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Mug Town (1942)

Neighborhood kids take on racketeers.

Director:

Ray Taylor

Writers:

Brenda Weisberg (screenplay), Lewis Amster (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Billy Halop ... Tommy Davis
Huntz Hall ... Pig
Grace McDonald ... Norene Steward
Bernard Punsly ... Ape
Gabriel Dell ... String
Edward Norris ... Clinker
Virginia Brissac ... Mrs. Bell
Tommy Kelly ... Steve
Dick Hogan ... Don Bell
Jed Prouty ... Mack Steward
Murray Alper ... Shorty
Paul Fix ... Marco
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Storyline

Steve Bell (Tommy Kelly), Tommy Billy Halop), Pig Huntz Hall), Ape (Bernard Punsly) and String (Gabriel Dell are run out of town. Steve, while hopping a freight card and trying to avoid the brakeman, is killed. The boys meet Steve's mother, Alice Bell (Virginia Brissac) and Tommy is given a job in the storage garage which she owns jointly with Mack Steward (Jed Prouty). Steve's brother Don Bell ('Dick Hogan')is working with some gangsters by tipping them off on valuable merchandise that can be hijacked. Pig, Ape and String overhear Don's plans to use Tommy as the fall-guy in the next hijacking. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Kids and the Guys clean up the toughest town's toughest racketeers! See more »

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ungdomsligans bravader See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Follows Mob Town (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tough and Hard to Catch
17 April 2011 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

In the summer of 1941, four unemployed youth known alternately as "The Dead End Kids" and "The Little Tough Guys" see a movie. Then, handsome Billy Halop (as Tommy Davis), wisecracking Huntz Hall (as Albert), chubby Bernard Punsly (as Bertram), and tag-along Gabriel Dell (as Edward) buy beds in a flophouse for the night. Also sleeping at the hotel is Tommy Kelly (as Steven Bell), a runaway with pneumonia. Figuring the lad will either die or be too sick to fight back tempts thievery, and a fight breaks out...

The ruckus forces "The Dead End Kids" to leave town by rail, taking sickly Mr. Kelly with them, as Mr. Halop has become close to the teenager. We learn Kelly ran away from a well-to-do home due to being pushed around by an older brother. The quintet is riding the rails. When discovered by a trainman, they must make a fast getaway. Unfortunately, Kelly falls between two train cars, and is ground to death. Halop decides the gang must inform the boy's mother (they were going to take Kelly home anyway).

Unable to share the sad news with motherly Virginia Brissac (as Alice), Halop and the lads instead lead her to believe they are there to meet her dead son. They move in to await his arrival, enjoying Ms. Brissac's hospitality. We meet big brother Dick Hogan (as Don), who is even nastier than Kelly remembered, and pretty Grace McDonald (as Norene Steward) who dates Mr. Hogan but also arouses Halop's interest. Halop gets a job in the local service station while his "Dead End" friends sell magazines door-to-door.

The plot thickens when Halop discovers brother Hogan is involved with racketeers. Hogan plans to frame Halop for his crimes. The cast also has to deal with the fact that their host family is waiting for a dead son to come home. The looming threat of World War II is woven throughout - early on, the draft-aged youth don't want to defend a country that has failed them. All of this makes "Mug Town" one of the more tense entries in the series. The screenplay encompasses tragedy, comic relief, and war propaganda.

Note this was the penultimate Universal Studios "Dead End Kids" film and the last appearance of Bernard Punsly in any of the related films. Off on an "East Side Kids" adventure, Bobby Jordan returned for "Keep 'Em Slugging" (1943). Both he and Halop would join the World War II effort in real life, which elevates Halop's closing line in this film. Following service, Halop was lured back into the juvenile film fold to start the "Gas House Kids" (1946). After that, everything merged into "The Bowery Boys" (but without Halop).

****** Mug Town (12/18/42) Ray Taylor ~ Billy Halop, Huntz Hall, Dick Hogan, Tommy Kelly


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