Series: Our Gang

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

Stars: George McFarland, Matthew Beard, Kendall McComas, Dorothy DeBorba, Sherwood Bailey, Bobby Hutchins
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 07 May 1932
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: G-7
Filming dates: January 25 - February 4, 1932
Rating: 7/10


Available on BLU-RAY & DVD:

A train packed with orphaned children pulls into Santa Fe station, Los Angeles. The mistress informs them that they have to change trains so they can travel on to their new orphanage. A group of the kids discuss staying on the train in order to plan their 'getaway' so they can live out their ambitions. When they debark they find another group of similar-aged children playing nearby who enquire as to why they are wearing such uniforms. The leader of the boys from the train informs the new group they were heading somewhere specific but got bored of all the feasts and fun provided by the train. The list of mouthwatering foods the boys supposedly are used to eating is fabricated in an attempt to get the new gang to switch places with them.
The two groups switch clothes and change places. As the train leaves the station, the new kids take their seats. A small child, Spanky, in the care of one Mr. (Dell) Henderson, causes mischief with other passengers by smacking them on the chin. A kind female passenger offers to take charge of the boy but quickly gives him back after she herself receives a smack to her face! The kids then start to terrorise Mr. Henderson, by pulling off his toupe and exposing him to the rest of the passengers, who laugh at his appearance. The conductor, upon seeing the boys' dog, warns them the dog must not be allowed to remain in the carriage but this only prompts them to let the canine loose so it can chase the conductor away. Meanwhile, a mother (Estelle Etterre) and daughter are sitting together in front of Henderson and his brats when the mother excuses herself to go to the bathroom. One opportunist boy takes this opportunity to pull on the daughters pigtails in the mother's absence.
The mother returns to find her little girl is missing and seated with Mr. Henderson and two boys. She slaps him hard and tells him off, as she grabs Stymie by mistake and drags him off to the next carriage. When she realises her mistake she is confronted by Henderson and again a slapping match ensues. Two of the boys in the carriage start messing around with a steam valve, which engulfs the train with smoke. Finally everybody gets into their berths to go to sleep, but the insistence of some of the kids wanting some water keeps the other passengers awake. There is a long scene between Spanky and Dell Henderson where the child will not go to sleep and constantly whacks Dell in the face whilst playing tug-o-war with the blankets.
A novelty salesman enters the carriage and offers all the children a range of loud instruments and toys to deliberately cause even more trouble. This of course arouses the wrath of Henderson and the train coductor (Harry Bernard), both of whom warn the kids to be quiet. The noise has apparentley upset the animals in a nearby carriage so one of the boys (Stymie) goes to check on Pete, his dog. After bringing his pet back to his bunk he is spotted by the conductor, who is once again chased away! During this time the other animals (donkeys, chickens, cows, a monkey and a grizzly bear) are are freed to roam the train and cause even more havoc among the passengers. The monkey manages to open the novelties suitcase which the salesman has abandoned, and distribute the contents which include firecrackers, fireworks and the like. Soon, the whole carriage is alive with the sound of whizzing, cracking and exploding. The train arrives at its destination and everybody dismounts. A telegram arrives for Mr. Henderson which reads, "you have the wrong children, bring them right back". Oh dear.

Favourite bit
I would have to admit my favourite part is discovering that Oliver Hardy provided the voice-over screams of Otto Fries during the scene where he is awoken by the grizzly bear licking his face. Few people will be aware of this film/scene and I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the rest of the film but only watched it for purposes of this website.

Copyrighted May 2, 1932.
Film #114 in the series.
A decent colorized version of the film is available on DVD from Germany.
The opening shot of the film was filmed at Santa Fe station in California - the exact same location as the opening of Laurel & Hardy's "Berth Marks" (1929).
This was only Spanky's second film appearance. He is given special billing at the beginning of the film.
When the two ladies are in the railroad office complaining about the missing children, the background seen through the windows is obviously a projected image.
Oliver Hardy's voice is heard very briefly (2 seconds) around the 17m28s mark as the escaped bear licks the face of the drunken salesman (played by Otto Fries). As he realises that a bear is licking him, he jumps up and runs off. There is no actual dialogue, but the panic-cries heard are clearly Ollie's.
The date on the calendar seen in the office near the beginning says it is the 26th day of the month. This may have been accurate because the film began shooting on January 25th, 1932.
My opinion
Rather entertaining, with Spanky being a real pain in the arse throughout. Dell Henderson sells his beatings perfectly and in general it's quite a charming film all round.

George McFarland
Matthew Beard
Kendall McComas
Breezy Brisbane
Dorothy DeBorba
Sherwood Bailey
Bobby Hutchins
Harold Wertz
Donald Haines
Donald, an orphan
Georgie Billings
George, an orphan
Wally Albright
Jackie Williams
Spanky's counterpart
Reggie Streeter
Clayton Lawrence
Patsy Britten
Dell Henderson
Mr. Henderson
Harry Bernard
Pullman conductor
Hayes Robertson
Train porter
Estelle Etterre
Dorothy's mother
Otto Fries
Inebriated novelties salesman
Lyle Tayo
Silas D. Wilcox
Pullman conductor
Eddie Baker
Baldwin Cooke
Train passenger
Evelyn Burns
Train passenger
Adele Watson
Woman in charge of orphans
Eleanor Fredricks
Assistant to woman
in charge of orphans
Betty Allgrunn
Girl orphan on train
Charles Meakin
Train passenger
Edward Thomas
Train passenger
Train passenger #1
Train passenger #2


CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

(click any image to enlarge)

(click any image to enlarge)

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 Eleanor Fredericks, Betty Allgrunn, Edward Thomas, Charles Meakin)

This page was last updated on: 19 June 2024