NEW BOWERY BOYS BIOPIC WILL DEBUT IN 2020

Rakshasa
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Joined: March 14th, 2005, 9:48 am

June 9th, 2018, 5:22 pm #1

 NEW BOWERY BOYS BIOPIC WILL DEBUT IN 2020

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Contact: Jeff Harris 216-926-2661

(New York)- A major motion picture is planned for the story of Hollywood’s “Poverty Row” studios and a ragtag gang of misfits that have entertained generations of movie fans, The Bowery Boys. From the groups early incarnation in the William Wyler film “Dead End” in 1937 to their final film, “In the Money” in 1958 at Allied Artists, the backstory of these one-hour comedic adventures that continue to be shown worldwide will now be told in a big-screen movie. 
Nearly 83 years ago they debuted as the “Dead End Kids” in Sidney Kingsley’s play “Dead End” on Broadway. Dead End premiered on October 2, 1935 at the Belasco Theatre and ran for 687 performances before closing on June 12, 1937.
Now the true story of these six actors who formed the original Dead End Kids that eventually morphed into the long running film series for Monogram/Allied Artists called “The Bowery Boys” will become a major motion picture. The film will take a unique look at the backstory of two of the lead players, Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall along with Gabe Dell, Bobby Jordan, Billy Halop and Bernard Punsly. It will also explore how manager/producer Jan Grippo along with Leo Gorcey formed the unit at Monogram for the Bowery Boys. It will look at the relationship between Gorcey, his father Bernard Gorcey who played soda shop maven Louis Dumbrowski in the Boys films until his untimely death. The film will also touch upon some of the tragic lives led by many of the lead players. 
The big-screen movie will be produced and written by Richard A. Lertzman and William J. Birnes in conjunction with Monogram Films. Lertzman and Birnes will base the film on firsthand interviews with Bowery Boys creator Jan Grippo, the late Huntz Hall, Boys director/writer the late Ed Bernds, writer Elwood Ullman, director William Beaudine, actors such as Sheldon Leonard and many others.
“We want to tell this fascinating story with as much accuracy as possible. We want to create the atmosphere of the poverty row studios such as Monogram and bring that experience of that era of film-making to new audiences. While it is far too early to begin our casting, we have have a very clear vision of what we seek to bring to life. I detest impersonation and look for a strong interpretation of these men, ” said producer/writer Rick Lertzman. 
Lertzman and Birnes, who co-wrote The Life and Times of Mickey Rooney for Simon & Schuster along with the worldwide bestseller “Dr. Feelgood” (both have been optioned for major motion pictures)  want to bring back this bygone era.
“We want to capture that free-wheeling, done on the cheap atmosphere that existed in Hollywood’s pverty row where some of the great westerns, serials, horror films and comedies have entertained audiences for generations. The Bowery Boys represent a cherished memory of the era,”remarked Dr. William J. Birnes.
Dead End concerns a group of adolescent children growing up on the streets of New York City during the Great Depression. Bonnie Stephanoff, author of a book on homelessness during the Depression, wrote that it “graphically depicted the lives and longings of a group of boys who swam in a polluted river, cooked food over outdoor fires, smoked cigarettes, gambled, swore, fought, carried weapons and became entangled in [crime] on Manhattan‘s Lower East Side.”
During the original run of Dead End, producer Samuel Goldwyn and director William Wyler watched the Broadway play in 1936 and decided to adapt it into a motion picture. Goldwyn paid $165,000 for the film rights to the property and began auditioning actors in Los Angeles.
 However, he was unable to find established actors that could accurately convey the emotions depicted in the play. Eventually, Goldwyn and Wyler recruited six of the original Kids (Halop, Jordan, Hall, Punsly, Dell, and Leo Gorcey) and signed them to United Artists on a two-year contract.
The 1937 film adaptation of Dead End also starred Humphrey Bogart as Baby Face. While it closely adheres to the play, the film changes the character of Gimpty to David, a healthy all-American heroic type who challenges Baby Face. Unlike the play’s ending, the film depicts him challenging and killing Baby Face in a climatic gunfight.
The actual name of the gang of boys in Dead End is written in chalk on the wall that is shown throughout the movie. It reads: “East 53rd Place Gang Members Only”. During production, the boys ran wild around the studio, destroying property, including a truck that they crashed into a sound stage. Goldwyn chose not to use them again and sold their contract to Warner Brothers.
 The Warner Brothers (and their sister Dot) had initially attempted to rename them as “The Crime School Kids” through advertisements for their first two films produced there, starting with Crime School (1937), to disassociate them from their previous studio’s film, and promote their own. However, this was all in vain as the name never caught on, and they remained “The Dead End Kids”.
At Warner Brothers, the Dead End Kids made six films, including Angels with Dirty Faces, with some of the top actors in Hollywood, including James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield, Pat O’Brien, and Ronald Reagan. The last one was in 1939, when they were released from their contracts owing to more antics on the studio lot.

