This is sort of an outgrowth of the Standard Skinny-Dipping Routine. The way it goes is, Person or persons go skinny-dipping. While they swim, something happens to their clothes, leaving them stranded. They try to make their way home either nude or covering themselves as best they can with whatever's available. Hence, the standard choices of grass skirts, barrels, or old grain sacks. They eventually do find something to wear but it's equally embarrassing and/or humiliating. If it's a male, usually he ends up having to don a dress. I've often wondered where this trope originated, given the fact it was obviously ancient even in the Silent Era. My guess is it came from old off-color stories men used to tell. There are other Skinny-Dipping schticks, but this is the one most often encountered in this genre.
It rather amuses me the only person to my knowledge who actually went 'skinny-dipping', at least in theory, was Creighton Hale, an adult; the kids tended to retain their underwear, at least, though Dickie mentions "swimmin' in the raw" in FORGOTTEN BABIES. Actually, nudity, real or pretend, seems to have been quite rare for the Gang.
Not exceptionally rare. This could be a question from the old trivia thread. There was
Butch at the end of "Came the Brawn" Spanky, Buckwheat, Mickey G and Froggy at the end of "Mighty Lak a Goat" Mickey D in and getting out of the bathtub before getting a towel in "High Society" Alfalfa in the tub in "Alfalfa's Double" Farina and Imogene getting baths after Jackie Condon paints them in "Giants Vs. Yanks" Farina's baby brother getting a bath from Farina in "Lazy Days" Does Ernie in the barrel count in "Our Gang"? I wouldn't count Mickey G in "Fightin' Fools" since he definitely had something on within his barrel.
On a related note, there seemed to be a long period of modesty when the main characters were never shirtless, between "Better Movies" and "Hi'-Neighbor!". Pants got lost, but their undershorts often looked like regular shorts.
I could easily be missing something.
And since I went to the trouble of responding, here are more bad episodes on that theme from different time periods. Actually these are the better of my bad ones; I can easily make others that are worse.
Our Gangster (August 1922) - At long last, the original for the first film has been recovered. Not knowing how this would work out, the writers were trying many different things, and found that Ernie in a barrel was the most popular scene. Thus there were these differences between the official release and the actual first effort.
The gang teases Ernie when they see him in his backyard waiting for all his clothes to dry. While he is distracted, Jackie, being the only one small enough to fit through an opening at the bottom of a broken board in the fence, steals and hides all of Ernie’s clothes. There is one witness, however: Dinah the Mule. Then comes the news that Mary Jane’s mother is about to lose her store, and the gang needs Ernie’s brains to help save it. Realizing he could never live with himself if he didn’t help a friend in need, Ernie goes downtown in just the barrel with the rest of the gang.
Apart from curling up in the barrel and rolling down hills to save time and energy, and cutting out the scene with Pat and Ernie trading clothes, the other scenes take place as in the official release. Nobody makes any reference to Ernie’s attire, and he acts perfectly normal. After the day is saved, Dinah kicks Jackie into a mud puddle which tears and ruins his clothes, and the gang finds a small keg from Mary Jane’s store for him to walk home in.
The Inglorious Third (July 3, 1927) - The gang is in their grass skirts as usual, but it is a hot day in July and nobody cares. (Since Dorothy Morrison boxed topless at age four in “The Champeen!”, Mango at age four is optionally topless in this.) The rest of the gang isn’t treating Farina and Mango very well because they don’t have any money, so those two make a mountain of popped paper bags. Then Farina gets a quarter from the kid to take Pansy, and buys the large firecracker. He and Joe fight to set it off, and when it does, it lands in the fireworks stand and sends all the fireworks all over the place.
One of the fireworks whizzes by Jackie and sets his grass skirt on fire. Upon seeing this, Harry bends over laughing, but his facial expression changes when he gets hit in the butt by another firework. Next is Jay, and within seconds all of the grass skirts are on fire. With severe problems mere seconds away, Mango gets a rare line and shouts, “The paper bags!” The gang runs and jumps into the huge pile, shedding their grass skirts just in time. With highly skilled film shooting nothing inappropriate appears onscreen.
The gang then puts on paper bags to preserve their decency (it takes Joe some extra time to find one that fits). When they emerge from the pile, they find out they have to do the second half of the film wearing only the paper bags. Thus they chase after Pansy, who swallowed all those Bahama-oil capsules, and all that. After they run through the wet cement once, the cement-layer comes up with a plan. He quickly pours more cement down the block where some ground has been excavated. When the gang runs over that, they sink up to their waists, just past the tops of the paper bags. They don’t sink further because of the high density of cement, but they get stuck facing the street and the cement hardens.
