager of the music division of NBC’s central division in Chicago.  He also became involved in musical variety radio shows like Breakfast Club (with Don McNeill), Music Magic, Roy Shield & Co. and Roy Shield Revue (1936-1952).

After the artistic apex of the 1930-31 season, the quality of the Roach music soundtracks declined somewhat.  Sound editors discovered that they could get by using considerably less than the 60-odd themes available to them.  Between 1932 and 1934 a music track usually consisted of nothing more than a collection of reliable standbys like “Bells,” “Dash and Dot,” “Beautiful Lady,” and “Gangway Charlie,” with perhaps a “Confusion” thrown in for anxiety effect.  Some soundtracks of this period did without music altogether.  On the other hand, this artistic vacuum gave Marvin Hatley, the young composer of Laurel & Hardy’s “Ku-Ku” theme and novelty songs such as “Honolulu Baby,” the opportunity to grow spectacularly more productive.  He wrote dozens of melodies and songs (often collaborating with Charley Chase and other Roach actors) for the two-reel comedies; he eventually became the favored composer/arranger for Roach feature films by the end of the 1930s.

In early 1935 Roy Shield was invited back to the Roach studios to write a selection of new film tunes, most of which eventually turned up in the score for the new Laurel & Hardy feature Our Relations (released in October 1936).  Fifty-one new tunes were the result of this new wave of creativity, including “On A Sunny Afternoon,” “Colonial Gayeties,” and “We’re Just a Happy Family.”  These recordings (featured in tracks 42–47 of this compilation) sound markedly different than their 1930-31 predecessors; they have a fuller, more “roomy” sound.  Some are a little on the saccharine side, though, and miss much of the goofy and magical feel of the 1930 numbers.  Perhaps he used a different set of musicians; perhaps the times, along with the recording techniques, had changed.

After 1936 Shield and Roach somehow got their signals crossed.  Due to a series of misunderstandings, Shield’s requests to score more musical comedies for Roach were denied, even as Marvin Hatley got busier and busier.

Shield continued to work for NBC in various capacities.  From 1946 he was manager of NBC orchestra personnel in New York, and worked as conductor with the NBC Concert Orchestra and NBC Summer Symphony.  He also worked in Montreal and Rochester.

In 1947 he wrote a classical piece called Union Pacific Suite.  He also authored two “tone poems,” Gloucester and The Great Bell.  He retired in 1955, remaining on the NBC payroll as a consultant.  He died at age 68 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on January 9, 1962.

THE BEAU HUNKS orchestra was originally formed to play at an Oliver Hardy centennial celebration in Amsterdam on January 18, 1992, where they rendered a small selection of Shield and Hatley tunes.  The success was so great that plans to make a recording were immediately set in motion.  The band’s leader, bass player Gert-Jan Blom, had often assembled an orchestra around a specific field of musical research: he formed the Boulevard of Broken Dreams Orchestra (1984–87, specializing in sad songs), the Gangbusters (1984–88, vocal jive music) and other impromptu groupings, including an orchestra re-creating the work of French composer André Popp, and a band called The Wooden Indians (1994), who play Raymond Scott’s compositions.  Nevertheless, says Blom, transcribing the original tapes, rehearsing and recording original music from the 1930s over the past two years has been a real re-education.

Realizing that the original Roach music recordings are probably lost forever, we decided to reconstruct them from the source in which they did survive – the finished film soundtracks.  In order to obtain as many examples of Roach film music as possible, we collected hundreds of films from many different sources.  These were thoroughly studied for music cues, resulting in a database of over 2,000 of them.  Usable music fragments were transferred onto DAT tape and catalogued (titles of most of the cues having been revealed by library research and surviving cue sheets).

