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.
Make no mistake, the Little Tough Guy films are egregiously bad movies. 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.
Note: In the three films after Little Tough Guy the kids were billed as "Little Tough Guys" and did not feature any of the Dead End Kids. After the Dead Enders re-joined, the kids were billed as "Dead End Kids and Little Tough Guys".
Little Tough Guy
- July 1938 - Directed by Harold Young
Featuring: Robert Wilcox as Paul Wilson; Helen Parrish as Kay Boylan; Marjorie Main as Mrs. Boylan; Jackie Searl as Cyril Gerrard; Peggy Stewart as Rita Belle; Helen MacKellar as Mrs. Wanamaker;
Edward Pawley as Jim Boylan (as Ed Pawley); Olin Howland as Baxter; Pat C. Flick as Peddler; Billy Halop as Johnny Boylan; Huntz Hall as 'Pig'; Gabriel Dell as String; Bernard Punsly as Ape; Hal E. Chester as Dopey (as Hally Chester); David Gorcey as Sniper
The son of a man sentenced to death for a murder he didn't commit vows to become a criminal himself.
When labor activist Jim Boylan is sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit, his son Johnny decides to become a criminal in revenge. He gathers together his friends Pig, String, Sniper, and Dopey to form his own street gang. The group goes on a crime spree, financed by mysterious thrill-seeking rich kid Cyril. During a robbery headed by Cyril, Johnny and Pig are trapped by the cops. Pig is shot dead. Cyril actually is the son of the District Attorney who convicted Jimmy's father. Cyril, Jimmy, String, Sniper, and Dopey are all sent to reform school, where Jimmy decides to go straight
Little Tough Guys in Society - November 1938 - Directed by Erle C. Kenton
Featuring: Mischa Auer as Dr. Trenkle; Mary Boland as Mrs. Berry; Edward Everett Horton as Oliver; Helen Parrish as Penny; Jackie Searl as Randolph; Peggy Stewart as Jane; Harold Huber as
Uncle Buck; David Oliver as Footman; Frankie Thomas as Danny; Harris Berger as Sailor; Hal E. Chester as Murphy (as Hally Chester); Charles Duncan as Monk; David Gorcey as Yap; William 'Billy' Benedict as Trouble
A society matron invites the gang to her estate as playmates for her spoiled brat son.
Socialite Mrs. Berry hires a psychiatrist to care for her antisocial, bedridden son Randolph. The doctor determines that if he was exposed to other boys of a lesser social stature he will break out of his shell and resume his place in society. They contact a place in the city and hire six underprivileged kids to come out to the country to help out. The boys who arrive are not the boys who were originally hired, but a gang of misfits who are wanted for destroying a glass factory.
They quickly help Randolph overcome his antisocial behavior and assist in capturing some thieves who broke into Mrs. Berry's residence while Randolph's birthday party was taking place. The boys are then discovered to be on the run from the police, but with the assistance of a judge attending the party, they surrender and agree to return to New York and face their punishment.
None of the original "Dead End Kids" appear in this film and it is not considered canonical by many fans.
Newsboys' Home - December 1938 - Directed by Harold Young
Featuring: Jackie Cooper as Rifle Edwards; Edmund Lowe as Perry Warner; Wendy Barrie as Gwen Dutton; Edward Norris as Frankie Barber; Samuel S. Hinds as Howard Price Dutton; Irving Pichel as Tom Davenport; Elisha Cook Jr. as Danny; Harris Berger as Sailor; Hal E. Chester as Murphy (as Hally Chester); David Gorcey as Yap; William 'Billy' Benedict as Trouble; Harry Beresford as
O'Dowd; Charles Duncan as Monk; Horace McMahon as Bartsch; George McKay as Hartley
A beautiful girl inherits a newspaper that sponsors a charity home for boys.
When a small town sheriff is slain by a big city gangster, his son, "Rifle" Edwards, becomes a vagabond. Arriving broke and hungry in a large city, he seeks food and shelter at the Newsboy's Home, where the kids force him to fight an amateur bout with the champ, Danny Shay, before he can eat. When Rifle knocks out Danny, he is accepted into the gang of newsies. He goes to work selling the Globe, which is published by Howard Price Dutton, the founder and benefactor of the home. When Dutton dies, his daughter Gwen becomes the new publisher. Globe reporter Perry Warner is in love with Gwen, but they quarrel over her ideas about turning the Globe into a highbrow paper. Perry warns Gwen that she will ruin the paper, but she is stubborn and refuses to listen. Meanwhile, crooked politician Tom Davenport buys the opposition paper, the Star , in order to swing the election for his candidates and tries to bribe Perry to work for him. After Perry refuses, Davenport starts a ruthless circulation war and Globe sales begin to fall off dramatically.
