The First Seven Years

film no. 96

technical details:

Production G-30.

Filmed October 28 to November 16, 1929. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Also filmed in Spanish as "Los pequeños papas" with the same production number. Reportedly, there were also French and German versions made. The picture negative for the Spanish version survives, but not the soundtrack. The Spanish version is 1,945 ft.

Title sheet prepared by H. M. Walker on November 26, 1929.

Dialogue cutting continuity submitted January 7, 1930.

Copyrighted January 20, 1930, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP1004. Renewed June 24, 1957, with registration no. R194353. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2025.

Released March 1, 1930. It was the 96th film in the series to be released.

All-talking two-reeler. (In actuality, there is a little bit of silent footage in this film.)

Opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "The First Seven Years".'

Opening title in Spanish version: 'Hal Roach presenta Sus Actores Chiquitos en "Los Pequeños Papas".'

King World Productions episode no. 18, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions.

the crew:

Produced by Robert F. McGowan for Hal Roach
This is how Maltin & Bann put it. The film credits Roach as a presenter, and designates it as "A Robert McGowan Production."
Directed by Robert F. McGowan
This credit appears in the film, but without his middle initial. He's also credited in the Spanish version.
Assistant Director: Don Sandstrom
This credit derives from studio documentation.
Photographed by Art Lloyd
This credit appears in the film. He's also credited in the Spanish version.
Film Editor: Richard Currier
This credit appears in the film. He's also credited in the Spanish version.
Story Editor: H. M. Walker
This credit appears in the film. He's also credited in the Spanish version.
Recording Engineer: Elmer Raguse
This credit appears in the film. He's also credited in the Spanish version.
Spanish language coach: Miss Laurel Peralta
This is revealed by the photograph in Maltin & Bann's book, as well as Peralta's inclusion as a Spanish instructor in the studio payroll summaries during this period. Also working in the same capacity was Robert O'Connor, though it appears that Peralta was assigned the Our Gang unit, with O'Connor probably working with other units. The absence of French or German instructors in the summaries throws some doubt on the making of versions of this film in those two languages.
Animation by Roy Seawright
This credit derives from Seawright's payroll status as the studio animator during this period. This film features an animated electric shock.
Story by Robert F. McGowan
This credit doesn't appear in the film.
Animal Trainer: Harry Lucenay
He was Pete's owner and trainer.
Teacher: Fern Carter
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
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
direction - The foreign-language version was probably directed by James W. Horne.
assistant direction - Possibly Charles Oelze.
editing - Louis McManus probably edited the Spanish version.
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.
titles - Louis McManus probably designed the main titles, as well as the Spanish title cards.
animation - Probably the work of Roy Seawright.

the kids:

Jackie Cooper as "Jackie" aka "Jack"
Lead role. He's in love with Mary Ann, and fights a duel over her. He's identified by his full name in the cutting continuity. He plays "Juanito" in the Spanish version. According to the press release for this film, Cooper replaced Harry Spear as the latest 'good little bad boy' of the gang.
Donald Haines as "Speck"
Featured role. He's Jackie's rival. Studio publicity for this film indicates that he was not a regular member of the troupe. He's identified in the cutting continuity as "Donny." He plays "Pecas" in the Spanish version.
Mary Ann Jackson
Supporting role. She's the girl being fought over. She's identified as "Mary Ann" in the cutting continuity, though her name doesn't show up in the dialogue. She plays "Maria" in the Spanish version.
Allen "Farina" Hoskins
Supporting role. The nickname isn't used in this film, but it appears in the cutting continuity. He's Speck's trainer, and is involved in many of the gags. His usual character name was used in the Spanish version.
Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins as "Wheezer"
Supporting role. His big scene is the one where he rolls down a hill in some metal piping. He plays "Chico" in the Spanish version.
Norman "Chubby" Chaney as "Chubby"
Supporting role. He's Jackie's trainer and his best friend. He plays "Gordito" in the Spanish version.
Dorothy Morrison
Small part. She plays Farina's 'wife.' Maltin lists her as Jannie Hoskins in his earlier book, The Great Movie Shorts. She's identified in the cutting continuity as 'Colored Girl.'
other kids
Bit parts.
(1.) The black baby parented by Farina and Dorothy.
(2.) A baby shown with a woman in a picture on the wall of Farina's house. This is clearly shown in publicity photos.

the animals:

Pete the Pup (no. 1) as "Petie"
Supporting role. He's present through most of the film, but is given only a few gags here and there. The spelling of his nickname derives from the cutting continuity. He's listed in studio publicity for this film as "Pete, the pup."
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.

the adults:

