Canned Fishing

film no. 163


technical details:

Production K-16.

Release no. C-734.

Filmed January 10 to 25, 1938. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Title sheet prepared by Elmer Raguse on February 5, 1938.

Cutting continuity submitted February 5, 1938.

Music cue sheet prepared February 14, 1938.

Released February 12, 1938. It was the 163rd film in the series to be released. Early in the film season, Fred Quimby of MGM set a projected release date for this production of December 4, 1937.

Copyrighted February 16, 1938, by Loew's Incorporated. Registration no. LP7846. Renewed June 16, 1965, with registration no. R362812. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2033.

All-talking one-reeler.

Opening title: 'Hal Roach presents Our Gang in "Canned Fishing".'

King World Productions episode no. 54b, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions.


the crew:

Produced by Hal Roach
Credited in the film as a presenter.
Directed by Gordon Douglas
This credit appears in the film.
Assistant Director: Lawrence Tarver
This credit derives from studio documentation.
Photography: Art Lloyd, A. S. C. and Wallace Chewning
The film gives sole credit to Lloyd. The daily film reports reveal that Chewning performed this duty from Jan. 10th to 12th.
Film Editor: William Ziegler
This credit appears in the film.
Sound: Oscar Lagerstrom
This credit appears in the film.
Script Clerks: Ellen Hansen and Murphy
These credits derive from the daily film reports, which don't provide Murphy's last name. On most of the shooting date, Hansen was the script clerk, while Murphy performed this duty on Jan. 10th and 11th, and on the recording date of Jan. 28th. Hansen was later known as Ellen Corby.
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Indicated in the opening title card.
Passed by the National Board of Review
As indicated in the film.
Western Electric System
As indicated in the film.
Approved by the Motion Picture Producers & Distributors of America
Certificate no. 4034.
studio personnel
vice president in charge of production - S. S. Van Keuren
secretary-treasurer - Mat O'Brien
Roach's assistant on production activities - Lawrence Tarver
assistant secretary-treasurer, comptroller - Hugh Huber
film editor and sound department - Elmer Raguse
story department - Jack Jevne
property department - W. L. Stevens
process department - Roy Seawright
still photographer - Bud "Stax" Graves
musical director - Marvin Hatley
men's wardrobe - Harry Black
paymaster - Mrs. Grace Cash
transportation director - Bob Davis
school teacher - Fern Carter
possible uncredited involvement
writing - James Parrott, Hal Law, Felix Adler and Gordon Douglas may have been among the gag writers.
property department - Charles Oelze was probably involved in this capacity.

the kids:

George "Spanky" McFarland as "Spanky"
Featured role. He devises a scheme to keep himself and Alfalfa out of school.
Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer as "Alfalfa"
Featured role. He pretends to be sick to fool Spanky's mom.
Gary Jasgur as "Junior"
Featured role. Listed by Maltin & Bann as Gary Jasgar. The original script contains dialogue in which he's referred to as "Gary." The final script changes this to "Junior," but still refers to him as "Gary" in the non-dialogue portions. He manages to lure Spanky and Alfalfa into the reducing machine and turns on the switch.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas as "Buckwheat"
Supporting role. He demonstrates the washing machine technique and gets stuck.
Eugene "Porky" Lee as "Porky"
Small part. He's seen with Buckwheat early in the film, but disappears after that.
Darla Hood
She's not in the film itself, but her photo is shown during the opening titles.
Baby Patsy May
She's not in the film itself, but her photo is shown during the opening titles.

the animals:

Leo
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
Pete the Pup IV
He's not actually in the film, but his photo is shown during the opening titles.

the adults:

Wilma Cox as Spanky's mom
Supporting role. She figures out Spanky and Alfalfa's scheme, and makes them look after Junior.

the music:

"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A17.) This is played over the opening titles and as we first see Spanky and Alfalfa. The last part is played as the boys run down the alley and the end title appears.

the locations:

Hal E. Roach Studios
All of the interior footage in this film was shot on Stage 4.
9634 Farragut Drive, Culver City
The backyard is at this address, and the alley shown in the closing shot is right next to it. Spanky visited this home with Richard Bann in 1989. The address as listed here derives from Leon Smith's Following The Comedy Trail. The studio documentation consistently refers to this address as 9436. The last time I visited this address was before I realized this discrepancy, so for the time being, I'm left with online mapping sites, which seem to indicate that 9436 doesn't exist. It's possible, however, that the numbers on the houses have changed since 1938.