Gwen still refuses to heed Perry's advice and abandon her disastrous editorial policies, and in frustration, Perry quits and leaves on a trip. When the Globe can no longer support the Newsboy's Home, Danny and some of the boys go to work for Bartsch on the Star, leaving only Rifle and Sailor behind at the Globe. Perry returns him to find the Globe in dire straights and Gwen tearfully refutes her policies. Assuming editorship of the paper, Perry sets out to whip the Star at its own game. Davenport hires mobster Francis Barber to escalate the circulation war, and Globe trucks are wrecked, news stands smashed and burned. The war comes to a climax when a street fight erupts during which boys from the two rival papers meet in open combat, and police squads are required to quell the riot. Angered because one of his pals has been shot by one of Barber's men, Danny goes to Barber to quit his job while Rifle follows the gangsters to Barber, whom he recognizes as his father's killer.
Barber and his men are preparing to take Rifle "for a ride" when Danny and the newsboys stage a sensational rescue in which they take Barber prisoner and turn him over to the police. With the newspaper war brought to a close, the Globe regains its popularity and Gwen and Perry are married.
None of the original "Dead End Kids" appear in this film and it is not considered canonical by many fans.
Code of the Streets - April 1939 - Directed by Harold Young
Featuring: Harry Carey as Detective Lieutenant John Lewis; Frankie Thomas as Bob Lewis; James McCallion as Danny Shay; Juanita Quigley as Cynthia; El Brendel as Mickhail 'Micky' Bjorgulfsen; Leon Ames as 'Chick' Foster; Paul Fix as Tommy Shay; Marc Lawrence as Henchman Halstead, aka Denver Collins; Dorothy Arnold as Mildred; Harris Berger as Sailor; Hal E. Chester as Murph (as Hally Chester); Charles Duncan as Monk; William 'Billy' Benedict as Trouble (as William Benedict); David Gorcey as Yap; Mark Daniels as Young Man (as Stanley Hughes)
The kids must find evidence for a friend framed for murder.
Hoodlum Tommy Shay is sentenced to die for the murder of Police Lieutenant Carson, although Tommy was in a poker game at the time with a man calling himself "Denver" Collins. Collins has disappeared, and perjured evidence leads to Tommy's conviction. Tommy's younger brother Danny and his gang of alley kids,"The Little Tough Guys" scheme to save Tommy from the electric chair. Police Lieutenant John Lewis, who arrested Tommy, believes he is innocent and goes to the District Attorney and tries so insistently to have the case reopened that he is demoted to a patrolman in the sticks. Bob Lewis, John's son, a radio bug with detective ambitions, starts out on his own to solve the crime and help his father.
Searching for Collins, Bob meets Danny and the Little Tough Guys and they join forces. Acting on a tip, they go to the gambling club owned by Chick Foster and tell him the police have reopened the Carson case and suspect him of being implicated. There, they see a man named Halstead whom they believe to be the missing "Denver" Collins. And with the aid of a phony telegram and a dictaphone planted by Bob, The Little Tough Guys begin to bring law and order to the Gotham streets.
Call A Messenger - November 1939 - Directed by Arthur Lubin
Featuring: Billy Halop as Jimmy Hogan; Huntz Hall as 'Pig'; Robert Armstrong as Kirk Graham; Mary Carlisle as Marge Hogan; Anne Nagel as Frances O'Neill; Victor Jory as Ed Hogan; Buster Crabbe as
Chuck Walsh (as Larry Crabbe); El Brendel as 'Baldy'; Jimmy Butler as Bob Prichard; George Offerman Jr. as Big Lip; Hal E. Chester as Murph (as Hally Chester); William 'Billy' Benedict as Trouble; David Gorcey as Yap; Harris Berger as Sailor
The boys become postal messengers, fight with criminals and try to get the attention of the beautiful postal manager.
