Series: Our Gang

Director: Robert F. McGowan
Producer: Hal Roach
Dialogue: H.M. Walker
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: Elmer Raguse

Stars: Norman Chaney, Matthew Beard, Allen Hoskins, Bobby Hutchins, Dickie Jackson, Dorothy DeBorba, Mary Ann Jackson, Shirley Jean Rickert
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 30 May 1931
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: G-41
Filming dates: March 2-14, 1931
Rating: 7/10


Fly My Kite

Available on BLU-RAY & DVD:
   

Grandma is sitting and reading a western story to the kids who are gathered around. When a car exhaust backfires outside in the street Grandma flies off her chair. When she falls off a second time after a cat knocks over a saucepan, Farina urges Grandma to continue reading from on the floor. The story ends abruptly when it says it "continued next week", much to the disappointment of the kids who are listening. One of the kids (George Ernest) grabs some boxing gloves and goes at it with Grandma in the living room.
However, the fun and games are quickly broken up when Grandma's son-in-law Dan (Jim Mason) and his new wife (Mae Busch) turn up with some bad news. The new wife refuses to move into the house until Dan kicks Grandma out. Dan inpolitely tells Grandma: "You're broke, you're old and you're useless" (and she didn't smack him in the mouth??) Grandma fights back her tears and gives Dan a piece of her mind by claiming he stole all of her money after breaking her daughter's heart. The kids who have been hiding, suddenly charge at Dan and attack him. Hell, Mary Ann even uses a baseball bat!! Stymie smashes Dan around the head with a loaded boxing glove. After the kids have kicked the living crap out of Dan they sit and comfort Grandma. As Dan leaves he notices a letter for Grandma from her bondsman informing her to communicate with them immediately. The sly Dan takes the letter to the bondsman who tells him the bonds are worth $100,000.
Chubby walks into Grandma's house in need of his kite being fixed, whilst Wheezer messes around in the fire place trying to light a fire with Grandma's bonds. Grandma calls Wheezer over and uses the bonds to attach to Chubby's kite so that it will fly properly, accepting that at least the bonds came in handy for something. Chubby and Dickie go outside and fly the kite before Dan returns home. Grandma instructs the kids to go and hide as Dan comes in and deliberately destroys Grandma's glasses by stepping on them. He tells her she has received a letter from the bonds company but he has to read it to her on account of her not having her glasses. In a further act of sabotage, he falsely reads the letter as the company having gone out of business and that her bonds are worthless. But she tells him that in fact the bonds are not worthless and have "gone up".... in the air on Chubby's kite!
Dan goes outside and sees the kids with the kite and tries desperately to retrieve the bonds from it but Chubby and Dickie give him some resistance. Indoors Stymie is able to read the letter for himself when it is magnified by the reflection from the fish bowl. Grandma realises what Dan is up to and sends all of the kids out to beat him up! The dog leads the chase with all the kids chasing after Dan. One boy smashes Dan's watch whilst another throws a lasso around him. The kids drag Dan across the grass, over broken glass and a plank of wood with nails sticking out of it. Dan desperately tries to get the kite but every time he gets close the dog yanks it away from him. When the kite gets hooked up on a telephone line Dan climbs up the pole to get it but the kids start chucking rocks at him (Stymie has his own unique style of doing so). Somehow the kids manage to get ahold of a couple of saws and begin chopping down the pole. Grandma grabs a policeman and Dan is taken away. The bonds are retrieved for Grandma by the kids but she is more concerned about Stymie, who has ended up in the deep puddle as a result of the telegraph pole falling down on him! Feel good ending to a very decent story.

Favourite bit
Poor Stymie... he just doesn't get it, does he?!

Trivia
Copyrighted May 7, 1931.
The 107th film in the series to be released.
The Maltin/Bann book lists Jackie Williams as being in the film, though Bob Demoss/The Lucky Corner website is adamant she does not appear.
It is my suspicion based on the movements of 'Grandma' during her warm up routine after she finishes reading the story that her stunts were performed by David Sharpe.
Grandma's address is 546 Orange Drive, Los Angeles, California.
There is a music sheet on Grandma's piano for "Your Mama's Gonna Slow You Down" - the same one that is seen in Laurel & Hardy's Chickens Come Home (which was released three months before this film).
This was Dickie Jackson's first appearance in the series and Mary Ann Jackson's final appearance in the series. It was also the fifth and final appearance in the series for Shirley Jean Rickert, though she did appear in more more film for Roach in The Boy Friends' Love Pains (1932).

My opinion
A good film with a good story, a loveable grandma and an evil son-in-law. Charming despite the sinister overtones. One of the better films in the series.

Matthew Beard
Stymie
Norman Chaney
Chubby
Dorothy DeBorba
Dorothy
Allen Hoskins
Farina
Bobby Hutchins
Wheezer
Dickie Jackson
Dickie
Mary Ann Jackson
Mary Ann
Shirley Jean Rickert
Shirley
George Ernest
Kid boxing with grandma
Margaret Mann
Grandma
Mae Busch
Dan's new wife
Jim Mason
Dan, son-in-law
Broderick O'Farrell
Bond agent
Perry Glass
Boy who destroys Dan's watch
Charles 'Chic' Sale, Jr.
Boy with lasso
David Sharpe
Grandma (stunts)
Pete The Pup III
Dog

UNIDENTIFIED CAST

CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

SHOT ON LOCATION
(click any image to enlarge)





Chris Bungo's "Then & Now" video presentation

Acknowledgements:
The Little Rascals: The Life And Times Of Our Gang by Leonard Maltin & Richard W. Bann (book)
http://www.theluckycorner.com/rmt/107.html (Robert Demoss/The Lucky Corner)
Chris Bungo (Then & Now YouTube video)

This page was last updated on: 21 May 2022