At this point, floundering among cassettes of audiotape, we started to make working tapes of each tune, edited together from the best available sources.  For instance, the working tape of “If It Were Only True” consisted of parts of Laurel & Hardy’s Tit for Tat, Me and My Pal, One Good Turn, and Sons of the Desert; Charley Chase’s The Panic is On, and The Chases of Pimple Street; Our Gang’s Mama’s Little Pirate; and Billy Gilbert’s Rhapsody in Brew.  Although this was a lengthy process, the results were extremely satisfying: for the first time in sixty years it was possible to listen to [an approximation of] the complete, original recordings of these catchy tunes.  And even though the sound quality was quite rough, the reconstructions contained enough information for the experienced Beau Hunks arrangers to transcribe the music into playable parts.

During rehearsals, the work tapes were kept available for reference.  The objective was to recreate as close as possible the way the originals must have sounded in 1930, to preserve the music in its purest, original form.  This extended to the recording technique: the music was played “live” by the musicians grouped in a circle around a single pair of overhead mikes.  Because the Beau Hunks have a well-balanced sound, individual mikes proved mostly unnecessary and were left out of the mix.

When the Beau Hunks’ first CD of “Laurel & Hardy music” appeared in the Netherlands in 1992, graphic artist and music collector Robert Crumb wrote to us summing up the feelings of many: “This is something I’ve been looking for all my life.  I realize now that it was this music, that I heard as a kid watching reruns of Our Gang and Laurel & Hardy on TV in the 1950s, that started me collecting 78 records.  It wasn’t ‘jazz’ I was interested in finding so much as it was the sound of those old Hal Roach themes from 1930…”

– Piet Schreuders
Amsterdam, June 1992 – June 1994

For their help with these liner notes: Hans Bergfeld (STEMRA Amstelveen), David A. Berry and Wendy Hopkinson (ASCAP New York), Michael Agee, Richard W. Bann, Don Brockway, Irwin Chusid, Mahlon Dolman, Herwolt van Doornen, Vince Giordano, Alison Grimmer, Jakob Klaasse, Peter Kok, Allan Kozinn, Mark Lewisohn, Jack H. Pfeifer, Randy Skretvedt, and Henry Sorenson.

The Beau Hunks also wish to thank: R. Crumb, Siep Bousma, Barry Feldman, Bram Reijnhoudt, and Wim Noordhoek.
A special tip of the bowler to Theo van der Schaaf for enabling us to realize this project.

Total time 1:05:47



With “Good Old Days” Shield created a tune evoking instant nostalgia – in 1930 as much as today.  It was first employed, in many different versions, in Teacher’s Pet (October 1930).  Its success was immediate, prompting the NBC radio show Kaltenmeyer’s Kindergarten to add lyrics.  Although best known as the Little Rascals’ theme song, it also turns up in the schoolroom scene from Laurel & Hardy’s Pardon Us and in The Boys Friends’ Too Many Women.

Together with “The Moon and You” this is the most frequently heard Shield tune of all.  It became the theme song of Hal Roach’s established star, beautiful Thelma Todd.  Several versions were recorded over the years for use as main title music of the Thelma Todd/Zasu Pitts, Todd/Kelly, and even (after Todd’s death) Kelly/Roberti comedies.  But it also served the more general function of introducing any lady – beautiful or plain, old or young…

Part of Shield’s “Goofs Suite,” this music accompanies the opening title card of Laurel & Hardy’s first feature, Pardon Us: “Mr. Hardy is a man of wonderful ideas.  So is Mr. Laurel – so long as he doesn’t try to think.”  It also appears in Pay As You Exit (1936).

This music was often used during the opening credits of Hal Roach talkie shorts, and was one of Shield’s personal favorites.  An early version (with banjo and xylophone) is heard in Pups is Pups (see track #48); an alternate version (with verse) appears in Fly My Kite (1931), Free Eats (1932) and The Kid from Borneo (1933).

One of the best remembered of the Shield background tunes, appearing for the first time in Laurel & Hardy’s Another Fine Mess (1930).  It features a simple descending 8-note phrase reminiscent of church bells.  This version, with its opening and closing chords and pizzicato strings arrangement, is heard in Dogs is Dogs (1930) and Hi-Neighbor! (1934).  “Bells” was used twice in Hook and Ladder, Birthday Blues and Fish Hooky.

In Pay As You Exit (1936), Porky puts on a record of this waltz to accompany Alfalfa’s performance of Romeo and Juliet.  The same number appears in a ballroom scene in Charley Chase’s Skip the Maloo! (1931).  An up-tempo version was used as the title music of Laurel & Hardy’s Another Fine Mess (1930).

7  COPS  (0:37)
The music played every time a policeman appears in a Roach picture, for instance in Scram! (1932).  For unexplained reasons, it also turns up in the “Merrie Melody” cartoon Mr. and Mrs. Is the Name (January 1935), in a score credited to Bernard Brown.  After a mermaid boy and girl discover an underwater treasure, the boy dresses up with hat and cane à la Charlie Chaplin – a total non sequitur…

8  LAUGH  (0:17)
One of Leroy Shield’s many laugh effects.  Other “Laughs” appear on tracks 13, 27, and 41.

(a.k.a. “Dancing Girl[s]”)
This virtuoso piece was employed in one of the first pictures Shield worked on, Doctor’s Orders (August 1930), in a version rarely heard since (featuring a xylophone).  It remained popular throughout the 1930s, and was used in Charley Chase, Taxi Boys, Todd & Kelly comedies, and especially – undoubtedly because of its title – in numerous Our Gang shorts.  In 1974 it was recorded by R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders in a new arrangement (combined with “Good Old Days”) entitled “Little Rascals Medley.”

The following three cuts were introduced in Teacher’s Pet (1930).  “Riding Along” appears in the scene where Jackie Cooper is given a ride by Miss Crabtree – without realizing it’s her.  It also appears in Pardon Us, when Laurel and Hardy plan to manufacture beer and are copying the recipe from a shop window: “Twelve pounds of sugar, three cans of malt, twelve cakes of yeast…”

11  YOUR PIKTUR  (0:28)
Used when Jackie shows Miss Crabtree the picture he “drawed” of his new teacher – a cartoon of an “old battle ax.”  Essentially a laugh effect, and part of Shield’s “School Room Suite,” it was re-used in many other films during the 1930-31 season, notably in Looser Than Loose, Another Fine Mess, Bargain Day and Pardon Us.

(a.k.a. “All the World [to Me]”)
After Teacher’s Pet, this became a standard love theme in Roach soundtracks (appearing seven times in Our Gang’s Love Business, along with “Ah! ‘Tis Love” and “You Are the Only One I Love”).  It was also used to sardonically underscore the opening scene of the Laurel & Hardy short Come Clean.

13  LAUGH  (0:04)

A dance tune first and foremost associated with Charley Chase, serving as signature tune for all his Roach films from late 1930 onwards.  It was also a standard Roach “hit,” appearing in over sixty percent of all Roach talkie shorts, although rarely in Little Rascals films.

Another favorite theme of Roach sound editors.  Its original association with candy was obvious in early Our Gang shorts like Helping Grandma and Free Eats.  It also appeared in Laurel & Hardy’s Come Clean and Helpmates, and an up-tempo version was used as the opening title music of Laughing Gravy (April 1931).

A classical string quartet performs this lyrical and sad Shield melody, heard in many Little Rascals shorts.  In Pups is Pups, it is played as the Gang brag to each other what they would do with a lot of money.  It also appears in a Laurel & Hardy picture – Pardon Us, where Stan and Babe enter the prison and are introduced to the august warden (Wilfred Lucas), who sadly remarks, “My, my… and still they come…”

17  IF IT WERE ONLY TRUE  (2:12)
Unusually long for a 1930 Shield tune (over two minutes!), this swinging dance number is featured in the Little Rascals’ For Pete’s Sake and Mama’s Little Pirate.

