Series: Our Gang

Director: Edward L. Cahn
Producer:
Writer: Sam Baerwitz
Photography: Jackson Rose
Editor: Albert Akst
Art director: Elmer Sheeley

Stars: Robert Blake, Darla Hood, Bill Laughlin, George McFarland, Billie Thomas
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 18 March 1941
Length: 1 reel
Production No.: 2716
Filming dates: January 13-16, 1941
Rating: 1/10

Ye Olde Minstrels

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We begin at the One For All And All For One Club where Spanky reads in the newspaper that the Red Cross needs money. So the gang (Spanky, Darla, Buckwheat, Froggy and Mickey) decide to put on a minstrels show. As the curtain rises at the Greenpoint Auditorium we are "treated" to the view of dozens of kids sitting in a pyramid on the stage singing, waving tambourines around and banging their feet. And this goes on for a while. And "they" must have considered this warranted being made into a film? It gets worse. Spanky then starts some sort of stand-up comic routine where he and Froggy share an incredibly unfunny joke which the other kids laugh their heads off at (????)
We then have to endure another absolutely pointless song and dance routine with the kids waving their arms about whilst sitting in their seats. Oh but wait, some clever lighting techniques try to salvage the crap being exhibited on the stage. And even the audience applauds them too, just to add to the insult. It carries on, with Spanky having an unfunny joke with Mickey before Froggy, of all people, takes to singing his song. As he "sings" Spanky encourages him to go "lower", so Froggy gradually makes himself smaller and smaller on the stage. The crowd keep laughing?? In the final act has Spanky introduce Walter Wills to the stage and he tap-dances (makes a prat of himself) with twelve children whilst he sings "Lazy Moon" in blackface (I'm sure that would be deemed racist in today's over-sensitive world). Thank god that was the end of the film.

Favourite bit
Easily the best scene in the movie.

Trivia
Copyrighted October 14, 1941.
Release no. C-392.
The title of the film refers to the name of the play the gang put on to raise money for the Red Cross.
This was the first of three appearances in the Our Gang films for Walter Wills. He would later have small roles in Melodies Old And New and Doin' Their Bit.
There are 35 children on the stage when we see them at the beginning of the show.
Billy Laughlin, who plays Froggy, looks awful with so many of his teeth missing! He would have been 8 years old at the time of filming.
Some of the shots of the audience were later used in Calling All Kids (1943).
What the experts say
"Are you serious? What a piece of utterly boring, unnecessary crap. Completely pointless, unworthy of being called a film. More suited to being a stage show at the local school. But some wise dick thought this ought to be put up on a big screen and showed in theatres. Those who paid money to see it must have been utterly unfulfilled with their daily lives to actually want to physically leave their homes and go see this. WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS? I hope they were fired for even suggesting this passes as entertainment!" ~ Lord Heath.

Robert Blake
Mickey
Darla Hood
Darla
Billy Laughlin
Froggy
George McFarland
Spanky
Billie Thomas
Buckwheat
Walter Wills
Walter Wills
Ralph Hodges
Dancer
Bobby Browning
Dancer
Priscilla Montgomery
Dancer
David Polonsky
Dancer
Jackie Salling
Dancer
Ardith Dondanville
Dancer
Valerie Lee
Dancer
Dickie Humphries
Dancer
Priscilla Montgomery
Dancer
Raphael Dolciame
Performer
Joline Karol
Performer
James Gubitosi
Audience member
Tommy McFarland
Boy in audience
(right side, aisle seat)
Joan Blake (Giovanna Gubitosi)
Girl in front row of audience
(left side)
Marlene Mains
[*unconfirmed]

UNIDENTIFIED CAST

CREDITS POSTER

STILL

Acknowledgements:
The Little Rascals: The Life And Times Of Our Gang by Leonard Maltin & Richard W. Bann (book)
Matthew Lydick (information; several cast IDs and help)
Robert Demoss (information)
Richard Finegan (information)

This page was last updated on: 15 September 2019