Readin' And Writin'

film no. 111

technical details:

Production G-4.

Release no. C-434.

Filmed September 30 to October 10, 1931. See the 'miscellaneous' section below for details.

Title sheet prepared by Richard Currier on November 5, 1931.

Cutting continuity submitted November 14, 1931.

Copyrighted December 17, 1931, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation. Registration no. LP2702. Renewed March 5, 1959, with registration no. R232199. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2026.

Released January 2, 1932. It was the 111th film in the series to be released. This release date is according to Richard Lewis Ward's A History Of The Hal Roach Studios, which makes it a Saturday release, as per normal for Roach films of this era. Maltin & Bann list it as a February 2, 1932 release.

All-talking two-reeler.

Opening title: '"Our Gang" Comedies - Hal Roach presents His Rascals in "Readin' And Writin'".'

King World Productions episode no. 8, available in both colorized and original black-and-white versions. This version is listed as "Readin' & Writin'."

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.
Recording Engineer: Elmer Raguse
This credit appears in the film.
Animal Trainers: Harry Lucenay and Jack Lindell
Lucenary was Pete's owner and trainer. IMDb credits Lindell as an "equine supervisor" for several films, and in this film, he worked on Oct. 6th and 7th, almost certainly being responsible for the mule.
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.
studio personnel
general manager - Warren Doane was replaced in Nov. 1931 by Henry Ginsberg
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
school teacher - Fern Carter. The additional kids in this film were taught by Vita Geddes and Beulah Herrick.
possible uncredited involvement
assistant direction - Possibly Don Sandstrom.
writing - Robert F. McGowan probably headed story development, while Robert A. McGowan, Carl Harbaugh, Frank Terry, Billy Gilbert and Charlie Hall 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.
animal training - Tony Campanaro may have been among the animal trainers.
animation - Probably the work of Roy Seawright.

the kids:

Kendall "Breezy Brisbane" McComas as "Brisbane" aka "Breezy"
Lead role. He disrupts the class to get himself expelled. He's called "Brisbane" in the dialogue, but the cutting continuity otherwise refers to him as "Breezy." He also addresses himself as "Breezy" with his inner voice. This was his series debut.
Matthew "Stymie" Beard
Featured role. The nickname wasn't used in this film, but appears in the cutting continuity. He's paired up with Wheezer and takes care of his little sister. He refers to himself as "Puddin' Tane," though the continuity spells it "Puddin' Tame."
Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins
Featured role. The nickname isn't used in this film, but appears in the cutting continuity. He's paired up with Stymie, and has to keep Pete out of the classroom. He refers to himself as "John Brown."
Sherwood Bailey as "Sherwood"
Supporting role. He recites a sappy poem for the teacher.
Dorothy "Echo" DeBorba as "Dorothy Betty Jane DeBorba"
Supporting role. She and Miss Crabtree each think the other is hard of hearing. The cutting continuity lists her full name as "Dorothy, Betty Jane DeBorba." Presumably, the comma is the result of the pause in the dialogue.
Donald Haines as "Donald"
Small part. He has to repeatedly go outside to see about the car horn.
Betty Jane Beard as "Marmalade"
Small part. She's seen at the beginning of the film, mostly giving the raspberries, and then at the end bringing the skunk into the class. Identified by Maltin & Bann as her sister Carlena.
Patsy Britten as "Patsy"
Bit part. She confuses 'alligator' with 'escalator.'
Bobby Taylor as "Bobby"
Bit part. He doesn't think Miss Crabtree could lay an egg. The spelling of the character name derives from the cutting continuity, where it's also indicated that this kid was a boy. This is supported by the payroll ledger, where he's consistently grouped with the boys. However, in the early long shot while Wheezer is apologizing to the tall blonde boy, Bobby seems to be dressed as a girl. My identification of this kid as Bobby Taylor is what I would consider to be a fairly safe assumption, given that the kids' real names were usually used in these films. There are, however, two other kids in this film with the name Bobby. This particular kid appears in "Spanky," but not "Birthday Blues." Since Bobby Nelson is missing from the cast of "Spanky," that rules him out, and since Bobby Haines appeared in "Birthday Blues," that rules him out.
Wallace Carter
Bit part. This is the tall blonde boy that Wheezer apologizes to. He's also sitting in the last seat of the far-left row in the classroom.
Carmencita Johnson
Extra. She sits in the front row just to the left of Donald Haines.
Mildred Kornman
Extra. She sits right behind Carmencita Johnson. She's not listed in the ledger, so perhaps she was paid in cash for appearing in this film. There is, however, a girl named Mildred Travers listed in the ledger, so perhaps this was a briefly-used professional name.
Reggie Streeter
Extra. He sits two desks behind Donald Haines.
Youth "Billie" Vallee
Extra. He sits right behind Patsy Britten.
boy 111
Extra. This is the little blonde boy that sits directly to the left of Stymie in class. Since this kid appeared in "Birthday Blues," he should be either Paul Godfrey, Roy Godfrey, or Bobby Haines, as listed below.
other kids
Bit parts and extras. Among the remaining kids in the classroom, the following worked on all four of the relevant dates (Oct. 5 to 8): Paul Godfrey, Roy Godfrey, Lawrence Mahr, Bobby Nelson, Billy Melman, Lola May Roach, Mildred Travers, Mary Ann King, Gloria Jean Landers and Virginia Gilbert. Reggie Streeter also worked on these four dates, while Donald Haines and Carmencita Johnson worked five by returning on Oct. 9. Joyce Thompson worked five days from Oct. 6 to 10. Bobby Haines worked three days from Oct. 6th to 8th. And finally, Suzanne Ransom and Larry Dolan worked only on Oct. 5 and 6. Somewhere among these names are the girl that defines the word "acre," the girl who plays "Pansy," whose father is in prison, and boy 111. Billy Melman's inclusion is corroborated by a 1932 casting directory.