Jimmy Hogan, the leader of a gang of street kids who must fight for their existence, is arrested for robbing the Postal Telegraph Service when the police arrive in the middle of the robbery attempt. Feeling sorry for the boy, Kirk Graham, the district manager of the office and a former street kid himself, takes pity on Jimmy and offers him the choice of taking a job as a messenger boy or going to reform school. Jimmy takes the job, and after initial razzing by the members of his gang, he coerces them into enlisting. With Graham's help, Jimmy gets them jobs as messengers boys, and for the first time in their lives, the kids are treated with kindness and respect.
Meanwhile, at home, Jimmy is disturbed that his sister Marge is mixed up with Chuck Walsh, a gangster who has promised to help get their brother Ed out of jail. Jimmy finally succeeds in convincing Mary to stop seeing Walsh and introduces her to Bob Pritchard, a fellow messenger. When Ed is released from jail, he joins Walsh's gang in a series of robberies of postal branches. When Walsh decides to rob Jimmy's office, however, Ed turns against his gangster friends to protect his brother. In the ensuing fight, Walsh shoots Ed and Jimmy races after the gangster. With the help of his fellow messengers, Jimmy brings the gang to justice, and for their honesty and bravery, the "little tough guys" are rewarded with motorcycles to use on their routes.
You're Not So Tough - July 1940 - Directed by Joe May
Featuring: Billy Halop as Tom; Huntz Hall as Pig; Gabriel Dell as String; Bernard Punsly as Ape; Bobby Jordan as Rap; Nan Grey as Millie; Rosina Galli as Mama Posito; Henry Armetta as Salvatore; Eddy Waller as Griswold; Harry Hayden as Lacey; Joe King as Collins; Arthur Loft as Marshall
The boys are hobo's who travel from ranch to ranch to grab meals and win money at crooked dice games. Tommy tricks Mama Posita, the ranch owner into believing he is her long lost son
The Dead End Kids are thrown off a freight train in the California fruit fields. At an itinerant camp, Tom and Pig steal a meal from Millie who is living there with her aunt and uncle. That night, the boys are arrested for vagrancy after a scuffle at a crap game. Impressed by Pig and Tom's work, the sheriff finds the boys a job at Mama Lisa Posito's ranch. There Tom learns that Mama yearns for her long-lost son and decides to pose as the boy in order to steal her money. Learning of the ruse, the sheriff warns Tom that he found the dead body of Mama's son years earlier, but is unable to dash Mama's hopes by telling her the truth.
Soon afterwards, String, Ape and Rap are released from jail and Mama gives them work at the ranch, and Tom sends Mama's foreman Salvatore to offer Millie and her family jobs. As Pig searches the house for Mama's bankroll, Tom is won over by Mama's kindness and generosity and finds himself unable to steal from her. Troubles beset Mama however, when she refuses to comply with the growers' association demand to cut wages. In retaliation, the association begins a truck boycott against Mama, preventing her from transporting her crops to market.
When Mama hires trucks from Sacramento, the growers block the roads leading to Mama's ranch with hired trucks. Just as the crop seems lost, Tommy takes Mama's bankroll to bribe the truckers to leave and then organizes the pickers to force the remaining trucks off the roads with tractors and insecticide. As Tommy breaks through the barrier to drive the crops to market, Mama confides to the sheriff that she knows that Tommy is not her real son, but has become like a son to her.
Junior G-Men - August 1940 - Directed by Ford Beebe, John Rawlins
Featuring: Billy Halop as Billy Barton; Huntz Hall as Gyp; Gabriel Dell as Terry; Bernard Punsly as Lug; Ken Lundy as Buck; Kenneth Howell as Harry Trent; Roger Daniels as Midge (as Roger Daniel); Phillip Terry as Jim Bradford; Russell Hicks as Col. Robert Barton; Cy Kendall as Brand; Ben Taggart as Capt. Severn; Victor Zimmerman as Al Corey, a thug; Edgar Edwards as Henchman Evans; Gene Rizzi as Henchman Foster; Florence Halop as Mary
12 part serial.
The Kids join forces with the F.B.I. to track down the Order Of The Flaming Torch.
A group of saboteurs called the "Order of the Flaming Torch" who are trying to undermine the "social order" of the United States, kidnap several prominent scientists, including the father of a local street gang member. The gang team up with the FBI and the "Junior G-Men" in order to stop the saboteurs..
