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.
Dave O'Brien (featured in dozens of "B" movies & 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.
East Side Kids
- February 1940 - Directed by Bob Hill
None of the original "Dead End Kids" appear in this film.
However, Dave O'Brien, Hally Chester and Donald Haines, would reprise their roles in the following picture, "Boys of the City", so the film falls into The East Side Kids continuity.
Featuring: Leon Ames as Pat O'Day; Dennis Moore as Milton Franklin 'Mileaway' Harris; Joyce Bryant as Molly Dolan; Hal E. Chester as Fred 'Dutch' Kuhn (as Hally Chester); Harris Berger as Danny Dolan; Frankie Burke as Skinny; Vince Barnett as Whisper; Dave O'Brien as Knuckles Dolan; Ted Adams as Schmidt (as Richard Adams); Maxine Leslie as May; Robert Fiske as Cornwall - aka Robert Morrison; Jack Edwards as Algernon 'Mouse' Wilkes; Jim Farley as Police Captain Moran (as James Farley); Stephen Chase as Joe - Detective (as Alden Chase); Fred Hoose as Mr. Wilkes
The kids try to find the real culprit when the brother of one of the boys is framed for murder.
Police officer Pat O'Day, a former child of the tenements, tries to reform a gang of street kids by involving them in a boys's police club. When club member Danny Dolan's brother Knuckles is sentenced to death row for killing a treasury agent, Pat vows to help Danny clear his brother, whom he believes is innocent, but before he can begin his investigation, the police commissioner demotes him to walking a beat. Meanwhile, a counterfeiting ring comprised of Mileaway Harris, a former tenement kid, Morrison, and his girl friend May sets up shop in shopkeeper's Schmidt's, basement. Feeling threatened by Pat, Morrison schemes to discredit the policeman by posing as a businessman who wants to hire Pat's boys to distribute advertising leaflets. Unknown to Pat, Morrison places bogus five dollar bills in the pay envelopes, and when the boys are caught passing fake money, Pat is implicated in the counterfeiting scheme.
To prove his innocence, Pat takes to the streets, and Danny, still unaware of Morris' involvement in the counterfeiting ring, agrees to deliver a suitcase for him to May. A policeman follows Danny to May's apartment, where they are greeted by Mileaway, who kills the policeman and takes Danny hostage. As they drive across town, Danny learns that it was Mileaway who killed the treasury agent and framed Knuckles. Pat tracks down Mileaway's car, and in the ensuing chase, Mileaway escapes and kills Schmidt. Pat and the kids chase Mileaway to a rooftop, where Dutch, Danny's friend, struggles with Mileaway. When they both fall to the sidewalk, Dutch is killed; but Mileaway lives to confess to the agent's murder, and all ends happily as both Knuckles and Pat are exonerated.
Boys Of The City - July 1940 - Directed by Joseph H. Lewis
This is the first film in the series with the "Dead End Kids", albeit only Leo Gorcey & Bobby Jordan.
This film is a sequel to "East Side Kids"
Featuring: Bobby Jordan as Danny Dolan; Leo Gorcey as Muggs McGinnis; Hal E. Chester as Buster (as Hally Chester); Frankie Burke as Skinny; Vince Barnett as Simp; Inna Gest as Louise Mason; Dave O'Brien as Knuckles Dolan (as David O'Brien); Ernest Morrison as Scruno (as Sunshine Sammy); Minerva Urecal as Agnes; Dennis Moore as Giles; Donald Haines as Peewee; David Gorcey as Pete; Eugene Francis as Algy Wilkes; Forrest Taylor as Judge Malcolm Parker; Stephen Chase as Jim Harrison (as Alden Chase)
The kids discover a murder in an old house on their way to a mountain camp.
To escape the heat of the city and a court sentence for malicious mischief, the East Side kids agree to visit a summer camp in the Adirondacks. En route, their car breaks down and they are reluctantly given accommodations in the home of Judge Malcolm Parker. The Judge, under indictment for bribery, has much to fear. His life, as well as that of his niece Louise has been threatened by a gang of racketeers; his companion, Giles, has accused him of embezzling Louise's fortune; and his sinister housekeeper, Agnes, blames him for the death of her mistress, Leonora. The Judge's fears are compounded when he meets Knuckles Dolan, the boys' guardian, whom he had unjustly sentenced to death, only to have his verdict reversed and Knuckles exonerated.
Later that night, when Louise is kidnapped and the Judge found strangled, Giles and Simp, the Judge's bodyguard, accuse Knuckles of the murder, but the boys capture Simp and Giles and determine to find the murderer themselves. Muggs and Danny discover a secret panel in the library wall and enter a passage where they find Louise's unconscious body and glimpse the figure of a fleeing man. Knuckles captures the man, who identifies himself as Jim Harrison of the district attorney's office. Amid the confusion, the real killer takes Louise captive, but the boys track him down and unmask Simp. Harrison then identifies the bodyguard as the triggerman seeking revenge on the Judge. With the crime solved, the boys can finally leave for their summer camp.
That Gang Of Mine - September 1940 - Directed by Joseph H. Lewis
This is a VERY loose sequel to "Boys of the City"
Featuring: Bobby Jordan as Danny Dolan; Leo Gorcey as Muggs Maloney; Clarence Muse as Ben; Dave O'Brien as Knuckles Dolan; Joyce Bryant as Louise; Ernest Morrison as Scruno (as Sunshine Sammy); Milton Kibbee as Mr. Wilkes; David Gorcey as Peewee; Donald Haines as Skinny; Richard Terry as Henchman Blackie (as Richard R. Terry); Wilbur Mack as Nick Buffalo; Hazel Keener as Mrs. Wilkes; Eugene Francis as Algernon 'Algy' Wilkes
Muggs decides to become a jockey despite the ridicule of the other gang members.
Old horseman Ben brings his beloved thoroughbred Bluenight to New York from Kentucky in hopes of developing him into a championship racer. Because the old man is down on his luck, the East Side boys offer to provide a makeshift quarters for Bluenight, and Algy Wilkes persuades his father to put up the entrance fee for the horse. Muggs Malone, an aspiring but untested jockey, rides Bluenight in the race, but loses his nerve on the track, causing Bluenight to trail in the field. Seated in the stands is Morgan, a respected trainer, who recognizes the horse's ability and urges Mr. Wilkes to race the horse with an experienced jockey.
However, Muggs insists upon doing the riding, and his pals induce Mr. Wilkes to give him another chance. Complications arise the night before the race when Nick, a crooked bookie, tries to sabotage Bluenight. The boys discover the plot and save the horse, but the next day, Muggs realizes that he cannot guide the horse to victory. With the use of his fists, he convinces jockey Jimmy Sullivan to take his place, and Bluenight finishes the race the winner.
Pride Of The Bowery - January 1941 - Directed by Joseph H. Lewis
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Muggs; Bobby Jordan as Danny; Kenneth Howell as Allen; Mary Ainslee as Elaine; Bobby Stone as Willie; Donald Haines as Skinny; David Gorcey as Peewee; Ernest Morrison as Scruno (as Sunshine Sammy Morrison); Kenneth Harlan as Captain; Nick Stuart as Ranger; Lloyd Ingraham as Doctor
Muggs tries to further his boxing career and the gang end up at a CCC camp when the gang dupes him into believing it’s a free training camp.
When Muggs refuses to train for the Golden Gloves match unless he has his own private camp in the country, Danny placates his pal by enlisting members of the Vassey Street Boys' Club in the Conservation Corps. Arriving at the camp, Muggs refuses to accept the authority of Al, the leader of the boys, and treats the facility as if it was his own private property. Later, Muggs has a chance to demonstrate his true nature when he risks his own life to save Al from being crushed by a falling tree. The camp captain praises Muggs for his courage, and as a reward, Muggs requests a boxing match with Al. Norton, a small time boxing promoter, comes to watch the fight, which ends in a draw. Furious at the outcome, Muggs refuses to shake his opponent's hand, an act which earns the emnity of the other boys.
When the captain fails to remove the chip from Muggs' shoulder, his daughter, Elaine, tries to reform him through kindness. Meanwhile, Willie, one of the boys, steals one hundred dollars from the camp cash box and confides to Muggs that he needed the money for his poor aunt. To get the money back for Willie, Muggs has Norton arrange a fight, and although he takes a beating in the ring, Muggs earns the one hundred dollars. While returning the money to the cash box, Muggs is caught and accused of theft. He refuses to inform on Willie, though and instead runs away. Danny then forces the truth from Willie, thus proving Muggs' true sportsmanship.
