Something interesting that I've noticed about Spanky.
In his earlier films,including his films with Scotty,he had a rather mischevious and rascally personality.His seemed to have a very different personality in the later films with Alfalfa.Those films saw him as the straight man.And he put on a awful lot of weight in the MGM films.
It seems his overall characterization had changed from his older films when he was a smaller child.
Yeah. I sometimes like to say he suffered from a common condition of many child-characters where he grew stupider as he got older.
Seriously, they did have to tone him down as he got bigger. A lot of Spanky's behavior in the earlier shorts is only funny because he's too little for it to be taken seriously. He clearly doesn't understand why it's wrong to punch people in the face and such. As he got older, he had to move on and the 'innocent troublemaker' schtick was passed down to Porky.
LOL. He got unfunnier as he increased in girth, but, perhaps more importantly, the further away McGowan got from the proceedings. Some of the post-McGowan Rascals shorts were just dopey morality plays in which poor Spanky wasn't even required to be funny.