A perennial standby, this is the fifth most frequently used Shield theme, appearing in fifty percent of all Roach sound shorts.  It served as the opening music of the Thelma Todd film War Mamas (1931), and appears twice in Our Gang’s Free Eats (1932).

A slow version of one of the most widely used Shield themes, appearing in one out of every three Roach shorts.  “Slouching” was often used in conjunction with – and immediately following – “Run.”

20  IT IS TO LAUGH  (1:04)
Leroy Shield not only recorded a number of special laugh effects for film use, but also wrote an entire composition built around “laughing” instruments.  This is one of his earliest compositions, first appearing in Charley Chase’s Looser Than Loose and Laurel & Hardy’s Another Fine Mess (both released in November 1930).  In May 1931 it was used prominently in the Our Gang short Bargain Day, when Chubby looks through scores of different hats.  (Probably because of this, the film’s cue sheet erroneously identified the tune as “Oh, My Hat”).  A more lushly orchestrated version of “It Is to Laugh” can he heard in the 1936 one-reeler Pay As You Exit and in the 1937 reissue of Laurel & Hardy’s Perfect Day.

21  YASMINI  (1:19)
This is Shield’s impression of the Mysterious East – so it simply had to be used in such films as A Lad an’ a Lamp (Our Gang, 1932) and Arabian Tights (Chase, 1933).  In Laurel & Hardy’s Be Big (1930) it was used instead of dialogue to suggest wild and exotic pleasures; and, in their 1936 feature Our Relations, it was used to emphasize the boys’ disguise as Arabs (“those guys in Singapore, you know, the fellows that look like Eskimos”).

22  LET’S GO  (1:21)
This up-tempo dance number, full of clever riffs, was first used in Pups is Pups (August 1930), played by the band in the hall where the Little Rascals bring their pets.  It further became known as the opening title music of The Boys Friends – it was used no less than eight times in their October 1930 short Bigger and Better.

23  DEAR, WITH ME  (2:49)
“See who that is.”
“See who that is.”
“See who that is.”
“See who that is.”
Completely absorbed in solving a jigsaw puzzle, (“Puzzle No. 86 – Working Time two hours”) in Me and My Pal, Mr. Hardy, his butler, the police officer, and the cab driver are all too busy to answer the door.  After a telegram has been delivered, the dialogue continues in similar fashion:
“See what that is.”

The agonizingly slow waltz heard during this sequence is Shield’s “Dear, With Me,” another unusually long number by 1931 standards.  This is also the dance music heard in Bonnie Scotland (1935) and the music to which Cosmo Topper dances on tiptoe in the Roach feature Topper (1937).  One of the few Little Rascals shorts it appears in is Wild Poses (1933).

24  NOTHING AT ALL  (0:37)
Part of Shield’s “Goofs Suite,” this short “filler” theme appeared in Bargain Day (1931), Free Eats (1932) and Sprucin’ Up (1935).

25  HERE WE GO  (0:54)
A standard up-tempo tune, widely used throughout the 1930s, e.g. Birthday Blues (1932), Fish Hooky (1933), and Mush And Milk (1933).

Stymie thinks Spanky has changed Cotton into a monkey (A Lad an’ a Lamp, 1932).  A baby drops two piles of cutlery on the floor (Forgotten Babies, 1933).  Spanky repeatedly tells the Wild Man from Borneo to “look up” (The Kid from Borneo, 1933).  It’s situations such as these which elicited the musical comment “Look at Him Now.”

27  LAUGH 

28  AH! ‘TIS LOVE  (1:07)
This tune derives its title from its first use in The Boy Friends’ Doctor’s Orders (August 1930).  Mickey Daniels has just been hit in the behind by an arrow and exclaims, “What is this feeling that’s come over me?  Ah – I know – ‘Tis love.”  The use of the xylophone was consistent with other 1930 Shield recordings (see “Little Dancing Girl” and “On to the Show”), but “Ah! ‘Tis Love” was never re-recorded in a different arrangement.  It remained in fairly frequent use throughout the 1930s, appearing in Our Gang’s Helping Grandma (1931), Love Business (1931), Wild Poses (1933), and Shrimps For A Day (1934).