the animals:

Pete the Pup III as "Pete" aka "Petey"
Supporting role. He follows Wheezer to school and perches himself on the teacher's desk.
mule 111
Small part. Brisbane brings this mule into the classroom. Maltin & Bann list Dinah the Mule, but this is clearly a new mule.
skunk 014
Bit part. Marmalade brings this skunk into the classroom. Presumably the same skunk as seen before.
Bit part. The MGM lion appears at the opening of the film.
Can you spot the bug crawling on "Bobby"?

the adults:

June Marlowe as "June Crabtree" aka "Miss Crabtree" aka "Crabby"
Featured role. It's the first day of school, and she has the challenge of dealing with Brisbane.
Otto Fries as the blacksmith
Small part. He talks with Brisbane about a kid he knew that got expelled.
May Wallace as Wheezer's mother
Small part. She tells Wheezer to leave Pete at home.
Lyle Tayo as Brisbane's mother
Small part. She wants her son to be president.
Harry Bernard as the fruit vendor
Small part. He watches as Wheezer walks off with some free apples.
other adults
The film doesn't present us with any additional adults, but the payroll ledger reveals a few more. Both H. J. Garner and W. G. Redican worked on Oct. 2nd. Also, Robert Burns and Harry Arras both worked on Oct. 10th.
in still images
Three portraits are hanging above Miss Crabtree's desk, one of which is of George Washington.

the music:

"Fanfare" by Leroy Shield
This is played over the MGM lion.
"Good Old Days" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931.
(A1.) This is played over the opening titles, and continues as we're introduced to Miss Crabtree, Stymie and Marmalade. It's played again, and mostly repeated as Brisbane sets up his pranks in the classroom and with the other kids. One verse is repeated as Marmalade brings the skunk into the classroom.
"Little Dancing Girl" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. Also known as "Dancing Girl" and "Dancing Girls." This is played and the middle part is partially repeated as we're introduced to Wheezer and Brisbane. It's played again as Miss Crabtree quizzes the students and Brisbane decides to learn the poem. This is the version reproduced on the first Beau Hunks CD.
"Bride's Song" by Leroy Shield
Most of this piece is played as Wheezer and Stymie are walking to school. Most of it is repeated as Brisbane returns to class and recites.
"Intermezzo" by Leroy Shield
About half of this piece is played as Wheezer gives up on trying to teach Stymie math.
"Candy Candy" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Dec. 23, 1930. This is played as Brisbane visits the blacksmith. The introduction is played as Sherwood recites the last verse of his poem.
"Antics" by Leroy Shield
A short part of this piece is played as the blacksmith gives Brisbane the idea to get expelled.
"Hide And Go Seek" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Dec. 23, 1930. A short part of this piece is played as Pete tries to play baseball. Another short part is played as Miss Crabtree chases the mule out of the classroom.
"Riding Along" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Dec. 23, 1930. This is played through, minus the introduction, and mostly repeated as Brisbane teases Sherwood about his poem and plays with the car horn in class.
"Dash And Dot" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted 1930. This is played during Dorothy's shouting match with Miss Crabtree.
"The One I Love Best" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. Also known as "All The World (To Me)." The first part of this piece is played as Miss Crabtree tries to talk with Wheezer and Stymie.
"In My Canoe" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. This is played as Sherwood starts his poem and Brisbane is sent into the hall. This is the version reproduced on the first Beau Hunks CD.
"Dog Song" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Aug. 13, 1931. Part of this is played as Pete jumps onto Miss Crabtree's desk.
piece 111
This is a short effect piece played as Brisbane brings the mule into the classroom.
"Look At Him Now" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted 1931. Half of this piece is played as Miss Crabtree expels Brisbane.
"Beautiful Lady" by Leroy Shield
Copyrighted Jan. 10, 1931. This is played as Brisbane happily leaves class and then realizes his mistake.
piece 108
This is played over the end title.

the locations:

Hal Roach Ranch
District School No. 6 was located here. Also, the blacksmith shop seen in this film was located at the ranch, and was right next to the school. It was later featured in "Roamin' Holiday" (no. 156). The barn seen directly across from the blacksmith shop was previously featured in "It's A Bear" (no. 27). Harry Bernard's fruit stand appears to be along the eucalyptus-lined road leading into the ranch.


10 shooting dates went into the making of this film. Four and a half weeks had passed since shooting finished for "Dogs Is Dogs" (no. 110). The studio was closed during one of those weeks. The 'start' date for "Readin' And Writin'" arrived on Sep. 30th, and shooting continued until the 'finish' date of Oct. 10th. No shooting took place on Oct. 4th, which was a Sunday. After this, three and a half weeks passed before the Our Gang unit began filming "Free Eats" (no. 112). The studio was closed for one of those weeks.

Patsy Britten's work permit reveals that she worked on October 5th and 7th.

Brisbane's club is called The Secret Order of the Winking Eye.

Reel two begins as Dorothy hands the note to Miss Crabtree.

The script submitted to MGM was given the catalog number B575.

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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)
Robert Peterson (for helping out with Youth Vallee)
Paul Mular (for providing info on the Cabin Fever laserdiscs)
Piet Schreuders (for identifying "Fanfare")

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