Little Tough Guys (1938–1943)
Shortly after they made their first film at Warner Brothers in 1938, Universal borrowed all of the Dead End Kids except for Bobby Jordan and Leo Gorcey and made twelve films and three 12-chapter serials under the team names of “The Dead End Kids and Little Tough Guys” and “Little Tough Guys”. Universal also contracted Leo’s brother David and Hally Chester to join the team. After Warners released Jordan from his contract, Universal quickly signed him to join the rest of gang.
Because the original Dead End Kids were now working for several studios, their Universal films were made at roughly the same time as the Warner Brothers’ ‘Dead End Kids’ series and, later, Monogram Picture’s “The East Side Kids” series. The final Universal film was Keep ‘Em Slugging, released in 1943.

The EAST SIDE KIDS (1940-1945) 
After Warner Brothers released the remaining Dead End Kids from their contracts in 1939, producer Sam Katzman at Monogram acted quickly and hired several of them, including Jordan and the Gorcey brothers, as well as Chester and some of the other Little Tough Guys to star in a new series using the name “The East Side Kids”. This series introduced ‘Sunshine’ Sammy Morrison, one of the original members of the Our Gang comedy team, to the group.

A total of 22 East Side Kids films were made, ending with Come Out Fighting in 1945.
The Bowery Boys (1946–1958)
In 1946, with only Monogram making films using any of the original Dead End Kids, Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey, and Gorcey’s agent, Jan Grippo, revamped The East Side Kids, renaming them “The Bowery Boys“. These films followed a more established formula than the earlier films. First Jordan and then Dell departed the series after several films. Gorcey left after the 41st film and was replaced by Stanley Clements for the remaining films. In all, a total of 48 Bowery Boys films were made, ending with 1958’s In the Money. During the series Hall and Dell did a nightclub act together. Gorcey and Hall reteamed on the film Second Fiddle To a Steel Guitar then finally, in The Phynx.

The Dead End Kids’ star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
In total the various teams that began life as “The Dead End Kids” made 89 films and three serials for four different studios during their 21-year-long film career. The team was awarded a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame that can be found at the corner of La Brea and Hollywood.
Hey, how much for the Buick?
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blufeld
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Joined: March 21st, 2017, 4:34 pm

June 9th, 2018, 5:41 pm #2

I think "The Little Rascals" were worse than "The Dead End Kids/Bowery Boys" in running wild on the set.  
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Ned Sparks VO
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Joined: September 16th, 2017, 10:27 am

June 9th, 2018, 7:29 pm #3

"In conjunction with Monogram Films..."  Huh?  Does any portion of Monogram/AA exist?
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taraco
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taraco
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June 9th, 2018, 8:21 pm #4

Monogram was officially known as Monogram Pictures back then. Probably the name was available.

Interesting that there's no mention of Leo's daughter, Brandy Gorcey, although the release says they talked to "many others'', so maybe she's one of the "others." Although you'd think they'd mention her if they did speak with her.

Anyhow, we can ask her because Brandy will be making a rare convention appearance at the Monster Bash in two weeks.