Flying Wild - March 1941 - Directed by William West
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Muggs; Bobby Jordan as Danny; Joan Barclay as Helen; Dave O'Brien as Tom; George Pembroke as Dr. Nagel; Ernest Morrison as Scruno (as Sunshine Sammy Morrison); David Gorcey as Peewee; Donald Haines as Skinny; Eugene Francis as Algy; Bobby Stone as Louie; Herbert Rawlinson as Mr. Reynolds; Dennis Moore as George; Forrest Taylor as Mr. Forbes; Robert F. Hill as Mr. Woodward (as Bob Hill)
The kids stumble across a sabotage ring while working at an airplane factory.
While the Kids all work at the Reynolds Aviation Company, which is run by Algy's father, Muggs, the only one of the kids who refuses to work, spends his time flirting with an ambulance nurse named Helen. Helen, though, is in love with her test pilot boyfriend Tom. One day, when Tom's plane crashes onto the plant airstrip, Reynolds suspects that the crash may have been the work of saboteurs. Later, on the airfield tarmac, Muggs jokingly appoints himself as the new operator of Dr. Richard Nagel's ambulance plane and gives his pals a tour of the aircraft. Their playful games are soon brought to a halt by Nagel, the secret leader of a spy ring, who catches the boys on his plane and angrily orders them off. Mr. Reynolds, certain that spies are working at the plant, asks Danny to act as a decoy so that the spies can be identified, and has him deliver to a downtown office a fake set of plans for a new bomb site. As Reynolds predicted, Nagel's men ambush Danny on his way to the office, but the plan goes awry when the detectives sent to trail Danny lose him. Danny eventually turns up unharmed some time later.
When Muggs reports to Reynolds his suspicions that Nagel is behind the espionage ring, Reynolds dismisses the accusation as a product of the boy's imagination. Not convinced by Reynolds that Nagel is innocent, Muggs and Danny begin their own investigation into Nagel, starting with a visit to the doctor on the pretext of a fake ailment. The visit turns up nothing, however, and when Danny and Muggs return to the hanger, a suspicious "accident" that was apparently meant to harm them leaves Peewee injured. While Peewee recovers at the hospital, Tom nearly loses his life when he is unable to make contact with the control tower for a landing. The controller is later found bound and gagged in the tower, prompting the kids to resume their investigation in earnest. Helen provides the gang with further clues when she confirms that the ambulance plane was being flown on many unusual trips to Mexico, supposedly to deliver patients. When Helen tells the East Side Kids that a man named Forbes is the next "patient" to be transported, they rush to his house, where they find secret plans hidden in his head bandage.
Disguising Danny as the transportee, the kids send Danny and Muggs on the flight to learn who is behind the espionage ring. Danny and Muggs soon find themselves in trouble, however, when Nagel, having found Forbes locked in his closet, tries to warn the pilot of the boys' ruse. Meanwhile, Tom learns of the dangerous mission and goes after the ambulance plane in his own plane. Tom arrives in Mexico in time to save Danny and Muggs, and all the spies are arrested. Back at the plant, Reynolds rewards Muggs for his heroism by giving him a job, but his stint there is short-lived as he is soon distracted by a pretty woman and crashes a plane.
Bowery Blitzkrieg - September 1941 - Directed by Wallace Fox
First appearance of Huntz Hall
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Muggs; Bobby Jordan as Danny; Huntz Hall as Limpy; Keye Luke as Clancy (as Key Luke); Warren Hull as Tom Brady; Charlotte Henry as Mary Breslin; Bobby Stone as Monk Martin; Donald Haines as Skinny; Ernest Morrison as Scruno (as Sunshine Sammy Morrison); David Gorcey as Peewee; Martha Wentworth as Mrs. Brady; Jack Mulhall as Officer Sherrill; Eddie Foster as Slats Morrison; Dennis Moore as Dorgan; Tony Carson as Dutch
Muggs is threatened by gamblers who want him to throw an important boxing match.
Two police officers patrolling the streets of the Bowery discuss the lamentable fact that most of the young boys in the neighborhood will turn to crime and end up in jail. One exception, they agree, is Danny Breslin, a young boxer who is studying economics and destined for success. While Danny's future looks bright, the future of his former best friend, Muggs McGinnis, appears to hold little more than troubles with the law and juvenile probation. One day, when Danny learns that Muggs has been speaking poorly of his schoolteacher sister Mary, he marches over to Clancy's Pool Hall, their favorite neighborhood haunt, and punches Muggs. The fight eventually turns into a pool hall riot, which results in Muggs's arrest. Officer Tom Brady, Mary's sweetheart, believes that many of the boys can be reformed, and when he learns that Muggs has been involved in another fight, he tries to enlist Danny's help in determining the reason behind Muggs' propensity to fight.
Danny surprises his mother, sister and Tom when he violently protests Tom's request, saying that he hates "coppers," and vows never to return to the police gym for his boxing practice. While Tom lays plans to reform Muggs by entering him as a fighter in the upcoming Golden Glove Tournament, Danny unwittingly gets involved with notorious thug Monk Martin. Unknown to Danny, Monk has used him to drive his getaway car in a grocery store holdup. After paying Danny for his "services," Monk manages to persuade him to quit school and join his racket. Meanwhile, Muggs, having made great strides at the Whitney reform school, goes to live with Tom and his mother, much to the dismay of Mary, who promptly breaks off her relationship with Tom. Muggs eventually wins the respect of the entire neighborhood and earns the police department's sponsorship of his fight in the Golden Glove Tournament.
So completely has Muggs given up his delinquent ways that he curses Monk when the racketeer offers him $1,000 to take a fall in the tournament fight. Later, after overhearing Tom's mother blaming his arrival for the break-up of Tom and Mary's relationship, Muggs becomes despondent and decides to move out. Just before the fight, crooked fight promoter Slats Morrison plants the intended bribery money in Muggs's gear and tries to frame him. Danny, meanwhile, is wounded by Tom as he and Monk are caught fleeing from a robbery. Hospitalized and in desperate need of blood, Danny's life hangs in the balance until Muggs volunteers his blood and saves his best friend. Mary has a change of heart and returns to Tom, and Tom announces that Monk made a full confession before dying. Danny's family gathers around a radio and listens with pride as Muggs knocks out his opponent at the tournament. Following the fight, Slats and his boss Dorgan are arrested, and Tom and Mary look forward to their wedding.
Spooks Run Wild - October 1941 - Directed by Phil Rosen
Featuring: Bela Lugosi as Nardo; Leo Gorcey as Muggs; Bobby Jordan as Danny; Huntz Hall as Glimpy; Ernest Morrison as Scruno (as Sunshine Sammy Morrison); Dave O'Brien as Jeff Dixon (as David O'Brien); Dorothy Short as Linda Mason; David Gorcey as Peewee; Donald Haines as Skinny; Dennis Moore as Dr. Von Grosch; P.J. Kelly as Lem Harvey (as P.J. Kelley); Angelo Rossitto as Luigi; Guy Wilkerson as Constable
The gang meet a mysterious man played by Bela Lugosi and his dwarf companion in an old haunted mansion.
The East Side Kids reluctantly board a bus bound for summer camp. The bus stops in the town of Hillside, where Muggs and his pals flirt with a soda fountain waitress. While they are there, a radio broadcast announces that a maniacal "monster killer" is in the area. When they arrive at the camp, the counselor, Jeff Dixon, complains to his girl friend, camp nurse Linda Mason, that he will get no work done on his thesis because of the rowdy juvenile delinquents. One night, Nardo, a mysterious caped figure, and his dwarf assistant, Luigi, ask a local gas station attendant for directions to the hilltop Billings house, which has been deserted for years since its owner was murdered. After he leaves, another car arrives and the attendant recognizes the driver from his mystery magazines as Dr. Von Grosch.
The attendant believes that Nardo is the killer and Von Grosch is hunting him, and he alerts the local constable that Nardo is a suspect. One night, Nardo and Luigi sneak into the local graveyard and are shot at by a grave digger. That same night, Muggs slips out of camp hoping to rendezvous with the soda fountain girl, and is followed by all his pals. The East Side Kids get lost in the woods, and when they wander into the graveyard, Peewee is also shot by the digger. The boys take Peewee to the nearby Billings house, where Nardo tends to his minor injury and gives him a sedative. Nardo lets the boys spend the night, but Peewee disappears while sleepwalking. The rest of the boys are unable to sleep because of Nardo's strangeness and Peewee's disappearance. Linda, meanwhile, also disappears while out searching for the boys, and Jeff goes to the police for help. When the boys confront Nardo, he claims not to know where Peewee is, but insists that the boys remain in the house.
