A Tough Winter

film no. 99


availability:

The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 20 (VHS) from Cabin Fever and
The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Volume Four (3 LD set) from Cabin Fever
Released 1995. This is a complete original print with excellent picture quality. The footage totals 20:22. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs. There's also a clip lasting 0:03 included in the opening advertisement on all of the Cabin Fever VHS releases, which shows Mary Ann wiping taffy from her eye. There's also a clip lasting 0:01 included in the opening montage of all the Cabin Fever releases, which shows Mary Ann at the stove.

The Little Rascals Book XIX (VHS) from Blackhawk Video
This is a home movie print from Blackhawk. The opening title is remade, but the special title for Fetchit, the crew credits and the end title are original. The MGM and Our Gang names are blacked out. The picture quality is very good. The original footage totals 20:12.

The Little Rascals - The Complete Collection (8 DVD set) from Genius Products
Released late Oct. 2008. This is the Blackhawk print.


technical details:

Production G-33.

Filmed January 27 to February 15, 1930. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Also filmed in French as "Temps d'Hiver," and in German as "Winter Wetter," both with the same production number. The French version was 1,824 ft, while the German version was 1,859 ft. In the German dialogue sheet, the title is spelled "Winterwetter."

Copyrighted April 14, 1930, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP1219. Renewed June 24, 1957, with registration no. R194354. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2025.

Released June 21, 1930. It was the 99th film in the series to be released, and the last of the 1929/30 season.

All-talking two-reeler.

Opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "A Tough Winter".'

Opening title in French version: '"Notre Clique" Comedies - Hal Roach presente Ses polissons Dans "Temps d'Hiver".'

Opening title in German version: '"Unsere Rangen" - Lustspiele - Hal Roach bringt Seine Schelme in "Winter Wetter".'


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." This credit also appears in the foreign versions.

Directed by Robert F. McGowan
This credit appears in the film, but without his middle initial. He's also credited in the foreign versions.

Photographed by Art Lloyd
This credit appears in the film. He's also credited in the foreign versions.

Edited by Richard Currier
This credit appears in the film. He's also credited in the foreign versions.

Dialogue by H. M. Walker
This credit appears in the film. Walker receives credit as story editor in studio documentation. He's also credited in the foreign versions.

Story by Robert F. McGowan
This credit doesn't appear in the film.

Recording engineered by Elmer Raguse
Not listed by Maltin & Bann. This credit appears in the film. He's also credited in the foreign versions.

Animal Trainer: Harry Lucenay
He was Pete's owner and trainer.

Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Indicated in the opening title card.

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
possible uncredited involvement


the kids:

Allen "Farina" Hoskins as "Farina"
Featured role. He has most of the interaction with Fetchit and is involved in a number of the taffy gags.

Mary Ann Jackson as "Mary"
Featured role. She makes the taffy and then recruits Fetchit to help clean up. It appears that her character name in the German version was "Marie," since this is penciled into the cutting continuity a few times.

Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins as "Wheezer"
Featured role. He's Mary Ann's brother, and gives her the taffy instructions from a radio program.

Jackie Cooper
Supporting role. He's also Mary Ann's brother and is essentially the leader of the gang of boys throwing snowballs.

Norman "Chubby" Chaney
Supporting role. The nickname wasn't used in this film. He has a virtually silent role, and has occasional gags, apparently vomiting at one point, and being puzzled by the rewired gadgets at the end.

Beverly Parrish
Small part. She's the brunette girl that helps Mary in the kitchen. Apparently, she died on February 27th, twelve days after shooting wrapped on this film.

boy 093
Small part. He's the toddler that's given a few closeups here and there. Maltin & Bann list him as Tommy Atkins, but I think this is probably incorrect. He's identified in the cutting continuity only as 'baby.'

boy 099
Small part. He's the boy in shorts and knee socks that gets stuck to the floor.

Warner Weidler
Small part. He's the smaller of the two boys pulling the taffy off of the floor lamp. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Werner.

Wolfgang Weidler
Small part. According to Maltin & Bann. Deductive reasoning leads me to presume that he's the older boy with Warner, since this same boy appears in "Pups Is Pups" (no. 100), for which the authors also list Wolfgang.

other kids
Small parts.
(1.) One additional boy throwing snowballs and joining in on the taffy pull.
(2.) The blonde girl that helps in the kitchen.


the animals:

Pete the Pup (no. 1) as "Petie"
Supporting role. He accompanies Wheezer through most of the film, and barks at the rewired gadgets. This was the original Pete's final appearance in the series. The spelling of his nickname derives from the cutting continuity. He's identified as "Pete, le cabot" in the French continuity.

