Shivering Shakespeare

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Shivering Shakespeare
OGshivering shakespeare onesheet 1930.jpg
Directed byAnthony Mack
Produced byRobert F. McGowan
Hal Roach
Written byRobert F. McGowan
StarringNorman Chaney
Mary Ann Jackson
Jackie Cooper
Allen Hoskins
Bobby Hutchins
Edith Fellows
Douglas Greer
Donald Haines
Jack McHugh
Malcolm Sebastian
Pete the Pup
Edgar Kennedy
Lyle Tayo
Allen Cavan
Dorothy Coburn
Carlton Griffin
Music byRay Henderson
CinematographyArt Lloyd
Edited byRichard C. Currier
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • January 25, 1930 (1930-01-25)
Running time
CountryUnited States

Shivering Shakespeare is an Our Gang short film directed by Anthony Mack.[2][dead link] Produced by Hal Roach and released to theaters by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, it was the 95th Our Gang short to be released.


The gang participates, in a boring play entitled The Gladiator's Dilemma. Written, produced and directed by the wife of Kennedy the Cop who is responsible for the special effects and will portray different characters as needed (including a giant named Ursus and an elephant).

A nervous Mrs. Kennedy gives her introduction to the audience as the kids get ready for their performance. Their disgust and lack of enthusiasm show how they feel about the show. During the first act, Mary Ann and Wheezer forget many of their lines and confuse some words for others, so Mrs. Kennedy has to yell them out to them. In the background a tall boy sneezes, causing his fake wig and beard to fall and land on Pete the Pup. Mrs. Kennedy helps Chubby start his line and then prompts her brother to shake a tin sheet, creating thundering noises. When Farina begins saying his line, a goat runs loose and butts him, knocking him down. Getting up, Farina yells, "Forsooth, I think these mountains are full of too many goats!" As Act I is ending, Chubby gets ready to play Nero. He begins writing his lines on his costume in case he forgets one. Mr. Kennedy notices that the costume is inside out and has him put it on correctly.

At the beginning of Act II Jackie delivers his lines and, like the others, forgets several words. Mrs. Kennedy yells them to him, getting more and more nervous. Donald Haines giggles while saying his line about Nero riding an "elephant bathed in perfume." Minutes later Mr. Kennedy comes onstage in an elephant costume (with Chubby on his back). When the curtain accidentally falls in the middle of the scene, his costume's head falls off. The boy in charge of the curtains just sits, so Mrs. Kennedy has to open them for him. Chubby accidentally falls on a bowl of tomatoes, leaving the rear of his costume wet and dirty.

Meanwhile, some teenaged boys (who were kicked out of the cast) seek revenge by throwing eggs at the players. Chubby forgets a line and has to pull up his toga to find out what his next line is (this happens off and on throughout the entire show). His mother and Mrs. Kennedy order him to put it back down, so he asks what he must say. After being given the line, he says, "What ho! Bring on the dancing girls!" A female dancer comes onstage to do her number while the musicians play a sour-note version of "The Blue Danube Waltz". The angry boys find the musical number terrible and throw an egg at the dancer, hitting her in the face.

As Farina does his scene, reading the future from a crystal ball, he confuses some words for others, so Mrs. Kennedy again has to yell out the right words. After a while he gets disgusted and aggravated with her, yelling out for the audience to hear, "Doggone it! Look, I wish that woman would quit bothering me!" The audience chuckles and Farina resumes his performance by beginning his next line with "Well, anyway..." Chubby suddenly gets an egg thrown in his face, while Farina gets one at his right ear. Mrs. Kennedy, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, begins biting at her script.

As Act III begins, Mary Ann is told that Nero wants to marry her. Before she is able to show that she forgot her line, Mrs. Kennedy gives it to her: "I spurn thy vile heart, O monster, and cast it in the dust." Mary Ann, refusing to go through all that, just shortens the line: "Well anyway, I won't marry ya." Farina gets a second egg in the face while the fight that he must have with the lion turns into a comedic act. The scenes with the sacred bull become funny when the man in the bull costume runs around and dances. Kennedy comes onstage to play Ursus the Giant, who has to "tear that bully limb from limb". When the man inside the bull costume provokes Kennedy by standing on his hind legs, Kennedy takes off his beard and hair and starts fighting him with his bare fists. Soon, Kennedy gets a pie in the face from one of the teenaged boys. By now, Mrs. Kennedy is about to break down and cry.

While saying his line, Chubby gets a pie thrown at him by one of the boys. His mother catches the boy in the act of throwing the pie and encourages Chubby to retaliate. Chubby tries but misses, hitting a man in the audience. The man tries to hit Chubby but winds up hitting one of the other boys, whose father tries to avenge his son but misses. Chubby tries to hit another person who hit him, but ends up hitting his own mother. Soon, a pie fight begins, with everyone in the auditorium participating. Mrs. Kennedy sees the play being completely ruined and orders everyone to stop. The kids turn to Mr. Kennedy. He nods, giving them permission, and all the kids throw their pies at her.

Production notes[edit]

Shivering Shakespeare was the final Our Gang comedy directed by Robert A. McGowan, who was billed as "Anthony Mack" to differentiate himself from his uncle, Robert Francis McGowan, who was the Our Gang series' producer and senior director. The younger McGowan would remain a part of the Our Gang unit as a writer for the rest of its existence, even after the series was sold to MGM in 1938.


The Gang[edit]

Additional cast[edit]

  • Edith Fellows as Screaming kid
  • Douglas Greer as Curtain puller
  • Donald Haines as giggling guard / Shepherd
  • Jack McHugh as Teenager
  • Gordon Thorpe as Effeminate boy
  • Bobby Mallon as Shepherd / guard
  • Jerry McGowan as Dancing girl
  • Malcolm Sebastian as Wizard
  • Johnny Aber as Teenager
  • Georgie Billings as Shepherd / guard
  • Bradley "Buster" Slaven as Shepard/guard
  • Allen Cavan as Audience member who "resents it"
  • Dorothy Coburn as Pie sale girl
  • Carlton Griffin as Man inside bull costume
  • Harry Keaton as Audience member licking lips
  • Edgar Kennedy as Kennedy The Cop
  • Ham Kinsey as Audience member hit by pie
  • Charles McAvoy as Man whose son is splattered
  • Gertrude Sutton as Mrs. Kennedy
  • Lyle Tayo as Chubby's mother
  • Helen Gilmore as Audience member
  • Buddy Moore as Undetermined role

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "New York Times: Shivering Shakespeare". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-09-19.

External links[edit]