The town decides that since the gang is such troublemakers they have to stay embedded in the cement for 24 hours. The gang is humiliated as newspapers take pictures the gang is powerless to prevent. After they are given chisels and hammers to chip their way out, which takes many hours, paper bags with the bottoms cut out are added to the gang’s list of permissible attire for special occasions.
You forgot Spanky in 'For Pete's Sake' and Joe Cobb in 'Dog Heaven.' I'd estimate virtually all of the actual nudity was with the youngest kids, aged five or under.
Anyway, I'll toss in a couple of grass skirt things to try to pull us back toward shore...
'Raw Talent' - Alfalfa's entered in yet another amateur night contest, with the winner getting twenty dollars and a trophy. Spanky's acting as his manager, with Porky and Buckwheat assisting. Once they arrive at the station, however, rival entry Butch pounces and forces Alfalfa and Spanky into a nearby storage closet, locking them in. For good measure, he takes their clothes as well. Since they certainly won't be able to perform, he reasons he's a sure bet to win with his trumpet solo. Naturally, he doesn't figure on Porky, who's sitting in the audience enjoying a nice, juicy lemon. You know what happens, and Butch finds himself not only eliminated but tossed out of the studio when he threatens to "knock [Porky's] block off" and has to be dragged off the stage. Spanky and Alfalfa, meanwhile, discover nothing to wear in the storeroom except a couple of grass skirts packed in a box of Hawaiian props. Buckwheat finds them and lets them out but it turns out Butch knoted their clothes together into one long rope. All seems lost, but Spanky has an inspiration. Leaving Buckwheat to unknot the clothes, he collects the other Hawaiian props and the two boys hit the stage, Alfalfa singing 'Honolulu Baby' with Spanky backing him up on ukulele. However, another contestant's trained fleas get loose and infest Alfalfa's grass skirt, causing him to gyrate rather frantically as Spanky looks on in dismay before running offstage, the skirt thrown off from the wings. Naturally, Alfalfa's 'authentic hula routine' wins first prize and he takes his bows, the trophy barely concealing his modesty. For the tag, we cut to Buckwheat still struggling, in fast motion, to unknot the clothes.
I'll do the other one some other time, or not if preferred...
Silence Is Golden, Ain't It? (1929) - This experimental short produced in between ''Saturday's Lesson'' and ''Small Talk'' is an odd one.
The Gang finishes their school lessons from Mrs. Carter for the day, and decide to pay a visit to Mr. Roach in his office. When watching Roach's scenes, his reason for becoming a producer/director instead of an actor is completely understandable. Anyhow, Roach explains the movie making process to the kids, via inter-titles. His explanations are incredibly wordy, and most moviegoers didn't have enough time to read most of the titles before they were cut off. Roach kicks the kids out of his office after Pete accidentally knocks a bottle of ink onto Harry Langdon's contract.
The kids then go to visit the studio's new sound stage, where Bob McGowan tells the kids about the studio's new sound equipment. Once again, wordy inter-titles are presented. McGowan then leaves to take part in a poker game held by Charley Chase. Meanwhile, the kids play with the sound equipment, with inevitable results. After several failed attempts at getting the equipment to work, Wheezer blows a raspberry into a boom mic, somehow turning it on (don't ask). The kids, whose acting skills have noticeably weakened, begin saying whatever comes to their mind. Apparently, the Roach staff was toying with the idea of having the kids improvise all of their dialogue. But none of them seem particularly interested in speaking. What we get are a handful of mumbles, all of which seem to translate as "hello."
McGowan and returns to find the kids playing with the sound equipment (which was apparently turned off, as the film suddenly returns to being silent). The kids run off, while McGowan clearly mouths the 'F word,' the 'S Word,' and the 'Z word.'
You forgot Spanky in 'For Pete's Sake' and Joe Cobb in 'Dog Heaven.' I'd estimate virtually all of the actual nudity was with the youngest kids, aged five or under.
I'm glad I didn't recall every instance of nudity. Mickey D was nine, though, in High Society
I'll do the other one some other time, or not if preferred...
Anyone who prefers not to read these things has an easy option to avoid this thread, so I'd say go whenever ready.
And now for one that doesn't have to be in the grass skirts and barrels universe.