Muggs distrusts Nardo and on his command, the boys attack him and roll him into a carpet. Skinny and Glimpy disappear through a secret passage, and Scruno is spooked when Nardo reappears. At constable Jim's office, the grave digger recalls seeing the boys, and Jim believes they may have fallen into the killer's hands at the Billings estate. The boys, meanwhile, search for Peewee, but are continually being surprised by the appearance of coffins and objects that move themselves, and by the disappearance of their pals through walls and closets. Linda, meanwhile, accepts a ride from Von Grosch, who takes her to the Billings house, ostensibly to help the boys. Muggs and the boys succeed in terrifying Nardo by pretending to be a ghost, and they finally find Peewee back in bed. Just after Linda and Von Grosch arrive at the house, Von Grosch attacks Linda.
The police burst in and accuse Nardo of being a killer, but Muggs has already learned that Nardo is merely a magician. When they all hear Linda screaming inside a locked room, Muggs climbs onto the roof and enters the room through a window. While he struggles with Von Grosch, who is the real "monster killer," Linda opens the door, and the police arrest Von Grosch. Later, Nardo performs magic tricks for Jeff, Linda and the boys, and when Muggs goes into a cabinet after a disappearing girl, he emerges with Scruno in his arms.
Mr. Wise Guy - February 1942 - Directed by William Nigh
First appearance of Gabe Dell
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Muggs; Bobby Jordan as Danny; Huntz Hall as Glimpy Stone; Billy Gilbert as Knobby; Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams as Luke Manning (as Guinn Williams); Douglas Fowley as Bill Collins; Joan Barclay as Ann Mitchell; Warren Hymer as Dratler; Ann Doran as Dorothy Melton; Jack Mulhall as Jim Barnes; Gabriel Dell as Charlie Manning; Sidney Miller as Charlie Horse; David Gorcey as
Peewee; Bobby Stone as Chalky Jones; Dick Ryan as Jed Miller
The boys are sent to reform school after they are wrongly convicted of stealing a truck.
In New York, the East Side Kids are falsely arrested on the wharf because the truck they are playing in was stolen. They are remanded to Wilton Reform School, where Muggs, the wise-cracking leader of the gang, is dubbed "Mr. Wise Guy" by the brutal guard Miller. Jim Barnes, the new warden, reassures Danny's older brother Bill, who has bad memories of the school from when he served as a guard there, that his testimony describing the place's cruelty eventually resulted in the dismissal of the former warden and the adoption of gentler rules. Bill is given a tour of the school by Barnes's secretary, Ann Mitchell, and later takes her out to dinner.
That night, while Bill buys cigarettes in a drugstore, escaped convict Luke Manning robs the place and murders the clerk. Manning takes Bill hostage in his car and forces him to lead the police on a chase. Manning escapes when Bill crashes the car, and Bill is later convicted of robbery and murder and sentenced to execution. In the reform school, the boys have been battling with two toughs, "Rice Pudding" Charlie and Chalky Jones, but when Barnes witnesses Miller encouraging a fistfight, he demands Miller's resignation. Chalky tries to get the kids in trouble by informing Barnes of their plans to run away, but in an effort to establish a code of honor, Barnes punishes Chalky for being an informer. When Muggs and his pals see newsreel footage of a man and woman accepting the winnings from a lottery, they recognize the man as Knobby, the driver of the stolen truck.
They link Knobby to Manning based on information given to them by Charlie, who is Manning's nephew. Armed with information that could prove Bill's innocence, the boys escape from the reform school and go to the apartment of Dorothy Melton, the woman from the newsreel. The kids hold the pair, who had been planning to leave town with the lottery money which actually belongs to Manning, who was afraid of being seen. Manning appears at Dorothy's apartment to demand his money and hits Dorothy for double-crossing him with Knobby. Before the situation can worsen, the police arrive and arrest the criminals. Bill gets a reprieve from the governor, and Ann and the boys see him off as he reports for active military duty.
Let's Get Tough - May 1942 - Directed by Wallace Fox
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Muggs; Bobby Jordan as Danny; Huntz Hall as Glimpy; Gabriel Dell as Fritz Heinbach; Tom Brown as Phil; Florence Rice as Nora Stevens; Robert Armstrong as Pop Stevens; David Gorcey as Peewee; Ernest Morrison as Scruno (as Sunshine Sammy Morrisson); Bobby Stone as Skinny; Sam Bernard as Heinback Sr.; Philip Ahn as Joe Matsui (as Phil Ahn); Jerry Bergen as Music Master
The boys manage to stop a spy ring who are planning to sabotage U.S. war production.
The East Side Kids are frustrated that their age keeps them from serving in the army during World War II, so they wage a private war at home. Their first target is a storekeeper whom they believe to be Japanese, and they pelt his store with rotten vegetables. When they enter the store to smash the curios, they discover the owner has been stabbed to death. The Kids are questioned and released by the police. Learning that the owner was actually Chinese, the Kids make a heartfelt apology to his widow. Their curiosity is then aroused when a supposed patron, Joe Matsui, steals a pen from the store's desk. After they steal the pen from Joe, the Kids discover a piece of paper hidden inside it, which reveals Japanese writing when a light is held near it. Muggs, the leader of the East Side Kids, takes the note to the Matsui tea shop and asks Joe's father to interpret it.
When the elder Matsui snatches the note, Muggs grabs it back, and Matsui commits suicide. The Kids drag policeman Pop Stevens to the scene, but Joe disguises himself as his own father to allay suspicions about his father's death. Danny, a member of the gang, is surprised by the appearance of his brother Phil in the tea shop. Phil has been dishonorably discharged from the Navy for sabotage, and his covert actions now seem suspicious to the Kids. They steal a bag containing a white substance hidden in the tea shop and take it home. When the bag explodes on the stove, Stevens helps them put out the fire and identifies the substance as magnesium, a valuable wartime resource which he suspects is being illegally supplied by a local storekeeper named Heinbach. Muggs gives the Japanese note to Nora, Phil's girl friend and Stevens' daughter, to be translated, but when she takes it to her old high school friend, Joe, he and Heinbach's son Fritz hold her hostage.
The Kids now become convinced that a spy ring is operating in their neighborhood and break into the tea shop and infiltrate a clandestine meeting of fifth columnists wearing hoods and gowns. After Phil is revealed as a member, the Kids are discovered and a brawl ensues. Phil, who has actually been working undercover for the U.S. government, rounds up the spies, including Matsui and Heinbach, Sr., with the help of the East Side Kids, the spies are arrested by the police. Phil and Nora marry, but he is forced to report back to the Navy before they can go on their honeymoon.
Smart Alecks - August 1942 - Directed by Wallace Fox
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Muggs; Bobby Jordan as Danny; Huntz Hall as Glimpy; Gabriel Dell as Hank; Stanley Clements as Stash; Bobby Stone as Skinny; Ernest Morrison as Scruno (as Sunshine Sammy); David Gorcey as Peewee; Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom as Butch Brocalli (as Maxie Rosenbloom); Roger Pryor as Joe Reagan; Gale Storm as Ruth; Walter Woolf King as Dr. Ormsby; Herbert Rawlinson as Captain Bronson; Joe Kirk as Mike; Sam Bernard as Dr. Thomas
The gang wants to buy baseball uniforms. Danny gets a reward for capturing a crook and the crook breaks out of jail for revenge.
Hank Salko, a member of the Eastside youth gang in New York, is initiated into the world of adult crime when two gangsters, Mike and Butch Brocalli, hire him to stand watch while they rob a bank. When Hank tries to share some of his ill-gotten money with the East Side Kids, they suspend him from the club, and Hank is then arrested by Joe Reagan, the local policeman. While playing baseball in the street, the Kids accidentally send a ball crashing through the window of the apartment in which Butch and Mike are hiding. Butch emerges and refuses to give the ball back, so Danny runs after him. When Joe recognizes Butch, he chases him and Danny trips the criminal, who is then arrested along with Mike.
Danny is awarded $200 for capturing the criminals and plans to buy baseball uniforms for his friends. They are unaware of his plans, however, and, thinking he is keeping the money to be selfish, steal it from him and ban him from the club. Danny's sister Ruth calls Joe, who is her boyfriend, and he has the Kids arrested for thievery. The arrest deepens the Kids's resentment of Danny, even though Danny insists that they be released. Once free, the Kids buy an old car with the $200. A month later, Hank breaks out of jail with Butch and Mike and warns Mugs and the rest of the group that the gangsters are after Danny for getting them arrested. The gang responds immediately out of deeply rooted loyalty for their friend, but are too late and find him severely beaten in a warehouse, where Butch and Mike have left him.