Give Us Wings - December 1940 - Directed by Charles Lamont
Featuring: Billy Halop as Tom; Huntz Hall as Pig; Gabriel Dell as String; Bernard Punsly as Ape; Bobby Jordan as Rap; Wallace Ford as Mr. York; Anne Gwynne as Julie Mason; Victor Jory as
Mr. Arnold Carter; Shemp Howard as Buzz Berger; Milburn Stone as Tex Austin; Harris Berger as Bud; William 'Billy' Benedict as Link (as Billy Benedict)
The kids build airplane engines but they want to fly planes. Carter, a crooked crop dusting agent who uses dilapidated planes and illegal pilots to cut costs, hires the boys to fly for him
The Kids, who are learning aeronautical mechanics in a National Youth Administration Work Program plant, are taking flying lessons with their meager savings. Although the boys are eager to become pilots, they are ineligible to attend the Civil Aeronautics Authority school because none of them have completed high school. Consequently, when Arnold Carter, an unscrupulous operator of a crop dusting firm, offers them a job flying his decrepit old planes, the boys jump at the opportunity. When they appear for work, however, York, Carter's manager, believes that they are too inexperienced to fly, and so assigns them to ground work while they practice their flying technique.
When Tex, Carter's only experienced pilot, crashes, the company begins to fall behind in their contracts, and so Carter orders the boys into the air. York finally agrees that all the boys, except for Rap who is terrified of flying after witnessing the crash of Tex's plane, can fly, and they take to the air. York also refuses to dust a particular field because of the dangers of its tall groves of trees, and Carter, defying York's judgment, cajoles Rap into doing the job. While flying over the trees, Rap snaps off one of the plane's wings and crashes to his death. Losing his nerve, Carter tries to make a getaway in a plane, but Tom follows in another craft and forces him to earth with a dose of dust. He is met by the other boys, who turn him over to the authorities.
Hit The Road - June 1941 - Directed by Joe May
Featuring: Gladys George as Molly Ryan; Barton MacLane as James J. Ryan; Billy Halop as Tom; Huntz Hall as Pig; Gabriel Dell as String; Bernard Punsly as Ape; Bobs Watson as Pesky; Evelyn Ankers as Patience Ryan; Charles Lang as Paul Revere Smith; Shemp Howard as Dingbat; Walter Kingsford as Colonel Smith; Eily Malyon as Cathy Crookshank; Edward Pawley as Spike the Butcher; John Harmon as Creeper; Charles R. Moore as Martin
The Kids go to live on a ranch owned by the ex-con pal of the boy's father's.
After attempting to break out of their reformatory, the Kids are brought before parole officer Cathy Crookshank. The orphaned sons of gangsters, the boys tell the superintendent that they have little chance of being paroled, as they have no one to sponsor them. Miss Crookshank has the leader of their fathers' gang, Valentine, brought to her office after his release from prison. The gangster argues that he has reformed and is now living on a farm with his wife Molly and their daughter Patience under the name "Ryan." When he learns that the boys are the children of his old gang, however, Valentine agrees to take them. Pesty, a junior member of the gang, is taken in by the ex-gangster as well. The would-be mobsters are dismayed when they are delivered not to the city streets in which they grew up, but to the horse-breeding farm Valentine now calls home. Meanwhile, Spike the Butcher, who had killed Valentine's men ten years earlier, follows the ex-gangster to his farm in hopes of finishing the job.
With the help of his henchmen, Creeper and Dingbat, Spike plans an ambush at the Ryan home, only to have district attorney Paul Revere Smith, who is Pat's sweetheart, show up. Later, the boys take the Ryans' silver and try to steal their station wagon, but a flat tire and an old hunting dog foil their escape plans. Acting on the advice of Paul's father, Colonel Smith, the Ryans raise $50,000 to build a trade school. On the pretext of visiting the dentist, Tom goes into town, where he hopes to plan the gang's escape. He immediately runs into Creeper and Dingbat, who take the youngster to see Spike. Tom tells the gangster about the money for the trade school, and Spike immediately thinks it is a "charity racket." After telling the gangster all, Tom suddenly realizes that he is talking to his father's killer. Tom goes back to his gang, and they plan to protect the charity money from their fathers' killer. Thinking that the gang is attempting to steal Pat's car, Pesty holds the teenagers at gunpoint until they explain their motives. Because of this delay, the boys get behind the colonel's car, and are unable to stop Spike and his mob when they run him off the road and steal the money. With both cars damaged, the gangster takes off on foot, and the teenagers follow in close pursuit.