Officious Offenders (June 1925) - The gang is trying to play baseball in the street but is constantly interrupted by traffic. They get chased away by Officer “Hard-Broiled” McManus, who gives them a warning. Mickey gets the brilliant idea of closing off a block of a nearby street. This causes a major traffic jam, which McManus soon spots. He orders the gang to remove their obstacles, and since they defied his warning, then arrests them, putting some in handcuffs because he doesn’t have enough for all of them. The friendlier officer, Mac, who has been observing, regretfully realizes McManus is doing the right thing so he helps out by placing the remaining gangsters in handcuffs.
Thus Mickey, Mary, Johnny, Joe, Jackie, and Farina are marched several blocks through town, hands cuffed behind their backs, to the village square where they are placed in stocks for public scorn. The judge points out that they could have played ball in lots of open spaces, such as McGowan’s Vacant Lot, Dooley Flats, or their schoolyard, that didn’t endanger motorists. When it gets dark a few hours later, they are sent to prison and spend the next thirty nights in jail cells. During the day, they are chained at the ankles to form a chain gang, and work off their debt to society by cleaning the sides of town streets. They also have to make and set up traffic signs.
McManus gets a commendation and a promotion, and gains the respect and admiration of all the law-abiding adults in town. A few billboards featuring the chain gang are displayed, and are very effective in eliminating crime in the city.
PS: If this is in the grass skirts universe, the gang members also get another six months added to their grass skirt sentences.
And now for one definitely in that regrettable universe. This has to take place before "The Inglorious Third," so I have a challenge getting the dates right.
Olympic Gamins (May 1927)
The gang gets interested in the Olympics. They find out in school that the contestants in the original Greek Olympic Games competed naked, but they all agree that they should stick with their grass skirts.
They decide to try out for their favorite Olympic events in Dooley Flats. This is the field with a three-foot-deep puddle, and since this is a water hazard, the nearby shack is always stocked with emergency grass skirts. This is a good thing because Mango, in normal clothes, tags along with Farina, but jumps into the big puddle when she sees it. Farina pulls her out, and her rubber panties spring a leak and get ruined. Her dress and shoes are also falling apart. Fortunately, Mango can change into a grass skirt, and goes home. Her parents inform her that if that’s the way she treats her clothes, she isn’t going to wear anything else for the next three months.
Farina and Joe bet each other that they can lift an eighty-pound barbell over their heads. Farina goes first. He digs his feet into the sandy area where the barbell is laying, grips it, but can’t get it off the ground. Then with a mighty effort, he doesn’t lift the bar, but rather drives his legs into sand pit up to his waist.
“You lose!” taunts Joe.
“I ain’t lost yet.”
Farina pictures himself hoisting the bar while waist-deep in the sand, but his next effort only drives his body down in the sand pit up to his chest. It gets predictable, with Joe telling Farina to give up and Farina refusing. Another burst of strength pushes Farina down in the sand up to his armpits, another up to his neck, and another up to his chin. One last effort and Farina succeeds in locking the bar with his arms straight over his head. Unfortunately his head is a few inches below the surface of the sand. He shakes his head to get breathing space, and declares, “Ha, I did it!”
“You have to get out of there for that to count.”
Farina tries to pull himself out, but hits his head on the bar. He lets go to push sand away from his head, and Joe rolls the bar away. Farina clears some space in front of him, but with nothing solid to hold onto, he can’t pull himself out. When he grabs the sand over his head and pulls, all he does is drag sand into his hole. He clears more space, but the sand below chest level is too compact to dig with his bare hands, so he is left standing in a funnel-shaped hole, the narrow part of the funnel beginning at his chest.
He can place his hands against the sides of the funnel and push himself waist high, but not high enough to free his legs. He digs his hands into the sides of the funnel as high as he can reach, but with no footholds he slides back down into the hole, bringing more sand into it, covering him up to his armpits, and packing himself in tighter. He clears the sand away from his chest again, and wiggles and twists, but the sand is too dense and compact to let him bend his knees or acquire any sort of foothold to help. He pushes himself up and leans forwards again and tries to claw his way out, but the sand just breaks loose in his grasp and he pathetically slides down again. After trying this a hundred times with no success, Farina tires and concludes he’s stuck chest-deep in his hole at the bottom of the funnel-shaped depression.
Joe then stands over the barbell and tries to pick it up. His first effort is fruitless, but on his second he yanks the bar off the ground and stumbles backwards. The bar lands on his stomach, and its momentum causes the bar to roll up his stomach and chest and over his neck. Joe is pinned to the ground, with half an inch of space between his neck and the barbell. He heaves and grunts, but can’t get the bar off him. He flops like a landed fish in an effort to get his stomach muscles into the effort, but it doesn’t work. After trying a hundred times to lift the bar Joe gets tired and has to admit he’s trapped.