When they learn that only ace brain surgeon Ormsby can save their friend, they go to Ormsby's house and plead for their friend's life, offering their beat-up jalopy as payment. Ormsby is touched by their concern and agrees to forego a conference in order to operate on Danny. The surgery is successful and Ormsby refrains from charging for it, but Danny does not rally to recover. Joe reveals to the Eastside Kids Danny's real intentions for the $200, and the remorseful boys go to his bedside and, after inviting him back into the club, urge him to recover.
Ruth is later taken hostage at her apartment by Butch and Mike, but the gang sneaks into the apartment and attacks the thugs. Hank is instrumental in knocking Mike out, and after the gangsters are arrested, Hank is released from his sentence. The East Side Kids reunite in Danny's hospital room with the new baseball uniforms that they bought after selling the car.
'Neath Brooklyn Bridge - November 1942 - Directed by Wallace Fox
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Mugs; Bobby Jordan as Danny; Huntz Hall as Glimpy; Gabriel Dell as Skid; Noah Beery Jr. as Butch; Marc Lawrence as McGaffey; Ann Gillis as Sylvia (as Anne Gillis); Dave O'Brien as Sergeant Lyons; Ernest Morrison as Scruno (as Sunshine Sammy Morrison); Stanley Clements as Stash; Bobby Stone as Skinny; Jack Raymond as Sniffy; Betty Wells as Dancer; Dewey Robinson as Captain; Patsy Moran as Mrs. Glimpy
The boys help a girl track down the murderer of her guardian.
The East Side Kids become unwittingly involved in a murder when they rescue Sylvia from her abusive stepfather Morley, who is killed shortly thereafter by racketeer McGaffey for stealing his money. Sylvia hides out at the gang's clubhouse, but East Side Kid Danny is arrested for suspicion of murder when he returns to her apartment to get her clothes. McGaffey forces Mugs, president of the East Side Kids, to agree to break into a silk warehouse in exchange for a chair leg with Mugs's fingerprints, which he used to hit Morley during Sylvia's rescue. In the meantime, not even his policeman brother can convince Danny to reveal what he knows about Morley's death.
Rusty, a former East Side Kid who is now a sailor, returns to the club for a visit and helps to interpret the morse code that Sylvia's grandfather, a paralytic, relates using his eyes to tell the group that McGaffey is the murderer. Mugs reveals how McGaffey has tried to extort him, and while the Kids go to the silk warehouse, Rusty and Sylvia find the police and tell them the whole story. The Kids converge on McGaffey and his men after they back a truck into the warehouse, and after a brawl, the police arrive. Skid, a former club member gone wrong, confesses that McGaffey killed Morley and the criminals are arrested.
Kid Dynamite - February 1943 - Directed by Wallace Fox
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Muggs McGinnis; Huntz Hall as Glimpy McGleavey; Bobby Jordan as Danny Lyons; Gabriel Dell as Harry Wycoff; Pamela Blake as Ivy McGinnis; Benny Bartlett as Beanie Miller; Ernest Morrison as Scruno Jackson (as Sunshine Sammy); Bobby Stone as Stoney Stone; David Durand as Skinny Collins (as Dave Durand); Vince Barnett as Klinkhammer; Daphne Pollard as Mrs. McGinnis; Charles Judels as Nick - Pool Hall Owner; Dudley Dickerson as Jackson; Henry Hall as Louis Gendick; Minerva Urecal as Judge
Mugg’s is kidnapped by crooks right before his championship fight.
Mugs practices for his boxing match the next night. In order to raise money, Mugs and the gang go to Nick's pool hall and challenge hall regular Wycoff to a game of pool. Mugs has pre-arranged with gang member Danny to use special chalk for the pool cue so that Wycoff will lose, but Danny is so convinced of Mugs's talent that he does not use the chalk, and Mugs loses the match. When Wycoff insists that Mugs pay off his wager, Mugs hits him in the stomach and leaves. Seeking revenge, Wycoff plots with bookie Tony to eliminate Mugs from the boxing match. The night of the match, Mugs is abducted by a man pretending to be a reporter, who holds him hostage in the back of a car for the duration of the fight. When Mugs does not show up for the match, Danny goes into the ring so that the Eastside Kids will not be disqualified.
Although Danny is out of shape, he surprises everyone by winning the match. After Mugs is released, he takes the championship belt from Danny and accuses him of arranging the kidnapping. Mugs continues to harass Danny after he learns that Danny has gotten a job at a garage where he had hoped to work, and that Danny has been dating his sister Ivy. When Danny learns about Wycoff's involvement in Mugs's kidnapping, he tries to tell Mugs, but Mugs ostracizes him from the club. Mugs learns from gang member Scruno's father Jackson that Wycoff works for Tony, who is also Jackson's boss, and the Eastside Kids start a brawl with Tony and his thugs.
The Kids are arrested for disturbing the peace, but the judge releases them without a sentence, and gives Tony and his pals six-months jail time for bookmaking. Later, Danny and Ivy compete in a jitterbug contest, but Mugs and his date are declared the winners until the judge discovers that Mugs's partner is a professional dancer. Mugs is disqualified, and the fifty-dollar prize is awarded to Danny and Ivy. Danny reluctantly turns the money over to Mugs after he threatens him. Danny's boss, Gendick, a father figure, advises Danny that he has outgrown boys like Mugs, and that he should enlist in the Army. Danny's mother consents to his enlistment, and he leaves for training camp.
Mugs, meanwhile, is moved to enlist when he sees headlines announcing the Nazis' destruction of the entire Czechoslovakian town of Lidice. Mugs's mother refuses to consent because he appears to be enlisting out of competition with Danny. When Danny returns on leave from training, he proposes to Ivy. Mugs tells Danny that he can still be a member of the gang if he helps them steal tires from Gendick, but Danny now refuses to take orders from Mugs. Danny bests Mugs in a fistfight, which alleviates the tensions between the two old friends. Mugs, who always vowed that the man who married his sister would have to beat him first, now renews his friendship with Danny, and he and Glimpy join the service.
Mr. Muggs Steps Out - October 1943 - Directed by William Beaudine
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Muggs McGinnis; Huntz Hall as Glimpy Freedhoff; Gabriel Dell as Dips Nolan; William 'Billy' Benedict as Pinky (as Billy Benedict); Joan Marsh as Brenda Murray; Bobby Stone as Speed; Buddy Gorman as Skinny (as Bud Gorman); David Durand as Danny (as Dave Durand); Jimmy Strand as Rocky; Patsy Moran as Maisie O'Donnell; Eddie Gribbon as Butch Grogan (as Eddie Gribbons); Halliwell Hobbes as Charney, the Butler; Stanley Brown as Virgil Wellington Brooks III; Betty Blythe as Margaret Murray; Emmett Vogan as John Murray (as Emmet Vogan)
Mugg's is ordered by the Court to get a job and he is hired to be a chauffeur. During a party a valuable necklace is stolen. Muggs and the gang try to retrieve it.
Much to the despair of her husband John, wealthy New York socialite Margaret Morgan hires former criminals to be her house servants. When she goes to court because her daughter Brenda has been arrested for reckless driving, Margaret is moved to hire Muggs after a judge insists that he get a legitimate job. Now a chauffeur, Muggs brings the whole gang with him and puts them to work polishing cars. Muggs is instructed on proper etiquette, and when an engagement party is held for Brenda and her conservative fiancé Virgil, Muggs and the gang serve the food.
At the end of the evening, one of the guests discovers that her diamond necklace is missing, and John accuses the East Side Kids of the theft. However, everyone recalls seeing a stranger at the party, whom the Morgans' regular maid Maisie now remembers as someone she met at Danceland, a dance hall on the lower East Side. Muggs convinces John not to call the police until he and the boys have had a chance to investigate. Maisie goes downtown to Danceland with Brenda, who dresses up like a gangster's moll in order to fit in. They meet with gangster Dips Nolan and learn that he plotted the jewelry heist with Diamonds, who was the stranger at the party.
Nolan becomes suspicious when naïve Virgil, who has followed Brenda to the dance hall, uses her real name and asks him to throw a fake fight so that he can prove his manhood. Nolan instead knocks Virgil out and kidnaps Brenda. Muggs and Glimpy, meanwhile, see Diamonds leave for the dance hall and search his apartment. Although they find nothing, Diamonds and Nolan return with Brenda, and the entire East Side Kids gang captures the criminals and retrieves the diamonds. Later, Brenda is pleased to find that Virgil's East Side adventure has transformed him into a more confident and adventurous person.