29  DOG SONG  (1:08)
This charming, melancholy theme will naturally be associated with two faithful Roach film dogs: Laughing Gravy in Laughing Gravy (April 1931), in which it appears five times, and Pete the Pup in Dogs is Dogs (November 1931).

The opening and closing title music of Laurel & Hardy’s The Fixer-Uppers, this is also one of Leroy Shield’s best-loved creations and was widely used as a slapstick theme.  Deceptively simple, its melody is a musical impression of a dash ( – ) and a dot ( ·  ).

This theme was often used to great effect to drag out the tension of a slowly-evolving gag.  It worked particularly well with close-up shots of Stan Laurel’s vacant expression.  The first Laurel & Hardy picture to use it was Be Big (1931).

Shield having fun with Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1843).  Laurel & Hardy fans will instantly recognize it from the marital comedy Our Wife, in which it appears five times, and Helpmates, where it briefly but effectively illustrates the picture we see of Hardy’s absent wife (Oliver: “That’s her.”  Stan: “Isn’t she sweet?”).  It also appears in The Boy Friends’ Too Many Women (1932) and in The Taxi Boys’ Bring ‘Em Back a Wife (1933).

33  DRUNK  (0:38)
“When the cat’s away – the mice start looking up telephone numbers.”  Thus starts the great Laurel & Hardy short Helpmates (1932).  Hardy, addressing himself in a mirror, says: “Now aren’t you ashamed of yourself?  A man with your supposed intelligence, acting like an empty-headed idiot.”  As the camera scans the room and reveals the remainders of a “wild party,” the “Drunk” theme – a cross-eyed version of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” – emerges from the soundtrack.  It was used whenever a drunk staggered onto the scene, so it could also be called the theme of actor Arthur Houston, who played the perpetual souse in countless Roach comedies.

A romantic love song.  In the Laurel & Hardy pictures it was often used in an ironic sense, as an in-joke on the title.  In Me and My Pal, for instance, it is heard during the scene in which Stan starts doing a jigsaw puzzle, causing Ollie to miss his own wedding.  In Chickens Come Home Ollie’s winsome wife (Thelma Todd), suspecting adultery, gives a sardonic rendering on the piano (“Doesn’t she play beautiful?”); and in Blotto the orchestra plays this song while Stan’s wife (Anita Garvin) is observing the boys with a shotgun at the ready.

35  FLIVER FLOPS  (0:58)
Anybody who can sit down and write such a composition must be either mad or a genius.  It is wildly original, unlike any “hurry music” by other film composers.  It can be heard during the chase scene at the end of Another Fine Mess (1930), when Stan and Ollie, covered with an African buffalo’s hide, flee Colonel Buckshot on a borrowed tandem bike.  It also appears prominently in Our Gang’s Fish Hooky (1933), The Kid from Borneo (1933), For Pete’s Sake (1934), and Mama’s Little Pirate (1934).

When Laurel & Hardy are looking for a “Mr. Smith,” the grandfather of Eddie’s baby in Pack Up Your Troubles (1932) and a black Mr. Smith answers the door, a short burst of “Blue Blue” emerges from the soundtrack.  This bluesy jazz theme (following the tradition of 1920s black bands) contains more “blue notes” than you’d think possible.  It appeared in The Boy Friends’ Bigger and Better (October 1930), in Charley Chase’s Rough Seas (February 1931), in Thelma Todd’s War Mamas (November 1931) and many others.  It later came to be regarded as a good dance tune per se, and was used as such in Red Noses, Spanky, and Crook’s Tour.  Shield himself was fond of the composition, and – as discovered by Vince Giordano not long ago – once planned to write an arrangement for commercial recording by Benny Moten’s Kansas City Orchestra (under contract with Victor at the time).  Unfortunately, no such recording was ever made.  Until now.

