Railroadin'

film no. 90


technical details:

Production G-24.

Filmed April 17 to 25, 1929. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Title sheet prepared by H. M. Walker on May 27, 1929.

Cutting continuity submitted June 10, 1929.

Released June 15, 1929. It was the 88th film in the series to be released.

All-talking two-reeler, sound on disc only. (In actuality, there is a very small amount of silent footage in this film.)

Copyrighted December 9, 1929, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP892. Renewed December 19, 1956, with registration no. R182606. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2024.

Opening title: "Our Gang" Comedies; Hal Roach presents His Rascals' Voices in "Railroadin'."


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 and F. E. Hershey
This credit appears in the film.
Film Editor: Richard Currier
This credit appears in the film.
Story Editor: H. M. Walker
This credit appears in the film.
Recording Engineer: Elmer Raguse
Studio documentation verifies his participation, and indicates that he was employed by Victor.
Story by Robert F. McGowan
This credit doesn't appear in the film. The press release also credits him with the dialogue.
Animal Trainer: Harry Lucenay
He was Pete's owner and trainer.
Teacher: Fern Carter
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Indicated in the opening credits.
Passed by the National Board of Review
As indicated in the film.
A Victor Recording, Western Electric System
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, Charlie Hall, Harry Keaton and Carl Harbaugh may have been among the gag writers.
property department - Charles Oelze, Don Sandstrom, Thomas Benton Roberts and Bob Saunders were probably involved in this capacity.
animal training - Tony Campanaro may have been among the animal trainers.

the kids:

Allen "Farina" Hoskins as "Farina"
Featured role. He repeatedly gets run over by the train, and then joins Joe and Harry for their wild ride.
Joe Cobb as "Joe" aka "Jody"
Featured role. His father is the engineer, so Joe shows Harry the engine, and doesn't know how to stop it once Loco Joe starts it up.
Harry Spear as "Harry"
Supporting role. He talks Joe into showing him the engine, and then is present throughout the wild ride.
Norman "Chubby" Chaney as "Chubby" aka "Chub"
Supporting role. He's with Joe at the beginning of the film and later helps Farina to free himself from the track. This was his first appearance in the series. He's identified in the publicity photos by his real name even though the nickname was used in the film.
Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins
Supporting role. The nickname isn't used in this film. He's seen with the girls throughout the film.
Mary Ann Jackson
Supporting role. She's with Wheezer and Jean in an open-air car, and sings "I Faw Down And Go Boom."
Jean Darling
Supporting role. She's also in the open-air car, accompanying Mary Ann on banjo, but otherwise isn't given much of anything specific to do. Her pigtails were retained from the previous film, "Small Talk" (no. 89), since it was in keeping with her role as one of the 'small vagabonds.'
other kids
Extra. The only remaining kid is the girl who's shown in the other train sitting next to Bob McGowan.

the animals:

Pete (no. 1)
Small part. He's in the open-air car with Wheezer and the girls, but is given very little to do. The cutting continuity identifies him simply as 'dog.'
Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film (but is cut from the Cabin Fever print).
other animals
Bit parts.
(1.) The chicken that lays the egg.
(2.) The billy goat being bottle-fed by Wheezer. According to the press release, this goat belonged to Harry Spear.

the adults:

Otto Fries as "Otto," Joe's dad
Supporting role. He's shown at the beginning and end of the film. Publicity photos misspell his last name 'Freeze.'
Ed Thomas as "Ed"
Supporting role. He's the other engineer that works with Fries. The cutting continuity identifies him as a fireman.
Ed Brandenburg as "Bob," the brakeman
Bit part. He's the first to come up to the boys after they get off the train.
Charles A. Bachman as a train conductor
Bit part. He works on the other train, and warns the other conductors of the runaway train coming towards them.
Bob McGowan as a train passenger
Bit part. In the first shot, he's seen sleeping to the right of the car. In the second shot, he's in the aisle and stumbling forward.
Carolyn Chaney as a train passenger
Extra. In the shots showing the inside of the other train, she's sitting in an aisle seat right next to Bachman as he says his line. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Mrs. Norman T. Chaney, even though her husband was William J. Chaney.
Dorothy Hamilton Darling as a train passenger
Extra. She's sitting at the window seat next to Mrs. Chaney.
other adults
Supporting roles, small parts, bit parts and extras.
(1.) "Loco Joe," the lunatic that starts up the engine.
(2.) The two engineers of the other train.
(3.) Three additional women and two additional men on the other train. I suspect that the woman sitting directly behind Mrs. Chaney is Mary Ann Jackson's mother, which is a bit more convincing in the second shot when McGowan stumbles.
(4.) The grocery truck driver, who Maltin & Bann list as Jack Hill, but it's impossible to tell in the film. Perhaps there's a photograph that reveals this.
(5.) The engineer of the train that blows steam on Farina and Harry at the beginning of the film.
(6.) Various pedestrians, drivers and streetcar passengers shown in the background, as well as a few railroad workers.