Ghosts On The Loose - July 1943 - Directed by William Beaudine
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Mugs; Huntz Hall as Glimpy; Bobby Jordan as Danny; Bela Lugosi as Emil; Ava Gardner as Betty; Rick Vallin as Jack; Ernest Morrison as Scruno (as Sammy Morrison); William 'Billy' Benedict as Benny (as Billy Benedict); Stanley Clements as Stash; Bobby Stone as Dave; Minerva Urecal as Hilda; Wheeler Oakman as Tony; Peter Seal as Bruno; Frank Moran as Monk; Jack Mulhall as Lieutenant
Bela Lugosi and Ava Garner star with the Boys in this 'Haunted' house mystery about Nazi spies.
The Kids make arrangements for Glimpy to appear as best man at his sister Betty's wedding. Gang leader Mugs arranges for a police escort by telling the police that a mob action will take place at the church, while several other Kids obtain a tuxedo and flowers at a funeral home. Just prior to the wedding, Betty's fiancé Jack buys a home at 321 Elm Street in the suburbs. He plans to honeymoon there, but reluctantly decides to sell when Tony, a real estate agent who is an operative for Nazi spies, tells him the house next door is haunted and gives him a cash advance. When Jack and Betty check into a hotel after the wedding, they get a call from Sarah Elwood, who used to live at 321 Elm, who tells them she is aware of mysterious activities going on at the neighbor's house and has telephoned the police.
The Kids, in the meantime, have gone to 322 Elm, and thinking that it is Jack and Betty's new house, borrow furniture from the unoccupied house next door, 321 Elm. They soon get spooked, however, when a disembodied voice laughs and talks to them throughout the house. Unknown to the boys, the ghosts are actually a Nazi subversive group comprised of leader Emil, Bruno, Monk and Hilda, who operate in secret passageways. The Kids run into the cellar and there discover a printing press and Nazi pamphlets. Still believing that the house belongs to Jack, they move the press to 321 Elm, hoping to save him from possible arrest.
Jack and Betty forego their honeymoon and arrive home just after the police approach their house. When the Kids realize their mistake, they move the printing press back to 322 Elm, but the Nazi group returns it to Jack's house. After a chase in and out of the secret passageways, Mugs and Glimpy are captured by the Nazis, only to be freed by the rest of the gang. The Nazi gang is captured and arrested. Later, Glimpy, beset by German measles, is quarantined with the Kids at Betty and Jack's house, and the newlyweds bemoan their thwarted honeymoon.
Clancy Street Boys - April 1943 - Directed by William Beaudine
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Ethelbert 'Mugs' McGinnis; Huntz Hall as Glimpy Freedhoff; Bobby Jordan as Danny; Noah Beery as Pete Monahan; Amelita Ward as Judy Monahan (as Lita Ward); Benny Bartlett as Benny; Rick Vallin as George Mooney; William 'Billy' Benedict as Butch - Cherry Street Leader (as Billy Benedict); J. Farrell MacDonald as Police Sgt. Flanagan (as J. Farrell McDonald); Jan Rubini as Violinist - Nightclub Entertainer; Martha Wentworth as Mrs. Molly McGinnis; Ernest Morrison as Scruno (as Sammy Morrison); Dick Chandlee Dick Chandlee as Stash; Eddie Mills as Dave; George DeNormand as Williams
Mugs and the gang try to deceive a rich uncle who has been sending money to his non-existent family for years.
Much to Mugs dismay, everyone in his East Side Kids gang gets to smack his rear end eighteen times in celebration of his eighteenth birthday. His mother Molly then becomes distraught when she gets a letter from his "uncle" Pete, a rancher friend of his late father, stating that he will soon visit them in New York. Molly explains to her only child that ever since his father lied to Pete that he had seven children, Pete has been sending birthday checks for each child. Pete is unaware that the McGinnises are so poor that they could never afford to return the checks. Just then, Pete and his grown daughter Judy ride up to the McGinnis apartment on horseback. Mugs declares that the rest of his supposed brothers and sisters are working at a defense plant, and later, forces his gang to pretend to be his siblings.
Glimpy is dressed up like a girl, and Scruno, who is black, is introduced as an adopted child. Pete is delighted by the brood and takes them all out to a nightclub for fun. The next day, local opportunist George Mooney tells Pete that he is being duped by Mugs. Pete is offended when he learns the truth about the McGinnis brood, and tells Mugs to forget he ever had an uncle. The next day, Mugs and the gang go to the hotel to return the gifts and apologize to Judy, and learn that Pete has disappeared. When George, who has arranged Pete's kidnapping, comes to the hotel for a visit, the boys hide in another room, but overhear him say that Pete has had an accident, and that he will take Judy to him. Judy pockets her gun before she leaves with George, and East Side Kid Danny hops onto the bumper of George's car.
When the car stops, Danny gets off and calls Mugs to tell him the location of the kidnappers, but is then caught himself and held hostage along with Pete and Judy. The Cherry Street gang joins with the East Side Kids in fighting against the kidnappers, and when policeman Flanagan investigates the ruckus, he arrests the kidnappers. Later, the East Side Kids are guests at Pete's ranch, and try to impress each other by riding bucking broncos.
Million Dollar Kid - February 1944 - Directed by Wallace Fox
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Muggs McGinnis; Huntz Hall as Glimpy McClosky; Gabriel Dell as Lefty; William 'Billy' Benedict as Skinny (as Billy Benedict); Louise Currie as Louise Cortland; Noah Beery as
Captain Mathews (as Noah Beery Sr.); Iris Adrian as Mazie Dunbar; Herbert Heyes as John H. Cortland (as Herbert Hayes); Robert Greig as Spevin - Cortlands' Butler (as Robert Grieg); Johnny Duncan as Roy Cortland (as Johnnie Duncan); Stanley Brown as Lt. Andre Dupree; Patsy Moran as Mrs. McClosky; Mary Gordon as Mrs. McGinnis; Al Stone as Herbie; David Durand as Danny (as Dave Durand)
The boys put a millionaire’s son back on the right path after they find out he is mixed up with gangsters.
Muggs laments the epidemic of mugging that has been plaguing their streets. While waiting outside a store that afternoon, the boys witness a man being attacked in the alley and come to his defense, chasing away his assailants. In gratitude, the man, millionaire John Cortland, hands Muggs his business card. When the cynical Muggs tosses the card in a garbage can, Glimpy McClosky, one of the boys, digs it out and finds the man's cash-laden wallet in the trash. After the boys deliver the wallet to Capt. Mathews of the police department, the captain mistakes them for the thieves and arrests them. Cortland soon arrives at the police station to claim his wallet, however, and identifies the boys as his rescuers. Upon discovering that the boys long for a gymnasium, Cortland invites them to his house the next day.
There, Cortland shows them his son John Jr.'s basement gymnasium, and after explaining that John is overseas fighting, he offers the boys the use of the facilities. Escorting the boys upstairs, Cortland introduces them to his pretty daughter Louise and his son Roy, whose hand has been sprained. Noting Roy's injured hand, Muggs begins to suspect that he was involved in the robbery, but when Capt. Mathews asks for a description of the thieves, Muggs refuses to cooperate. Soon after, Louise's fiancé, French soldier Lt. Andre Dupree, arrives, and Louise informs her father that all the servants have quit, thus jeopardizing a dinner party she had planned for that evening. Attracted to Louise, Muggs suggests that his mother and Mrs. McClosky would be happy to cook and serve for the party.
When Muggs overhears Andre drop his French accent during a phone conversation, he begins to suspect that he is a phony and decides to follow him. Muggs and Glimpy trail Andre to the Zig Zag Club, where he meets his paramour, showgirl Maisie Dunbar. Deciding to tell Louise the truth about her fiancé, Muggs and Glimpy return to the Cortland mansion, but Louise refuses to believe their story. Meanwhile, the other boys are walking past the neighborhood pool hall when they see Roy playing pool with two of the robbers. When Muggs returns to the clubhouse, the boys tell him about spotting Roy at the pool hall. Later that night, Muggs takes Maisie to the Cortland party, and when she sees Andre flirting with Louise, she jealously confronts him. After overhearing their heated conversation, Louise finally realizes that Andre is a gigolo and asks him to leave. Later, the doorbell rings, and when Muggs answers it, he is handed a telegram, notifiying the Cortlands of John's death in combat. Muggs gives Cortland the bad news. Cortland faints and the boys carry him to his room.