37  THE MOON AND YOU  (2:16)
(a.k.a. “Tune”)
This Leroy Shield favorite was often used as opening title music, e.g. in Laurel & Hardy’s One Good Turn (1931) and The Taxi Boys’ Taxi for Two (1932).  The unusual intro was culled from a “live” recording of the number as heard in the Charley Chase comedy The Pip from Pittsburgh (1931).

38  GOOF  (0:33)
Part of Shield’s “Goofs Suite,” recorded in 1930 to accommodate the soundtrack editor who occasionally needed bits of “goofy” effect music measuring about thirty seconds.  Different “Goofs” appear in Our Gang’s School’s Out (1930), Laurel & Hardy’s Laughing Gravy, Our Wife, and Pardon Us, and The Boy Friends’ Call a Cop, all released in 1931.

39  ANTICS  (1:13)
A well-known Shield tune in South American mode, appearing (three times) in Shiver My Timbers (1931) and (also three times) in Free Eats (1932).

40  HIDE AND GO SEEK  (1:18)
This hurry theme showcases Shield’s talent for weird instrumentation and musical derring-do.  It first appeared – no less than five times – in Pups is Pups (August 1930).  A good, clean version can be heard during the climactic end sequence of Our Gang’s Fly My Kite (May 1931).

41  LAUGH  (0:24)


Best known as the catchy opening music of Brats (1937 reissue), this dance number can also be heard in Charley Chase’s Manhattan Monkey Business (November 1935) and Laurel & Hardy’s Our Relations (October 1936).

The opening scene of Our Relations (1936), in which the Laurels and the Hardys pass their cups around the table at high tea, is enhanced by this jolly melody.  It is the perfect Laurel & Hardy music: so overly optimistic that you just feel disaster looming not far away.  It returns twice in the same picture (“Shakespeare!”  “Longfellow!”).  Sound editor Elmer Raguse also used it for the 1937 reissue of Perfect Day.

This manic melody was used quite prominently in three shorts reissued in 1937.  It can be heard as Stan is eating a hard-boiled egg at Ollie’s bedside in County Hospital; as Oliver tries to start the car while the jack is still under the wheel in Perfect Day; while Anita Garvin is mixing the boys’ “liquor” in Blotto; and as Stan starts his laughing jag in the nightclub scene from the same film.  It also appears in Our Gang’s Fishy Tales (1937).

This romantic tune was written for the Laurel & Hardy 1936 feature Our Relations, where it can be heard three times (the first time as Alice and Lily order their food in Denker’s Beer Garden: “Lobster Newburg, mock turtle soup, coffee – demi-tasse – and a crêpe Suzette”).  The tune is even more prominent in two 1937 reissues, County Hospital (as the film’s opening music) and Blotto.

46  WE’RE OUT FOR FUN  (0:48)
Mr. Laurel: “Step on it, Ollie!”
Mr. Hardy: “I’ll step on you in a minute – and don’t call me Ollie!”
Behind this delightful dialogue from Perfect Day (reissued with music in 1937) one hears “We’re Out for Fun.”  It’s a 1936 composition, first used in Our Relations as Alf and Bert enter Denker’s Beer Garden: “Looks like the fleet’s in.”  Whether by accident or design, the tune often ended up being employed during scenes in which Laurel and Hardy step into their car on a voyage doomed to failure.

This hot dance number is probably best remembered from the start of the nightclub sequence in Laurel & Hardy’s Blotto: Stan and Babe enter the Rainbow club, are shown to a table, and proceed to open their bottle of “liquor.”  “Crow-Hop” also appears in Our Gang’s 1936 Divot Diggers, in Patsy Kelly’s 1936 feature Kelly the Second, and in the 1937 reissue of Laurel & Hardy’s Brats.



