- Little Tough Guys
Dead End Kids and The Little Tough Guys were a group of actors who made a series of films and serials released by
Universal Studiosfrom 1938through 1943. Many of them were originally part of The Dead End Kids, and several of them later became members of The East Side Kids and The Bowery Boys.
The urban drama "Dead End" became both a successful play and a hit movie, featuring six young actors playing streetwise guttersnipes:
Billy Halop, Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell, Bobby Jordan, and Bernard Punsly. The troupe became known as The Dead End Kidsand starred in a series of features for Warner Brothers.
Little Tough Guys
1938, Universal borrowed the Dead End Kids (except Gorcey and Jordan) for a juvenile-delinquency drama called "Little Tough Guy". Universal adopted this as a brand name, and turned the film into a series of "Little Tough Guys" features. The studio filled out the cast with David Gorcey (Leo's younger brother) and Hally Chester.
The next three films did not include any of the original Dead End Kids. "Little Tough Guys in Society" (1939) was more of a lightweight comedy, while the next two, "Newsboys' Home" and "Code of the Streets" (1939), were more dramatic.
Jackie Cooperstarred in "Newsboys' Home", but was not a member of the team. Only David Gorcey and Hally Chester remained from the first film, "Little Tough Guy". This was the beginning of the members of the team changing on almost a film-to-film basis. Eleven actors drifted in and out of the series, including Frankie Thomas, Charles Duncan (who was originally hired to play Leo Gorcey's role in the play "Dead End"), and Billy Benedict.
When Warners released Bobby Jordan from his contract, Universal quickly signed him to join the rest of gang. Now, with most of the original Dead End Kids on the payroll, Universal revised the billing to read "The Dead End Kids and Little Tough Guys." All told, they made 12 feature films, and three 12-chapter serials. Leading player Halop joined the armed forces and was replaced by Jordan for the final film in the series, "Keep 'Em Slugging", released in 1943.
Shemp Howard, of the Three Stooges, appeared in "Give Us Wings", "Hit The Road" and "Keep 'Em Slugging". Huntz Hall cited Howard as a major influence when his later "Bowery Boys" series shifted to all-out slapstick comedy.
There was still a market for these tough-teen films, and most of the Little Tough Guys principals wound up at
Monogram Picturesas The East Side Kidsand The Bowery Boys; see these Wikipedia entries for notes.
Dead End Kids
East Side Kids
The Bowery Boys
*imdb name | id=0329828 | name=David Gorcey
*imdb name | id=0355653 | name=Huntz Hall
*imdb name | id=0217316 | name=Gabriel Dell
*imdb name | id=0356890 | name=Billy Halop
*imdb name | id=0429853 | name=Bobby Jordan
*imdb name | id=0700603 | name=Bernard Punsly
*imdb name | id=0858833 | name=Frank Thomas
*imdb name | id=0070827 | name=Billy Benedict
*imdb name | id=0156320 | name=Hally Chester
*imdb name | id=0074196 | name=Harris Berger
*imdb name | id=0008030 | name=Norman Abbott
* [http://www.billyhalop.net/ Billy Halop Online]
title='Little Tough Guys' series
before='The Dead End Kids'
after='The East Side Kids'
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