Little Mother

film no. 86

technical details:

Production G-20.

Filmed February 4 to 13, 1929. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Released June 1, 1929. It was the 87th film in the series to be released.

Copyrighted June 3, 1929, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP430. Renewed September 13, 1956, with registration no. R176898. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2024.

Silent two-reeler.

Opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "Little Mother".'

the crew:

Produced by Robert F. McGowan for Hal Roach
This is the way Maltin & Bann put it. The film credits Roach as a presenter, with a separate credit reading "A Robert McGowan Production."
Directed by Robert F. McGowan
This credit appears in the film, but without his middle initial.
Photographed by Art Lloyd
This credit appears in the film.
Edited by Richard Currier
This credit appears in the film.
Titles by H. M. Walker
This credit appears in the film.
Animation by Roy Seawright
This credit derives from Seawright's payroll status as the studio animator during this period. This film features animated bubbles.
Story by Robert F. McGowan
This credit doesn't appear in the film.
Animal Trainer: Harry Lucenay
He was Pete's owner and trainer.
Teacher: Fern Carter
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
As indicated in the opening title card.
Passed by the National Board of Review
As indicated in the film.
studio personnel
general manager - Warren Doane
assistant general manager - L. A. French
secretary-treasurer - C. H. Roach
assistant secretary - Mat O'Brien
construction supervisor - C. E. Christensen
laboratory superintendent - Charles Levin
optical effects supervisor - Roy Seawright
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
transportation director - Bob Davis
possible uncredited involvement
assistant direction - Possibly Charles Oelze.
cutting - Possibly Lloyd Campbell.
writing - Robert A. McGowan, Jean Yarbrough and Charlie Hall may have been among the gag writers.
property department - Charles Oelze, Don Sandstrom and Thomas Benton Roberts were probably involved in this capacity.
animal training - Tony Campanaro may have been among the animal trainers.

the kids:

Mary Ann Jackson
Lead role. Introduced in the titles as "Little Mother." She takes care of her little brothers while their father works at night.
Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins as "Wheezer"
Featured role. He's paired up with a twin in this film, and the two of them have some trouble with swelled bellies and open fire hydrants.
Donnie Smith as "Beezer"
Featured role. He's alongside Wheezer in every scene, and often follows his dialogue with "me too."
Joe Cobb as "Joe"
Supporting role. He lives next door and advises Mary on how to remedy the twins' swollen bellies.
Harry Spear
Small part. He misleads the twins into thinking a black woman is their mother.
Allen "Farina" Hoskins
Small part. He's seen briefly at the end of the film.
Jean Darling
Small part. She's seen briefly at the end of the film.

the animals:

Pete (no. 1)
Supporting role. He lives in the house with Mary Ann and the twins, and figures into a lot of the gag material.
cat 080
Small part. This is the tabby that lives in the house.
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
other animals
Bit part. There is also a mouse that Pete chases into a vase.

the adults:

Warner Richmond as the kids' dad
Supporting role. He appears in the early part of the film and returns towards the end. He works as a night watchman, which is why Mary has to watch the twins overnight.
Lyle Tayo as the kids' aunt, and as the kids' mom in the painting
Small part. She's shown as the mother in the painting, and then appears at the end of the film as the mother's twin sister.
Charles Millsfield
Bit part. Not listed by Maltin & Bann. He's the bearded man who gets showered.
Gene Stone as one of the pedestrians
Bit part. He's the man in glasses who gets showered.
Charlie Hall as the cab driver
Bit part. According to Maltin & Bann. It's too difficult to tell with this print.
other adults
Bit parts and extras.
(1.) The black woman that the twins think is their mother.
(2.) Joe's mom.
(3.) The dowager that gets sprayed, which might be Lillianne Leighton.
(4.) The cop that chases the kids away from the fire hydrant.
(5.) The cop that chases the kids away during the deleted 'funny glasses' footage.
(6.) Several pedestrians getting showered. According to Maltin & Bann, one of these is Ed Brandenberg, but I can't tell which one.

the locations:

Hal E. Roach Studios
The New York street set was used for the fire hydrant scene.
insurance company
The black woman is standing next to this.
back porch
This might be the same one seen in earlier films like "Ask Grandma" (no. 38).


9 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Five weeks after shooting finished for "Fast Freight" (no. 85), the 'start' date arrived for "Little Mother" on Feb. 4th. The studio had been closed for four of those weeks. Shooting continued until the 'finish' date of Feb. 13th. Information written into the 1929 studio datebook for Feb. 14th was crossed out. No shooting took place on Feb. 3rd or 10th, which were both Sundays. Robert F. McGowan directed on each of the shooting dates. After this, one week passed before the Our Gang unit began filming "Cat, Dog & Co." (no. 87).

The twins munch on Superior Brand Dried Apples, which don't react well with a bedtime glass of water.

Publicity photos refer to the kids as Roach's Rascals.

A scene deleted from the finished film involved a small business run by the Gang with a sign that reads 'Funny Look How You Look.' In a publicity photo, Farina tries on some funny glasses as Joe holds a mirror for him to look into. Jean is the cashier, while Harry looks on. A second photo shows a cop chasing them away. More deleted footage seems to be connected to a photo showing Mary and the twins looking out a window at the Gang, who are flenching their fists at the siblings.


Our Gang Volume #14 (VHS) from Grapevine Video and also from The Picture Palace
This copy is a home movie print from Blackhawk, but with the company name blacked out. There is a textual introduction. The inter-titles are remade, but appear to retain the original wording. It appears that there may be a few missing. The picture quality is fairly good. The print totals 19:13, with about 16:30 of it original footage. It appears that almost all of the original footage is included. This version has appeared numerous on bootlegs.

special note
There's a European video release of this film lasting 19:45. The titles are all remade, with the object of making them appear original. However, the font is not quite the same as on the original prints, and there are one or two mistakes. Music is provided by the Beau Hunks with sound effects.

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© Robert Demoss.

My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Henry Sorenson (for providing info about the European video release of this film)
Rob Stone (for providing the production number and shooting dates)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)

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