The Dead End Kids

Such naughtiness. Some of The Dead End Kids
In depression-era America, the Dead End Kids were a popular cinema attraction, reflecting as they did, the chutzpah and wisecracking humour-in the-face-of-adversity of New York kids who were doing it tough in the slum tenements of the 1930s.

So who were they? Essentially they were a group of actors who played a gang of wayward boys -  wisearse street kids, who oozed a kind of reprobate charm and personality.

The kids began on Broadway in 1935, in a successful play called Dead End and a couple of years later were brought to Hollywood by legendary producer Samuel Goldwyn, who saw the potential appeal of the show for a wider audience.

Real Life Brats
Goldwyn turned the play into a film, hiring an extra eight youths, in addition to the original cast,  to play an array of roles. Legend  has it they were a nightmare on the set - running amok, destroying valuable studio property and generally misbehaving. So much so, that Goldwyn, eager to offload them, sold their contract to Warner Bros. after the film's completion.

They went on to make six films under the name Dead End Kids with Warner, often working with big name stars like Bogart, Cagney, Ronal Regan and Pat O'Brien. In subsequent films, the boys were rechristened the Eastside Kids and in the 1940s, Monogram Films  made another series of films using some original cast members under the name The Bowery Boys.

All in all, the various groups of boys that began with the original concept of the Dead End Kids, made total of 89 films during a period that spanned a long, by Hollywood terms,  21 years. In the 1960s and 70s,  the Eastside Kids and the Bowery Boys films were screened on syndicated television , leading to a new legion of fans.

The Original Dead End Kids
Billy Halop
Bobby Jordan,
Huntz Hall,
Bernard Punsly
Gabriel Dell
Leo and David Gorcey