"You probably won't see me again", he told his son Douglas, as Gus Meins
left his home in the Los Feliz District for the last time on the night
of August 1, 1940. He drove into the hills above La Crescenta, attached
a rubber hose to the exhaust pipe of his car, and asphyxiated himself.
Hours before Gus Meins was arrested on charges that he had molested
three boys in the basement of his home. Released on bail, he swore his
innocence to his wife and son but saw no other way than killing himself.
Gus Meins was born as Gustav Luley in 1893 in Frankfurt am Main/Germany.
In 1900 he immigrated to the U.S. The troubled family, the father left
in 1903, the stepfather, an unknown Meins, moved out of sight, managed
to reach California ca. 1910.
In 1916 Gus started to work for the Los Angeles Evening Herald as a
cartoonist. He entered Hollywood in 1919 as a gag writer at the Fox Film
Corporation. Three years later Meins worked as a director for Mack
Sennett. In 1925 he started to direct for Universal. His works for Universal
include shorts for the popular "Buster Brown" and the "Newlyweds" serials.
In 1932 Meins joined the Hal Roach Studios. The Roach period marks the peak
in his Hollywood career. Meins co-directed the Laurel and Hardy classic
"Babes in Toyland", directed many two-reelers starring Thelma Todd, Zasu
Pitts and Patsy Kelly. From 1934 to 1936 Meins was principal director of
Hal Roach's "Our Gang" comedies. His 16 "Gang" shorts include some of
the best of the stuff of the kid's series like the episodes "Hi Neighbour" and
"Mama's Little Pirate".
After leaving Roach in 1937 over "artistic differences" he directed B programmers
at Republic like the ambitious musical "The Hit Parade" starring Francis Langford
and Duke Ellington and the comedy series "The Higgins Family". For his last
four pictures, filmed in 1939 and 1940, Gus Meins worked also as an executive
Since the case against Gus Meins never came to trial and the charges were filed
by minors and thus sealed, the question wether he is innocent or not remains open.