Series: Our Gang

Director: Robert A. McGowan
Producer: Hal Roach, Robert F. McGowan
Titles: H.M. Walker
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Richard C. Currier

Stars: Joe Cobb, Jackie Condon, Allen Hoskins, Bobby Hutchins, Mary Ann Jackson, Jay R. Smith, Harry Spear
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 12 January 1929
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: G-15
Filming dates: July 19 - August 4, 1928;
retakes August 22-24, 1928

Rating: 5/10

Election Day

Available on DVD:

Joe (the Democrat) and Jay (the Republican) are competing for election. A long white line is painted on the ground in the yard to separate the representatives of the two parties, with Joe refusing to allow Farina - or anybody else cross the line until the election is over. Jay and Jackie pay a visit to the farm but are told to leave, whilst Farina and his sister are caught between the two sides. They formulate a plan to fool everybody when Farina puts Pleurisy on his shoulders with a sheet over them so they resemble an adult. They then stumble around the yard as the dog attaches himself to the back of them, followed by Mary, Joe and Harry who follow them. Another plan is needed.
Out in the cornfield, Farina's father (OSCAR MORGAN) hides a bottle of whiskey inside the jacket of a scarecrow when his wife calls him in but the bottle falls through a hole in the pocket and is consumed by a goat who then starts acting pissed. Farina and his sister are challenged by Joe when they dress up in dresses and claim to be spring dancers. But it's Harry, Mary and Wheezer who become the springs when they jump up from the ground after sitting in an ant's nest. We then have Farina waving a bunch of carrots in the air which causes a cow (who sees him through a telescope) to run after him, pulling a crate behind him. Farina and Pleurisy run away when they are accosted by Jay and Jackie. The siblings find the scarecrow and decide to hide inside it. When they see Jackie and Jay sitting in the cornfield they sneak up and scare the boys away. Also in the field is Farina's father, who after already having consumed some alcohol, can't quite believe his eyes when he sees a scarecrow trying to mess with him! When a rat crawls into the trousers leg of the scarecrow, Farina freaks out and runs around the yard scaring all the animals (including a cow with an erected see-through tail). The animals all bolt, and when Farina's mother sees the crazy scarecrow seemingly dancing around she bolts too - head first through a barn door.
Joe decides that he and his small band of loyal friends need to do all they can in order to win the election and so head off into town (the Hal Roach Back Lot) to find Jay to stop him from voting. Farina pulls his little cart along with his sister sitting in the back of it, picking off fruit from stalls outside shops in the process before discaring a banana peel on the ground for somebody (CHET BRANDENBURG) to slip on. She continues to help herself to everything within arm's reach but gets her comeuppance when she dips her finger into varnish and tasting it. Meanwhile, The Pool Room Party are out to steal the election and their members (led by ROBERT PAGE). Their leader instructs his men to be ready to grab the election box once the shooting begins.
Joe confronts Farina in the street and tells him he is going to 'pop' him but Farina counters Joe by threatening to blow a police whistle he just found. The two boys seem to call a truce until Wheezer steps in and punches Farina. And that's when it all kicks off! Farina blows his whistle, which happens to be the signal for all the gangsters to open fire! The kids run for safety as an all-out gunfight takes place in the street. Joe tries to hide in the back of a wagon but finds an active machine gun pointing in his direction when he opens the doors. Farina tries to escort his scared sister off the street before taking her in a shop doorway and stripping off her ridiculous dress. A cop fires a shot and hits a barrel of liquor which drips onto Farina's back. Farina thinks he's been shot but his sister tells him he just tastes of watermelon. During the melee, the gang leader signals his men to snatch the ballot box. The gang break out of a window with the box but abandon it due to the gunfight. Pleurisy picks up the bags containing the voting papers and Farina hands them over to a policeman. His 'reward' is to be spanked by his mother. His sister, however avoids being spanked on account that she isn't wearing any underwear. (Fortunately, we are spared the image of that!)

Favourite bit
Farina and Joe almost come to blows but when they calm down it's Wheezer who walks up to Farina and punches him in the gut which starts an all-out riot!

Copyrighted December 10, 1928.
The 81st film in the series.
Is Mary's skirt short enough?
When the pie falls onto the gangster's head it comes from above (in theory) but if you slow the footage down you can see the pie comes from the side of the screen.
Some sources list Farina's father as Clarence Muse. This is incorrect. The character is played by Oscar Morgan.
Some sources list the cop as Gene Morgan. This is incorrect.
Some sources list Dick Gilbert as being one of the gangsters. This is incorrect.
Some sources list Baldwin Cooke as being one of the gangsters. This is incorrect.
Some sources list Ed Brandenburg as the man who slips on a banana. This is in fact his brother Chet.
My opinion
The first half of the film is pedestrian-paced but the second half has some glorious shots and footage of the Hal Roach Back Lot. (see images below) As far as storytelling goes, it starts off as a good, albeit odd idea, but descends into complete randomness. Mary Ann Jackson walks around like a spare part with nothing to do to justify her screen presence, but Wheezer steals the show with that cheeky punch on Farina that causes the mayhem towards the end of the film. I've seen better and I've seen a lot worse. Slightly above average.

Joe Cobb
Jackie Condon
Allen Hoskins
Bobby Hutchins
Mary Ann Jackson
Jay R. Smith
Harry Spear
Paralee Coleman
Louise Beavers
Farina's mother
Leo Sulky
Jack Hill
Chet Brandenburg
Man who slips on banana peel/
Ham Kinsey
Man carrying basket of sausages/
Oscar Morgan
Farina's father
Clarence Morehouse
Sammy Brooks
Jack O'Brien
Shoeshine man/Gangster
Harry Tenbrook
Skeets Noyes
Harry Semels
Man whose hat gets shot
Harry Arras
Retta Palmer
Woman in town
Man with umbrella

CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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The Little Rascals: The Life And Times Of Our Gang by Leonard Maltin & Richard W. Bann (book) (Robert Demoss/The Lucky Corner)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Oscar Morgan, Chet Brandenburg, Robert Page, Clarence Morehouse,
Sammy Brooks, Jack O'Brien, Harry Semels, Harry Tenbrook, Skeets Noyes)
Stéphane Maltais (general assistance; identification of Ham Kinsey)
The ID of Leo Sulky is my own opinion

This page was last updated on: 24 October 2023