the music:

"I Faw Down And Go Boom" by James Brockman and Leonard Stevens
Published in 1928. This is sung by Mary Ann. At the time, it was a hit (peaking at no. 15 on April 20, 1929) for Eddie Cantor.

music in alternate prints
"That Old Gang Of Mine" by Ray Henderson
Written in 1923 with lyrics by Billy Rose and Mort Dixon. This version is an instrumental. It appears at the end title, but not in the Blackhawk print, suggesting that it was probably not an original part of the film.

the locations:

Santa Fe railroad yards
The tracks run along the west side of the Los Angeles River. The roundhouse is just north of Washington Boulevard. In his book Following The Comedy Trail, author Leon Smith mentions the Olympic Boulevard Bridge, which is north of this location. It can best be seen right after Joe convinces Farina not to jump from the train. Smith also mentions the 4th Street Viaduct as appearing behind the open-air car in which Wheezer and the girls are playing, but it doesn't match the photo in his book, and looks more like the Olympic Boulevard Bridge. He also mentions that the Sears Building (at 2675 East 12th Street) is shown numerous times, but this doesn't match the photo in his book, either. Maltin & Bann state that some of the location footage was shot behind the Samuel Goldwyn studio near Santa Monica Boulevard, which is a pretty good distance from these other locations. They mention some identifying oil cylinders in that area. This location can also be seen in Laurel & Hardy's "Berth Marks" and Charlie Chaplin's "The Kid."
The Optimistic Donut
There are numerous buildings with signs on them seen during the runaway train sequence, but most of them are too blurry to read. However, there is a sign for "The Optimistic Donut," a bakery that sponsored a popular radio program called "The Optimistic Doughnut Hour."
F streetcar
Or perhaps it's the E. At one point, the train races past this streetcar, so the location footage was shot somewhere along this streetcar line.

miscellaneous:

8 shooting dates went into the making of this film. A week and a half after shooting finished for "Small Talk" (no. 89), the 'start' date for "Railroadin'" arrived on Apr. 17th. Shooting continued until the 'finish' date of Apr. 25th. No shooting took place on Apr. 21st, which was a Sunday. Robert F. McGowan directed on each of the shooting dates. After this, two and a half weeks passed before the Our Gang unit began shooting "Boxing Gloves" (no. 91). It should be noted that the press release for this film states that twelve shooting dates were spent with the engine.

During the runaway train sequence, some election posters can be seen, but I can't make out who it was that was running for office.

Another poster seen during the runaway train sequence advertised the 1928 feature "Abie's Irish Rose."

Among the items in the railway car inhabited by Jean, Mary, and Wheezer, is a box of Edison Mazda Lamps, which figured more prominently in "Bouncing Babies" (no. 93).

The first reel ends when Farina says "I wish ah wasn't where ah ain't."

The press release refers to the kids as the six Roach Rascals.

During the scene where the two engines are heading towards each other, the gang is in engine no. 1272 while the opposing train is engine no. 1373. However, earlier shots show the gang in engine no. 1373. According to studio publicity, '1373' was the runaway engine, and the gang made it a certified member of its Whangeedoodle Club, with Joe as president, Harry as secretary, and Farina as treasurer.

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B573.


availability:

The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 15 (VHS) from Cabin Fever and
The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Volume Three (4 LD set) from Cabin Fever
Released 1995. This is a nearly complete print, missing only the MGM lion at the beginning. The picture quality is very good. The total footage is 18:40. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs.
The Little Rascals - The Complete Collection (8 DVD set) from Genius Products
Released late Oct. 2008. This is identical to the Cabin Fever version. There are also four clips from this film included in the documentary The Story Of Hal Roach And Our Gang.
The Little Rascals Comedy Classics Vol. 1 (VHS) from NTA Home Entertainment
Released Apr. 1991. This is a home movie print from Blackhawk. The opening and end titles are remade. The crew credits are a negative image freeze frame of the original. The picture quality is good. The original footage totals 18:15, but the original soundtrack lasts for an additional 0:23.
The Little Rascals Book I (VHS) from Blackhawk Video
This is the Blackhawk print.

© Robert Demoss.


My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Rob Stone (for providing the production number and shooting dates)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Lord Heath (for putting a face to the name with Carolyn Chaney)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)
Jim Kondek (for alerting me to the radio program, "The Optimistic Doughnut Hour")


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