What better number to round off a showcase of Leroy Shield’s work than with “On to the Show,” the opening number of so many Hal Roach pictures?  What may appear a wild improvisation on a familiar theme is in fact quite close to the original 1930 recording audible in Doctor’s Orders and Pups is Pups.

Leroy Shield wrote many themes to emphasize exciting, thrilling or confusing moments, or during running, hurrying or sneaking sequences.  Even so, these tunes can be enjoyed as pure music, and no collection of Shield’s works would be complete without them.  Like in his compositions “Fliver Flops” and “Hide and Go See,” Shield’s talent for way-out arrangements and melodies becomes apparent in these selections.  This original Beau Hunks medley comprises the following individual themes:
“Sneaking” – This suspense cue (featuring a bass clarinet) was frequently employed during the first two “sound” seasons at Roach, for instance in Our Gang’s Teacher’s Pet, The Boy Friends’ Call a Cop and The Taxi Boys’ The Rummy.
“Run” – The “running” music to accompany a pair of familiar vagrants fleeing a pair of cops in Another Fine Mess (November 1930); it also appears in Our Gang’s Mama’s Little Pirate (1934), and was often employed as a general anxiety effect.
“Oh, Doctor! Doctor!” – A musical expression of acute pain.  It is heard as Colonel Buckshot points his shotgun at Stan and Ollie in Another Fine Mess; as Walter Long turns their heads around at the end of The Live Ghost; and as Stan’s wife informs Oliver on the telephone in Chickens Come Home: “You tell him that if he isn’t home for dinner, I’ll break his arm!”
“Sliding” (a.k.a. “Swells”) – An experiment in sliding tone scales for all instruments – used prominently in Pups is Pups, Fly My Kite, Dogs is Dogs, and many other Little Rascals two-reelers.
“Miser” – The best example of appropriate use of this “miserly” theme occurs in Our Gang’s Fly My Kite (May 1931) where it introduces Dan (James Mason), who is trying to cheat his mother-in-law out of her gold bonds.

“Hurry” – Especially associated with Laurel & Hardy’s Laughing Gravy (April 1931) in which it appears five times; also heard (three times) in Shiver My Timbers.

“Cascadia” – This is Leroy Shield in avant-garde mode, rivaling Stravinsky and Schöenberg in his haunting and unique score for The Boy Friends’ short Air Tight (May 1931).

“Excitement” – This appears in the soundtrack for Bargain Day (1931), and many others.

“Sneaking” (reprise)

“Yearning” – Although rarely heard in its entirety, this theme is nonetheless familiar because of its dramatic ending, which was often spliced at the very end of a Hal Roach soundtrack.  Shield later wrote “Finale Music” for this purpose.

A slow version, with tremolando strings, of the theme song as heard in early Little Rascals talkies such as Teacher’s Pet and School’s Out.

Tracks 1–41, 48–50
© 1930/1931 Leroy Shield / Roy Shield Music Company

Tracks 42–47
© 1936 Leroy Shield / Roy Shield Music Company

Track 49
Arr. Schreuders / Stöve

Menno Daams – trumpet
Jos Driessen – trumpet
Jilt Jansma – trombone
Robert Veen – alto & soprano sax, clarinet
Ronald Jansen Heijtmajer – alto sax, baritone sax, clarinet
Leo van Oostrom – tenor sax, clarinet, bass clarinet
Ilona de Groot – violin
Tineke de Jong – violin, viola
Eelco Beinema – cello
Jan Robijns – piano
Ton Van Bergeijk – banjo, guitar
Louis Debij – percussion
Peter Stöve – tuba
Gert-Jan Blom – bass