The colonel, meanwhile, takes Pat's car into town to notify the police. The gangsters manage to get away, and Paul warns Valentine that he is officially listed as a suspect in the robbery. The police return the teenagers to Valentine's home, where they are sent upstairs, only to find Spike and his gang there. Valentine and his family walk into Spike's trap, but the ex-gangster talks his foe into hiding out at the farm until "the heat blows." Miss Crookshank then arrives, and Spike makes plans to use her for his getaway. After the boys break out of the cellar, a fight ensues, and Spike and his mobsters are captured and the money is recovered. The boys are congratulated by the colonel for their bravery, but then realize that they have saved their own trade school..
Sea Raiders - August 1941 - Directed by Ford Beebe, John Rawlins
Featuring: Billy Halop as Billy Adams; Huntz Hall as Toby Nelson; Gabriel Dell as Bilge; Bernard Punsly as Butch; Hal E. Chester as Swab (as Hally Chester); Joe Recht as Lug; William Hall as Brack Warren; John McGuire as Tom Adams; Mary Field as Aggie Nelson; Edward Keane as Elliott Carlton [Chs. 1-7]; Marcia Ralston as Leah Carlton; Reed Hadley as Carl Tonjes; Stanley Blystone as Capt. Olaf Nelson; Richard Alexander as Ernie Adams as Zeke - Skipper of the 'Mary Lou'
12 part serial
The Kids work to learn the identity of the dreaded 'Sea Raider' who has been sinking allied merchant ships.
The Sea Raiders, a band of foreign agents led by Carl Tonjes and Elliott Carlton, blow up a freighter on which Billy Adams and Toby Nelson are stowaways. Billy and Toby were seeking to avoid Brack Warren, a harbor patrol officer assigned to guard a new type of torpedo boat built by Billy's brother, Tom Adams. Intended targets or not, getting blown up does not set well with Billy and Toby and, together with their gang coupled with the members of the Little Tough Guys, they find the Sea Raiders' island hideout, investigate the seacoast underground arsenal of these saboteurs, get blasted from the air, dragged to their doom, become victims of the storm, entombed in a tunnel and even periled by a panther before they don the uniforms of some captured Sea Raiders and board a yacht that serves as headquarters for the Raiders.
Mob Town - October 1941 - Directed by William Nigh
Featuring: Dick Foran as Sgt. Frank Conroy; Anne Gwynne as Marion Barker; Billy Halop as Tom Barker; Huntz Hall as Pig; Gabriel Dell as Butch Malone aka String; Bernard Punsly as Ape; Darryl Hickman as Butch Malone aka Shrimp; Samuel S. Hinds as Judge Luther Bryson; Victor Kilian as Uncle Lon Barker; Truman Bradley as Officer Cutler; John Butler as Rummel; John Sheehan as Mr. Loomis
Tom Barker idolizes the memory of his brother, Eddie, who was sent to the death house. He and his gang look also look up to gangster Monk Bangor. Policeman Frank Conroy tries to keep the boys from turning bad but fails to motivate the angry Tom.
At Barton's Dance Palace, a fight breaks out involving the Kids. While the others are caught, Tom slips home, where he finds youngster Butch "Shrimp" Malone waiting for him. Shrimp tells Tom that his aunt has abandoned him once again, so Tom tells the boy that he can stay with him. Tom's older sister Marion awakens and warns the two boys not to disturb their uncle. The uncle awakens, however, and complains that Tom has been sending cigarettes to convict Monk Bangor, a friend of Tom's late gangster brother Jim. He further states that Tom will end up in the electric chair, just like his brother.
Sergeant Frank Convoy then arrives to arrest Tom, much to the delight of his uncle. In the chambers of Judge Luther Bryson, Marion pleads Tom's case, to little avail. Frank arrives and offers to organize a "Police Big-Brother" movement involving Tom and his gang. The judge agrees, knowing that Frank was the officer who sent Jim to the electric chair. Frank is taken by the boys to their clubhouse, where he is told of the gang's plan to go "into business" with Bangor upon his release from prison. When the boys threaten the off-duty policeman, he demonstrates his mastery of judo and offers to teach it to them. The gang then offers their singing act for a local benefit talent show, and another fight breaks out. After the four are beaten up by the locals, Pig, Ape and String take Frank up on his offer and join the police gym.
