The Little Rascals, Vol. 2 [DVD]

This collection of ten Little Rascals shorts from 1930 and 1931 includes A Tough Winter, Teacher's Pet, Little Daddy, and Fly My Kite.

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

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Special Features

  • Video Introduction From TV Host Tom Hatten
  • "Teacher's Pet" Commentary From Richard Bann
  • "Fly My Kite" Commentary From Richard Bann


Pups Is Pups
The Our Gang kids prepare to enter their scraggily pets in a high-society dog show, where their pal Allen "Farina" Hoskins is working as an usher. Meanwhile, Jackie Cooper tries vainly to prevent his troublesome kid sister (Dorothy "Echo" DeBorba) from jumping into every mud puddle that she sees. And little Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins has a high old time trying to round up his runaway puppies, who change directions every time they hear a bell ringing. A truly delightful two-reeler, "Pups is Pups" expertly combines slapstick, verbal humor and pathos in one neat, entertaining package. Originally released on August 30, 1930, this was the first "Our Gang" comedy to utilize the captivating background music of LeRoy Shield, notably such familiar tunes as the lilting "Teeter-Totter", the rousing "Hide and Go Seek", and the lively "On to the Show", later made famous as the secondary opening theme for Hal Roach's Laurel and Hardy comedies. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

A Tough Winter
Originally released on June 21, 1930, the "Our Gang" comedy "A Tough Winter" was designed as a "pilot" film for a proposed series of two-reelers starring legendary black comedian Stepin Fetchit. Beginning with a lengthy sequence in which the Gang helps Stepin read a love letter (which segues into an impromptu song-and-dance), the film comes to a sticky conclusion as the kids try to clean up the aftermath of a messy taffy pull. Some of the best gags involve the hundred-and-one labor saving devices built by Fetchit to allow him ample time to goof off; also worth noting is a climactic bit involving crossed electrical wires, which was later reworked into the Laurel and Hardy feature Saps at Sea (1940). Because the comedy of Stepin Fetchit is today considered offensive by many observers, "A Tough Winter" has been withdrawn from the "Little Rascals" TV package, though it is available on home video. ~ 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