While upstairs, they sneak into Roy's room and find a cap worn by one of the robbers. Muggs vows to reform the boy, and after the party, the boys follow Roy to the pool hall. In the ensuing fight, Roy runs away and Muggs and the others chase him. During the mêlée, the crooks capture Skinny, one of the East Side Kids, and take him hostage. When the boys catch Roy, Muggs challenges him to a boxing match to teach him a lesson. Hearing shouts coming from the gymnasium, Cortland goes to investigate and overhears Muggs interrogating Roy about the robbery. Soon after, Louise appears and announces that she has just received a phone call from Lefty, one of the crooks, who is threatening to harm Skinny if Roy informs on him.
Angered, Roy agrees to lead the boys to Lefty's hideout. Once there, a brawl ensues and Muggs sends Roy home to safety. After subduing the crooks, Muggs and the boys deliver them to Capt. Mathews at police headquarters. Soon after, Roy enters the captain's office and turns himself in. When Muggs eloquently defends Roy and pleads for leniency, the captain decides to release Roy and suggests that Muggs champion the boy's case in court. Just then, Cortland arrives and, after forgiving his son, offers Muggs and the boys his heartfelt thanks.
Follow The Leader - June 1944 - Directed by William Beaudine
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Muggs McGinnis; Huntz Hall as Glimpy Freedhoff; Gabriel Dell as W.W. 'Fingers' Belmont; William 'Billy' Benedict as Spider O'Brien (as Billy Benedict); Jack La Rue as Larry;
David Durand as Danny (as Dave Durand); Bobby Stone as Speed; Jimmy Strand as Dave; Buddy Gorman as James Aloysius 'Skinny' Bogerty (as Bud Gorman); Bryant Washburn as Colonel; J. Farrell MacDonald as Clancy, Policeman; Joan Marsh as Milly McGinnis; Gene Austin as Singer Gene Austin; Doris Sherrell as Club Entertainer (as Sherrill Sisters); Grace Sherrell as Club Entertainer (as Sherrill Sisters)
Back from the army, Muggs and Glimpy learn that Danny was sent to jail for a robbery he didn't commit. They try to make things right.
As he and fellow soldier Glimpy anxiously anticipate their furlough home, Muggs is summoned to the colonel's office and informed that he is to be honorably discharged because of poor eyesight. At home in the Bowery, Muggs is tearfully telling his proud mother about his discharge when Glimpy bursts into the apartment with the news that Danny, one of the members of their club, has been jailed. Determined to exonerate their friend, Muggs and Glimpy proceed to the clubhouse and are welcomed by their pals. There they meet Spider, a new club member who was working with Danny at a warehouse when he was arrested.
Muggs and Glimpy then go to the jailhouse to question Danny. Becoming suspicious when Danny tells them that soon after Spider arranged for him to work at the warehouse, he was charged with stealing alcohol earmarked for the Army, Muggs goes to the warehouse to investigate. After observing Fingers Belmont, a troublemaker who had been expelled from their club, hand fifty dollars to Spider, Muggs invites Spider to a "party" at the clubhouse that night. When Spider arrives, Muggs orders the other boys to leave the room. Claiming that he was dishonorably discharged, Muggs then tells Spider that he wants to join the hijackers, and Spider confides that Fingers pays him to unbolt the back door to the warehouse. Fingers overhears Spider's confession and, once Spider is alone, drags him back to the clubhouse and beats him to death.
When Spider's body is found there, suspicion falls on Muggs, and Glimpy hurries to warn his friend that the police are looking for him. Determined to clear his name and expose the mastermind behind the hijackers, Muggs approaches Major Kline of military intelligence and offers to work undercover to solve the case. Meanwhile, Fingers' boss Larry, the owner of Maxie's Club, becomes disturbed when he reads about Spider's murder in the newspaper. Major Kline then introduces Muggs to Captain Baker of the police department, and when the two law enforcement officials decide to accept his proposal, Muggs finds Fingers and threatens to expose him to the police unless he is allowed to join the hijackers. After Fingers directs Muggs to meet him at Maxie's Club the next evening, Muggs convenes a meeting of the club members.
Appealing to the boys for help in apprehending the thieves, Muggs instructs Glimpy to wait for his phone call at Ginsberg's delicatessen the next evening and then assemble the other members. When one of the boys finds a bloodied tie clip on the floor bearing the initials "WWB," Muggs realizes that it must belong to Spider's killer. At Maxie's the next night, Muggs asks his sister Milly, who works as a cigarette girl there, to phone Ginsberg's delicatessen if anything strange happens. As the boys await Muggs's call, Fingers and Muggs row out to a warehouse on the docks and load some stolen crates onto their boat. After delivering the crates to Maxie's storeroom, Muggs starts an argument with Fingers and knocks him unconscious. In the fray, Finger's hat flies off his head and Muggs sees the initials "WWB" inscribed on the band.
Upon regaining consciousness, Fingers knocks Muggs down and races to warn Larry about Muggs's double-cross. Overhearing their conversation, Milly notifies Glimpy at the delicatessen and Glimpy then rallies the boys waiting at the clubhouse. After Fingers returns to the storehouse, Milly enters Larry's office and begins to flirt with him, stalling for time. When Glimpy and the others burst into Maxie's storeroom, Fingers rushes back to Larry's office and there recognizes Milly as Muggs's sister. At that moment, Muggs and the boys come to Milly's rescue and apprehend Larry and Fingers. For their heroism, Muggs is reinstated into the Army as a sergeant and Glimpy is promoted to the rank of corporal.
Block Busters - July 1944 - Directed by Wallace Fox
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Ethelbert 'Muggs' McGinnis; Huntz Hall as Glimpy; Gabriel Dell as Skinny; William 'Billy' Benedict as Butch (as Billy Benedict); Fred Pressel as Jean (as Frederick Pressel); Jimmy Strand as Danny; Bill Chaney as Tobey; Roberta Smith as Jinx; Noah Beery as Judge; Harry Langdon as Higgins; Minerva Urecal as Amelia Rogiet; Jack Gilman as Batter; Kay Marvis as Irma; Tom Herbert as Meyer; Bernard Gorcey as Lippman
A French boy proves his worth at the gang's big baseball game.
After an afternoon of playing baseball, Muggs and the gang arrive at the door of their clubhouse, where a man named Higgins is removing their "East Side Club" sign. Higgins explains that the owner of the place plans to rent it to some "respectable" tenants. When Muggs learns that the new tenants are due to examine the place at noon the following day, he plans to frighten them away by picking a fight with Butch and the Five Pointers, a rival gang. The next day, Glimpy and Skinny, two East Side Kids, scribble a challenge to the Five Pointers on the sidewalk. When Butch and his gang read the message, "The East Siders dare you to fight," they seek out their challengers.
Meanwhile, Muggs and the gang see Higgins supervising the delivery of some window boxes that he ordered to replace the weather-beaten pots that are lining the street. Pretending to be helpful, the gang offers to dispose of the old pots, but instead, stack them against a nearby wall. Soon, the prospective tenants, an elderly woman named Amelia Norton and her French-born grandson Jean arrive, and Higgins greets them. Just then, Butch and his gang show up and take the bait, hurling the empty pots at Muggs and his gang, while a shocked Amelia looks on. When Jean critiques Muggs's fighting style, Muggs begins to brawl with him.
After they are both arrested, the judge tells Muggs that he will hold each one accountable for the other's behavior. Later, Jean goes to the clubhouse to make sure that Muggs is staying out of trouble, and the gang teaches him some American games. Afterward, Jean invites the gang over for tea, and they meet snobby Irma Treadwell and her mother Virginia. When Muggs and Glimpy see a black sedan pick up Jean, who is dressed like Count Dracula, they decide to follow him. The car takes Jean to a costume party at a chic club, where Muggs wins best costume for being dressed as a Bowery tough.
Meanwhile Tobey Dunn, an ailing member of Muggs's baseball team, is told by his doctor that a stay in the country would cure him, but unfortunately, Tobey's family cannot afford the trip. Later, one of Muggs's friends, Danny, sees his girl friend Jinx dancing with Jean at a party, so the gang decides to crash it. When Glimpy tells Danny that he saw Jinx riding on the back of Jean's bicycle, Danny tries to fight with his rival, but Muggs intervenes. The gang then goes to the field to play baseball, and Jean quickly learns the game. At the clubhouse, Amelia thanks the gang for allowing Jean to play with them. During the team's next game, Lippman, the team's sponsor, tells the gang that if they win, he will send them all to summer camp in the Catskill Mountains. With the bases loaded, Jean hits a home run and wins the game, and Tobey is awarded his much-needed trip to the country.