Ernst Grapperhaus – violin (4, 16, 24, 25, 26, 30, 31, 33, 34, 37, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 49)
Alida Schat – violin (1, 4, 7, 14, 15, 18, 25, 26, 30, 31, 33, 34, 37, 39, 44, 45, 46, 49)
Theo Pieterse – percussion, tubular bells, glockenspiel (1, 4, 5, 7, 25, 26, 30, 31, 33, 34, 37, 39, 44, 45, 46)
Leendert de Jonge – flute, piccolo (7, 42, 44)
Mia Svensson – tenor sax, clarinet (22, 28, 32, 36, 48)
Eddie Koopman – xylophone (28, 48), vibraphone (2, 23)
Peter Brunt, Joke Op ‘t Land, Marie-José Schrijner – violins (49)
Esther Probst – oboe (21)
Margot Buiteveld – oboe (44)
Hein Offermans – tuba (30)
Hanneke Metzelaar – bassoon (3, 29, 42)
Henk de Wit – bassoon (31, 44)

All tracks based on audio reconstructions by Piet Schreuders

Music Transcriptions –
by Menno Daams: “Good Old Days,” “Riding Along,” “Gangway Charlie,” “If It Were Only True,” “Yasmini,” “Let’s Go,” “Jazz Wedding March,” “Antics,” “Steppin’ Along With a Song,” “We’re Just a Happy Family,” “Crow-Hop.”

by Jan Robijns: “On to the Show,” “Bells,” “Look at Him Now,” “In My Canoe,” “Nothing At All,” “Here We Go,” “Dash and Dot,” “Rockin’ Chair,” “Wishing,” “Drunk,” “You Are the One I Love,” “The Moon and You,” “Colonial Gayeties,” “On A Sunny Afternoon,” “We’re Out for Fun.”

by Peter Stöve: “Good Old Days” (verse), “Bassooning,” “Cops,” “Your Piktur,” “Laughs,” “Give Us a Hand,” “Slouching,” “Ah! ‘Tis Love,” “Wishing,” “Fliver Flops,” “Goof,” “Hide and Go Seek,” “On to the Show” (xylophone), “Shield Suspense Medley.”

by Robert Veen: “Beautiful Lady,” “Little Dancing Girl,” “The One I Love Best,” “Candy Candy,” “It Is To Laugh,” “Dear, With Me,” “Blue Blue.”

Recorded live at Dureco Studios, Holland, June 15–24, 1992; April 25–29, 1993; and June 3–15, 1993

Conducted by Peter Stöve

Sound Engineer – Sytze Gardenier

Studio Producer – Jakob Klaasse

Executive Producer – Gert-Jan Blom for Frank van Balen Support b.v.

Edited and Mastered by Sander van der Heide, Wisseloord Studios, Holland

Graphic Design – Piet Schreuders

Cover: Sidney Kibrick, Alvin Buckelew, Stymie, Len, Jerry Tucker, Scotty, and Spanky in Anniversary Trouble (1935)

Stills – Collection S. Bousma, Enkhuizen, Holland

Leroy Shield artwork © 1993 Robert Crumb, Sauve, France

A Theo van der Schaaf Production
© 1994 Movies Select Audio, Hilversum, Holland

“A real treat to listen to.” – Leonard Maltin, co-author of The Little Rascals
“This is something I’ve been looking for all my life!” – Robert Crumb, graphic artist
“Music that evokes an ‘oh-yeah-I-remember-this-stuff’ response.” – Robert Armstrong, Pulse!
“The Beau Hunks get the sound of the music perfectly, with the spunk and verve that’s appropriate.” – David Garland (WNYC-FM)


(P) 1994 Movies Select Audio, Hilversum, Holland
© 1994 KOCH International L.P. for the USA. A Product of KOCH International USA, Port Washington, N.Y. 11050. Printed and Manufactured in USA.


MC 2-8702-4

LC 6644

Read all about ‘em!

The Little Rascals
The Life and Times of Our Gang
By Richard W. Bann and Leonard Maltin
Available at bookstores, or order direct from the publisher with credit card:
call toll-free 1-800-793-BOOK.
$18.00 plus handling.
Website Builder