Jackie and Jay bet who can jump higher in the pole vault. Jay goes first and fails miserably, his pole sinking two feet into the sand pit under the high bar and him going completely under the bar. Jackie goes next, and gets one leg over, but not the other. This results in a painful landing on the high bar, which snaps under his weight. Jackie makes the natural reflex with his hands as he drops straight down into the sand pit, and with his legs straight he plunges in up to his neck.
Jackie’s arms are trapped in front of him. Then the high bar pieces hit him in the head, knocking him further down, to his chin. Then the upright poles fall inward on his head, and drive him in up to his nose. Then his pole comes down and hits him in the head, driving him into his eyeballs. He twists his head to get breathing room, but is otherwise paralyzed from pain and shock and the fact that he is wedged in a hole tightly conforming to his body.
Jay then decides to practice running instead. He slips and falls on a muddy patch. He tries to get up, but his feet keep slipping and slipping. His efforts cause him to dig an ever-deepening hole with slick muddy sides. The more he struggles, the deeper it gets, until he finds himself in a six-foot bowl-shaped hole. He pauses, and realizes this is stupid. He decides to climb out, but the same thing happens, and a few minutes later he is in a seven-foot deep hole. Frustrated, he sits down at the bottom to catch his breath.
Harry tries the hammer throw, but the chain is way too long. He holds the chain a lot closer to the iron ball at the end while still holding the handle, and spins around. While turning very rapidly, he loses his grip on the chain, but not the handle. He stops spinning, and the chain wraps around his body several times, knocks him down, and the iron ball ends up on his stomach. With his arms pinned to his sides and the heavy weight on him, he can’t get up.
Wheezer, dressed in normal clothes, comes by with his dog Pal. He gives a razzberry to Jay. He sees Farina and Jackie trapped deep in sand and gives them razzberries as well. Then he sees Joe and Harry trapped on their backs and gives out two more razzberries. Wheezer gets too close to Harry, who can bend his legs just enough to kick Wheezer backwards. Wheezer stumbles and falls into the water hole. He isn’t strong or coordinated enough to climb out on his own, and can only hang onto the edge.
He tells Pal to get help. Pal runs off, but gets distracted by a lady dog. Eight hours later Pal comes back with the fire department, who rescues the kids. Wheezer’s parents feel the same way as Mango’s, and he has to wear just one of the grass skirts in that nearby shed for the next three months.
When it got the news, the International Olympic Committee felt so sorry for these Olympic aspirants near the big city that it awarded the 1932 Summer Games to Los Angeles.
OUR GANG IN KIDDYLAND - (Alternate titles: Our Gang in The Kiddy Kingdom, Rascal-Land, Rascals In Fairyland) A proposed second try at a feature Rascals film after GENERAL SPANKY's failure, cribbing somewhat from the much more successful BABES IN TOYLAND with Laurel and Hardy. The story is set in the fairy tale kingdom of Kiddyland (or in script revisions, The Kiddy Kingdom, Kidtown, Rascal-Land, or Cherubia), an enchanted realm where everyone is permanently a child, without aging, disease, or death. Everyone is always happy and singing. It's ruled by Good King Spanky, with the assistance of Lady Darla, her swain Sir Alfalfa The Bold, and general flunkies Porky and Buckwheat and surrounded by a magic gate which protects them from the outside. Only children can enter the gate; adults are magically unable to pass. Spanky's kingdom is in good relations with The Land of Happiness, a more conventional fairy-tale kingdom ruled by Queen Rosemede and her beau and protector, Sir Stalwart, who were intended to do most of the singing in the movie, with some of their love songs burlesqued by Alfalfa and Darla. Treachery is afoot, however, as the Land's grand vizier, former schoolmaster Barnaby, is plotting to conquer both kingdoms and discover Kiddyland's secret of eternal youth. He's joined in his plot by the villainous Count Jerald, played by Jerry Tucker, a traitor in Spanky's court, and Leo The Giant (Leonard Kubrick), a boy-spy and one of Barnaby's former pupils masquerading as an abnormally big Kiddyland resident. Eventually, Jerald and Leo succeed in kidnapping Sir Alfalfa, taking him to Barnaby, who tortures him (very gently; this is a kid's movie, after all) to try to learn the secret. Alfalfa bears up bravely, more or less; he does his wimpering routine but refuses to tell. However, when one of Barnaby's men takes a swig from Alfalfa's canteen and shrinks to kid-size, they discover the magic is in the enchanted water of the town's fountain. This gives Barnaby an idea. He spikes Rosemede and Stalwart's drinks with the