Bowery Champs - November 1944 - Directed by William Beaudine
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Ethelbert 'Muggs' McGinnis; Huntz Hall as Glimpy McClusky; William 'Billy' Benedict as Skinny (as Bill Benedict); Bobby Jordan as Bobby Jordan; Gabriel Dell as Jim Lindsay; Thelma White as Diane Gibson; Evelyn Brent as Gypsy Carmen; Ian Keith as Ken Duncan; Frank Jaquet as Lester Cartwright; Fred Kelsey as McGuire; Anne Sterling as Jane (as Ann Sterling); William Ruhl as Lieutenant (as Bill Ruhl); Wheeler Oakman as Tom Wilson; Buddy Gorman as Shorty (as Bud Gorman); Jimmy Strand as Danny
Mugg's works at the Evening Express as a copyboy with aspirations of being a top reporter. He gets his chance locking in battle with criminals.
After she files for divorce from nightclub owner Tom Wilson, former Broadway star Gypsy Carmen demands that he return the securities that she owned before their marriage. When Wilson claims that the securities are missing, Gypsy pulls a gun from her purse and aims it at him. At that moment, a gun is fired through the window of his house. Tom falls dead and Gypsy flees in panic. At the time of the murder, Jim Lindsey, the star reporter of the American Express paper, is busily bidding on oriental rugs at an auction and consequently misses the story. Deciding to cover the murder for the absent Jim, Muggs McGinnis, a copy boy on the paper, asks Glimpy, one of the newsboys, to drive him to the Wilson house in the paper's delivery car.
At the house, Muggs and Glimpy sneak through an open window and listen as the police interrogate Wilson's mistress, Diane Gibson, an entertainer at the nightclub, and Ken Duncan, Wilson's manager. Duncan recalls that Gypsy threatened Wilson's life, and the police lieutenant states that a .38 caliber bullet was used to kill Wilson. The houseboy then reveals that right after the murder, he saw a woman wearing a "fuzzy coat and funny hat" hail a yellow cab with a dented fender. After purchasing his rug, Jim hears about the murder and hurries to the Wilson house to investigate. Meanwhile, Muggs, Glimpy and the other newsboys go to the taxi stand and learn from the driver that he delivered a woman wearing a fuzzy coat to the Stephens apartment building, where Gypsy lives. As Muggs and the boys drive to the apartment building, the police arrive at the taxi stand, question the driver and dispatch a car to arrest Gypsy. When Muggs and the boys question Gypsy, she protests her innocence.
Noticing the police car pull up to the curb, Muggs instructs Skinny, one of the boys, to don Gypsy's hat and coat and speed away in the newspaper's car. After the police follow Skinny, Muggs tells Gypsy to disguise herself as a boy and escorts her to the safety of the boys's clubhouse. Skinny drives to the Wilson house, watches as Diane leaves and follows her. At the clubhouse, Gypsy shows her gun to Muggs, who recognizes it as a .32 caliber, and Muggs pronounces that it is not the murder weapon. Jim, meanwhile, searches for clues at the Wilson house and finds a button in the hallway. Surmising that it belongs to the murderer, Jim takes the button to show his publisher, Cartwright. As Jim exhibits his clue, the police arrive to question Cartwright about the strange woman driving the Express 's car.
Upon seeing the button, the police take Cartwright in for questioning, and Cartwright, furious, fires Jim. Skinny, meanwhile, has followed Diane to the Pussy Cat Café, where she turns Gypsy's stolen securities over to Duncan. Skinny then telephones his sister and instructs her to find Muggs and send him to the café. Muggs has returned to the newspaper office and, learning of Jim's predicament, accompanies him to the clubhouse to interview Gypsy. When Skinny's sister finds them outside the clubhouse and relates Skinny's message to Muggs, Muggs tells Jim to deliver Gypsy to police headquarters while he meets Skinny.
Gypsy has left the clubhouse, however, and when Jim finds the room deserted, he dispatches the police to the café. Skinny is eavesdropping outside the door to Duncan's office when one of Duncan's henchmen finds him and imprisons him in a room. After Diane leaves the office to perform her act, Gypsy enters, pulls out her gun and demands that Duncan return the securities. Just then, Diane re-enters the room and begins to wrestle with Gypsy. As Skinny struggles with his captor in the next room, Muggs and the boys arrive and join the fray. Soon after, the police come to arrest Diane and Duncan, and Jim breaks the story about the capture of Wilson's murderers
Docks Of New York - February 1945 - Directed by Wallace Fox
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Mugs; Huntz Hall as Glimpy; William 'Billy' Benedict as Skinny (as Billy Benedict); Gloria Pope as Saundra; Carlyle Blackwell Jr. as Marty (as Carlisle Blackwell Jr.); Betty Blythe as Mrs. Darcy; Cy Kendall as Compeau (as Cyrus Kendall); George Meeker as Mallet; Joy Reese as Millie; Pierre Watkin as Capt. Jacobs; Patsy Moran as Mrs. McGinnis; Buddy Gorman as Danny; Mende Koenig as Sam (as Mendy Koenig); Leo Borden as Pete
The boy's stir up excitement when they decide to take over and establish their authority at the docks.
Late one night on East Side a man is stabbed to death and his body is searched by his attacker. Nearby, local resident Glimpy shows Muggs a jeweled necklace he just found outside their tenement. While Glimpy and Muggs are investigating the area, the attacker spots them and gives chase but is interrupted by the arrival of the police. Muggs and Glimpy then return to their tenement and learn from neighbor Mrs. Darcy, a war refugee from Toscania, that a thief just stole a valuable necklace from her. After she identifies the found necklace as hers and speculates that the man who attacked the boys was Compeau, an accomplice of the Toscanian Gestapo, she asks the boys to keep the heirloom until the next day. Unknown to the boys, Saundra, Mrs. Darcy's niece, is the princess of Toscania and is living in obscurity out of fear of the Gestapo.
At a mansion, Compeau, meanwhile, reports his bungled robbery to Prince Igor Mallet, Saundra's ambitious cousin. Mallet, who has convinced Toscania's recently arrived prime minister that he is a concerned supporter of the princess, has hired Compeau to kill Saundra so that he can inherit the throne, and has offered the thief the necklace, a crown jewel, as payment. The next morning, Muggs calls his gang together for a meeting, and after they learn that Compeau's victim was a known thief, they decide to have one diamond from the necklace appraised at Kessel's pawnshop. At the same time, the Saundra goes to Kessel's to pawn an imitation of the necklace, unaware that she is being followed by Compeau. When the boys arrive at the shop a few minutes later, they stumble upon Kessel's stabbed body and are arrested by the police.
At the police station, Capt. Jacobs then forces Muggs to hand over the diamond, but none of the boys will reveal its source. After Compeau and Mallet realize that the necklace from Kessel's is an imitation, Mallet sneaks into Saundra's apartment, but discovers that she and her aunt have moved out. Mallet finds a coded message left behind by Mrs. Darcy for Muggs and deduces that it is the address of their new location. Compeau, meanwhile, responds to a newspaper item about the diamond and, while convincing Capt. Jacobs that the gem is his, learns that Muggs and the gang retrieved it.
After the boys are released, Compeau follows them to their clubhouse and demands the necklace at gunpoint. Glimpy takes Compeau by surprise, however, and grabs his gun and the necklace. Compeau escapes the clubhouse, but Skinny and another gang member follow him to the mansion, then report his whereabouts to Muggs. At the same time, Marty, Glimpy's Merchant Marine cousin who is in love with Saundra, unwittingly reveals to the police that he went to Kessel's just before he was found dead to buy an engagement ring, and is arrested on suspicion of murder. Mrs. Darcy then phones Muggs at the tenement and informs him of their new address, but before the gang arrives there, Mallet shows up.
Saundra is alone and, not suspecting her cousin, happily invites him inside. Mallet starts to strangle Saundra, but is interrupted by the arrival of the boys. After Mallet escapes unharmed, Saundra informs the gang that the necklace they took from Compeau is a fake. The boys pledge to retrieve the real necklace and head for the mansion, while at the police station, Saundra and Mrs. Darcy reveal their identities to Capt. Jacobs and get Marty out of jail. After Capt. Jacobs informs Saundra and Mrs. Darcy that the prime minister is in the country, the boys, who are staking out the mansion, see the women being taken inside and assume they have been kidnapped.
