Series: Our Gang

Director: Robert McGowan
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: James Greene

Stars: Matthew Beard, Dickie Moore, George McFarland, Bobby Hutchins, Johnny Collum, Dorothy DeBorba, Bobbie Beard
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 28 January 1933
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: G-13
Filming dates: October 17-22, 1932
Rating: 7/10

Fish Hooky

Available on BLU-RA & DVD:

In a rather surprising opening scene, it's former Gang regular Mary Kornman who walks into the classroom as the teacher to a class of rather bored looking students. Their look of boredom quickly turns to excitement when she announces that instead of spending the day at school the kids have been invited to spend the day on the amusement pier as guests. As some of the kids sit outside they are approached by two familiar faces - Farina and Joe who advise them to play "fish hooky" to get out of going to school. The boys are naturally excited and accept Joe's offer to write them excuse notes. Spanky hands the notes to Miss Kornman, who has been reunited with Mickey Daniels - now a truant officer. Spanky tells them the notes are fake and grasses up Joe and Farina.
Miss Kornman gives Spanky a note to pass on to the boys who are now fishing. When they read that their class is off to the beach to have some fun they quickly rush back to the school but the bus has left without them. Mickey speaks to the boys about playing hookey without giving away that he is the truant officer. He scares them into thinking that their fate will be at reform school, locked in irons and made to work on a rock pile where the only thing they have to look forward to is spinach on a Sunday! Mickey drives the six boys (Wheezer, Stymie, Dickie, Cotton, John Collum and Spanky) to the beach in his car, which then breaks down. They see his badge and realise he is in fact the truant officer.
The hooky boys find Miss Kornman on the pier and introduce themselves but she pretends she doesn't know them. Even Dorothy (DeBorba) gets in on the act by refusing to acknowledge Stymie. As the others hide, Mickey comes along and declares that when he finds the missing kids he will send them to reform school. The truant kids begin to cry as they are forced to watch on as all the other children ride the rollercoaster (some brilliant shots filmed in this sequence). Not wanting to be deprived of all the fun the boys try every trick to get on some of the rides but Mickey is stalking them and makes his presence known at all times. Stymie is offered a chance to use a large hammer to hit the bell on the strong man game but he retorts that he will be soon using a real hammer for sure after taking the truant officer's comments to heart.
Mickey continues his playful pursuit of the boys, jumping out on them every chance he gets. The boys put on some disguises and make their way to the Fun House to evade Mickey but of course he is one step ahead of them. Wheezer and Uh-huh (silly name, by the way; I can't believe I just typed that) dress up in ridiculous costumes and crawl on their knees to the Fun House. Stymie sits on top of Dickie's shoulders under a costume but they are also caught. Mickey chases Stymie all over the pier until he finally catches him and reunites him with the others. Mickey takes them all onto the beach where Miss Kornman awaits with some food for them all. The kids have learnt a lesson: never to truant. The film ends on a high note with Spanky telling Mary to hurry up and give in to Mickey's repeated requests for Mary to kiss him... so that everyone can get some sleep.

Favourite bit
There are admittedly some good scenes in this film but I'd be lying if I didn't say the rollercoaster scenes stand out!

Copyrighted January 16, 1933. Renewed March 7, 1960.
The opening credits scroll from side-to-side, which is quite unique.
Allen Hoskins ('Farina') holds the record for most appearances in a Hal Roach-produced film by a child actor (110 films). This was his last film for Roach.
This was Donald Haines' last Our Gang film.
The amusement arcade scenes were filmed on Venice Pier between October 17-20, 1932. Footage shot at Venice Pier, most of which didn't make it into this film, was included in a montage for "Mush And Milk", the first half of which was also included in the Charley Chase film "Arabian Tights."

My opinion
A charming film. It was genuinely lovely to see so many old faces in this one, with Mary, Farina, Mickey and Joe all putting in some screen time after their respective exits from the series long ago. The location shots were also good to see and looked like a lot of fun to be a part of.

Matthew Beard
Dickie Moore
George McFarland
Bobby Hutchins
Johnny Collum
Dorothy DeBorba
Bobbie Beard
Joe Cobb
Allen Hoskins
Donald Haines
Georgie Billings
Henry Hanna
Boy in classroom
Mildred Kornman
Girl in classroom
Bobby DeWar
Boy in classroom behind Mildred
Doris Oelze
Girl near gazebo
Mickey Daniels
Mickey, truant officer
Mary Kornman
Miss Kornman, teacher
Baldwin Cooke
Amusement park barker
Dickie Jackson
Kid at pier


CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

(click any image to enlarge)

Chris Bungo's "Then & Now" video presentation

RISQUE (click image to enlarge)

Acknowledgements: (Bob Demoss/The Lucky Corner)
The Little Rascals: The Life And Times Of Our Gang by Leonard Maltin & Richard W. Bann (book)
Chris Bungo (YouTube video)

This page was last updated on: 07 September 2021