water, shrinking them as well. (There was some debate as to whether to cast actual kids or use George and Olive Brasno in the roles.) Now no match for Barnaby's men, Stalwart and Rosemede are captured and thrown into the same cell as Sir Alfalfa, guarded by the disgruntled kid-sized guard, who's none too happy about the situation and blames Alfalfa for his plight. With the rulers out of the way, Barnaby takes over The Land of Happiness and lays plans to conquer Kiddyland. Jerald delivers the vital news there's a hidden door in the walls around the kingdom through which adults can pass; however, he doesn't know where it is. Nevertheless, Barnaby sets about raising an army to lay siege to Kiddyland. Fortunately, Alfalfa is able to slip through the bars of the cell. He manages to get hold of the keys and free Stalwart and Rosemede. They hurry to Kiddyland, warning King Spanky of the impending attack. While Barnaby searches for the secret entrance, Spanky's all-kid army battles Barnaby's thugs at the city walls, using the standard Rascal tricks to keep them at bay. It's a losing battle, however, and Spanky's men find themselves on the verge of defeat. Just as all seems lost, however, Spanky gets the bright idea of making water balloons with the enchanted fountain water, dropping them on the invaders and shrinking them to kid-size to even the odds. The tide quickly turns, with Barnaby's army panicked and routed. Leo The Giant attempts to capture Spanky, gets splashed, and dwindles down to same size as the other kids, an effect they intended to pull off by having younger brother Sid Kubrick play the reduced Leo. Jerald and Stalwart have a sword-fight which ends with Jerald tumbling into the fountain. Spanky, Alfalfa, Stalwart and the others watch with some concern, not sure what will happen. To their surprise, a sheep emerges from the swirling waters, then another, and another, followed by a cow. There's a pause, and a shriek as a mortified Count Jerald peeks out from the fountain pleading with the heroes to give him his clothes back. (Get it? His clothes were rejuvenated.) Alfalfa insists he surrender and he does. Just then, Barnaby bursts through the hidden door. Though he looms over the others, his forces are scattered and Spanky's army is ready for him. He's lost. Determined to at least acquire eternal youth, however, he runs over and gulps down some of the fountain's water. He immediately dwindles even smaller than the others, becoming an infant in an oversized top hat, a pence-nez, and diaper, shouting in Barnaby's (dubbed) voice he'll get even for this. The Fairy Queen is then brought in to resolve everything. Count Jerald is sentenced to forfeit the eternal youth he didn't appreciate or deserve; he becomes an old man and is banished. (There was debate over whether to hire an actual old man for this or just use old age makeup on Jerry.) Barnaby and Leo are condemned to retain their new sizes until they learn to be good. As for Rosemede and Stalwart, they resume their proper sizes once they leave Kiddyland. Passing through the magical gates, they start their farewell song as kids and end it as adults, waving happily back at their Rascal allies as the film ends. Hal Roach ultimately decided against making the film, selling the series instead to MGM.
Despite my worst efforts this thread still gets a good number of views, so here goes. This takes place before "Speedy Company."
Lodge Evening (June, 1923) - The film with the similar title was deemed too offensive by many, so this was proposed as an alternative. Instead of an offensive club name, the gang decides to use an obscure animal and chooses “The Loyal and Honorary Order of the Aardwolf.” Also, instead of the offensive attire, the gang chooses a loincloth for the club uniform. These are made by tying a rope around the waist, and then threading a towel through the front and back to cover everything that must be covered. Jack is simply the president of the club, and does not hold some questionable title. In addition, instead of Professor Culpepper giving an incomprehensible talk that degenerates into a dice game, he leads a polite though thoroughly boring discussion in perfect English on suggestions for improving children’s performance at school and getting them prepared for college.
As the gang sneaks away from their homes and the school meeting into the meeting at the barn, they first go into a small room to change, or rather take off their outer clothes and reveal that they are wearing the loincloths in place of underwear. Joe comes for his initiation. He is handed a four-foot length of rope and a towel, and the instructions are to go into the small room and make and change into the loincloth in five minutes. This way there is no unpleasant physical hazing. Joe is successful, and then the boys play games like cards and dominoes and charades in the barn loft and talk about girls who aren’t allowed in the club.
