Helping Grandma

film no. 103


availability:

The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 7 (VHS) from Cabin Fever and
The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Volume Two (4 LD set) from Cabin Fever
Released July 6, 1994. Also released as part of 12 VHS boxed set. This is a complete original print with excellent picture quality. The footage totals 20:47. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs. There are also two clips included in the opening advertisement of all the Cabin Fever VHS releases. The 1st lasts 0:02, and shows Wheezer konking the bad guy on the head. The 2nd lasts 0:02, and shows Farina on the phone.

The Little Rascals Volume 7: Collector's Edition (VHS) from Hallmark Home Entertainment
Released Aug. 15, 2000. Also included as part of The Little Rascals Volumes 1-10: Collector's Edition (10 VHS set), released Aug. 15, 2000.

The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 7 & Vol. 8 (DVD) from Cabin Fever
Same contents as the Cabin Fever VHS releases. Also released as part of The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited (6 DVD set).

The Little Rascals - The Complete Collection (8 DVD set) from Genius Products
Released late Oct. 2008. This is identical to the Cabin Fever version.

The Best Of The Little Rascals (VHS) from NTA Home Entertainment
Released Oct. 1992. This is a home movie print from Blackhawk, with a remade opening title and the original end title. The crew credits are original, but with the MGM and Our Gang names blacked out. The picture quality is good. The original footage totals 20:28, but the original soundtrack lasts an additional 0:11.

The Little Rascals Book IV (VHS) from Blackhawk Video
This is the Blackhawk print.

Rascal Dazzle (VHS/LD) from Embassy Home Entertainment
Original film released 1981. Video released 1984. A clip lasting 0:05 is included, showing Wheezer and Shirley flirting with each other.


technical details:

Production G-37.

Filmed July 28 to August 6, 1930. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Copyrighted October 1, 1930, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP1660. Renewed January 13, 1958, with registration no. R206652. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2025.

Released January 3, 1931. It was the 103rd film in the series to be released.

All-talking two-reeler.

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

King World Productions episode no. 6, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions.


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.

Dialogue by H. M. Walker
This credit appears in the film. Studio documentation credits him as a story editor.

Recording Engineer: Elmer Raguse
Not listed by Maltin & Bann. This credit appears in the film.

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:

Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins as "Wheezer"
Featured role. Mary Ann leaves him in charge of the store, and he waits on Stymie.

Matthew "Stymie" Beard
Featured role. The nickname doesn't turn up in the dialogue, but is indicated in the cutting continuity. The press book refers to him as "Mathew Beard, nicknamed 'Stymie'." The script, however, refers to him as "Tumble-Weed." His big scene is the one where he tastes various things in the store.

Jackie Cooper as "Jack"
Supporting role. He's prominent early in the film, basically being the leader among the kids, but doesn't appear too much in the second half.

Allen "Farina" Hoskins
Supporting role. The nickname doesn't turn up in the dialogue, but is indicated in the cutting continuity. He's given a recurring comedy bit on the phone.

Dorothy "Echo" DeBorba
Supporting role. She accompanies Wheezer throughout the film. Maltin & Bann state that she's Wheezer's sister, but there isn't any indication in this film. Neither her real name nor her nickname turn up in the dialogue, but she's referred to as "Dorothy" in the cutting continuity.

Shirley Jean Rickert as "Shirley"
Supporting role. She flirts with Wheezer, and then assists in finding things for Stymie to taste. This was her first appearance in the series. Her inclusion in the film was decided at a fairly early date, since her name appears in both the synopsis and the script.

Norman "Chubby" Chaney
Supporting role. The nickname doesn't turn up in the dialogue, but is indicated in the cutting continuity. He's given a few comic moments along the way, but otherwise isn't too prominent in this film.

Mary Ann Jackson as "Mary"
Supporting role. She's left in charge of the store, but in turn leaves Wheezer in charge.

Bobby "Bonedust" Young as "Bonedust" aka "Robert"
Small part. He's featured in an early scene being intimidated by Jackie.