Muggs sends Glimpy to notify the police, then he and the others break into the house and take Compeau by surprise. Before they can claim the necklace from him, Mallet shows up, and a fight ensues. The boys soon overpower Mallet and Compeau and expose them as criminals both to the police and the prime minister. Later, Marty proposes to Saundra, and the happy couple contemplate the day when they can return to Toscania as prince and princess.
Mr. Muggs Rides Again - July 1945 - Directed by Wallace Fox
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Ethelbert Aloysius 'Muggs' McGinnis; Huntz Hall as Glimpy; William 'Billy' Benedict as Skinny (as Billy Benedict); Johnny Duncan Johnny Duncan as Squeegie Robinson; Buddy Gorman as (as Bud Gorman); Mende Koenig as Sam; Minerva Urecal as Nora 'Ma' Brown; Nancy Brinckman as Elsie Brown; Bernard Thomas as Gaby O'Neill (as Bernerd Thomas); George Meeker as Dollar Davis; John Henry Allen as Scruno (as John H. Allen); Pierre Watkin as Dr. Fletcher; Milton Kibbee as Veterinarian; Frank Jaquet as Steward Farns
The boys try to help a jockey who is framed after he refuses to throw a race for a gangster.
After an electric "buzzing" device is found near his winning horse Turnabout, jockey Muggs is questioned by track officials. Despite his protests that Turnabout's owner, gambler Dollar Davis, and his righthand man, Gaby O'Neill, planted the device on Turnabout so that they could bet against him, Muggs is suspended indefinitely from horseracing. Embittered, Muggs is about to quit racing forever when he and his gang of friends, The East Side Kids, learn that Mrs. Nora Brown, whom they call "Ma," is about to lose her stable because of an unpaid feed bill. Pooling their savings, Muggs and the boys give Ma enough money to pay her debt, which had been bought up by the scheming Davis.
Muggs then insists on caring for Sweet Alice, Ma's other horse, who has a lame leg. After sneaking Alice into the gang's clubhouse in New York's East Side, Muggs tricks an orthopedic specialist into examining her. Although Alice eventually recovers, her presence in the clubhouse is discovered by a policeman, who threatens to arrest the entire gang. Before they are hauled off to jail, however, Ma shows up with her niece Elsie. Having won several races with her prize horse Storm Cloud, Ma is now solvent and able to reclaim Alice and to offer the gang jobs. Ma is anxious to enter Storm Cloud in the upcoming handicap race and agrees to enter Alice too, as a way to boost Storm Cloud's enthusiasm.
When Elsie, who is becoming romantically involved with Gaby against Muggs's stern advice, announces she is consulting a fortune teller about the race, Muggs and the boys decide to follow her to the local fair. There, gang member Glimpy dons the drunken fortune-teller's disguise and offers to "tell" Elsie's fortune. After Glimpy condemns Gaby, a former East Side Kid, as a double-crosser, a confused Elsie runs away crying. Muggs then calls Gaby a "four-flusher" to his face, and later, a guilt-ridden Gaby announces to Davis that he is quitting. Davis, however, orders thugs Joe English and Mike Hanlin to kill Gaby and drug Storm Cloud, the only horse he believes is capable of beating Turnabout in the handicap. When the boys find Storm Cloud drugged and unable to race, they immediately assume Gaby is guilty.
Muggs and Elsie drive to the city to confront Gaby, and on the way, Elsie reveals that Ma wants to win the race because she is terminally ill and needs money for medical and funeral expenses. By the time they arrive at Gaby's, he has been shot and is on his way to the hospital. Unable to question Gaby, Muggs returns to Ma, who announces her decision not to run either horse in the race. Later, however, Ma learns that Gaby has recovered enough to talk and is willing to clear Muggs. When Davis hears the news, he sends Hanlin and English to finish the job on Gaby, and the thugs arrive at the hospital at the same time as Muggs and the gang.
The boys quickly overwhelm the would-be killers and sneak Gaby out of the hospital. As Gaby and the gang race to meet with the racing official, they are pursued by Hanlin and English. The boys out-drive their enemies and burst into the official's office in time for Gaby to clear Muggs. The official then declares Muggs eligible to race in the handicap, and the next day, Muggs rides Alice to victory. Later, newlyweds Gaby and Elsie take off on their honeymoon with a grateful Ma.
Come Out Fighting - September 1945 - Directed by William Beaudine
Featuring: Leo Gorcey as Mugs McGinnis; Huntz Hall as Glimpy; William 'Billy' Benedict as Skinny (as Billy Benedict); Gabriel Dell as Pete; June Carlson as Jane Riley; Amelita Ward as Rita Joyce; Addison Richards as Police Commissioner James Mitchell; George Meeker as Silk Henley; Johnny Duncan as Gilbert Mitchell; Buddy Gorman as Sammy (as Bud Gorman); Fred Kelsey as Mr. McGinnis, Sr. (as Fred Kelsy); Douglas Wood as Mayor; Milton Kibbee as Police chief; Pat Gleason as Little Pete Vargas; Robert Homans as Police Sergeant Tom Riley
The boys give boxing lessons to the police commissioner's sissy son and get involved in a gambling ring.
After Officer McGowan chases them out of their clubhouse because neighbors are complaining about the noise, the East Side Kids find themselves with no place to train for the upcoming interborough boxing competition. To solve the problem, Muggs takes the boys to see his girl friend Jane's father, police sergeant Tom Riley, the right-hand man to newly elected police commissioner James Mitchell. Gilbert Mitchell, the commissioner's son, overhears their conversation with Tom and, attracted to Jane, offers to discuss the problem with his father. After the sympathetic Mitchell agrees to straighten the matter out with McGowan, Gilbert invites Jane and the boys to watch him perform with his "club" that night.
Much to Muggs's and the boys' dismay, the club turns out to be a dance company, and the show is a ballet. Later, Muggs, who is jealous of Jane's interest in Gilbert, invites the dancer to the gang's clubhouse, intending to humiliate him. Gilbert accepts, then heads for a party with Rita Joyce, a woman he met outside police headquarters. Unknown to Gilbert, Rita has been hired by racketeer "Silk" Henley to entrap him in order to discredit his father. Gilbert is given spiked drinks at the party, and the next day, wakes up with his first hangover. Concerned that his son has had too much "Park Avenue" in his upbringing, Mitchell drops by the East Side Kids's clubhouse to ask Muggs to befriend Gilbert. Muggs assures Mitchell that he will "take care of" Gilbert and plans a party for him. To Muggs's surprise, Gilbert not only monopolizes all the pretty girls at the party, but easily knocks out Danny Moore, their entry in the boxing tournament. Later, at one of Henley's high-class gambling houses, Rita teaches the naïve Gilbert a new "system" for playing the roulette wheel, encouraging him to double his bets every time he loses.
Having learned a lesson from Gilbert, Muggs, meanwhile, takes the boys to watch a ballet company practice and then orders them to imitate the steps as part of their boxing training. Later, Muggs and club member Glimpy are hired to work with Muggs's father on a plumbing job at Little Pete Vargas' new gambling house. Vargas is Henley's main rival, and when Whitey, Henley's dismissed bodyguard, comes to see him about work, Vargas decides to use Whitey against Henley by having him report Henley's illegal activities to Mitchell. The next day, Muggs gets into a fight with Vargas' bodyguard and knocks him out. Impressed, Vargas hires Muggs as his chauffeur and takes him along to a meeting with Henley, who has just heard about Whitey's talk with Mitchell. Vargas denies Henley's accusation that he is "moving in on" his territory and gives him an invitation to his casino opening. Muggs and Glimpy spot Rita at Henley's, and that night, when they see her entering Vargas' casino with Gilbert, they sense trouble.
Muggs and the gang break into Vargas' club just as the police, having been alerted by Henley, raid the place. Although the rest of the gang escapes, Muggs is arrested after sneaking Gilbert out. Because of his arrest, Muggs is barred from participating in the boxing tournament. Gilbert and Jane try to convince the depressed Muggs to reveal the truth, but Muggs insists that Gilbert's involvement with Rita must be kept a secret. Gilbert reluctantly agrees to remain silent and also agrees to replace Danny, whose hand was injured during the raid, in the tournament. The inexperienced Gilbert struggles through the first two rounds of the match, but after Muggs whispers to him to use his ballet moves, he scores an easy knockout. Later, Gilbert tells his father, who proudly watched his son in the ring, what happened at Vargas', and Mitchell publicly clears Muggs of all wrongdoing. Mitchell then declares Muggs a model citizen and presents the East Side Kids with a trophy.