Then the car thieves come and cause chaos. The unimportant extras escape, but the important characters, who are Mickey, Ernie, Jack, Joe, Jackie, and Farina, are caught and tied up very well, hands behind their backs and their feet. They try to get up and hop away. Jackie and Farina fall into the thieves’ car, and the others fall in a different direction onto the hay on the ground floor. Ernie, being the most athletic, hops to the hall where Culpepper is leaving the meeting that just ended. Since time is of the essence, Culpepper doesn’t untie Ernie but just throws him into his car and speeds to the barn.
Mickey, Jack, and Joe haven’t been able to untie themselves or each other, so when Culpepper arrives he throws them into the car, but then the car doesn’t start. He gets outside to turn the crank, and the car suddenly starts, running him over but leaving him unharmed. Ernie steers with his teeth with Mickey shouting out directions as the car falls apart. Eventually the cars crash five miles away, and the police catch up. The police take thieves into custody and drive them and Culpepper back to town, but there isn’t enough room for the kids. While the kids were responsible for catching the crooks, they are also in trouble for trespassing in the barn without permission and sneaking away from their homes and the school meeting. Therefore the gang has to hop back home. Joe has problems getting to a standing position and mostly rolls the whole way. Since the lodge meeting was in the evening, soon it gets too dark to see, and they have to spend the night in a field by the side of the road still tied up in their loincloths. The next day they make it home, with Ernie winning the race, and Mickey and Jack close behind. The younger kids are a few hours behind, but have a good time talking. Joe is excited about being in the club, and Jackie and Farina agree that this is the most fun and excitement they’ve ever had. They can’t wait until the next meeting.
'The Little Shoemakers' - Jackie bribes Mary Ann to look over his little brother Wheezer while he and the rest of the Gang go swimming. She puts him down for a nap and reads the story 'The Elves And The Shoemaker' to him. Wheezer dismisses it as 'the bunk' but Mary Ann insists there are so shoe-repairing elves and puts out a battered old pair of shoes to lure some in, pretending to be asleep and urging Wheezer to do likewise. Presently, a group of tiny elves, resembling the boys and created by MARY QUEEN OF TOTS style double-exposure, appear. As per the story, they're clad only in grass skirts. As Mary Ann sneaks peeks through half-closed eyes, the little elves go to work on Mary Ann's old shoes, doing bits of comedy business as they work to repair them. Wheezer also wakes up and is very amused by the pint-sized versions of the Gang, sticking them with a pin whenever they turn around and/or bend over to work on the shoes. They shout at him in unintelligible peeps and shake their fists at him as he giggles. Finally, tiny Farina produces a little sack of magic dust which he blows in Wheezer's face, sending him off to sleep for real. Presently, the shoes are finished, beautifully refurbished. As the elves go into the next room, Mary Ann runs over and is absolutely delighted. She goes to thank the elves, only to find them swimming in the water basin, their grass skirts in a heap nearby. To repay them for their kindness, Mary Ann takes the skirts and replaces them with some doll clothes she happens to have. Then she returns to her former place and feigns sleep again. Presently, the elves emerge, decidedly not happy with the pinafores, lacy skirts, and baby bonnets they're now forced to wear. They express their disgust at Mary Ann, then retaliate by undoing all their work, returning the shoes to their former dilapidated stare before leaving. Mary Ann wakes up just as the real boys return, coincidentally in grass skirts after some problems at the swimmin' hole. Mary Ann storms over, scolding the utterly bewildered boys for not appreciating her doll clothes, and tells them she wouldn't let them fix her old shoes anyway before leaving. The boys look at one another in utter confusion.
All Aboard! (1935) - This remake of "Choo-Choo!" and Laurel and Hardy's "Berth Marks" finds William Wagner having to take the kids on a train ride to San Francisco (we're never told why, almost as if the writer was too lazy to come up with anything. Hint, hint). The entire two reels is spent watching Wagner and the Gang try to get into their nightgowns in a cramped upper berth. The other passengers begin yelling, so Spanky suggests Alfalfa sing a song to calm them down. It only makes them more irritable. Eventually, Wagner and the kids are kicked off of the train in the middle of a jungle (don't ask). A dull, unfunny entry. Wagner is more threatening than amusing. And were all those extra Gang members really needed?
'The Harry Spear Story' - A planned 1964 bio-pic of the famed child star beginning with his early days at The Sennet Studios and going through his career with the Gang, his time in the seminary, his army hitch, his marriage to Joan Fontaine, his film career in Italy making gladiator movies and westerns, his recovery from heroin abuse, and his eventual comeback as a recording artist. The project was eventually cancelled when the people who optioned the unpublished autobiography the script was based on researched Spear's career and when it was discovered the author of said autobiography was a heavyset Asian woman.
