The Little Rascals, Vol. 4 [DVD]
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Overview

Special Features

  • Video Introduction from Little Rascal Jerry Tucker

Synopsis

Mush and Milk
This time around, the Our Gang Kids are residents (or rather, inmates) of the Bleak Hill Boarding School, where the crabby old lady in charge forces them to do all the chores and feeds them a strict diet of mush. Fortunately, the kids have a strong ally in the form of lovable old Cap (Gus Leonard), the school's combination handyman and teacher. Cap promises the youngsters that he'll rescue them from Bleak Hill once his back pension comes in -- and, by golly, he does! Highlights include Spanky McFarland's garbled telephone conversation with perennial Laurel and Hardy foil James Finlayson, and 6-year-old Tommy Bond's stirring rendition of the very adult torch song "Friends, Lovers No More". Our Gang: Mush and Milk was originally released on May 27, 1933. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

For Pete's Sake
When neighborhood bully Leonard Kibrick wrecks little Marianne Edwards' favorite doll, the "Our Gang" kids promise to purchase a new doll for the brokenhearted girl. Unfortunately, the local toy store is run by Leonard's equally obnoxious father William Wagner, who agrees to give the kids a doll only if they'll hand over their beloved Pete the Pup in exchange. Balking at this arrangement, the kids concoct a variety of moneymaking schemes, all of them doomed to failure. Tearfully, the youngsters trade Pete for the doll --- but fear not, a happy ending is waiting in the wings! Originally released on April 14, 1934, "For Pete's Sake" is highlighted by the bantering byplay between the two youngest "Our Gang" members, Spanky McFarland and Scotty Beckett. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Forgotten Babies
A partial remake of the 1924 Our Gang: Cradle Robbers, "Forgotten Babies" finds the Gang members trying to escape their babysitting chores. They manage to coerce little Spanky McFarland to mind their baby brothers and sisters while the rest of the Gang goes swimming. Unfortunately, the infants would prefer to run (or crawl) amok, forcing Spanky to take desperate measures. Best bits: Spanky's impromptu bedtime story about Tarzan and Jane, and the little brat who keeps on saying "Remark-a-ble". "Forgotten Babies" was originally released on March 11, 1933. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

A Lad an' a Lamp
Fascinated by the story of Aladdin's magic lamp, the Our Gang kids gather together every electric light fixture in the neighborhood, hoping that by rubbing them vigorously, a genie will appear. Thanks to a series of coincidences -- not least of which involves a friendly stage magician -- the kids become convinced that they've succeeded in emulating Aladdin. But their excitement turns to dismay when Mathew "Stymie" Beard believes that he's transformed his kid brother Cotton (Bobby Beard) into a monkey! Despite a marvelous sequence in which Spanky McFarland enjoys a free meal at a lunch counter, courtesy of a trained monkey, it cannot be denied that this film contains a great deal of casually racist humor that seems tasteless when viewed today. For that reason, "A Lad an' a Lamp," originally released on December 17, 1932, has been withdrawn from the "Little Rascals" TV package, though the film is available to home-video collectors. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Fish Hooky
Four of the "Our Gang" kids fabricate elaborate excuses to get out of school so they can go fishing. Unfortunately, the boys have picked the very day that their teacher is taking the whole class for a free excursion to the Seaside Amusement Park. The rest of the picture finds the would-be fishermen trying to sneak into the park without attracting the attention of the eagle-eyed truant officer. Originally released on January 28, 1933, Fish Hookey is a watershed "Our Gang" film: in addition to featuring the current crop of "Gang" members, the film also accommodates guest-star appearances by four former members from the silent era: Mary Kornman as the teacher, Mickey Daniels as the fun-loving truant officer, and Joe Cobb and Allen "Farina" Hoskins. ~ 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

The Kid From Borneo
In this classic "Our Gang" comedy, Dickie Moore, Spanky McFarland and Dorothy DeBorba play siblings who, through a misunderstanding, become convinced that the local carnival's "Wild Man of Borneo" is really their prodigal Uncle George. Though basically harmless, the Wild Man really goes wild when he's hungry for candy. Shouting "Yum, yum! Eat 'em up," the Wild Man sparks a hectic chase that doesn't let up until the "End" title. Best scene: little Spanky prodding the Wild Man into eating the entire contents of the family refrigerator. Originally released on April 15, 1933, "The Kid From Borneo" has been withdrawn from the "Little Rascals" TV package due to its allegedly offensive "racist" content; even so, it remains a favorite on the home-video market. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Wild Poses
It is time for Spanky McFarland and his family to have a group portrait taken, and prissy photographer Otto Phocus is the man for the job. At least, that's what Otto thinks, before he's worn to a frazzle trying to coax a smile out of the taciturn Spanky. Meanwhile, the rest of the Our Gang kids inadvertently lay waste to Mr. Phocus' developing room. Originally released on October 28, 1933, "Wild Poses" benefits from a strong adult cast: Franklin Pangborn as the persnickety Otto Phocus, the Burns-and-Allen clones Emerson Treacy and Gay Seabrook as Spanky's parents ---and even a surprise guest appearance by Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Bedtime Worries
Originally released on September 9, 1933, "Bedtime Worries" was the first of two "Our Gang" comedies in which the vaudeville team of Emerson Treacy and Gay Seabrook (a second-echelon Burns and Allen) were cast as the parents of little Spanky McFarland. On the day he is promoted to head clerk (or "head cluck," as Spanky puts it), Treacy declares that it is high time Spanky stopped sleeping in his parents' room and go to bed in his own room. During his first night alone, Spanky envisions all sorts of imaginary horrors, from a bat (actually a moth) to "the boogeyman." Thus, when a burglar (Harry Bernard) climbs into Spanky's window, the boy's dozing parents fail to believe his story. Passing himself off as Santa Claus, the burglar steals everything that isn't nailed down until the rest of the Our Gang kids come to the rescue. A quote from Mae West caps this delightful two-reeler. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Hi'-Neighbor!
When wealthy young Jerry Tucker moves into town, the Our Gang kids line up to greet him. Alas, Jerry is a snobbish sort, though he immediately turns on the charm when he meets little Jane (Jackie Taylor), the erstwhile girlfriend of Wally Albright. Worried that Jane's head will be turned by Jerry's shiny new toy fire engine, Wally and the Gang build a fire truck of their own --- an impressive effort, constructed from virtually every piece of scrap metal and every stray wheel in the neighborhood. The story comes to a riotous conclusion when Jerry and the Gang race their respective fire engines down one of those very steep hills that one finds only in two-reel comedies. Originally released on March 3, 1934, "Hi'-Neighbor!" was the first of many top-rank "Our Gang" films directed by Gus Meins. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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