Donald Haines
Small part. He accompanies the older kids in their scenes, but is only given one line. His full name is used in the cutting continuity.


the animals:

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

bugwatch
There are various flies buzzing around the store.


the adults:

Margaret Mann as "Mrs. Margaret Mack" aka "Grandma"
Featured role. She's ready to sell her store, but still has time to attend to the kids' needs.

Oscar Apfel as "Pennypacker"
Featured role. He's the skinflint that's trying to buy Grandma's store at a lower price. His character name in the synopsis is "Mr. Pennypincher." By the time the script was written, it had become "Pennypacker."

Del Henderson as one of the chain store officials
Supporting role. He's the chain store official that does most of the talking. Listed as "Henderson" in the cutting continuity.

William Gillespie as "Billy," the other chain store official
Supporting role. He doesn't talk as much as Henderson, but is present in the same scenes. Listed as "Gillespie" in the cutting continuity.

other adults
The only remaining adult is a man seen walking in the background as the chain store officials first enter the store. Maltin & Bann credit David Sharpe as a stunt double for Margaret Mann, but I don't see any opportunities for this.


the music:

"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A10.) The tenth version is played over the opening titles. A portion of it is repeated as the boys leave to make their deliveries.
(A11.) The eleventh version is played as Jackie intimidates Bonedust, and is faster in tempo, but in the same key as the opening version.

"Here Are The Pets" by Leroy Shield
The first part of this piece is played as Farina is talking on the phone. It's played again during Farina's second phone call.

"Ah! 'Tis Love" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Dec. 23, 1930. The introduction to this piece is played as we're introduced to Chubby.

"Apples, Apples" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Dec. 23, 1930. This is a succession of short effect pieces played as Chubby speaks and pulls the worm out of the apple. The middle section is very similar to the "Miser" themes.

"Wishing" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. This is played as Jackie talks to Grandma. A portion of it is played again as Grandma takes Wheezer's money and he dumps his candy on the porch to count it. It's played again as Grandma first talks to Pennypacker, where it's interspersed with "Miser." A small portion is played again as Grandma leaves the kids in charge of the store. A short bit of this returns as Grandma responds to Wheezer's injury. A very short bit returns as Grandma realizes she doesn't have her glasses. Another short bit is played as Grandma responds to Stymie.

"Tuba"
This is the tuba effect piece played after Farina makes a crack about ill-gotten gains.

piece 103e
This laugh effect piece is at the end of Farina's second phone call.

"Candy Candy" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Dec. 23, 1930. This is played as the little kids shop for candy. The first half is repeated as Mary Ann talks on the phone and leaves Wheezer in charge of the store. A faster version is played as Stymie tastes the different foods in the store, where it's interspersed with pieces 103l, 103m, 103n, 103o, 103p and 103q. A short part of this tune returns as Stymie borrows Grandma's glasses. Another short bit is played as Stymie realizes the watermelon was a cucumber.

"One For You" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. This is a violin piece edited with a chime effect, and played as Wheezer counts the candy. The chime is heard again as Grandma nods at Pennypacker. It's heard once more as Mary Ann talks about the gold chain her father bought.

piece 103g
This is a short effect piece played as Stymie says 'I knows it' for the last time. This may actually be part of the "One For You" recording.

"Why! The Old Flirt" by Leroy Shield
This is played as Wheezer and Shirley flirt with each other.

"Miser" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. This is played as Grandma first talks to Pennypacker, where it's interspersed with "Wishing." It's otherwise slightly different from the Beau Hunks version. A portion of it is played again as Pennypacker asks the kids about the chain store officials, where it's interspersed with the other "Miser" piece. A different arrangement is played as Grandma returns to the store with Pennypacker. A very short bit of this returns as Pennypacker takes the glasses from Stymie. Another short part is played as Pennypacker accuses Grandma of tricking him.

"Teeter-Totter" by Leroy Shield
The introduction to this piece is played as Mary Ann cleans the counters while eating candy, and is repeated in a lower key.