The Best of Our Gang: Featuring Robert Blake (1990) - A direct-to-video compilation released by MGM/UA. Robert Blake hosts this special showing some of his finest Our Gang moments. And as an added bonus for the kiddies: an all-new rap song performed by Janet.
The Crazy World of Hal Roach (1935) - As part of Roach's plan to switch his short subjects stars from two-reelers to features, he decided to throw all of his players together into a special all-star comedy. The film is believed to have been the inspiration for Stanley Kramer's "It's a Mad (x 4) World."
A strange man ('Snub' Pollard) drives his car off of a cliff. Four cars - one carrying Laurel, Hardy, and their jealous wives (Daphne Pollard and Mae Busch), another carrying Charley Chase and girlfriend Joyce Compton, another carrying Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly, and another (the wobbly wagon) carrying Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Stymie, Scotty, Jerry Tucker, Marianne Edwards, and Pete the Pup.
The four cars stop to help the man. In his dying words, he tells the people that he hid $15,000 somewhere in Culver City. As with "Mad World," the people try to come up with a reasonable way to split up the money, but their selfishness gets the best of them, leading to a merry race through California.
Poor Stan and Ollie spend a good chunk of the trip getting yelled at by their wives. Charley and Joyce get trapped in a convenience store. Thelma and Patsy have to put up with a flirtatious Englishman (Don Barclay). The Gang, whom the others suspected would give up, manage to be the first ones at the location of the treasure. Now to find said treasure...
A con man (Jimmy Finlayson), Mrs. Hardy's crazy brother (a miscast Grady Sutton), and two cab drivers (Billy Gilbert and Ben Blue) are also thrown into the mix.
All the while, the treasure hunters are being monitored by police captain Edgar Kennedy, who spends a good chunk of the film doing his slow-burn shtick in reaction to everything that goes on around him.
Eventually, everyone arrives at the location of the treasure, and once again decide it's best to split the loot up evenly. But Kennedy shows up to trick them into giving up the money to him. A chase after Kennedy results, eventually leading to a climax aboard a broken roller coaster. In his excitement, Kennedy drops the money. He and the others are thrown off of the roller coaster, eventually winding up in a hospital.
Cameos are made by Harold Lloyd, Glen Tryon, Mickey Daniels, Mary Kornman, Joe Cobb, Stepin' Fetchit, Zasu Pitts, and Ben Turpin, among others.
Besides not being nearly as 'epic' as "Mad World," this film mostly acts as an excuse for mindless slapstick. There is little attempt at developing characters, and seeing the Gang fall victim to the same situations as the more selfish adult characters isn't funny.
Last Edit: Aug 19, 2014 11:10:46 GMT -5 by mtw12055
Gimme Some Sugar! (1942) - The neighborhood kids are upset about having to ration sugar during the War. Feeling bad for them, Froggy decides to make and sell his own sugar, and gets the rest of the Gang to help him. Things go fine at first. The kids are regularly supplied with plenty of sugar, and all have managed to keep the business a secret from the rest of the town. But trouble begins when Froggy develops an unhealthy addiction to the sugar. Froggy becomes unreliable, irritable, nutty, and has a strange habit of running through town wearing nothing but a towel. The Greenpoint police eventually catch up with the mischief maker. Two cops wrestle Froggy (who claims to be a little girl named "Puddin' T'aint") to the ground, and discover his hidden stash. Froggy is arrested, put through a series of long therapy sessions, and a series of even longer speeches from authority figures. One year later, Froggy is cleaned of his nasty sugar addiction, and is congratulated by the Greenpoint police sergeant. The film ends with Froggy winking at the camera and saying, "Say, Sarge, can I interest you in a couple of bags?" Everyone laughs, because that line was so hilarious.
Little Red Darla Hood (1941) - Darla decides to deliver some cookies to her sick grandmother. Along the way, she runs into a little Native American girl. After a brief chat, the two decide to switch places. What follows is a series of politically incorrect jokes that I'd prefer not to mention. In perhaps the darkest ending in Our Gang history, Mickey is devoured by a wolf (brilliantly played by Byron Foulger).
'Our Gang In Breakfast-Land' - An intended educational short featuring the Gang cancelled when the series folded. Reportedly, Mickey was supposed to skip breakfast to head off to play baseball, end up tired and irritable, and dose off under a tree. He then dreams he, Froggy, and Janet find themselves in a magical land resembling a breakfast table with various grown-up actors in costume portraying bacon, eggs, milk, cereal, etc. (No, the bacon does not tell an actor portraying ham, "Move over, white boy, you crowdin' me," but it'd certainly perk things up if he did...) They lecture the Gang about the importance of a healthy breakfast and Mickey vows never to skip the morning meal again.
