Mickey McGuire (1927-1934) was a popular film series of two-reel comedies that rivaled the Our Gang series during its run. Produced by Larry Darmour, the series was based on Fontaine Fox's popular comic strip Toonerville Trolley. The series was notable in essentially launching the film series for a then unknown Mickey Rooney. As legend has it, Rooney (then known as "Joe Yule Jr.") ironically auditioned for Our Gang prior to his days as "Mickey McGuire".
Unlike most rival Our Gang series at the time, Mickey McGuire featured original characters, plot lines, and characters. The series was also notable in that it had the longest run of any Our Gang rival series. Additionally, it was the only rival series to transition from silent shorts to sound shorts.
The series was popular during its time, and continued to be reissued in theaters well into the 1940's. In 1945, Mickey the Great a feature film compilation (with wraparound material featuring a now grown-up Delia Bogard) was released to theaters. However, the series fell out of favor by the 1950's. The shorts were almost never seen on television. However, several of the shorts were offered by home movie distributors in various forms. During the 1980's, Rooney hosted a series of VHS releases featuring films from the series. A handful of the shorts were released on home video in 2001, and several additional shorts were restored and remastered for home video release in 2006.
The lead character in the series was Mickey (himself) McGuire (Rooney), a rough-and-tumble sort of youngster, who acted as king of a group poor kids (called "The Scorpions"). McGuire was notable in being so tough that nobody twice his size dared talk back to him. As Rooney grew older, the McGuire matured, taking on more responsibilites towards helping others. Rooney played the role for most of the series run, but was replaced by series costar Marvin Stephens for one brief season for unknown reasons.
Mickey's best friend was Hambone Johnson, the only African American member of McGuire's gang for most of the series run. While Mickey would sometimes take advantage of Ham, the two clearly shared a strong friendship. And despite Hambone occasionally being a stooge to Mickey's schemes, he proved to be one of the few people to talk back to Mickey. For most of the series run (with the exception of a few shorts) Hambone was played by James Robinson, Jr. (also known as "Jimmy Robinson" and "Jimmie Robinson").
Also featured in the gang were Tomboy Taylor (played by Delia Bogard for most of the series, and Shirley Jean Rickert for the last season), who was the only girl in the gang, and 'Katrink' (played by Marvin Stephens for most of the series' run), who had an incredible amount of physical strength.
The gang were later joined by Mickey's little brother Billy (played by Billy Barty). Billy was the tag-a-long in the gang, often pushed to the side by the bigger kids. But Billy usually wound up saving the older kids from danger, which usually gained him respect from his brother.
The Scorpions were almost always up against nasty rich kid Junior "Stinky" Davis (played by several actors throughout the series' run, including Our Gang's own Kendall McComas). Stinky would always come up with some scheme to torture McGuire and company, but would always get his just desserts in the end. However, Stinky did briefly make ammends with the Scorpions during Christmas in the short Mickey's Helping Hand.
Cast and Characters
- "Mickey McGuire" - Mickey Rooney (1927-1931, 1932-1934), Marvin Stephens (1931-1932)
- "Hambone Johnson" - James Robinson, Jr. (1927-1934)
- "Tomboy Taylor" - Delia Bogard (1927-1933), Shirley Jean Rickert (1933-1934)
- "Katrink" - Unknown (1927-1928), Marvin Stephens (1928-1931, 1932-1934), Donald Haines (1931-1932)
- "Billy McGuire" - Billy Barty (1929-1934)
- "Junior 'Stinky' Davis - Monty Banks, Jr. (1927-1928), Chuck "Junior" Johnston (1928-1929), Kendall McComas (1929 - early sound shorts), Douglas Fox (1929-1933), Douglas Scott (1933-1934)
- Note: In addition to briefly portraying Stinky Davis, Kendall McComas also played an unnamed member of the Scorpions gang throughout the majority of the silent era.
The series was produced by Larry Darmour Productions and Standard Photoplay Company. Throughout the silent era, Film Booking Offices of America (FBO) distributed the series. When sound came in, RKO Distributing Company replaced FBO. The last series was distrubted by Columbia Pictures. Albert Herman directed most of the silent shorts and early sound shorts. He was later replaced by assistant director Jesse A. Duffy. Writers for the series included Joseph Levering, George Gray, E.V. Durling, and silent comedian Larry Semon. Earl Montgomery also directed and wrote a number of the shorts.
- Mickey's Circus (September 4, 1927)
- Mickey's Pals (October 3, 1927) - Mickey starts his own pet care service.
- Mickey's Eleven (November 7, 1927) - The Scorpions get ready for a football game against Stinky Davis and his team.
- Mickey's Battle (December 5, 1927)
- Mickey's Parade (January 2, 1928)
- Mickey in School (February 6, 1928) - Mickey and the gang go back to school, and get into all sorts of trouble. But they become heroes when they save the school board from a fire.
- Mickey's Nine (March 5, 1928) - Mickey and Hambone get stuck in a spooky house.
- Mickey's Little Eva (April 2, 1928)
- Mickey's Wild West (May 7, 1928)
- Mickey in Love (June 4, 1928)
- Mickey's Triumph (July 2, 1928)
- Mickey's Babies (August 7, 1928)
- Mickey's Movies (September 2, 1928) - After kicking a film crew off of the Scorpions' property, Mickey and the gang decide to make their own movie.
- Mickey's Rivals (September 30, 1928)
- Mickey the Detective (October 28, 1928) - Mickey forms a detective school. Later, the gang's dog, Buster, gets stuck a time bomb.
- Mickey's Athletes (November 25, 1928)
- Mickey's Big Game Hunt (December 23, 1928) - Mickey and the gang go game hunting.