"On To The Show" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. This is played as Jackie and Farina lie to the chain store officials. This version slows down a couple of times before speeding back up. A fast version with no slow-downs is played as the chain store officials leave. This version is played again as the chain store officials keep calling the store. A short bit is played again as the chain store officials talk to Pennypacker on the phone. A very short bit of this is played as the chain store officials finally make it to the store.

piece 103h
This is an effect piece played as Chubby talks to the chain store officials.

"Miser" by Leroy Shield
This is a short suspense piece played as Pennypacker takes the letter from Farina. It returns as Pennypacker leaves. This piece should not be confused with the more common "Miser" piece heard on the Beau Hunks CD. It's very similar to the opening of the long version of "Yearning."

piece 103j
This is a short trombone effect piece played as Stymie arrives with the string tied around his finger.

"Beautiful Lady" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. This is a slow version played as Wheezer tries to find out what Stymie wants, where it's interspersed with piece 103k. The recording repeats a couple of times, but the middle part never appears.

piece 103k
This is a short effect piece played as Wheezer looks severely at Stymie. A longer version is played the second time Wheezer gives Stymie this look. A slightly different version is played the third time around.

piece 103l
This is a short effect piece played as Stymie reacts to the soap.

piece 103m
This is a short effect piece played as Stymie reacts to the shoe polish.

piece 103n
This is a short effect piece played as Stymie reacts to the gasoline.

piece 103o
This is a short effect piece played as Stymie reacts to the moth balls.

piece 103p
This is a short effect piece played as Stymie reacts to the glue.

piece 103q
This is a short effect piece played as Stymie reacts to the limburger.

piece 103r
This is an effect piece played as Pennypacker gets the contract ready for Grandma.

"Yearning" by Leroy Shield
This short piece is played twice in a row as Grandma laments losing her store. It returns as Grandma responds to the kids' request for candy. This piece should not be confused with the more commonly-heard "Yearning," which appears on the Beau Hunks CD.

piece 103t
This is a short suspense piece played as Grandma is about to sign the contract, only to be interrupted by Wheezer getting hit on the finger with a hammer. It returns as Grandma is about to sign the contract again, only to be interrupted by Stymie. This may be part of the "Miser" family of compositions.

piece 103u
This is a short suspense piece played as Pennypacker gives the kids a quarter. This may also be part of the "Miser" family of compositions.

"Yearning" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Aug. 13, 1931. Most of this piece is played as Grandma signs away the store. A short bit of it is played as the chain store official points out the blank piece of paper to Grandma. A couple of more fragments are played as Grandma socks Pennypacker and the end title appears.


the locations:

Hal Roach Ranch
Mrs. Mack's Grocery was located here, right across from District School No. 6, which can be seen out the window of the store. It's clear that the picket fence seen in front of the school in other episodes was put there only for those films, since it's absent in this one. The eucalyptus-lined road along which the car speeds was the access road leading into the ranch. It was located roughly where David Avenue is nowadays, just west of Robertson Boulevard. The grocery store is the same one featured in "Roamin' Holiday" (no. 156).


miscellaneous:

10 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Four and a half weeks had passed since the last day of shooting for "School's Out" (no. 102). The studio had been closed for one of those weeks. The 'start' date for "Helping Grandma" arrived on July 28th. Shooting continued until the 'finish' date of Aug. 6th. No shooting took place on July 27th, which was a Sunday, but shooting did take place on Sunday, Aug. 3rd. After this, four weeks passed before the Our Gang unit began filming "Love Business" (no. 104).

Reel one ends as Pennypacker exits after confiscating the letter.

In the category of unseen characters is "Tommycat," who's just had kittens.


©May 13, 2005, by Robert Demoss.
2005 updates: 5/16, 6/17, 7/4, 7/9, 8/27, 8/30, 12/19.
2006 updates: 2/11, 5/16, 6/11, 10/25, 11/2.
2007 updates: 4/1, 10/22.
2008 updates: 2/21, 4/25, 7/6, 7/23, 8/19, 8/30, 11/6.
2009 updates: 6/8, 6/9, 7/23.


Thanks to Rob Stone, Joe Moore, Piet Schreuders, Bob Satterfield, Richard Bann and Paul Mular for assistance on this page.


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