In another thread a poster recently lamented that we never found out Pineapple's fate at the end of The Love Bug, thereby unwittingly inspiring me to write this in my series in the alternate universe. Maybe these should be the silliest episodes, but I don't think it's worth a separate thread.
The Love Bughouse (June 1925) - Pineapple is the new kid in town, having been adopted from an orphanage by a beauty salon owner who gives him room and board in exchange for his services in the salon. Thus Pineapple is always seen in his sharp white bellhop-type outfit. After a couple weeks he runs into the boys of the gang, currently Mickey, Joe, Jackie, Farina, and Sing Joy, wearing their customary grass skirts. The gang explains that this has been their attire for two years (at least the first four, Sing Joy’s story may be told at a later date), but recently they are concerned about their appearances, misunderstanding what their girlfriends have been talking and thinking about them as in the film with a similar title. Pineapple claims that all of their flaws can be fixed in the salon, and he can get them in because the boss just fired all the beauticians. Once inside, the gang wreaks havoc. Jackie, Farina, and Sing Joy have a contest to see whose hair can damage the most machines while attempting several bizarre hairstyles. Joe is locked in a steam cabinet by Pineapple, and Mickey attempts to smooth out his freckles with every cream in the shop. A big mess is made in the process.
Joe screams to be let out of the steam cabinet. Pineapple winces when he opens the door, and promptly shuts it again. Joe’s grass skirt has shrunk quite a bit. The salon owner returns at this point, and can’t react out of shock for several moments. Mickey says not to worry to Pineapple, the gang has many spare grass skirts stashed about in case of emergencies, which happen with some frequency. Sing Joy darts out to retrieve them. The salon owner regains his wits, and orders Pineapple to turn in his uniform immediately and get out of there.
“But I don’t have any other clothes!” he protests.
“You can wear a grass skirt like your new juvenile delinquent friends,” responds the owner sarcastically.
“And where will I live?”
“You can live with us,” offers Farina. “My big brother moved away a little while ago, and you can take his place. I bet you disappear like he did around a year from now.”
“Thank you. Um, do you still have his clothes?”
“Actually we do. We’re saving them for when I grow into them, but they’d fit you now.”
“Good.” Pineapple reflects for a moment. “Uh, what kind of clothes did he have?”
“A couple of grass skirts and loincloths. And we also have barrels for when everything is washed at the same time. Same as the rest of our gang. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.”
Sing Joy returns with some clean grass skirts. Joe changes inside the steam cabinet, while the gang cleans up some and leaves. Pineapple then goes into the cabinet to change, and when he emerges he is humiliated. Without his uniform cap his hair expands into a very good approximation of a large pineapple. The salon owner is showing Pineapple the door when two ladies walk by.
“Oh, isn’t that boy adorable?” asks one.
“Oh yes, he’s the cutest thing!” says the other. “Does he work here?”
The owner senses a sale or two hangs in the balance, and that he doesn’t have any other employees. “Yes he does. Please come in. What would you like done? Hair, nails? This boy has been studying the work for weeks and can do it all, right?”
“Yes sir!” replies Pineapple, realizing he may be able to retain the job and get his uniform back and not knowing what else to do.
The ladies do come in and Pineapple does a magnificent job with a manicure and a hairdo, scurrying between the jobs bringing necessary materials to the appropriate places. Then to his shock the women each tip him a dime. He never had gotten a tip before as a page working in the salon. His new wealth quickly helps him overcome his embarrassment at his new attire, and he realizes he is much better off in the grass skirt than the old uniform, which he never wears again.
Word spread quickly, and soon the salon business was booming like never before. Pineapple amassed quite a fortune in nickel and dime tips, which he stuck in his hair during the day with no place else to put them. He did take Farina up on his offer to live with his family for a while, and joined the gang in some of their adventures, some of which may be chronicled at a later date. When he was old enough to move away, had enough saved up to start a salon business of his own. Cost-conscious, his employee uniforms were … well, you probably get the idea.
'Oh, Baby!' - A proposed third appearance by George and Olive Brasno. The script called for George to disguise himself as a baby to evade gangsters and find himself 'adapted' by the Gang, who think he's a foundling. Olive was to play his girlfriend, who rallies some neighborhood girls to capture the gangsters. George flatly refused to dress in infant clothes and Roach ultimately decided against recasting the parts.
Last Edit: Oct 21, 2014 17:45:23 GMT -5 by myhomeo