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Small Talk (1929)

The gang is taken from an orphanage & adopted by society matrons.

Director:

Robert F. McGowan (as Robert McGowan)

Writer:

H.M. Walker (dialogue)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Joe Cobb ... Joe (as Hal Roach's Rascals' Voices)
Jean Darling ... Jean (as Hal Roach's Rascals' Voices)
Allen 'Farina' Hoskins ... Farina (as Hal Roach's Rascals' Voices)
Bobby 'Wheezer' Hutchins ... Wheezer (as Hal Roach's Rascals' Voices)
Mary Ann Jackson ... Mary Ann (as Hal Roach's Rascals' Voices)
Harry Spear Harry Spear ... Harry (as Hal Roach's Rascals' Voices)
Pete the Dog ... Pete (as Hal Roach's Rascals' Voices)
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Storyline

The gang is taken from an orphanage & adopted by society matrons.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Family | Short

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 May 1929 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Roach Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the fire department responds to the alarm unknowingly triggered by the Rascals, the fire engines emerge into a wide shot of downtown Culver City, California, looking NorthEast along Culver Blvd. from the City Hall at the right to the Culver Hotel in the distance. Many of Hal Roach's shorts feature buildings in Culver City, as his studios were at Washington Blvd. and National Blvd., a few blocks NorthEast of the Civic Center. See more »

Quotes

Farina: [inside the rich lady's house, Farina thinks he's hearing things] Petey, was that you whistlin'?
Pete: Arf, arf, arf.
[apparently, Farina takes this as a 'No']
Farina: Then nobody was whistlin'? I don't mind somebody whistlin' to me, but when nobody's whistlin', Brother, I'd rather not hear it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in La bola de cristal: Episode #1.29 (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Comin' Thro' The Rye
(uncredited)
Traditional
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Sung by Marion Talley
Orchestra conducted by Josef A. Pasternack
RCA Victor 1926 recording played on radio
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The first of the wonderful Little Rascals sound films
17 July 2017 | by robert-temple-1See all my reviews

This early sound film was to turn out to be historic. It would commence a lengthy series of delightful and often hilarious short sound films called the Little Rascals series and afterwards the Our Gang series. The project was originated by the brilliant producer, Hal Roach. The opening credits of this film describe it as 'Hal Roach's Rascals' Voices'. The emphasis on the word 'voices' was because this was the first year of sound films. It is typical of Roach that the title of this film was an amusing pun, for as all the main characters were very small, their conversation must all be 'small talk'. Geddit? The Rascals films had originally started in the silent days of 1922. Six children appear in this first sound film, the characters Joe, Jean, Farina, Wheezer, Mary Ann, and Harry, along with Pete the Dog, and a talking parrot as well. And oh yes, some grownups appear too, but they don't count. Many of the characters later to be famous in the series, such as Buckwheat, Darla, and Alfalfa, do not yet appear. Indeed, Darla Hood who was to play Darla and Billie Thomas who was to play Buckwheat would both not even be born until two years after this film came out, and Alfalfa was at this time only two years old. Their chance would come later. In the meantime, there is plenty of fun to be had with the original cast of children for the commencement of the sound films. Joe Cobb who plays Joe is a very obese little boy (who despite that lived to be 85) who starts the film by doing what sounds like a Jimmy Cagney imitation. Jean Darling who plays Jean is a fey little blonde girl who would much later play Jane Eyre as a child in the 1934 film JANE EYRE and live to be 93. Allen Hoskins who plays the little black boy called Farina is the only member of the cast who had been in the Rascals films from the beginning in 1922, when he was only two years old. He therefore had a considerable amount of camera experience by this time, aged nine. Bobby Hutchins who plays Wheezer is adorable at the age of four. He would later be tragically killed in an Air Force plane crash in 1945, aged only 20. I am particularly keen on Wheezer because my wife and I once had a black Persian cat called alternatively Wheezer or Weeza. Mary Ann Jackson who plays Mary lived to be 80 but quit the screen in 1941, aged only 18. She had actually commenced her screen career aged 2 in a 1925 silent film and by the time she became a Hal Roach Rascal for the first time in 1928, in a film which was still a silent (SCHOOL BEGINS), she had already appeared in 23 short films. No wonder she retired early, as by the age of five she was already such a veteran, and she must have been exhausted (and when did she have time for school?) Harry Spear who plays Harry was eight years old and had commenced acting in silent films at the age of five and joined the Rascals at the age of six. He 'retired from the screen' at the age of nine in 1929, having during that year made eight Rascals sound films. He lived to be 84 but never appeared in films for the last 73 years of his life. As for Pete the Dog, his original name had been Pal. He began his film career in 1924 and died in 1946, having appeared in 95 films. Although in the Rascal's films, he later became Spanky's dog, in this film he is Wheezer and Mary's dog. His wonderful ability to be a straight man (sorry, dog) in scene after scene of the Rascals films, to pull pranks and be the butt of jokes, helped make the series so hilarious. In this film, he sits on a piano stool watching a player piano and wondering how it works, and then joins in by howling with it. He was a true star, never to be forgotten. As for the parrot in this film, he remains in the ignominy of oblivion, as his name is not recorded, though his comment: 'Give me a biscuit' is forever memorable. And as for the dead canary, he too is unnamed, but perhaps he inspired the famous Dead Parrot Sketch of the Monty Python team decades later. This film starts by showing the six children in a small house called Mr Brown's Children's Home. Later in the film it is referred to as an orphanage and also as an orphan asylum (the latter hardly being accurate, as the six children were the only orphans there). An affluent childless woman (played by Helen Eddy) comes to adopt little Wheezer, leaving behind Wheezer's older sister Mary. Mary cries and cries and the five remaining orphans all band together to track down Wheezer's new home and visit him. They arrive during a large social reception and climb into the house through an open window, along with Pete the Dog of course. All kinds of mayhem then ensues. It would spoil viewers' fun to say much more and describe the resolution of the separated siblings. This film runs for 25 minutes, far longer than the later Rascals films. It is a delight from start to finish. We cannot take our leave of this film without paying tribute to the inspired direction of this and other Rascals films, as well as Laurel and Hardy and other comedies, by Robert F. McGowan. He was an old pro who started directing in 1916 and made no less than 120 films in his lifetime (he died in 1955 aged 72), and essentially retired in 1940. Never again after the Little Rascals and Our Gang would humour with kids on screen rise so high.


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