After Tom arrives, Frank offers to get the boys jobs. When they refuse, Frank tells Tom that he is "too soft" to work. Thus goaded, the boys get jobs working in an auto wrecking yard. Later, the gang is met by gangsters Brick and Nutsy, who wish to hide their loot in the gang's clubhouse. Nutsy and Rick are later arrested and the loot, $20,000 worth of stolen jewelry, is discovered in the clubhouse. After they swear that they had nothing to do with the robbery, the juveniles are released. While dining at Frank's, Tom discovers the policeman's involvement in his brother's arrest. Tom confronts the officer and falsely accuses him of tricking his brother into his arrest. Tom leaves with Shrimp, while the rest of the gang stays in support of Frank. Tom then runs into Monk, who has just been released from prison.
When Tom returns home later that night, he has a fight with his sister and leaves, taking Shrimp with him. Tom's uncle goes to the police, claiming that the boy has stolen some family jewelry. Tom attempts to pawn his mother's jewelry, only to be cornered by Pig, String and Ape. They take him to the old clubhouse, where the neighborhood boys put him on trial. Tom is found guilty by the kangaroo court and ordered to give himself up. He escapes, however, leaving Shrimp behind. The little boy confesses that Tom has joined Monk's gang and is heading west with the gangster. Frank traces the two to a local drugstore, where he attempts to take Tom into custody.
Unknown to Frank and Tom, Monk has just robbed the drugstore, and, in the ensuing shootout, Frank is wounded. Tom is forced to drive the gangster's car, which he deliberately crashes, and Monk is captured. Frank and Tom go back to the police station, where both are absolved of their previous crimes. The reformed gang then plans to go to a "Police Officers' Buddies" convention with Frank and Marion, only to have the back wheels fall off their car, as Pig forgot to put on the rear axle.
Junior G-Men Of The Air - June 1942 - Directed by Lewis D. Collins, Ray Taylor
Featuring: Billy Halop as Billy "Ace" Holden; Gene Reynolds as Eddie Holden; Lionel Atwill as The Baron, a Japanese spy; Frank Albertson as Jerry Markham; Richard Lane as Agent Don Ames; Huntz Hall as "Bolts" Larson; Gabriel Dell as "Stick" Munsey; Bernard Punsly as "Greaseball" Plunkett; Frankie Darro as Jack; David Gorcey as Double Face Gordon; Turhan Bey as Araka, The Baron's "Spear-point Heavy" (chief henchman); John Bleifer as Beal, The Baron's henchman; Eddie Foster as Comora, The Baron's henchman; John Bagni as Augar, The Baron's henchman; Noel Cravat as Monk, The Baron's henchman; Eddy Waller (uncredited) as Jed Holden
12 part serial.
The Kids take to the air to learn the identity of the Black Dragonfly saboteurs
The Kids are working in an airplane/auto junk yard owned by Ace's father. Their truck is stolen by members of a fifth column organization, the Order of the Black Dragonfly. Government agent Don Ames returns the recovered truck, but Ace, who distrusts law men, refuses to give Ames a description of the men who stole the truck. Ames decides to let Jerry Markham, young leader of the Junior G-Men, who knows both Ace and his brother Eddie through their mutual interest in airplanes and flying, try to gain Ace's cooperation.
The Axis agents, Araka, Augar, Beal, Monk and Comora, report to the Japanese leader of the Black Dragonfly, The Baron, at his farmhouse headquarters outside the city. In an attempt to track down the spies, Ace and his friends drive their truck near the farm and are spotted by the enemy agents. Monk, the gang's pilot, tries to bomb the truck and the boys appear doomed. Of course, the Kdis are safe and go on to round up members of the Black Dragonfly.
