The Little Rascals: The Boys of Our Gang [DVD]

This collection of six Our Gang shorts includes Little Daddy, Birthday Blues, Honkey Donkey, Fishy Tales, Pay As You Exit, and Monkey Business.

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The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection [8 Discs] (DVD)  (English)  1929 - Larger Front

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Special Features

  • Bonus, un-cut classic Rascals episode: Monkey Business


Fishy Tales
While staging a "William Tell" exhibition in a vacant lot, junior marksman Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer accidentally incurs the wrath of neighborhood bully Butch (Tommy Bond) -- or, as he announces himself, "you're darn right it's Butch!" When Alfalfa faints, his pal Spanky McFarland tries to save face by insisting that, were Alfie still conscious, he'd knock Butch silly. The bully responds by threatening to bounce Alfalfa around "like a rubber ball" when he wakes up. To prevent this, Spanky cooks up a scheme to convince Butch that Alfalfa has suffered a broken leg while defending Butch's reputation. A large dead fish, previously caught by Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas, proves to be a suitable stand-in for Alfalfa's "damaged" leg -- until a couple of cats show up unannounced. The "Our Gang" one-reeler Fishy Tales made its theatrical debut on August 28, 1937. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Pay As You Exit
Hoping to attract customers to Spanky McFarland's barnyard production of Romeo and Juliet, star performer Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer proposes a "pay as you exit" policy: If the kids like the show, they'll pay the alotted one-cent admission on the way out. Alas, the show is nearly over before it starts when leading lady Darla Hood walks out, complaining that Alfalfa has been eating onions (which, he insists, improves his splendid speaking voice). After stalling for time, Spanky hits upon a replacement for Darla: black youngster Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas, decked out in a glorious blonde wig! Joe Cobb, an "Our Gang" star from the series' silent days, makes an amusing return appearance. Among the "mood songs" played on the Victrola by stagehand Eugene "Porky" Lee in the course of the show are LeRoy Shield's familiar background tunes "In My Canoe" and "Hide and Go Seek, as well as "Walking the Deck, a tune written for (but deleted from) the 1936 Laurel and Hardy feature Our Relations. The one-reel "Pay as You Exit" was originally released on October 24, 1936. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Little Daddy
Originally released on March 28, 1931, the "Our Gang" comedy "Little Daddy" is no longer available in the "Little Rascals" TV package, due to the perceived offensiveness of its "ethnic" humor. The focus is on talented black youngsters Allen "Farina" Hoskins and Mathew "Stymie" Beard, here cast as orphaned brothers. As Stymie's self-appointed guardian, Farina does not look forward to the day that his kid brother will be sent to an orphanage. When the officials arrive, Farina puts up a struggle to keep Stymie, with the rest of the Gang members helping out. Though topheavy with sentiment and pathos, the film delivers an abundance of laughs, especially during the scene in which Stymie pretends to take a bath. In addition, there's a curious segment wherein Norman "Chubby" Chaney sings in a basso profundo voice (supplied by Hal Roach comedy star Charley Chase), and a guest appearance by June Marlowe as the beloved Miss Crabtree. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Birthday Blues
A superb combination of belly laughs and pathos, the "Our Gang" comedy "Birthday Blues" was originally released on November 12, 1932. When their pennypinching father (Hooper Atchley) refuses to buy a birthday gift for their long-suffering mother (Lillian Rich), brothers Dickie Moore and Spanky McFarland decide to purchase Mom a gift on their own. Unfortunately, the "late 1922 model" dress they've selected is way beyond their price range (a daunting $1.98); thus, acting upon the advice of their pal Matthew "Stymie" Beard, Dickie and Spanky decide to bake a cake with hidden prizes, then auction off the cake at ten cents a slice. This is the film in which the kids' oversized cake --- a truly frightening creation --- emits a low "woooooo-owww" sound as it cools off in the oven. It is also the film in which, responding to Spanky's suggestion that they buy their mom a shotgun, Dickie moans "Aw, what would she do with a gun?" --- whereupon Spanky replies "Shoot Papa!!!!" ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Monkey Business
Our Gang member Allen "Farina" Hoskins decides to run away from home on the same day that an oversized, trained chimpanzee mischievously escapes its captors. Befriending the monkey, Farina invites his new pal to join the rest of the gang. The kids decide to capitalize on the simian's talents by staging their own tent show. Alas, the chimp manages to down a bottle of bootleg booze, then goes on a drunken rampage, terrorizing everyone in town. When the cops arrive, the big ape commandeers their patrol wagon, and what happens next could only happen in an Our Gang comedy. Making up in energy what it lacks in coherence, Monkey Business was originally released on March 21, 1926. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Honkey Donkey
Capriciously defying his loving but overprotective mother, wealthy young Wally Albright orders family chauffeur Barclay (Don Barclay) to drive through the town's "dirtier" alleyways. Here, Wally befriends the Our Gang kids, who have rigged up a merry-go-round powered by a contentious mule named Algebra. Inevitably, Wally invites the kids --- and Algebra --- to his palatial home, where the mercurial mule drives poor Barclay crazy. And remember: Don't sneeze! Listen for the voice of former "Our Gang" member Mickey Daniels when Algebra brays out a laugh at the end; also, watch for a leftover exterior set from the Laurel and Hardy feature comedy Sons of the Desert (1933). "Honkey Donkey" was originally released on June 2, 1934. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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