Dinah the Mule
Small part. Not listed by Maltin & Bann. She pulls Stepin's wagon.

cat 080
Bit part. This is the tabby that's cornered by the taffy.

cat 060
Bit part. This is one of Stepin's two cats.

dog 087b
Bit part. This is Stepin's dog, and is seen following the wagon, and later in Stepin's house.

Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.

other animals
Bit parts and extras.
(1.) Stepin's black cat.
(2.) Stepin's two chickens.
(3.) Stepin's two goats.
(4.) Stepin's goose.
(5.) The fake mouse.


the adults:

Stepin Fetchit as "Stepin" aka "Step"
Lead role. He receives on-screen credit on a separate title card. He's featured very strongly through most of the film, mostly getting others to do his work for him.

Lyle Tayo as "Miss Radio," the radio announcer
Small part. According to Maltin & Bann. It sounds like her, but I can't tell for sure. Studio documentation states that the kids are listening to "Aunt Polly" over Station ZZZ, and that Wheezer calls her "Mrs. Radio."

Abraham Lincoln
He's shown in a portrait on the wall of Fetchit's home.

other adults
Bit parts.
(1.) The telephone operator.
(2.) The mailman.
(3.) The man in the newspaper photograph next to Farina's head as he reads the letter.


the music:

piece 099a
This is played during the opening scenes and continues until the letter arrives.

piece 099b
This is the song that Stepin sings and hums as he undresses. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

piece 099c
This is the piece that begins as Stepin starts dancing and continues at least until the end of the scene.

piece 099d
This is the impromptu tune that Stepin sings as he dances. The lyrics consist of 'oh no it ain't oh yes it is.'

"Smile When The Raindrops Fall" by Alice Keating Howlett
Copyrighted Mar. 21, 1930. Written with lyrics by Will Livernash. An instrumental version is played during the first part of the cooking scene. It's partially repeated when Chubby answers the phone.

"Jack In The Box" by Zez Confrey
Copyrighted 1927. This is played from about the halfway point in the cooking scene until the taffy pull is finished.

piece 099f
This is what Stepin sings as he arrives at the house. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

"For No Reason At All" by Hal E. Rice
This is played from the time Stepin arrives for the cleanup until Chubby gets sprinkled by the fireplace log.

"That Old Gang Of Mine" by Ray Henderson
Written in 1923 with lyrics by Billy Rose and Mort Dixon. An instrumental version is played over the refrigerator-turned-radio, and gets louder as the door is opened, and continues through the end title. The Blackhawk print also plays this piece over the opening titles.


miscellaneous:

18 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Presumably, most of January was committed to formulating the scenario for this film, though the Our Gang unit did deviate long enough to shoot retakes for "Bear Shooters" (no. 98) on Jan. 21st. The letter shown in the film is dated Jan. 12, 1929, which may mean that Walker wrote it himself on that date in 1930, but like most of us in January, hadn't gotten used to writing in the new year just yet. Walker's dialogue sheet for "A Tough Winter" was submitted on Jan. 24th, and the 'starting' date for shooting arrived on Jan. 27th. Shooting continued until the 'finish' date of Feb. 15th. No shooting took place on Jan. 26th, Feb. 2nd, or Feb. 9th, which were all Sundays. After this, nine weeks passed before the Our Gang unit began shooting "Pups Is Pups" (no. 100). The studio was closed for four of those weeks.

This film was basically a pilot film for an unrealized Stepin Fetchit series.

Among the products used in this film are Lux detergent and a Eureka Heating Pad.

Reel one ends as Mary Ann pores the 'taffy' into a larger pan.

This film was removed from King World's TV package in the early 70s.


©May 9, 2005, by Robert Demoss.
2005 updates: 5/16, 5/23, 7/9, 8/30, 12/19.
2006 updates: 2/11, 5/16, 6/23, 10/25.
2007 updates: 4/1, 10/22, 11/9.
2008 updates: 1/19, 7/6, 7/12, 7/20, 8/19, 9/12, 11/6.
2010 updates: 3/21.


Thanks to Rob Stone, Joe Moore, Piet Schreuders, Elliot Unkefer and Paul Mular for assistance on this page.


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