Tough As They Come - June 1942 - Directed by William Nigh
Featuring: Billy Halop as Tommy Clark; Paul Kelly as Dan Stevens; Helen Parrish as Ann Wilson; Ann Gillis as Frankie Taylor; Huntz Hall as Pig - aka Albert; Bernard Punsly as Ape; Gabriel Dell as
String; Virginia Brissac as Mrs. Clark; John Gallaudet as Mike Taylor; Gisela Werbisek as Mrs. Polashek (as Giselle Werbiseck); Jimmy Butler as Gene Bennett (as Jimmie Butler); John Eldredge as Rogers; Theresa Harris as Bessie Mae; Clarence Muse as Eddie
Law school student Tommy Clark gets a job with the crooked Apex Financing Company instead of a $3.00 a week job as a legal aid attorney. Tommy is hired to repossess a friend's father's cab and the neighborhood turns against him.
At Mme. Polachek's diner, ex-juvenile delinquent Ape is training for a boxing career with his friends, Pig and String. Their old gang leader, Tom H. Clark, now a law student, is offered a job with the crooked Apex Finance Co., through the physician father of his wealthy girl friend, Ann Wilson. Tommy almost loses the job when he is recognized by Gene Bennett, the nephew of Apex's president, Walter Rogers, whom Tommy had recently tried to stop from repossessing the radio of his neighbor, Mrs. McNab. Tommy later becomes upset when his mother invites Ann to dinner, as he is ashamed of the neighborhood in which they live.
Apex comes under fire from Thomas Reed of the Legal Aid Society, who accuses the finance company of excessive interest rates and intimidation tactics. Frankie Taylor, Tommy's teenage neighbor who is infatuated with him, later gets pneumonia when she jealously stands in the rain, watching Tommy romance Ann. As she recovers in the hospital, Frankie is visited by Ann, who assures her that Tommy still likes her, despite his relationship with Ann. Meanwhile, Frankie's father, Mike Taylor, learns that Apex is about to repossess his taxi, as he has fallen behind on his payments due to his daughter's medical bills. Pig, String and Ape hide the cab in a stable, but Pig inadvertently tells Tommy where it is. Rogers then orders Tommy to find the cab and repossess it himself, in order to prove his loyalty to the company.
Mike escapes in the cab just as Tommy arrives at the stable, but Tommy is captured and beaten by his old friends. Bennett and the marshal, however, wait for Mike to return to the stable, then take the taxi from him. The distraught Mike attempts to commit suicide by jumping from the roof of his apartment building, but is stopped by Tommy and Pig. Despite his heroic actions, the neighborhood turns against Tommy, but he is saved from the mob by his mother's boarder, Ben Stevens. Inspired by Ben, Tommy goes to Reed and offers to testify against his old employer.
Meanwhile, the neighborhood turns against Apex and refuses to pay any more money to the finance company. Tommy and his old friends then break into Apex's office, and while Pig, String and Ape fight with Rogers' henchmen, Tommy takes some of the company's records to the police. After the district attorney begins an investigation of Apex, the bankers' association offers to start a credit union for the poor neighborhood, and Tommy is reunited with Ann.
Mug Town - January 1943 - Directed by Ray Taylor
Featuring: Billy Halop as Tommy; Huntz Hall as Pig; Grace McDonald as Norene Steward; Bernard Punsly as Ape; Gabriel Dell as String; Edward Norris as Clinker; Virginia Brissac as Mrs. Bell; Tommy Kelly as Steve; Dick Hogan as Don Bell; Jed Prouty as Mack Steward; Murray Alper as Shorty; Paul Fix as Marco
The boys check into a flop house and meet a sick boy. They take the kid with them on the trains but he gets killed. The boys locate the mother and all their troubles start.
After a movie, the Kids check into a flophouse for the night. When one of the hobos tries to steal the sack of runaway Steve Bell, Tommy stops him, leading to a brawl. The police arrive, and the boys, along with Steve, are ordered to leave town. The group rides the rails, with Tommy nursing the runaway back to health. Later, the boys are discovered by some railroad workers and are forced to jump off a moving train. Steve, however, hesitates and falls to his death beneath the train. The group then travels to Steve's home town, but when they meet Steve's mother, the kindly Mrs. Bell, they are unable to break the bad news to her.
She asks the boys to stay at the Bell home until Steve's return, though Don, Steve's older brother, is not as hospitable. Tommy is later offered a job at the Steward Bell Garage, much to Don's annoyance. When the garage gets a message from the freight associate that their loads are being tampered with, Mack Steward, Mrs. Bell's partner, assumes that Tommy is involved. In actuality, Don is the one embroiled in the shipping thefts with gangsters Clinker and Marco. When Don fails to show up for a date, Mack's daughter Norene goes to the garage to find him, and ends up having dinner with a smitten Tommy.
