On Dress Parade

The 'Dead End' Kids "On Dress Parade" is a 1939 Warner Bros. film that marked the first time The Dead End Kids headlined a film without any other well-known actors.

On Dress Parade
Directed byWilliam Clemens
Noel Smith (uncredited)
Produced byBryan Foy
Written byTom Reed
Charles Beldon (uncredited)
StarringBilly Halop
Bobby Jordan
Huntz Hall
Gabriel Dell
Leo Gorcey
Bernard Punsly
John Litel
Frankie Thomas
Cissie Loftus
Music byHoward Jackson
CinematographyArthur L. Todd
Edited byDouglas Gould
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • November 18, 1939 (1939-11-18)
Running time
62 minutes
CountryUnited States


A hero of World War I, Colonel William Duncan (Don Douglas), is on his deathbed. He summons his old friend, Colonel Mitchell Reiker (John Litel) to ask him if he will care for his son Slip (Leo Gorcey) when he dies. Reiker agrees, and when Duncan passes, Slip, who does not want to leave the neighborhood he grew up in, is tricked into attending the military school that Reiker is in charge of.

Cadet Major Rollins (Billy Halop) tries to help Slip reform and adapt to military life, but is thrown out a window for his troubles. He continues to have altercations with all of the other cadets, but in the end he winds up saving the life of Cadet Warren (Gabriel Dell) during a fire in the camp munitions storeroom. Although he is seriously injured during the rescue, the other cadets respect his efforts and welcome him as one of their own. For his heroics he is given his father's distinguished service cross and given the title of cadet major.

Character portrayals

This is the only Dead End Kids film in which Gorcey appears in the type of role he would assume throughout the East Side Kids and The Bowery Boys films, as the tough guy malcontent/gang leader. His character's name, Slip, also became his official character name in the Bowery Boys films. In addition, this is Bernard Punsly's briefest appearance in any of their films.


Alternate titles for this film are Dead End Kids on Dress Parade and Dead End Kids at Military School.[1]


The Dead End Kids

Additional cast

Home media

The film was released as a double feature DVD by Warner Archives with Hell's Kitchen on January 22, 2013.


  1. Hayes, David and Brent Walker (1984). The Films of The Bowery Boys. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press.
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