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The Little Rascals
The Little Rascals was a series of comedy shorts films about a group of poor neighborhood children and the adventures they had together. Producer Hal Roach broke new ground in the filming industry by putting boys and girls, black and whites all in equal roles, something that was unheard of in the 1920's and 1930's.
Our Gang, the trademark name of MGM before Roach studios titled it the Little Rascals, first production was at the Roach studio was in 1922 as a silent short subject series.
Roach changed distributors from Pathé to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, otherwise known as MGM, in 1927, and by 1929 had converted the series to sound. Production continued at the Roach studio until the series was sold in 1938 to MGM, who continued producing the comedies until 1944.
A total of 220 shorts and one feature film, titled General Spanky, were eventually produced, featuring over forty-one child actors.
In the mid-1950s, the 80 Roach-produced shorts with sound were syndicated for television under the title The Little Rascals, as MGM owned the rights to the Our Gang trademark.
The some of the more memorable characters in the cast of the Little Rascals consisted of:
"Spanky", played by George McFarland from 1932 to 1942
"Buckwheat", played by Billie Thomas from 1934 to 1944
"Alfalfa", played by Carl Switzer from 1935 to 1940
"Darla", played by Darla Hood from 1935 to 1941
"Stymie", played by Matthew Beard from 1930 to 1935
"Porky", played by Eugene Lee from 1935 to 1939
"Waldo", played by Darwood Kaye from 1937 to 1940
"Mickey", played by Robert Blake from 1939 to 1944
"Froggy", played by Billy Laughlin from 1940 to 1944
The characters in this series became well-known cultural icons, and could often be identified solely by their first names.
The characters of Alfalfa, Spanky, Buckwheat, Darla, and Froggy were especially well known.
Like many child actors, and especially child actors from the 30's to the 60's the Our Gang children were subsequently typecast and had trouble outgrowing their Our Gang images.
Several Our Gang alumni, some of these actors had lesser known parts, Carl Switzer, Scotty Beckett, Norman Chaney, Billy Laughlin, Donald Haines and Bobby Hutchins, were met with untimely deaths before the age of forty.
This led to rumors that there was a curse on the child actors of Our Gang comedy shorts but that theory was later debunked.
The widely circulated rumor that entertainer Bill Cosby bought up the rights to Our Gang to keep the racial stereotypes off of television is false. Cosby has never owned any rights to the series at any time.
If you are a fan of the Little Rascals and remember watching them in the 1960 when they were on television, then you probably were a fan of Red Skelton show that was also on television in that decade.
If you want to re-live the golden age ov TV and are planing a trip to Pigeon Forge be sure to catch Brian Hoffman's Remembering Red - A Tribute to Red Skelton. Make reservations now by clicking on the Show Schedule link above.
"Goodnight now and may God bless"
Below is an episode of the Little Rascals, no copywrite or trademarks violations intended. Purely for your pleasure :~)