Meanwhile, Pig, String and Ape have dinner at the nightclub run by Marco. When they are unable to pay the cover charge, the three end up peeling onions in the kitchen. As they try to sneak out, they overhear Marco, Clinker and Don planning a heist, with Tommy taking the blame. The three warn their friend, but rather than leaving town, Tommy insists on staying. Meanwhile, Mrs. Bell finally learns of Steve's death, and Tommy confesses that he simply could not tell her at first, then was afraid that the gang would be forced to leave if she knew the truth. She understands and offers the boys her continued hospitality.
At the same time, Don and his gangster friends prepare to steal trucker Shorty's fur shipment. Realizing what is happening, Tommy and Pig take off after Shorty. After a motorcycle officer pulls Shorty over to inform him of a blackout, Clinker knocks the trucker out, and he and Don load the furs in the gangster's car. Tommy and Pig try to stop them, and in the ensuing fight, Clinker mistakenly shoots Don. The gangster then crashes his car in the darkness while making his escape.
Tommy and Pig rush Don to a local doctor's house, then hop a freight car out of town with their friends. Before they can get too far, however, they are captured by the police. Tommy is told that Clinker was killed in the crash, but before the gang can be charged with the robbery, Mrs. Bell and Norene arrive with a signed confession by Don. Cleared of all charges, the boys enlist in the army as part of the war effort.
Keep 'Em Slugging - August 1943 - Directed by Christy Cabanne
Featuring: Bobby Jordan as Tommy Banning; Huntz Hall as Pig; Gabriel Dell as String; Norman Abbott as Ape; Evelyn Ankers as Sheila Banning; Elyse Knox as Suzanne; Frank Albertson as Frank Moulto; Don Porter as Jerry; Shemp Howard as Binky; Samuel S. Hinds as Carruthers; Mary Gordon as Mrs. Banning; Milburn Stone as Duke Redman; Joan Marsh as Lela
During school vacation the boys get jobs at a fancy department store but Tommy gets framed for stealing jewelry. The boys all get fired and Tommy gets arrested, so they have to clear his name.
With summer vacation starting, teenage gang leader Tommy Banning lectures his cohorts about helping the war effort by going straight and getting legitimate jobs, rather than working the rackets. Unfortunately, due to their juvenile delinquency records, the gang has little luck in finding work. Sheila, Tommy's sister, goes to Frank Moulton, the head of the shipping department at the department store where she works, and asks him to hire Tommy, but he refuses unless she agrees to go out with him. Later, Jerry Brady, Sheila's boyfriend, arranges a job for Tommy with Moulton.
Tommy immediately falls for salesgirl Suzanne Booker, but their attempt to go out on a date is sabotaged when they are joined at the cinema by his friends, Albert "Pig" Gum, String and Ape. Later, Tommy gets Pig a job working in a parking lot. After two more stock clerks are drafted into military service, Tommy suggests to Mr. Curruthers, the head of the store, that he replace them with out-of-work teenagers, so the store hires String and Ape. Meanwhile, Moulton meets with gangster Duke Redman, who complains that Moulton has not been setting him up with enough business out of the department store.
Moulton suggests that Redman recruit Tommy into his gang, so the gangster arranges for the youth to meet sexy café singer, Lola Leverne. She convinces Tommy to come her café, where Redman offers him "work." Tommy refuses and threatens to expose the gangster if anything happens at the store. Moulton then frames Tommy in a jewelry theft. After Tommy is placed in jail, Sheila quits her job, which greatly upsets Jerry, who is actually Curruthers' son. After being bailed out of jail by Jerry, Tommy returns home and becomes enraged when he learns that his mother and sister think he is guilty.
After meeting with his gang, Tommy goes to Lola's café to speak with Redman, and sees Moulton talking to the singer. He follows them to Redman's hideout, where they are preparing to hijack a silk shipment from the department store. After the robbery, Tommy and his gang pin the gangsters in their office with a water hose until the police arrive. Tommy is rewarded with Moulton's job at the store, while Pig, String and Ape go to work in the shipping department, and Jerry and Sheila are happily reunited.