Make your own free website on


Dead End Kids::
Gorcey, Dell, Jordan, Punsley, Halop, Hall
After their success in the Broadway play of the same name, The Dead End Kids sprang upon an unsuspecting movie-going public in Samuel Goldwyn's 1937 film Dead End, a crime drama featuring Humphrey Bogart.
The success of this film led Warner Brothers to sign the Kids and feature them in six films which starred such screen luminaries as Ronald Reagan, Pat O'Brien, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield and Claude Raines.
The films were the typical Warner fare of serious social/crime dramas with the Kids heavily involved in the plot and also lending some comedy relief. The quality of the films declined until Warner's threw in the towel and the Kids were reborn as the East Side Kids at the king of the poverty row studios, Monogram.
Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Bobby Jordan, Gabriel Dell, Billy Halop and Bernard Punsley played the Kids. Despite the fact that they played the same basic roles in every picture, their characters were given different names in many of the films, although Billy Halop was always the leader and featured "Kid" in these movies.
Generally, these films are the best made of any of the four series. Dead End and Angels With Dirty Faces are considered classics of the genre. They Made Me A Criminal is notable for it's strong performance by future superstar, John Garfield. (Garfield would team up with Halop & Jordan in Warner's 1939 Dust Be My Destiny.) The last two Warner's films are pretty bad though.

Dead End Kids Films:
Dead End - 1937 - United Artists

Crime School - 1938 - Warner Brothers

Angels With Dirty Faces - 1938 - Warner Brothers

They Made Me A Criminal - 1939 - Warner Brothers

Hell's Kitchen - 1939 - Warner Brothers

The Angels Wash Their Faces - 1939 - Warner Brothers

On Dress Parade - 1939 - Warner Brothers

Little Tough Guys::
At the same time that Warner's was cranking out the Dead End Kids series and Monogram doing the same with the East Side Kids, Universal Studios signed four of the Kids (Billy Halop, Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell and Bernard Punsley) and released a series of mostly bad (OK OK just plain awful!) "B" movies and three 12-part serials. Leo Gorcey's brother, David, was featured in several of these unmemorable films. Generally, the boys retained the same names throughout the series (except the serials).
Billy Halop was first Johnny, then Jimmy before becoming Tommy for the duration. Huntz Hall played Pig, Bernard Punsley played Ape, Gabriel Dell played String. Not all the characters appeared in all the pictures. Dead End Kid Bobby Jordan played Rap in 2 of the films and became Tommy(!) in the last entry in the series.
The first film, Little Tough Guy, bad as it may be, is the best of the lot. It's a social/crime drama in the Warner Brothers style. After this the quality of the films falls right off the chart. I can recommend this series only to die-hard fans of the Boys.

Little Tough Guys Films::
Little Tough Guy - 1938

Call A Messenger - 1939

You're Not So Tough - 1940

Junior G-Men (serial) - 1940

Give Us Wings - 1940

Sea Raiders (serial) - 1941

Hit The Road - 1941

Mob Town - 1941

Junior G-Men Of The Air (serial) - 1942

Tough As They Come - 1942

Mug Town - 1943

Keep 'Em Slugging - 1943

East Side Kids::
Hall, Robert Armstrong, David & Leo Gorcey, Jordan, Stone, Morrison
This series of films by Monogram featured the boys first in crime melodramas with comedic overtones then in comedies with some serious (usually criminal) overtones. The plots almost always cast the Boys as lower class street urchins in conflict with the criminal element that surrounded them. Occasionally the criminal element was replaced by Nazi or Japanese fifth columnists.
Billy Halop was gone by this time and Leo Gorcey and Bobby Jordan took over as leaders and featured "Kids".
As the series progressed, the comedy duo of Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall became the focus of the films.
Making steady appearances as East Side Kids were:
Leo Gorcey as Mugs (or Muggs)

Huntz Hall as Glimpy

Bobby Jordan as Danny

David Gorcey as Peewee

"Sunshine Sammy" Morrison as Scruno

Donald Haines as Skinny

Billy Benedict later took over the role of Skinny (AKA Benny, Pinky)

Bobby Stone with a variety of names

Gabriel Dell appears in many of the films as a non-gang member, usually an adversary or authority figure.

Dave O'Brien (AKA Mish Mash the Muttonhead from the Pete Smith comedy shorts and star of Reefer Madness) appears in several films.

Other actors cast as East Side Kids include
Bennie Bartlett, Harris Berger, Frankie Burke, Hally Chester, Stanley Clements, Johnny Duncan, Dave Durand, Eugen Francis, Buddy Gorman, Mende Koenig and Jimmy Strand

The production values of many of these films are low, even by Monogram standards, although they seemed to get better as the series progressed. A couple of the early films are so bad as to be virtually unwatchable, even by die-hard fans.
There is a 1940 film entitled "East Side Kids" that some feel should be included in the series. Since it doesn't have any of the "Dead End Kids" in it, I feel it should be omitted.