miscellaneous:

Seven shooting dates went into the making of this film. It should be noted that the date of January 11th attributed to the photo in Maltin & Bann's book does not correspond to the documentation, which would date the photo on January 10th or 13th. Here's a breakdown of the activity, deriving from the call sheets, daily film reports, location work sheets, and various memos:
Dec. 30 to 31 - A surviving script carries this date, and contains details that were changed before the film was shot. The most obvious difference would be the inclusion of Porky in the latter part of the film, which became impossible during the actual shooting when he became ill. In the shot where Buckwheat (who's repeatedly referred to as "Buck") says "Not a bit of trouble!", Porky follows up with "No. Not much!" In the film, Buckwheat ended up with both lines. Also, after Spanky's mother gets off the phone, Alfalfa's mother arrives at the house pretending to be worried about her son. The two mothers go shopping together, and Alf's mom leaves behind his twin baby brothers "Elmer" and "Delmer," so Spanky and Alfalfa have three kids to look after.
Jan. 8 - Film costs for the previous week were $1604.81.
Jan. 10 - This was the first day of shooting. Scheduled were the four main boys, Gary Jasgur, and Wilma Cox. Shooting was to take place in the backyard and on the porch of 9436 Farragut Drive. The call sheet also has the instruction "cover set bedroom - stage 4," which I think means that this set was ready in case of inclement weather at the location. Props ordered included books, fishing poles, a doorbell and pushbutton, and an incinerator. The title at this point was listed as "Untitled (Our Gang)." The daily film report reveals that the porch scene with Buckwheat, Porky and Spanky's mother was shot on this day, as well as the backyard scene in which she leaves Junior behind with the boys. No shooting took place at the studio. The location work sheet indicates that 51 people descended upon this house, including the director, assistant director, cameraman, 2nd cameraman, assistant cameraman, 2 prop men, 4 grips, 1 script clerk, 4 sound technicians, 7 electricians, 1 wardrobe matron, 1 hairdresser, 3 whistlemen, 1 stillman, 6 drivers, the four boys, Gary Jasgur, an accompanying adult for each kid, a third person accompanying Spanky, a third person accompanying Alfalfa, Wilma Cox, a teacher, and two officers. Six automobiles were needed to transport these people. A surviving script carries this date, though it indicates that it was written on Jan. 5th. Porky was still included in the latter part of the story in this script. A Tarver memo from this date to Van Keuren, Huber and Collum, stated that the four main boys, Gary Jasgur and Wilma Cox, all started on this date. A Collum memo to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, requests that the four main boys be 'started' as of this date.
Jan. 11 - This was the second day of shooting. Scheduled were the four main boys, Gary, and Wilma Cox. Shooting had originally been intended for the bedroom set on Stage 4, and the call sheet for this day continued with this plan, but it also added the interior back porch set on Stage 4, which appears to refer to the set with the washing machine. The film at this point was referred to as "Untitled (Our Gang)." The daily film report reveals that Buckwheat, Porky and Gary were not present, and lists the interior bedroom and interior hallway sets on Stage 4. Most of the footage achieved on this date involved the opening bedroom sequence. The footage with the washing machine was left for another day.
Jan. 12 - This was the third day of shooting. Scheduled were the four main boys, Gary and Wilma. Shooting was to take place on the bedroom and bath sets on Stage 4. The film at this point was referred to as "Untitled (Our Gang)." The daily film report reveals that Porky was sick on this day and did not work. It also mentions that Darla didn't work, but this seems a bit unneccesary to point out. Footage was shot on the bedroom, hallway and bathroom sets, all on Stage 4. Most of the footage shot on this day took place in the bedroom and involved Wilma Cox pretending to believe the boys.
Jan. 13 - This was the fourth day of shooting. Scheduled were Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Gary and Wilma. Originally, shooting on this date was to take place on the interior bath and back porch sets on Stage 4. By the time the call sheet was prepared, shooting was planned for the Farragut backyard and porch. An additional instruction reads "cover set - bath & back porch - stage 4." There's also an instruction to use a speed camera. The film at this point was referred to as "Untitled (Our Gang)." The daily film report corroborates this information, stating that Porky was still sick and that Darla did not work, and that the backyard and alley were used. Most of the footage achieved on this date involved Buckwheat's return to the house and refusal to watch Junior, and the final footage of the boys running off to school.
