Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Previously filmed in 1923, Booth Tarkington's nostalgic novel Penrod and Sam made its first talking-picture appearance in 1931 (both versions were directed by William Beaudine). The title roles are essayed by two of the most talented and ubiquitous juvenile performers of the 1930s, Leon Janney and Junior Coughlan. As the organizers of a "secret" boys club, Penrod and Sam exclude the local "sissies" from membership, only to be forced to allow the obnoxious Rodney Bitts (Nestor Aber) to join when Rodney's father buys the land where the club is based. Beyond the expected "Our Gang"-style antics and pranks, there is a moment of almost unbearable pathos when Penrod is told that his beloved dog has been run over by a car. Burying the pooch near his clubhouse, Penrod is shooed off the property by Rodney's father, whereupon Penrod's dad purchases the land himself -- a turn of events that delights Penrod and Sam, but does not bode well for poor Rodney! Penrod and Sam was remade in 1937 as a vehicle for twin child stars Billy and Bobby Mauch.
childhood, childhood-adventures, clubhouse, friendship