Series: Our Gang

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

Stars: Joe Cobb, Jackie Condon, Jean Darling, Johnny Downs, Michael Visaroff
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 16 January 1927
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: K-15
Filming dates: September 29 - October 15, 1926
Rating: 5/10

Bring Home The Turkey

A sinister-looking headmaster named "Wart-head" at the Happyland Home Orphanage is awoken by the kids having a pillow fight in the next room. He enters their room and threatens to whip them all unless they go back to sleep (the really tough, sadistic bastard!) A black man, known as 'Uncle Tom' is awoken at 6am when his dog removes the bedsheets on the bed where he sleeps with two children (Farina and Mango). He puts on a fitness record and follows the instructions from it as he exercises with his three young children. Even the mice indoors and the goat and horse outdoors in the yard get into the routine! Tom energetically jumps into his shoes and performs a shoe shuffle. Outside the gang gather to do some work.
Farina helps himself to a donut and gives one to his sister when Uncle Tom has his back turned but he catches him (see image, left). He takes the food away from the kids and points to a tapestry he keeps which reads "The Lord Will Provide". Tom prepares cookies and pancakes and takes them outside for the other children who are digging. The kids sit around a table and stuff their faces whilst Tom takes over with the digging. He then takes a guitar and plays a tune whilst the kids start dancing. However, the headmaster sees this and packs the children into the back of a truck and takes them all away as a punishment. He even destroys one of their toy carts just out of spite. At the new place, Farina gets freaked out when he sees the headmistress brandishing a large knife. He tells the other kids but the headmaster hears and walks into the room. He pulls out a hand-written letter from Johnny which warns they are all in danger.
Their dog rushes in and snatches the letter from the headmaster's hand and runs off to deliver it to a dispondent Uncle Tom who is at home. Johnny is cold and shows that his legs are cut up whilst the headmaster chases Farina around the house, knocking over Joe who is perched on top of a step ladder, presumably to stay out of the way. Uncle Tom rushes to the children and climbs up a ladder to enter their room. He uses a sheet to make a slide and sends the kids down in out into the yard, with the help of the dog who pulls the other end of it. He loads the kids up onto his cart and rides away. He takes the kids to what appears to be an abandoned house so that they will be safe (it's actually his own house!) A newspaper headline reveals how the orphanage kids are missing (see TRIVIA).
The headmaster turns up with three men intent on returning the children to "where they belong". A fight breaks out and Uncle Tom dispenses with all of them (including the beefy Noah Young, which takes some doing!) Joe goes berzerk with a hammer, hitting everything that moves, whilst Noah Young gets his nose pinched by a pair of huge tongs! When the dust clears Uncle Tom tries to explain his reasoning for taking the kids but he is told to tell it to the judge. Uncle Tom pleads his case and the judge takes his side. The final scenes show Uncle Tom back at home with all the children from the orphanage eating turkey. The headmaster makes one last attempt to sabotage their happiness but the dog chases him away.

Favourite bit
Joe Cobb going batshit with a hammer, hitting Noah Young, missing Noah Young and hitting Farina over the head, and then Uncle Tom just for good measure. He just looks possessed!!

Copyrighted January 14, 1927, by Pathé Exchange, Inc. Registration no. LU23532. Renewed January 10, 1955, with registration no. R142085. This copyright is currently due to expire at the end of 2022.
This was the 56th film in the series to be released.
The record that Uncle Tom picks up at the beginning of the film is "The Daily Dozen", part of the 'Musical Health Builder' range.
The hand-written note by Johnny reads, "Uncle Tom, they gonna cut our heads off an eat us for breakfast, cum an get us Farina Mango Plurisy."
The scenes where Uncle Tom rescues the children from the home was shot at the Arnaz Ranch on October 8, 1926.
There seems to be a continuity error when Uncle Tom throws Jackie down the slide because in the next shot it is Jean Darling! In fact, there is missing footage here which makes it appear to be incorrect.
This was the first film Jean Darling appeared in for Hal Roach.
A newspaper headline reads "Orphanage Children Are Still Missing". This is followed by "Household furniture mysteriously disappears from local store", and "Hats, caps and children's clothing mysteriously vanish from warehouse". Finally, "Grocery stock is borrowed".
My opinion
Given that the film has been unavailable for viewing for so many years, you would expect the reviewer to show a little bit of enthusiasm in offering an opinion on it. Not me. I call each film as I see it: this is a borefest. There are unfortunately some pretty nasty depictions of child cruelty on display here, not to mention some incredibly violent scenes later on. The opening scene shows the headmaster threatening to whip the children, and later on he is actually seen manhandling at least two children on screen. If that isn't enough you have a scene where Farina is biting Noah Young's legs whilst Joe Cobb takes a hammer to Noah's feet during a fight scene! It's very uncomfortable to watch.

Joe Cobb
Jackie Condon
Jean Darling
Johnny Downs
Peggy Eames
Michael Visaroff
Louise Emmons
Allen Hoskins
Jannie Hoskins
Mildred Kornman
Scooter Lowry
Jay R. Smith
Tom Wilson
Uncle Tom
Noah Young
Clarence Morehouse
Charles Lloyd
Lyle Tayo
J.H. Wells
Judge Farrell
Sheila Hayward

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) (Our Gang Wiki)
Steve Wright (identification of Lyle Tayo)
BIG THANKS GO TO Geoff Lucas for supplying me with a print of the film for review and for all his help and assistance

This page was last updated on: 16 January 2023