Combustible Celluloid
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With: George "Spanky" McFarland, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas, Darla Hood, Tommy "Butch" Bond, Eugene "Porky" Lee, Mickey Gubitosi (Robert Blake), Billy "Froggy" Laughlin, Janet Burston
Written by: Hal Law, Robert A. McGowan, Howard Dimsdale, etc.
Directed by: Gordon Douglas, George Sidney, Edward Cahn, Herbert Glazer, Cyril Endfield
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 572
Date: 03/18/2013

The Our Gang Collection (2009)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Rascals Return

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy The Our Gang Collection on DVD

The Warner Archive has released this huge, five-disc DVD set including all 52 "Our Gang" shorts produced at MGM between 1938 and the end of the series in 1944. The series began all the way back in 1922 with Hal Roach, who continued to produce them (with new kids) up to the handover in 1938. Most fans and historians consider the Roach period far superior to the MGM period, so this set offers little more than an appetite-whetter. Many people of my generation grew up watching these shorts on television, under the title "The Little Rascals" (used because MGM still owned the rights to the "Our Gang" title). They're interesting today because of the use of boys and girls both black and white, which was more than a little groundbreaking, and because the children were encouraged to improvise and use their own energy, rather than training and performing like adults. In the 1940s, many of the shorts became annoyingly patriotic and war-themed. The set currently sells for $34.95, with no extras; I would have liked some little featurettes on the kids, especially "Froggy." How on earth did he manage that voice?

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