"Brandy is a super great person and will bring mementos from her dad's estate like an original hat he used to smack Satch with!'' says the Bash website.
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will
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June 9th, 2018, 9:09 pm #5

Because of this thread I looked on YouTube at one of the earliest Bowery Boys, Mr. Hex, and I was amazed at what a polished production it was. The East Side ones don't look that good, and the production values from the fifties are rock bottom. The producer and writer was Cy Enfield. It may not be anything special, but it looks good.
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taraco
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taraco
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June 9th, 2018, 9:17 pm #6

In many ways, films like the Bowery Boys were the first sitcoms.
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taraco
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taraco
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June 9th, 2018, 9:19 pm #7

The 1949 MASTER MINDS is terrific, too, with Glenn Strange as a monstrous looking 'Atlas' along with Skelton Knaggs and Jane Adams!
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Hugh Mann
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June 9th, 2018, 11:14 pm #8

I think Leo Gorcey Jr. is still with us.  I met him at a book signing of his book, "Me And The Dead End Kid" back in 2003.  He also reprinted his father's book, "Dead End Yells Wedding Bells Cockle Shells and Dizzy Spells."  I don't know if they are still around, but there were at least two big time Dead End, Eastside Kids, Bowery Boys collectors that I was aware of.  One in New York the other in Illinois.
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Ned Sparks VO
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June 9th, 2018, 11:40 pm #9

Arrrgh, Leo Sr's book is a drunken, narcissistic train wreck.

For five years, I lived on the hill behind Monogram.  (You can see my house in BLACK DRAGONS)  It dawned on me just how cheap the Bowery Boys films were, when I realized that the exteriors were all done on the lot in the space of about 40 feet.  Red brick studio buildings, and the red brick wall that the escaped safecracker climbs over at the start of BOWERY AT MIDNIGHT, so he can bludgeon Snub Pollard and steal his car.  

When they pull the camera angle back far enough in BB films, there is a white soundstage visible.  Inside it is the theater you see in THE HYPNOTIC EYE (the law of grah vee tay) and it's used for a BB film where they're on a game show.  It was built as a screening room by silent star Charles Ray when he owned the studio.
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Rick
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June 10th, 2018, 12:36 am #10

Well, this could be interesting, depending --as always -- on the script. But, offhand, first blush, off the top'o'my head, with malice aforethought, it seems to me that the really potentially interesting part of their story is the very beginning: their childhoods, being cast on Broadway, going to Hollywood, working with Bogey, then Cagney...

The later part of the story would be interesting to folks like...well...like us. But to a general public, and for a chance at a truly worthy story, it feels like the beginnings of this one offer much more interest than the sad, cheap, maybe overly-familiar ending.

But we shall see. First they gotta make the durn thing.
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
~ Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
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Monsterpal
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June 10th, 2018, 12:43 am #11

Interesting, Ned. If memory serves, that brick building was the hospital in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
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Ned Sparks VO
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June 10th, 2018, 1:05 am #12

Rick wrote: it seems to me that the really potentially interesting part of their story is the very beginning: their childhoods, being cast on Broadway, going to Hollywood, working with Bogey, then Cagney...

The later part of the story would be interesting to folks like...well...like us. But to a general public, and for a chance at a truly worthy story, it feels like the beginnings of this one offer much more interest than the sad, cheap, maybe overly-familiar ending
I would think the ending could be depicted pretty swiftly, with Bernard Gorcey dying and Leo drunk throughout the shooting of CRASHING LAS VEGAS.  For it to be poignant, you'd have to make the audience care about Leo.
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Rick
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June 10th, 2018, 1:09 am #13

Oh, I agree. My first thought was we either see the story in flashback from Leo's sad ending, or we see it chronologically, but more or less skipping from the glory days to that low point.

But all the years and movies potentially showing how cheap it was at Monogram, how low-rent the movies were, Leo starts drinking...that's all maybe either too standard or too inside-baseball.

Maybe.
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
~ Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
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Robert Troch
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June 10th, 2018, 1:10 pm #14

Could be interesting even entertaining but most biopics are generally not either of those.

Robert T
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countplastica
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June 10th, 2018, 6:28 pm #15

I'd see it.
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Crow T Robot
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June 10th, 2018, 7:35 pm #16

I'd watch it, but would prefer a documentary on the group.  
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will
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June 10th, 2018, 8:36 pm #17

Who will play Leo Gorcey and Hunt Hall?
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Ned Sparks VO
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June 10th, 2018, 9:22 pm #18

will wrote: Who will play Leo Gorcey and Hunt Hall?
Jim Carrey and Rick Ocasek from Cheap Trick.
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taraco
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taraco
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June 10th, 2018, 9:31 pm #19

You mean Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick:
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Ned Sparks VO
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June 10th, 2018, 10:12 pm #20

That's right.  What I know about Cheap Trick and The Cars amounts to nothing.  In the 80s I was listening to Hans J. Salter like normal people.
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