East Side Kids Films::
Boys Of The City - 1940

That Gang Of Mine - 1940

Pride Of The Bowery -

1941 Flying Wild - 1941

Bowery Blitzkrieg - 1941

Spooks Run Wild - 1941

Mr. Wise Guy - 1942

Let's Get Tough - 1942

Smart Alecks - 1942

'Neath Brooklyn Bridge - 1942

Clancy Street Boys - 1943

Ghosts On The Loose -

1943 Mr. Muggs Steps Out -

1943 Kid Dynamite - 1943

Million Dollar Kid - 1944

Follow The Leader - 1944

Block Busters - 1944

Bowery Champs - 1944

Docks Of New York - 1945

Mr. Muggs Rides Again - 1945

Come Out Fighting - 1945

Bowery Boys::
Huntz Hall, Billy Benedict, Leo Gorcey, David Gorcey, Bobby Jordan

This series of comedies found the Boys in a variety of situations, always with the underrated (and critically unappreciated) comedy duo of Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall as the focus. The earlier films (1946-1950) had an overtone of gangster melodrama, while the later films were pure slapstick.
Leo Gorcey began to drink heavily after the death of his father, Bernard Gorcey, in late 1955. In fact, he appears to be intoxicated in his final film, Crashing Las Vegas. The producers of the series replaced Gorcey with former East Side Kid, Stanley Clements, for the last seven films. The chemistry that worked so well between Gorcey and Hall never materialized with Clements and this, along with the fact that the "Boys" were now well into their 30's and the lack of demand for programmer type films such as these due to TV, proved to be the death knell of the series.
Making steady appearances in this series were: Leo Gorcey as Terrence Aloyius "Slip" Mahoney

Huntz Hall as Horace Debussy "Sach" Jones

Bobby Jordan as Bobby (last film: Bowery Buckaroos - 1947)

Billy Benedict as Whitey

David Gorcey as Chuck

Bennie Bartlett as Butch

Bernard Gorcey as Louie Dumbrowski, proprietor of Louie's Sweet Shop in most of the films. Gabriel Dell appeared in a variety of roles, once again usually as an authority figure peripherally connected with the gang. Stanley Clements appeared as Stanislaus "Duke" Coveleske in the last seven pictures.

The production values of these films are far higher than any of the Little Tough Guys and East Side Kids. Most fans agree that the Bowery Boys series is the best of these three. I feel that Live Wires (which features gigantic tough guy, Mike Mazurki), Mr. Hex and Blues Busters are among the best in this series.
Bowery Boys Films::
Live Wires - 1946

In Fast Company - 1946

Bowery Bombshell - 1946

Spook Busters - 1946

Mr. Hex - 1946

Hard Boiled Mahoney - 1947

News Hounds - 1947

Bowery Buckaroos - 1947

Angels' Alley - 1948

Jinx Money - 1948

Smugglers' Cove - 1948

Trouble Makers - 1948

Fighting Fools - 1949

Hold That Baby! - 1949

Angels In Disguise - 1949

Master Minds - 1949

Blonde Dynamite - 1950

Lucky Losers - 1950

Triple Trouble - 1950

Blues Busters - 1950

Bowery Battalion - 1951

Ghost Chasers - 1951

Let's Go Navy! - 1951

Crazy Over Horses - 1951

Hold That Line - 1952

Here Comes The Marines - 1952

Feudin' Fools - 1952

No Holds Barred - 1952

Jalopy - 1953

Loose In London - 1953

Clipped Wings - 1953

Private Eyes - 1953

Paris Playboys - 1954

Meet The Monsters - 1954

Jungle Gents - 1954

Bowery To Bagdad - 1955

High Society - 1955

Spy Chasers - 1955

Jail Busters - 1955

Dig That Uranium - 1956

Crashing Las Vegas - 1956

Fighting Trouble - 1956

Hot Shots - 1956

Hold That Hypnotist - 1957

Spook Chasers - 1957

Looking For Danger - 1957

Up In Smoke - 1957

In The Money - 1958

Huntz Hall appeared in the most series films. Surprisingly, it's David Gorcey, not his brother Leo, who comes in second in series' appearances.
Bernard Punsley went on to become a doctor after leaving the series.

Louie's Sweet Shop was located at 3rd Street & Bowery.

Billy Halop had a recuring role as Muntz the cab driver on the TV series All In The Family. He also had bit parts in many other series throughout the 50's, 60's and 70's, including a few bits on my all time favorite series, Perry Mason.

Gabriel Dell and Huntz Hall also made occasional TV appearances.

Huntz Hall appears on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper album by the Beatles.

East Side Kid Hally Chester went on to become a movie producer.

Bela Lugosi, his career already on the skids, appeared in two East Side Kids features, Spooks Run Wild and Ghosts On The Loose.

3 Stooges fans should be on the lookout for Shemp Howard in three of the Little Tough Guys films, Give Us Wings, Hit The Road and Keep 'Em Slugging.

All together, there were 85 films and 3 serials. 7 were Dead End Kids, 12 Little Tough Guys (including the 3 serials), 21 East Side Kids and 48 Bowery Boys. It would take about five days of continuous viewing to see every film and serial!

1941 saw the most films released: seven. Three were Little Tough Guys and four were East Side Kids. 1942 and 1943 came in second with six. 1939, 1940 and 1946 each had five.

Counting the 3 serials, there were 9 films made in the 30's, 47 made in the 40's, 32 in the 50's.

Four different studios produced films in the series: United Artists, Warner Brothers, Universal and Monogram (AKA Allied Artists).


Back To Kaz's World