Edgar Kennedy as "Mr. Kennedy" aka "Kennedy the Cop" aka "Officer Kennedy"
Supporting role. He advises Jackie on how acquire a wife. He's listed as "El Policia" in the Spanish continuity.
Joy Winthrop as "Granny"
Supporting role. She gives Jackie some fancy duds to wear, and later pummels Speck's dad.
Elisa Hughes
Presumed supporting role. She acted in the Spanish version. Since Laura Peralta is the correct age to play the mother, I'm guessing that Elisa Hughes played the grandmother, though I don't know what she looks like. This character is listed as "Abuela" in the Spanish continuity.
Laura Peralta
Presumed small part. She acted in the Spanish version, presumably as Jackie's mother. This character is listed as "Mama" in the Spanish continuity.
Otto Fries as Speck's father
Small part. He holds Jackie's arms so his son can beat him up.
Emma Reed as Farina's mom
Bit part. She swallows her clothes pins when she sees what's happening to her clothes. She's identified in the cutting continuity as "Colored Mammy." She's listed as "Negrita" in the Spanish continuity.
other adults
Small parts, bit parts and extras.
(1.) Jackie's mother. She's identified in the cutting continuity only as "Mother."
(2.) The stunt double for Granny.
(3.) The person driving the car as Wheezer rolls down the hill.
(4.) Somebody in the background putting up laundry as Wheezer goes into the pipe.
(5.) A pedestrian shown in the background as Jackie's face is against the fence.
(6.) A woman shown in a picture on the wall of Farina's house. Another picture shows another woman, this one with a baby. These are both clearly shown in publicity photos.

the music:

music in alternate prints
"That Old Gang Of Mine" by Ray Henderson
Written in 1923 with lyrics by Billy Rose and Mort Dixon. This is an instrumental version that's played over the opening titles. Maltin & Bann say that there isn't any music at all, so it may have been added later. The version in the Blackhawk print has been shortened, so this also suggests that it wasn't an original part of the film.

the locations:

Maltin & Bann state that this was filmed in the residential backyards of Culver City, but they're not specific.

the house
The house used in the scene with Mary Ann, Jackie and Donald, has the number 3415 on it, as revealed in publicity photos.
the park bench
Not the same as on the northwest corner of Motor Avenue and Woodbine Street. It advertises Midway Auto something on Sepulveda Boulevard.


18 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Two weeks after shooting finished for "Shivering Shakespeare" (no. 95), the 'start' date arrived for "The First Seven Years" on Oct. 28th. Shooting continued until the 'finish' date of Nov. 16th. No shooting took place on Oct. 27th, Nov. 3rd, or Nov. 10th, which were all Sundays. Robert F. McGowan directed on each of the shooting dates. After this, almost two weeks passed before the Our Gang unit began filming "When The Wind Blows" (no. 97).

Reel two opens with Jackie fencing with the dummy.

Studio documentation sometimes identifies this film as "The 1st Seven Years."

According to studio documentation, this film ran 20 minutes and 9 seconds. The Spanish version was 21 minutes and 6 seconds.

According to the press release for this film, Robert McGowan left for an extended vacation immediately after finishing this film. Reportedly, he hadn't had a vacation in eight years (a very unlikely claim) and was going to spend this one in Honolulu. His physician had advised that he take six months off. He was absent from the Our Gang unit for only one month, but this does explain why James Horne directed the next short.

It appears that Farina's scene with the black girl is not in the Spanish version.

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B417.


The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 11 (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 total footage is 19:57. This version has appeared on numerous bootlegs. There's also a clip lasting 0:01 shown during the opening advertisement on all of the Cabin Fever VHS releases, which shows Mary Ann reacting.
The Little Rascals Remastered & Unedited Vol. 11 & Vol. 12 (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 Little Rascals Volume 2 (VHS) from Spotlite Video
Released 1985. This is a home movie print from Blackhawk. The opening title and crew credits are remade and the end title derives from one of the one-reelers from around 1936 or 1937. The picture quality is good. The original footage totals 19:19.
The Little Rascals Book X (VHS) from Blackhawk Video
This is the Blackhawk print.
Rascal Dazzle (VHS/LD) from Embassy Home Entertainment
Original film released 1981. Video released 1984. Four clips from this film are included. The first clip, lasting 0:17, shows Jackie and his mother, with music and narration added. The second clip, lasting 0:03, shows Jackie flirting with Mary Ann. The third clip, lasting 0:04, shows Mary Ann accepting Jackie as her boyfriend. The last clip, lasting 0:51, shows Kennedy advising Jackie, and Mary Ann rejecting him, with music and narration added.
Jackie Remembers Our Gang - Memories From Little Rascals Family Theater (VHS/DVD) from Jackie Taylor
A clip lasting 0:04 is included, showing Jackie and Mary Ann.
Jackie Remembers Our Gang - The Silent Era (VHS/DVD) from Jackie Taylor
A clip lasting 0:04 is included, showing a closeup of Chubby, with narration added.
The Our Gang Story (VHS/DVD) from GoodTimes Home Video
VHS released 1994. DVD released May 21, 2002. Also included as part of Our Gang Collector Series 4 Pack (4 DVD set), released Mar. 21, 2001, Our Gang Collector Series 5 Pack (5 VHS/DVD set), released Feb. 2002 (VHS) and Mar. 2004 (DVD), and The Best Of Our Gang Volume 1 (DVD) released June 1, 2004. A clip lasting 1:54 is included, showing Jackie's caveman scene. Another clip lasting 1:51 is included, showing Wheezer rolling down the hill. Both clips have narration added.

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© 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)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)

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