- Mickey's Great Idea(January 30, 1928) - Mickey and the gang build their own airplane.
- Mickey's Menagerie (March 17, 1928) - Mickey makes his own zoo.
- Mickey's Last Chance (April 14, 1929)
- Mickey's Brown Derby (May 12, 1929)
- Mickey's Northwest Mounted (June 9, 1929) - Stinky invites Mickey and the gang to his rodeo.
- Mickey's Initiation (July 7, 1929) - Stinky pulls practical jokes at Mickey's birthday party.
- Mickey's Midnite Follies (August 18, 1929)
- Mickey's Surprise (Semptember 15, 1929) - The kids put on show at school.
- Mickey's Mix-Up (October 13, 1929) - After losing a court case to Mickey and Hambone, Stinky is forced to let the Scorpions use his mother's parlor to put on a show.
- Mickey's Big Moment (November 10, 1929) - The gang make their own newspaper. Mickey and Hambone sneak into a party at Stinky's house (disguised as girls) in order to get the scoop on Stinky's stingy father, who is running for mayor.
- Mickey's Strategy (December 8, 1929)
- Mickey's Champs (February 2, 1929) - After their hobo friends get arrested for stealing, Mickey and Hambone visit the home of a spooky doctor to expose the real criminals.
- Mickey's Explorers (February 17, 1930) - Mickey and the gang decide to become explorers. The gang travel to an island, and run into skeletons, Indians, and a bear.
- Mickey's Master Mind (March 2, 1930)
- Mickey's Luck (March 30, 1930) - The gang form their own fire department, and try to rescue a pet store from a fire.
- Mickey's Whirlwinds (April 27, 1930)
- Mickey's Warriors (May 25, 1930)
- Mickey the Romeo (June 22, 1930)
- Mickey's Merry Men (July 20, 1930)
- Mickey's Winners (August 17, 1930)
- Mickey's Musketeers (October 20, 1930)
- Mickey's Bargain (December 20, 1930)
- Mickey's Stampede (February 7, 1931) - The Scorpions play a game of football against Stinky Davis and his gang.
- Mickey's Crusaders (April 12, 1931)
- Mickey's Rebellion (June 25, 1931) - In order to raise money for their caddy friend, the kids put on a show.
- Mickey's Diplomacy (July 15, 1931)
- Mickey's Wildcats (September 12, 1931) - Stinky's baby brother winds up in the hands of Mickey and company. Billy Barty plays a dual role as "Billy" and as Stinky's brother.
- Mickey's Thrill Hunters (Semptember 19, 1931) - When Hambone's dad makes him clean the windows on a skyscraper, Mickey and the others lend him a hand.
- Mickey's Helping Hand (December 19, 1931) - With Chrimstmas around the corner, Mickey and the kids decide to throw a party for the less fortunate kids in the neighborhood. Marvin Stephens plays Mickey McGuire.
- Mickey's Side Line (December 26, 1931) - Marvin Stephesn most likely played Mickey McGuire.
- Mickey's Busy Day (1932) - Marvin Stephens most likely played Mickey McGuire.
- Mickey's Travels (February 20, 1932) - Marvin Stephens most likely played Mickey McGuire.
- Mickey's Holiday (March 5, 1932) - Mickey and the gang go to help out at a gas station. Marvin Stephens plays Mickey McGuire.
- Mickey's Big Business (May 21, 1932) - Mickey and the gang compete against Stinky and his pals in the Toonerville Junior Olympics. Marvin Stephens plays Mickey McGuire.
- Mickey's Golden Rule (June 4, 1932) - Mickey and the Scorpions try to win a contest for the cleanest area in the neighborhood, but Stinky's dad has his eyes on the same prize. Mickey Rooney returns to playing the lead.
- Mickey's Charity (December 2, 1932) - The kids form a shoeshine service in order to raise milk money for an orphanage.
- Mickey's Ape Man (February 20, 1933) - Mickey, Stinky, and Billy all compete for local contest in doing the best impersonation of the Ape Man.
- Mickey's Race (April 14, 1933) - Mickey and Stinky compete against each other in a junior horse race. But Stinky plans to sabotage Mickey's plans.
- Mickey's Big Broadcast (June 6, 1933) - Unable to compete in a local radio contest, Mickey and the gang decide to start their own radio station.
- Mickey's Disguises (July 17, 1933) - In order to prove Hambone's Uncle Nemo's innocence, the gang form their own detective agency. Last appearances of Delia Bogard and Douglas Fox.
- Mickey's Touchdown (October 14, 1933) - The gang get football advice from UCLA coach Howard Jones. When Stinky finds out, he attempts to keep Mickey out of the kids' upcoming football game. First appearances of Shirley Jean Rickert and Douglas Scott.
- Mickey's Tent Show (October 27, 1933) - The kids start their own circus, but are constantly interrupted by Stinky.
- Mickey's Covered Wagon (November 30, 1933) - The gang become pioneers. But a rainstorm forces their expedition to end early, and lands them in a haunted house.
- Mickey's Minstrels (January 11, 1934) - The kids try to raise money to pay for a sick friend's puppy.
- Mickey's Rescue (March 23, 1934) - Billy gets adopted by a rich couple, but Mickey and the gang attempt to bring him back home.
- Mickey's Medicine Man (May 18, 1934) - In order to pay for Uncle Nemo's taxi and hospital bill, the kids form their own medicine show.
- Mickey the Great (April 1945) - A feature film compilation. Delia Bogard, now grown up, recalls her days as part of Mickey McGuire's gang with two friends.