Jan. 14 - This was the fifth day of shooting. Scheduled were Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Gary and Wilma. Shooting was to take place on the interior bath and back porch sets on Stage 4, and the hall set on Stage 4. The film at this point was referred to as "Untitled (Our Gang)." Very little of the planned footage was achieved, however, since Spanky and Alfalfa both joined Porky on the sick list. And, once again, the daily film report lets us know that Darla didn't work. Basically, four shots were achieved, mostly involving Gary Jasgur, but also including the one in which Wilma Cox shuts off the washing machine. The sets used were the interior bathroom on Stage 4, and the interior kitchen (which seems to be another name for the interior back porch set).
Jan. 15 - A Raguse memo from this date copying in Bren, Van Keuren, Douglas, Tarver, O'Brien and Burch, states that "Canned Fishing" was being registered that day as the maintitle. Film costs for the previous week were $3432.15, bringing the total to $5036.96 so far.
Jan. 22 - Film costs for the previous week were $587.79, bringing the total to $5624.75 so far.
Jan. 24 - This was the sixth day of shooting. Scheduled were Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Gary and Wilma. Shooting was to take place on the bathroom and back porch sets on Stage 4, the object being to finally finish the film after a ten-day delay. The daily film report states that Darla and Porky did not work, and that footage was shot on the interior kitchen (back porch) and bathroom sets. Among the footage achieved was the scene in which the boys demonstrate the washing machine to Junior, and much of the steam cabinet footage. Nevertheless, they were unable to get the film finished.
Jan. 25 - This was the final day of shooting. Scheduled were Spanky, Alfalfa, Gary, and possibly Wilma. Shooting was to take place on the bathroom set on Stage 4. The daily film report reveals that Wilma Cox did indeed work on this date, with footage shot both on the interior bathroom and interior hallway sets on Stage 4. Porky, Darla and Buckwheat did not work. This was supposed to be a half day of shooting, with the call sheet even referring to it as Day 6 1/2. It wasn't until 3:50 pm that work began on the next production, "Bear Facts" (no. 164), with Buckwheat and Porky in attendance. A Tarver memo from this date to Van Keuren, Huber and Collum, states that Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Gary, and Wilma Cox, all finished on this production at 3:50 pm, and that the four main boys started working on "Bear Facts" at that time. A Collum memo to O'Brien, Van Keuren, Huber and Cash, requests that Spanky, Alfalfa and Buckwheat, be 'closed' as of this date.
Jan. 28 - Sound tracks were recorded on this date, with Ziegler and Murphy in attendance. Sound effects included firecrackers, a doorbell and a buzzer.
Jan. 29 - Film costs for the previous week were $1248.81, bringing the total to $6873.56 so far.
Feb. 19 - Film costs for the previous week were $400.97, bringing the total to $7274.53 so far.

The negative cost on this film as of Feb. 5, 1938, was $27,638.92. This memo refers to the film as "Can Fishing."

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B370.

A document prepared at the beginning of the film season gave projected dates for all of the one-reelers to be released. Editing on this film was to begin on Nov. 5th, with the negative cut on Nov. 17th and shipped to MGM on Nov. 20th, and the film released on Dec. 4th.


availability:

The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 16 (VHS) from Cabin Fever and
The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Volume Three (4 LD set) from Cabin Fever
Released 1995. This is a complete original print with excellent picture quality. The total footage lasts 10:42. 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.
The Little Rascals Colorized Collection (VHS) from Hallmark Home Entertainment
Released Apr. 19, 1999. One of six same-named VHS releases, each with three colorized films, deriving from the Cabin Fever versions.

© Robert Demoss.


My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Rob Stone (for providing the production number)
Joe Moore (for providing the copyright information)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)
Debby Mendelsohn (for verifying the spelling of Gary Jasgur's last name)
bigshotjones (for researching Gary Jasgur and getting discussion started on this matter)


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