Cast & Crew
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, Morris, and his girl friend May sets up shop in shopkeeper's Schmidt's, basement. Feeling threatened by Pat, Morris schemes to discredit the policeman by posing as a businessman who wants to hire Pat's boys to distribute advertising leaflets. Unknown to Pat, Morris 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.
East Side Kids
The East Side Kids were the creation of producer Sam Katzman. A successful producer of low budget Westerns, Katzman founded his own studio, Victory Pictures, in 1935. When Victory folded, Katzman moved to Monogram Studios to head his own unit called Four-Bell Productions. East Side Kids was his first Monogram project. In the movie, Leon Ames plays a punk-turned-detective who helps the kids foil a counterfeiting ring. The boys are led by Hally Chester and Harris Berger, with Dave 'Tex' O'Brien (perhaps most memorable as the crazed piano playing pothead in Refer Madness (1938), along with regular appearances in Pete Smith Specialty shorts) as the wrongly accused brother who's facing execution.
East Side Kids was successful enough that Katzman saw series potential. He retooled the concept, making the tone lighter, and signed all the original Dead End Kids (except for Billy Halop and Bernard Punsley) to help create more charismatic characters. Of course Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall were brought in to lead the gang. Danny (Harris Berger's role) was recast with Bobby Jordan. Tex O'Brien was kept on board as Knuckles, but his character was reformed and served as a mentor to the boys in the next few films. Also continuing in the series after East Side Kids was the young academic Algernon Wilkes (originally played by Jack Edwards). His character was also changed (and recast), giving him a wealthy background -- in an apparent attempt to explain his studious ways.
These changes kept the East Side Kids rolling along through 21 more movies, including two with another Katzman regular - Bela Lugosi. The East Side-Lugosi movies were Spooks Run Wild (1941) and Ghosts on the Loose (1943).
Producer: Sam Katzman
Director: Robert F. Hill
Screenplay: William Lively
Cinematography: Arthur Reed
Film Editing: Earl Turner
Music: Johnny Lange, Lew Porter
Cast: Leon Ames (Pat O'Day), Dennis Moore (Milton Mileaway), Joyce Bryant (Molly Dolan), Hal E. Chester (Fred 'Dutch' Kuhn), Harris Berger (Danny Dolan), Frankie Burke (Skinny).
by Stephanie Thames
East Side Kids
Hally Chester, Harris Berger, Frankie Burke, Donald Haines and David Durand were billed in the reviews as "The Original East Side Kids." This picture was the first in "The East Side Kids" series produced by Sam Katzman for Monogram, which released the series until 1945. Later films in the series featured Bobby Jordan and Leo Gorcey, who were both in "The Dead End Kids" and "The Little Touch Guys" series. For additional information on "The East Side Kids," "The Dead End Kids" and "The Little Tough Guys," consult the Series Index and see entry above for Crime School.