Series: Our Gang

Director: Robert F. McGowan
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: Reed Heustis
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Richard C. Currier

Stars: Allen Hoskins, Harry Spear, Joe Cobb, Jay R. Smith, Jackie Condon, Bobby Dean, Bobby Hutchins, Mildred Kornman
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 14 January 1928
Length: 3 reels
Production No.: G-5
Filming dates: October 11-27, 1927
Rating: 5/10
Spook-Spoofing

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Farina is superstitious and demonstrates this by avoiding the cracks in the sidewalk as he runs down the street. He sidesteps a black cat and then a man on top of a ladder. He sits on the kerb with his special charm which he uses to ward off goblins and such. He sees a bunch of kids running down the street in the middle of the road who are off to find a drowned man in the creek. Elsewhere Joe offers Billy his rifle to fire, but being the practical joker that he is, the gun backfires. Joe offers the gun to Farina, and then Jackie, and then Harry to try out. Each time the boys fire the trigger Farina gets a face full of powder. Joe goes one better - he takes aim right at Farina's face and shoots him down on the spot!
Joe continues to torment Farina by electrocuting him and then having the undertaker's son Jay come over to measure him up for a coffin! Joe continues his quest to annoy Farina by getting Harry to pick a fight with him. Farina hits Harry who then pretends to die as a result. Jay tells Farina he needs to bury Harry in the graveyard after Harry is loaded onto a cart and covered with a blanket. Farina pulls the cart along the road but is stopped by a policeman when the wheels fall off. Harry lets the cop in on the ruse and he plays along. Farina then picks Harry's lifeless body up and stuffs him in the sack before 'carrying' him off down the street, not realising that Harry has stuck his legs through the bottom of the sack and is now walking behind him. During this time the other boys arrive at the cemetery, along with Wheezer and Mildred.
Farina gets to work in digging a grave for Harry, who is propped up against a marker and keeps falling over. Jay scares Farina further when dressed in the disguise of a devil who oversees his digging but it's all too much for Farina who tries to flee before bumping into a fake skeleton operated by Jay. Through a variety of disguises the kids continue to terrorise and torment Farina in the graveyard including Joe who stuffs a toad into a fake head and rolls it into the hole where Farina is digging. All of a sudden a solar eclipse engulfs the cemetery and everything goes dark as a storm picks up and carries a lot of debris and balloons through the graveyard.
Through a string of coincidences the kids start to get scared as they begin to suspect Farina's 'Gumbo-Gumbo' charm is starting to work against them. A goat, an owl, and even a horse and you are not going to believe this, but a COW somehow manage to get mixed up in the storm. Jackie gets pinned against a bush and the horse has a ghost-like gown blown onto its head. A fierce lightning storm hits and the kids panic. A balloon with an evil face just happens to land and hook itself onto Farina, who then chases 'dead' Harry out of the cemetery. Wait a minute, there's a pig too! Farina shoves Harry into the hole he dug, which he falls through and lands down below in a mausoleum (yeah, right) where Wheezer is waiting with a gun which fires flour into Jay's and Joe's faces - turning them into ghosts. Farina waits up top-side and bashes the 'ghosts' over the head as they emerge from the grave via a ladder (which just happened to be available). Eventually the goat rams Farina through the hole and he ends up down there with the other boys. They discover it is really Farina and all escape just as the eclipse ends.

Favourite bit
Harry Spear, Jay R. Smith and Joe Cobb all trying to escape from the 'ghost' and all pulling each other away from the escape hatch because they want to get into it first. You expect the scene to end quicker than it actually does, which makes it all the more amusing.

Trivia
Copyrighted January 14, 1924; renewed August 11, 1955. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2023.
The 71st film in the series.
Released as a 3-reel silent short. This was very unusual for the series.
Farina passes a poster that reads "Dead Men Tell No Tales," which was playing at the Lincoln Theatre on Sep. 2.
This was one of four films made by Hal Roach which had the word "Spook" in its title. The others were... Haunted Spooks (Harold Lloyd 1920), Shivering Spooks (Our Gang 1926) and Spooky Hooky (Our Gang 1936). Fascinating information, right?
That eclipse scene was so fast it almost appeared as a timelapse video!
In 2017 Chris Bungo made a then & now video comparison of the locations used in the film. You can see this on his YouTube channel here.
What the experts say
"Okay let's just get this out of the way right now: the whole scenario and the sense of believability in most of what goes on here is just utterly ridiculous. Far-fetched fun, nonetheless." ~ Lord Heath.

Allen Hoskins
Farina
Harry Spear
Harry
Joe Cobb
Joe
Jay R. Smith
The undertaker's son
Jackie Condon
Jackie
Bobby Dean
Bobby
Bobby Hutchins
Wheezer
Mildred Kornman
Mildred
Johnny Aber
Running boy
Chester Bachman
Officer
Charley Young
Vendor
Ham Kinsey
Eclipse-viewing customer
Pete
Pete

UNIDENTIFIED CAST

CREDITS BLACKHAWK TITLE CARD

INTERTITLE CARDS

SHOT ON LOCATION

Acknowledgements:
http://theluckycorner.com/rms/071.html (Robert Demoss/The Lucky Corner)
The Little Rascals: The Life And Times Of Our Gang by Leonard Maltin & Richard W. Bann (book)
https://youtu.be/qBr_YaChA70 (Chris Bungo's Then & Now video)
Tommie Hicks (help)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Ham Kinsey)

This page was last updated on: 15 January 2019