School's Out
In this sequel to the 1930 "Our Gang" comedy "Teacher's Pet," the Gang members eagerly await each school day, so that they can bask in the beauty and charm of their new schoolteacher Miss Crabtree (June Marlowe). Little Jackie Cooper is so smitten by the teacher that he circulates a "perdition" to keep school open all year round. When Miss Crabtree's brother Jack (Creighton Hale) pays a visit to the schoolhouse in his sister's absence, the kids begin to worry that Jack is actually their teacher's fiancé. Remembering that marriage was "the way we lost Miss McGillicuddy" (their previous teacher), the youngsters hatch several schemes to get rid of Jack, culminating with the theft of his clothes. An amusing subplot involves a verbal general-knowledge quiz, in which the kids provide foolish answers gleaned from an old joke book. "School's Out" was originally released on November 22, 1930. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Teacher's Pet
An indisputable classic, the "Our Gang" comedy "Teacher's Pet" is introduced by a brace of pretty twin girls (Beverly and Bette Mae Crane), who recite the opening credit titles. The story proper begins with the Gang members facing the first day of school with fear and loathing. Their beloved teacher Miss McGillicuddy has gotten married, and her replacement is one Miss Crabtree, whom the kids fear will be as ugly and foreboding as her name. Meanwhile, Jackie Cooper hitches a ride from a beautiful and charming young lady. Immediately at ease with his travelling companion, Jackie tells her that he and his pals have conspired to humiliate their new teacher Miss Crabtree with a variety of practical jokes --- and then spend the rest of the day fishing, having been released from school via a series of contrived excuses. Imagine Jackie's surprise when, upon arriving at school, he discovers that Miss Crabtree and the gorgeous woman who gave him a ride are one in the same! At turns hilarious and poignant, "Teacher's Pet" is as entertaining today as it was upon its first release on October 11, 1930. As a bonus, the film represented two firsts: The first appearance of the lovely June Marlowe as Miss Crabtree, and the first utilization of the unforgettable "Our Gang" theme song "The Good Old Days", written and orchestrated by LeRoy Shield. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Love Business
The final entry in "Our Gang" 's unofficial "Miss Crabtree trilogy", "Love Business" more or less picks up where "School's Out" left off. Little Jackie Cooper has a schoolboy crush on his lovely teacher Miss Crabtree (June Marlowe), as does Jackie's classmate Norman "Chubby" Chaney. When Miss Crabtree rents a room from Jackie's mother (Lyle Tayo), our hero is both thrilled and dismayed: Now he'll have to take a bath every day, and wash his neck besides! Even so, Jackie is determined to propose to Miss Crabtree, but his efforts are thwarted by the sudden arrival of Chubby --- whose eloquent line of romantic patter strikes a strangely familiar chord with Jackie's mom. Eschewing the sentiment of its predecessors "Teacher's Pet" and "School's Out," "Love Business" plays strictly for laughs, and gets them. The film was originally released on February 14, 1931. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Helping Grandma
Veteran character actress Margaret Mann makes the first of two memorable Our Gang appearances in Helping Grandma. The owner of a tiny general store, "Grandma" (Mann), loves to have the kids around, even if they pay for their penny candy with expired subway tokens and buttons. Local skinflint Mr. Pennypacker (Oscar Apfel) tries to purchase Grandma's store for a ridiculously low sum, while a pair of representatives from a chain store make a more generous offer. Thanks to the gang's well-meaning "assistance," the chain store men are very nearly scared away, while mean Mr. Pennypacker almost persuades Grandma to give up her store. Truth and decency prevail in the end, again largely thanks to the youngsters. A lengthy comedy segment, in which little Stymie Beard tries to purchase ten cents worth of "It," is often cut from TV prints due to its allegedly offensive content (which is offensive mainly to those who find offense in everything). Enhanced by a marvelous musical score by Marvin Hatley, Helping Grandma was originally released on January 3, 1931. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Big Ears
An angry divorce is the curious source of humor in the offbeat "Our Gang" comedy "Big Ears." Though little Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins loves both his father and mother (Creighton Hale and Ann Christy), he wishes that they would stop quarrelling. Overhearing their plans to split up, Wheezer is at first delighted, assuming that a divorce is some sort of present. Learning the truth, he begs his pal Matthew "Stymie" Beard for advice. Stymie suggests that, if Wheezer were to get a bellyache, his folks would forget their differences. Acting upon this, Wheezer consumes vast quantities of lard and soap, then samples the entire contents of the family's medicine chest! Fortuately, he survives, whereupon his parents promise to stop fighting --- at least for now. Originally released on August 29, 1931, "Big Ears" is absent from the "Little Rascals" TV package, but is, however, available on home video. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Bargain Day
The "Our Gang" two-reeler "Bargain Day" gets off to a lively start as the kids help their pal Norman "Chubby" Chaney purchase a new hat. Meanwhile, Jackie Cooper's kid brother, played by Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins, steals the Gang's baseball equipment, intended to go into business as a door-to-door salesman with his best friend Matthew "Stymie" Beard. One of their first customers is poor little rich girl Jean Darling, who ends up inviting the entire Gang into her parents' luxurious mansion. A slapstick riot ensues, with perennial Hal Roach policeman Tiny Sandford making a futile effort to round up the rampaging kids. The best bit is an ancestor of Abbott and Costello's "Who's On First", with Jean, Wheezer and Stymie attempting to ascertain the location of Watt Street. Originally released on May 2, 1931, "Bargain Day" was Jackie Cooper's last "Our Gang" film. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Fly My Kite
A real four-hankie picture, "Fly My Kite" is one of "Our Gang"'s most poignant episodes, though it also manages to be hilariously funny at times. Margaret Mann makes a return appearance as the gang's adopted Grandma, who reads Wild West stories to the kids, gives them boxing tips and dispenses valuable advice about honesty and decency. The fly in the ointment is Grandma's hateful son-in-law Dan (played by James Mason -- not the famous British actor) who orders the old lady to pack up and get out so that he and his new wife (Mae Busch) can move in. On cue, the Gang attacks Dan en masse and forces him to make a hasty retreat, though he warns Grandma that she'd better be gone by the time he gets back. While on his way out, Dan peeks into Grandma's mailbox and finds a letter stating that she is in possession of old gold bonds now worth $100,000. Returning, Dan tells her that the bonds are worthless, hoping to get his own grimy hands on the valuable documents. But Grandma, still unaware of her financial windfall, informs Dan that the bonds did "go up" after all: She has tied them to the tail of the kids' kite, which is now flying high in the air. The rest of the film is a slapstick tour de force, as the Gang uses any weapon at their disposal ---rocks, nails, broken bottles, etc. --- to prevent Dan from retrieving the kite. Utilizing one of LeRoy Shield's lushest musical scores (including such unforgettable tunes as the plaintive "Prelude" and the helter-skelter &"Hide and Go Seek"), "Fly My Kite" is among those rare "Our Gang" films that extends its appeal even to non-fans of the series. Originally released on May 30, 1931, the film represented the last "Our Gang" appearance of series stalwart Allen "Farina" Hoskins. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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