- SKU: 19501438
- Release Date: 09/20/2011
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- Two bonus & un-cut Little Rascals episodes!
The success of this "Our Gang" comedy is due in great part to the performances of two adult comedians, Edgar Kennedy and Max Davidson. Warning the Gang members to stay away from an old, crumbling condemned house, Officer Kennedy suggests they dig for buried treasure. They do --- in the same house that Kennedy had told them to avoid. Once inside the ramshackle structure, the kids are terrorized by a crazy but harmless old hermit (Davidson), who eats invisible meals, emits loud and eerie howls, and periodically makes the curious announcement "I know --- but I won't tell ya!" The best gags involved a pair of Chinese handcuffs, which manage to incapacitate both Kennedy and the zany hermit. Initially released on December 7, 1929, "Moan & Groan Inc." was originally included in the "Little Rascals" TV package, but has since been withdrawn due to a handful of mild ethnic jokes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The First Round-Up
Expansively planning a camping trip "for a week, maybe two weeks," the older Our Gang kids refuse to allow little Spanky McFarland and Scotty Beckett tag along. But when the kids reach their predetermined campsite, they find that Spanky and Scotty have already arrived. Even more embarrassing, the two younger kids seem to be a lot more prepared for the camping expedition --- and a lot less scared of the dark. A winning combination of character-driven humor, slapstick, thrills, and a sturdy plotline, the "Our Gang" comedy The First Round-Up was originally released on May 5, 1934. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Finding out that the circus will be coming to town for one day only, "Our Gang" members Spanky McFarland, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas and Eugene "Porky" Lee conspire to stage an "epidemic" in order to skip out of school. The boys go so far as to write a phony excuse note, to which they affix the name of a local doctor. But then it is revealed out that the schoolteacher (Rosina Lawrence had made plans to close school and take all the kids to the circus for free. Now, the four clever boys are on the horns of a dilemma: How can they retrieve that excuse note from Miss Lawrence's desk, with the schoolhouse securely locked up for the night? The title of this one-reel "Our Gang" comedy should tip off the viewer that our heroes will stage a nocturnal foray into the classroom --- if they don't manage to scare each other silly first. Spooky Hooky was originally released on December 5, 1936. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Anxious to go fishing, Spanky McFarland skips out of Sunday school, despite the admonitions of his pal Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer that "Something's going to happen to you." Actually, everything happens to Spanky and his kid brother (Eugene "Porky" Lee) in the course of the morning. Chased out of a private estate by cantankerous Clarence Wilson, the two boys wander into a dark, mysterious woods --- just as a group of black worshippers are holding a mass baptism ceremony. Inevitably, the kids scare the worshippers, and vice versa, culminating in a hectic chase (accompanied by the strains of LeRoy Shield's "Fastie", a nervous agitato orginally written for the 1935 Laurel and Hardy feature Bonnie Scotland. Originally released on October 26, 1935, "Little Sinner" has been withdrawn from most "Little Rascals" TV packages due to its racial content; those few stations that have run the film in recent years have been forced to rely upon prints so severely edited that they're hardly worth the bother. Fortunately for film historians and purists, the film is available in its entirety on home video. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Popular child actor (and later radio and TV stalwart) Leon Janney made his one and only "Our Gang" appearance in "Bear Shooters." Ordered by his mother to look after his kid brother Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins, nine-year-old Spud (Janney) is worried that he won't be able to join his pals on a hunting trip --- while his pals know that if Spud doesn't go, Spud's mule Dinah can't go either. A compromise is reached whereby Wheezer tags along with the rest of the Gang as they seek out "big game" in a nearby woods. But instead of capturing a bear, as they had hoped, the kids are confronted by a gorilla --- actually a heavily costumed bootlegger (Charlie Hall) who wants to scare the youngsters away from his hideout. Unfortunately for the crook and his partner (Bob Kortman), the kids are a lot more resourceful than they appear. Originally released on May 17, 1930, "Bear Shooters" slipped into Public Domain in 1984, and as such is one of the most readily available "Our Gang" talkies. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Sun Down Limited
The Our Gang comedies were never more enjoyable than when they fulfilled the fantasies of the kids in the audience. Case in point: the silent two-reeler The Sun Down Limited, in which the Our Gang kids construct and operate their own railroad service, powered by a somewhat overworked dog. While Mickey Daniels and Joe Cobb enjoy a brisk business transporting their fellow gang members to and fro on a small, abandoned stretch of track, neighborhood bully Toughy does his best to sabotage the operation. Inevitably, the kids' makeshift train hops the tracks and begins careening down city streets, with poor Allen "Farina" Hoskins bravely attempting to halt the vehicle all by himself. Even film historian William K. Everson, no fan of the Our Gang series, listed this comedy as one of the best Hal Roach films ever made. The Sun Down Limited was originally released on September 21, 1924. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi