Despite being the younger kids in the group early on, Spanky and Scotty turned out to be smarter than the bigger kids at times, as they revealed to the others that the fire engine was too big to get out of the barn in Hi'-Neighbor! They also proved to be smart enough to bring food and supplies to their camping trip at Cherry Creek in The First Round-Up. Scotty lives with his parents and raises rabbits in a small shack on the property, as seen in Hi'-Neighbor! He is constantly being reminded by his mother to clean his shoes in Sprucin' Up, but he also spends time with his Grandpa Gus who runs and operates a mobile lemonade stand in The Lucky Corner. In Shrimps For A Day, Scotty resides briefly at the Happy Home Orphanage as do many of the other kids.He attends the same church as Spanky, Alfalfa, Jerry and Leonard and Adams Street Grammar School with the other kids. On his own time, the gang has a musical band called The International Silver String Submarine Band which competes for a radio contest in Mike Fright, later razzing Spanky's forced solo act in Beginner's Luck.
The band seems to be much more successful than their club, the Ancient And Honery Order Of Wood Chucks, which broke up after just one day in Anniversary Trouble. For exercise, Scotty enjoys football and hunts the beach looking for treasure in Mama's Little Pirate, even if Spanky dreamed up their bigger adventure with a giant pirate. He also chases the gang's pet mule, Algebra, through Wally's house in Honky Donkey, busting up the house once again in Washee Ironee. Scotty doesn't stay very long in Greenpoint, vanishing soon after Spanky's cellar revue in Our Gang Follies Of 1936, but Alfalfa's Cousin Wilbur, seen in Dog Daze, bears a striking resemblance to him. Scotty in For Pete's Sake.Scotty: It's a pleasure. Maybe we ain't us?
- Scotty in Mike Fright. Production-wise, Our Gang Follies Of 1936 was possibly filmed after The Lucky Corner, but since The Lucky Corner aired after the other, it's being listed as Scotty's last official short. Here are few things more pathetic than the spectacle of a former child star trying to adjust to adulthood. Oh, of course, there are exceptions, but for every Jodie Foster who makes it there's a Jay North who vanishes into obscurity, or even worse.Do the names Todd Bridges, Dana Plato and Danny Bonaduce mean anything to you? Now almost forgotten, Scotty Beckett was one of the unlucky ones who didn't make it. Born in 1929, Beckett began his film career at the age of three, as one of "Our Gang" (the future Little Rascals). A cute, adorable toddler, Beckett became one of Hollywood's most popular child stars, appearing in many major motion pictures. He played the title character as a boy in the Oscar-winning Anthony Adverse (1936), the son of Greta Garbo and Charles Boyer in Conquest (1937), and the prince in Marie Antoinette (1938). His screen career continued into adolescence, but not long afterwards. His last major film role was the part of the teenaged Al Jolson in The Jolson Story (1946).
Perhaps traumatized by his early success and unable to cope with his waning career, Scotty Beckett, like many child stars, ran afoul of the law. He racked up a startling rap sheet: drunk driving (1948), carrying a concealed weapon (1954), drug possession (1957), and, worst of all, assaulting his stepdaughter with a crutch (1960). In between his legal troubles, Beckett kept plugging away at his acting work. In 1953, he was desperate enough to accept the part of Winky, the bone-headed sidekick of the Rocky Jones, Space Ranger TV series. By this time, sadly, his youthful charm had declined into a Pauly Shore-like goofiness.
Rocky Jones was to be the last steady assignment of Scotty Beckett's career. His acting days finally over, Scotty Beckett made his first suicide attempt in 1962. Recovering, he decided to move into another line of work as a car salesman. Unfortunately, Beckett was unable to escape his inner demons.In 1968, at the age of 38, Scotty Beckett took his own life with an overdose of sleeping pills. Knowing the sad facts of Scotty Beckett's life, those silly escapades of Rocky Jones' second banana take on a bitter note of poignancy. So, next time you see a Rocky Jones epic on MST 3K, or watch The Jolson Story, please... Shed a tear for Winky. Scott Hastings "Scotty" Beckett (October 4, 1929 - May 10, 1968) was an American actor. Beckett began his career as a child actor in the Our Gang shorts and later co-starred on Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. 1 Early life and career. 2 Career after Our Gang. Born in Oakland, California, Beckett got his start in show business at age three when the family moved to Los Angeles and a casting director heard him singing by chance.
Beckett was at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital visiting his father, who was recovering from an illness, and was entertaining him by singing songs in Pig Latin. Nurses heard him singing and carried him from room to room on every visit to sing for other patients. A studio casting director noticed the child and told his parents he had movie potential. Beckett auditioned, and landed a part in Gallant Lady (1933), alongside Dickie Moore. The same year, his father died.In 1934, Beckett joined Our Gang, in which Moore had appeared from 1932 to 1933. Beckett appeared as a regular in the Our Gang short subjects series from 1934 to 1935. In the gang, Beckett played George "Spanky" McFarland's best friend and partner in mischief. His role was taken over by Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer in 1935, and Beckett left the series for features after that year. Beckett on the poster for The Bad Man of Brimstone (1937). After his Our Gang days were over, Beckett won increasingly prominent roles in major Hollywood films, usually playing the star's son or the hero as a boy. Among his major credits are Dante's Inferno with Spencer Tracy, Anthony Adverse with Fredric March, The Charge of the Light Brigade with Errol Flynn, Conquest with Greta Garbo, Marie Antoinette with Norma Shearer; Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, in which he played Jon Hall's character as a child, and Kings Row, in which he played Robert Cummings's character as a child. In 1940, he played Tim in My Favorite Wife, starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. He appeared as one of the unborn children in Shirley Temple's The Blue Bird (1940). He also had a central role in the wartime propaganda film The Boy from Stalingrad (1943). Beckett attended Los Angeles High School and took time off from filming to try his luck on the stage. Adolescence didn't seem to hamper his career, as he won such important roles as that of young Al Jolson in The Jolson Story, with his singing voice provided by Rudy Wissler, and Junior in the long-running radio show The Life of Riley. His performance as Jolson was described as "touching, enchanting, and to all indications, accurate".  In 1947, he appeared alongside Dickie Moore and Marilyn Monroe in Dangerous Years.
Scotty Beckett was signed by MGM in 1947, with his first role under contract as Will Parker in Cynthia. He gained the role of Oogie Pringle in A Date with Judy, the film adaptation of the long-running radio series of the same name, opposite Jane Powell as Judy Foster. In 1949, Beckett was featured in the war drama Battleground and the following year he starred as the fast-talking Tennessee Shad in the comedy The Happy Years.
By 1950, the success of those three films resulted in expectations that Beckett's career would rise, but it did not. While other actors his age moved into leading roles, his career declined, as evidenced by his small role in Nancy Goes to Rio, again with Jane Powell.
He attended the University of Southern California, but dropped out when the combined workload of school and movies became too great. Although he was working steadily at MGM, his life grew increasingly tumultuous in the late 1940s and early 1950s.In 1948, he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. In 1954, Beckett's career took an upward turn when he was cast as Winky, the comic sidekick in the popular TV show Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. Beckett was fired from the series after he was arrested on a concealed weapons charge and for passing a bad check. According to actor Jimmy Lydon, who appeared with Beckett in the Gasoline Alley films and also replaced Beckett after he was fired from Rocky Jones, Beckett earned a bad reputation due to his excessive drinking.  After being fired from Rocky Jones, Beckett made only a few subsequent TV and film appearances, some uncredited bit parts, before leaving show business forever.
He was also arrested several times for drunkenness, drunk driving, drug possession, and passing bad checks. His first arrest for drunk driving came in 1948, followed by a second arrest in March 1959.  In February 1957, Beckett was arrested after attempting to cross the Mexican border with 250 "stimulant pills".
 On August 14, 1959, Beckett was arrested for possessing four Benzedrine pills. He was released after twelve hours after the county prosecutor refused to press charges. Four days later, he sustained a broken hip and a skull fracture after crashing his car into a tree while driving in West Los Angeles.  Actor Jimmy Lydon claimed that the accident left Beckett severely disabled and he had to utilize a wheelchair and crutches for the remainder of his life.  In 1962, he attempted suicide after a heavy drinking binge.
Beckett was married three times and had one child. He married professional tennis player Beverly Baker on September 28, 1949, in Las Vegas.  Baker was granted a divorce in June 1950.
 His second marriage was to model and actress Sunny Vickers. They married in 1951 and had one son, Scott, Jr.In 1961, Beckett married Margaret C. Sabo; she would remain with him until his death. On May 8, 1968, Beckett checked into a Los Angeles nursing home to seek medical attention after suffering a serious beating (the circumstances surrounding the beating were never made clear). He was found dead in his room on May 10.
He was 38 years old. A note and pills were found, but the Los Angeles County coroner stated that an exact cause of death was unknown despite the fact that an autopsy had been performed.  While no official cause of death has been listed, various media reports state that Beckett either overdosed on barbiturates or alcohol,  or died as a result of the beating. Beckett is buried at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, Los Angeles. Mama's Little Pirate (1934).
Shrimps for a Day (1934). Our Gang Follies of 1936 (1935). M-G-M Miniature: Little Boy Blue (1936).The King Without a Crown (1937). The Flag of Humanity (1940). George White's Scandals (1934). Whom the Gods Destroy (1934).
Romance in the Rain (1934). I Dream Too Much (1935). The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936). When You're in Love (1937).
A Doctor's Diary (1937). It Happened in Hollywood (1937). Life Begins with Love (1937). Conquest (1937) as Alexandre Walewska (uncredited).The Bad Man of Brimstone (1937). No Time to Marry (1938). The Devil's Party (1938). Our Neighbors - The Carters (1939). Days of Jesse James (1939). Aloma of the South Seas (1941). It Happened in Flatbush (1942). The Boy from Stalingrad (1943). Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944). White Tie and Tails (1946).
Cynthia (1947) as Will Parker. A Date with Judy (1948). Nancy Goes to Rio (1950). Corky of Gasoline Alley (1951). The High and the Mighty (1954).Three for Jamie Dawn (1956). Monkey on My Back (1957). Our Gang (later known as The Little Rascals or Hal Roach's Rascals) are a series of American comedy short films about a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures.
Created by comedy producer Hal Roach, the series was produced from 1922 to 1944 and is noted for showing children behaving in a relatively natural way, as Roach and original director Robert F. McGowan worked to film the unaffected, raw nuances apparent in regular children rather than have them imitate adult acting styles. The series broke new ground by portraying white and black boys and girls interacting as equals. Roach changed distributors from Pathé to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in 1927, and the series entered its most popular period after converting to sound in 1929.In total, the Our Gang series includes 220 shorts and one feature film, General Spanky, and featured over 41 child actors. Roach's The Little Rascals package (now owned by CBS Television Distribution) and MGM's Our Gang package now owned by Turner Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros. Television have since remained in syndication.
New productions based on the shorts have been made over the years, including a 1994 feature film, Little Rascals, released by Universal Pictures. 1.2 Finding and replacing the cast. 1.3 African-American cast members. 2.6 The final Roach years.2.7 The MGM era. 3 Later years and The Little Rascals revival. 3.1 The Little Rascals television package. 3.2 King World's acquisition and edits. 3.3 New Little Rascals productions. 4.1 Imitators, followers, and frauds. 4.2 Persons and entities named after Our Gang. 5 Home video releases and rights to the films. 5.1 16 mm, VHS, and DVD releases. 5.2 Cabin Fever/Hallmark releases. 7 Our Gang cast and personnel. 7.1 Roach silent period. 7.2 Roach sound period.
8 Notable Our Gang comedies. Unlike many motion pictures featuring children and based in fantasy, producer/creator Hal Roach rooted Our Gang in real life: most of the children were poor, and the gang was often at odds with snobbish "rich kids, " officious adults, parents, and other such adversaries.
McGowan helmed most of the Our Gang shorts until 1933, assisted by his nephew Anthony Mack. McGowan worked to develop a style that allowed the children to be as natural as possible, downplaying the importance of the filmmaking equipment.
Scripts were written for the shorts by the Hal Roach comedy writing staff, which included at various times Leo McCarey, Frank Capra, Walter Lantz and Frank Tashlin, among others.  The children, some too young to read, rarely saw the scripts; instead McGowan would explain the scene to be filmed to each child immediately before it was shot, directing the children using a megaphone and encouraging improvisation.  When sound came in at the end of the 1920s, McGowan modified his approach slightly, but scripts were not adhered to until McGowan left the series.Later Our Gang directors, such as Gus Meins and Gordon Douglas, streamlined the approach to McGowan's methods to meet the demands of the increasingly sophisticated movie industry of the mid-to-late 1930s.  Douglas in particular had to streamline his films, as he directed Our Gang after Roach halved the running times of the shorts from two reels (20 minutes) to one reel (10 minutes). Finding and replacing the cast.
As children became too old for the series, they were replaced by new children, usually from the Los Angeles area. Eventually Our Gang talent scouting employed large-scale national contests in which thousands of children tried out for an open role. Norman "Chubby" Chaney (who replaced Joe Cobb), Matthew "Stymie" Beard (who replaced Allen "Farina" Hoskins) and Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas (who replaced Stymie) all won contests to become members of the gang.  Even when there was no talent search, the studio was bombarded by requests from parents who were sure their children were perfect for the series. Among them were the future child stars Mickey Rooney and Shirley Temple, neither of whom made it past the audition.
Original theatrical poster for the Our Gang comedy Baby Brother, in which Allen "Farina" Hoskins (center) paints a black baby with white shoe polish so that he can sell him to a lonely rich boy, Joe Cobb (right), as a baby brother. The Our Gang series is notable for being one of the first in cinema history in which blacks and whites were portrayed as equals.The four African-American child actors who held main roles in the series were Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison, Allen "Farina" Hoskins, Matthew "Stymie" Beard and Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas. Ernie Morrison was, in fact, the first African-American actor signed to a long-term contract in Hollywood history and the first major African-American star in Hollywood history. In their adult years, Morrison, Beard and Thomas became some of Our Gang's staunchest defenders, maintaining that its integrated cast and innocent story lines were far from racist. They explained that the white children's characters in the series were similarly stereotyped: the "freckle-faced kid", the "fat kid", the "neighborhood bully", the "pretty blond girl", and the "mischievous toddler".
"We were just a group of kids who were having fun", Stymie Beard recalled.  Ernie Morrison stated, When it came to race, Hal Roach was color-blind. " Other minorities, including the Asian Americans Sing Joy George "Sonny Boy Warde, Allen Tong (also known as Alan Dong), and Edward Soo Hoo and the Italian American actor (Mickey Gubitosi), were depicted in the series with varying levels of stereotyping. Left to right: Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison, Andy Samuel, Allen "Farina" Hoskins, Mickey Daniels and Joe Cobb in a 1923 still from one of the earliest Our Gang comedies.
According to Roach, the idea for Our Gang came to him in 1921, when he was auditioning a child actress to appear in a film. The girl was, in his opinion, overly made up and overly rehearsed, and Roach waited for the audition to be over.After the girl and her mother left the office, Roach looked out of his window to a lumberyard across the street, where he saw some children having an argument. The children had all taken sticks from the lumberyard to play with, but the smallest child had the biggest stick, and the others were trying to force him to give it to the biggest child. After realizing that he had been watching the children bicker for 15 minutes, Roach thought a short film series about children just being themselves might be a success. Our Gang also had its roots in an aborted Roach short-subject series revolving around the adventures of a black boy called "Sunshine Sammy", played by Ernie Morrison.  Theater owners then were wary of booking shorts focused on a black boy,  and the series ended after just one entry, The Pickaninny, was produced.  Morrison's "Sunshine Sammy" instead became one of the foci of the new Our Gang series. Under the supervision of Charley Chase, work began on the first two-reel shorts in the new "kids-and-pets" series, to be called Hal Roach's Rascals, later that year. Newmeyer helmed the first pilot film, entitled Our Gang, but Roach scrapped Newmeyer's work and had former fireman Robert F. Roach tested it at several theaters around Hollywood. The attendees were very receptive, and the press clamored for lots more of those'Our Gang' comedies.
" The colloquial usage of the term Our Gang led to its becoming the series' second (yet more popular) official title, with the title cards reading "Our Gang Comedies: Hal Roach presents His Rascals in...  The series was officially called both Our Gang and Hal Roach's Rascals until 1932, when Our Gang became the sole title of the series. The first cast of Our Gang was recruited primarily of children recommended to Roach by studio employees, with the exception of Ernie Morrison, under contract to Roach. The other Our Gang recruits included Roach photographer Gene Kornman's daughter Mary Kornman, their friends' son Mickey Daniels, and family friends Allen "Farina" Hoskins, Jack Davis, Jackie Condon, and Joe Cobb. Most early shorts were filmed outdoors and on location and featured a menagerie of animal characters, such as Dinah the Mule.
Roach's distributor Pathé released One Terrible Day, the fourth short produced for the series, as the first Our Gang short on September 10, 1922; the pilot Our Gang was not released until November 5. The Our Gang series was a success from the start, with the children's naturalism, the funny animal actors, and McGowan's direction making a successful combination.
The shorts did well at the box office, and by the end of the decade the Our Gang children were pictured on numerous product endorsements. The biggest Our Gang stars then were Sunshine Sammy, Mickey Daniels, Mary Kornman, and little Farina, who eventually became the most popular member of the 1920s gang and the most popular black child star of the 1920s.  A reviewer wrote of her character in Photoplay: The honors go to a very young lady of color, billed as'Little Farina. Scarcely two years old, she goes through each set like a wee, sombre shadow. Daniels and Kornman were very popular and were often paired in Our Gang and a later teen version of the series called The Boy Friends, which Roach produced from 1930 to 1932. Other early Our Gang children were Eugene "Pineapple" Jackson, Scooter Lowry, Andy Samuel, Johnny Downs, Winston and Weston Doty, and Jay R. After Sammy, Mickey and Mary left the series in the mid 1920s, the Our Gang series entered a transitional period. The stress of directing child actors forced Robert McGowan to take doctor-mandated sabbaticals for exhaustion,  leaving his nephew Robert A. McGowan (credited as Anthony Mack) to direct many shorts in this period.
The Mack-directed shorts are considered to be among the lesser entries in the series.  New faces included Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins, Harry Spear, Jean Darling and Mary Ann Jackson, while stalwart Farina served as the series' anchor. Also at this time, the Our Gang cast acquired an American pit bull terrier with a ring around one eye, originally named Pansy but soon known as Pete the Pup, the most famous Our Gang pet.In 1927, Roach ended his distribution arrangement with the Pathé company. He signed on to release future products through the newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which released its first Our Gang comedy in September 1927. The move to MGM offered Roach larger budgets and the chance to have his films packaged with MGM features to the Loews Theatres chain. Some shorts around this time, particularly Spook Spoofing (1928, one of only two three-reelers in the Our Gang canon), contained extended scenes of the gang tormenting and teasing Farina, scenes which helped spur the claims of racism, which many other shorts did not warrant.
These shorts marked the departure of Jackie Condon, who had been with the group from the beginning of the series. Jackie Cooper in the 1930 short School's Out.Starting in 1928, Our Gang comedies were distributed with phonographic discs that contained synchronized music-and-sound-effect tracks for the shorts. In spring 1929, the Roach sound stages were converted for sound recording, and Our Gang made its "all-talking" debut in April 1929 with the 25-minute Small Talk. It took a year for McGowan and the gang to fully adjust to talking pictures, during which time they lost Joe Cobb, Jean Darling and Harry Spear and added Norman "Chubby" Chaney, Dorothy DeBorba, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, Donald Haines and Jackie Cooper. Cooper proved to be the personality the series had been missing since Mickey Daniels left and was featured prominently in three 1930/1931 Our Gang films: Teacher's Pet, School's Out, and Love Business. These three shorts explored Jackie Cooper's crush on the new schoolteacher Miss Crabtree, played by June Marlowe.
Other Our Gang members appearing in the early sound shorts included Buddy McDonald, Bobby "Bonedust" Young, and Shirley Jean Rickert. Many also appeared in a group cameo appearance in the all-star comedy short The Stolen Jools (1931). Beginning with When the Wind Blows, background music scores were added to the soundtracks of most of the Our Gang films.Initially, the music consisted of orchestral versions of then popular tunes. Marvin Hatley had served as the music director of Hal Roach Studios since 1929, and RCA employee Leroy Shield joined the company as a part-time musical director in mid 1930. Hatley and Shield's jazz-influenced scores, first featured in Our Gang with 1930s Pups is Pups, became recognizable trademarks of Our Gang, Laurel and Hardy, and the other Roach series and films. Another 1930 short, Teacher's Pet, marked the first use of the Our Gang theme song, "Good Old Days", composed by Leroy Shield and featuring a notable saxophone solo. Shield and Hatley's scores would support Our Gang's on-screen action regularly through 1934, after which series entries with background scores became less frequent. In 1930, Roach began production on The Boy Friends, a short-subject series which was essentially a teenaged version of Our Gang. Featuring Our Gang alumni Mickey Daniels and Mary Kornman among its cast, The Boy Friends was produced for two years, with fifteen installments in total.
The gang races rich-kid Jerry Tucker in their makeshift fire engine in the 1934 short Hi'-Neighbor! Jackie Cooper left Our Gang in early 1931 at the cusp of another major shift in the lineup, as Farina Hoskins, Chubby Chaney, and Mary Ann Jackson all departed a few months afterward. Our Gang entered another transitional period, similar to that of the mid 1920s.Stymie Beard, Wheezer Hutchins, and Dorothy DeBorba carried the series during this period, aided by Sherwood Bailey and Kendall "Breezy Brisbane" McComas. Unlike the mid-1920s period, McGowan sustained the quality of the series with the help of the several regular cast members and the Roach writing staff. Many of these shorts include early appearances of Jerry Tucker and Wally Albright, who later became series regulars. New Roach discovery George "Spanky" McFarland joined the gang late in 1931 at the age of three and, excepting a brief hiatus during the summer of 1938, remained an Our Gang actor for eleven years. At first appearing as the tag-along toddler of the group, and later finding an accomplice in Scotty Beckett in 1934, Spanky quickly became Our Gang's biggest child star. He won parts in a number of outside features, appeared in many of the now-numerous Our Gang product endorsements and spin-off merchandise items, and popularized the expressions Okey-dokey! Dickie Moore, a veteran child actor, joined in the middle of 1932 and remained with the series for one year. Other members in these years included Mary Ann Jackson's brother Dickie Jackson, John "Uh-huh" Collum, and Tommy Bond. Upon Dickie Moore's departure in mid 1933, long-term Our Gang members such as Wheezer (who had been with Our Gang since the late Pathé silents period) and Dorothy left the series as well. Robert McGowan, burned out from the stress of working with the child actors, had as early as 1931 attempted to resign from his position as Our Gang producer/director.
 Lacking a replacement, Hal Roach persuaded him to stay on for another year.  At the start of the 1933-34 season, the Our Gang series format was significantly altered to accommodate McGowan and persuade him to stay another year.  The first two entries of the season in fall 1933, Bedtime Worries and Wild Poses (which featured a cameo by Laurel and Hardy), focused on Spanky McFarland and his hapless parents, portrayed by Gay Seabrook and Emerson Treacy, in a family-oriented situation comedy format similar to the style later popular on television. A smaller cast of Our Gang kids-Stymie Beard, Tommy Bond, Jerry Tucker, and Georgie Billings-were featured in supporting roles with reduced screen time.
An unsatisfied McGowan abruptly left after Wild Poses. Coupled with a brief suspension in Spanky McFarland's work permit,  Our Gang went into a four-month hiatus, during which the series was revised to a format similar to its original style and German-born Gus Meins was hired as the new series director. Released in March 1934, ended the hiatus and was the first series entry directed by Meins, a veteran of the once-competing Buster Brown short subject series.Meins's Our Gang shorts were less improvisational than McGowan's and featured a heavier reliance on dialogue. Retaining Spanky McFarland, Stymie Beard, Tommy Bond, and Jerry Tucker, the revised series added Scotty Beckett, Wally Albright, and Billie Thomas, who soon began playing the character of Stymie's sister "Buckwheat, " though Thomas was a male. Semi-regular actors, such as Jackie Lynn Taylor, Marianne Edwards, and Leonard Kibrick as the neighborhood bully, joined the series at this time. Tommy Bond and Wally Albright left in the middle of 1934; Jackie Lynn Taylor and Marianne Edwards would depart by 1935.
Early in 1935, Carl Switzer and his brother Harold joined the gang after impressing Roach with an impromptu performance at the studio commissary. While Harold would eventually be relegated to the role of a background player, Carl, nicknamed "Alfalfa, " eventually replaced Scotty Beckett as Spanky's sidekick. Stymie Beard left the cast soon after, and the Buckwheat character morphed subtly into a male. That same year, Darla Hood, Patsy May, and Eugene "Porky" Lee joined the gang, as Scotty Beckett departed for a career in features. Our Gang was very successful during the 1920s and the early 1930s.
However, by 1934, many movie theater owners were increasingly dropping two-reel (20-minute) comedies like Our Gang and the Laurel & Hardy series from their bills and running double feature programs instead. The Laurel & Hardy series went from film shorts to features exclusively in mid 1935. By 1936, Hal Roach began debating plans to discontinue Our Gang until Louis B. Mayer, head of Roach's distributor MGM, persuaded Roach to keep the popular series in production.  Roach agreed, producing shorter, one-reel Our Gang comedies (ten minutes in length instead of twenty).The first one-reel Our Gang short, Bored of Education (1936), marked the Our Gang directorial debut of former assistant director Gordon Douglas and won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject (One Reel) in 1937. As part of the arrangement with MGM to continue Our Gang, Roach received the clearance to produce an Our Gang feature film, General Spanky, hoping that he might move the series to features as was done with Laurel & Hardy.  Directed by Gordon Douglas and Fred Newmeyer, General Spanky featured Spanky, Buckwheat, and Alfalfa in a sentimental, Shirley Temple-esque story set during the Civil War. The film focused more on the adult leads (Phillips Holmes and Rosina Lawrence) than the children and was a box office disappointment.  No further Our Gang features were made. George "Spanky" McFarland, Darla Hood, and Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer in the "Club Spanky" dream sequence from the 1937 short Our Gang Follies of 1938. After years of gradual cast changes, the troupe standardized in 1936 with the move to one-reel shorts.
Sidney Kibrick, the younger brother of Leonard Kibrick, played Butch's crony, Woim. Glove Taps also featured the first appearance of Darwood Kaye as the bespectacled, foppish Waldo. In later shorts, both Butch and Waldo were portrayed as Alfalfa's rivals in his pursuit of Darla's affections.Roach produced the final two-reel Our Gang short, a high-budget musical special entitled Our Gang Follies of 1938, in 1937 as a parody of MGM's Broadway Melody of 1938. In Follies of 1938, Alfalfa, who aspires to be an opera singer, falls asleep and dreams that his old pal Spanky has become the rich owner of a swanky Broadway nightclub where Darla and Buckwheat perform, making hundreds and thousands of dollars. As the profit margins continued to decline owing to double features,  Roach could no longer afford to continue producing Our Gang. However, MGM did not want the series discontinued and agreed to take over production.  After delivering the Laurel and Hardy feature Block-Heads, Roach also ended his distribution contract with MGM, moving to United Artists and leaving the short-subjects business. The final Roach-produced short in the Our Gang series, Hide and Shriek, was his final short-subject production. The Little Ranger was the first Our Gang short to be produced in-house at MGM. Gordon Douglas was loaned out from Hal Roach Studios to direct The Little Ranger and another early MGM short, Aladdin's Lantern, while MGM hired newcomer George Sidney as the permanent series director. Our Gang would be used by MGM as a training ground for future feature directors: Sidney, Edward Cahn and Cy Endfield all worked on Our Gang before moving on to features. Another director, Herbert Glazer, remained a second-unit director outside of his work on the series. Nearly all of the 52 MGM-produced Our Gangs were written by former Roach director Hal Law and former junior director Robert A. McGowan also known as Anthony Mack, nephew of former senior Our Gang director Robert F. McGowan was credited for these shorts as "Robert McGowan"; as a result, moviegoers have been confused for decades about whether this Robert McGowan and the senior director of the same name at Roach were two separate people or not.
By 1938, Alfalfa had surpassed Spanky as Our Gang's lead character; Spanky McFarland had departed from the series just before its sale to MGM.  Casting his replacement was delayed until after the move to MGM, at which point it was arranged to re-hire McFarland. Porky was replaced in 1939 by Mickey Gubitosi, later known by the stage name of Robert Blake. Tommy Bond, Darwood Kaye, and Carl Switzer all left the series in 1940, and Billy "Froggy" Laughlin (with his Popeye-esque trick voice) and Janet Burston were added to the cast. By the end of 1941, Darla Hood had departed from the series, and Spanky McFarland followed her within a year.Buckwheat remained in the cast until the end of the series as the sole holdover from the Roach era. Overall, the Our Gang films produced by MGM were not as well-received as the Roach-produced shorts had been, largely due to MGM's inexperience with the brand of slapstick comedy that Our Gang was famous for and to MGM's insistence on keeping Alfalfa, Spanky and Buckwheat in the series as they became teens.  The MGM entries are considered by many film historians, and the Our Gang children themselves, to be lesser films than the Roach entries.  The children's performances were criticized as stilted and stiff, and adult situations often drove the action, with each film often incorporating a moral, a civics lesson, or a patriotic theme.  The series was given a permanent setting in the fictitious town of Greenpoint, and the mayhem caused by the Our Gang kids was toned down significantly.
Exhibitors noticed the drop in quality, and often complained that the series was slipping. When six of the 13 shorts released between 1942 and 1943 sustained losses rather than turning profits,  MGM discontinued Our Gang, releasing the final short, Dancing Romeo, on April 29, 1944. Since 1937, Our Gang had been featured as a licensed comic strip in the UK comic The Dandy, drawn by Dudley D. Starting in 1942, MGM licensed Our Gang to Dell Comics for the publication of Our Gang Comics, featuring the gang, Barney Bear, and Tom and Jerry.The strips in The Dandy ended three years after the demise of the Our Gang shorts, in 1947. Our Gang Comics outlasted the series by five years, changing its name to Tom and Jerry Comics in 1949. In 2006, Fantagraphics Books began issuing a series of volumes reprinting the Our Gang stories, mostly written and drawn by Pogo creator Walt Kelly. Later years and The Little Rascals revival. The Little Rascals television package.
Neither film was critically or financially successful, and Roach turned to re-releasing the original Our Gang comedies. Under the terms of the sale, Roach was required to remove the MGM Lion studio logo and all instances of the names or logos "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer", "Loew's Incorporated", and Our Gang from the reissued film prints. Using a modified version of the series' original name, Roach repackaged 79 of the 80 sound Our Gang shorts as The Little Rascals.Monogram Pictures and its successor, Allied Artists, reissued the films to theaters beginning in 1951. Allied Artists' television department, Interstate Television, syndicated the films to TV in 1955. Under its new name, The Little Rascals enjoyed renewed popularity on television, and new Little Rascals comic books, toys, and other licensed merchandise were produced.
Seeing the potential of the property, MGM began distributing its own Our Gang shorts to television in September 1958, and the two separate packages of Our Gang films competed with each other in syndication for three decades. Some stations bought both packages and played them alongside each other under the Little Rascals show banner. King World's acquisition and edits. In 1963, Hal Roach Studios, by then run by Roach's son Hal Jr, filed for bankruptcy.
The success of The Little Rascals paved the way for King's new company, King World Productions, to grow into one of the largest television syndicators in the world. Currently, CBS Television Distribution handles distribution rights. In 1971, because of controversy over some racial humor in the shorts and other content deemed to be in bad taste, King World made significant edits to Little Rascals TV prints.Many series entries were trimmed by two to four minutes, while others (among them Spanky, Bargain Day, The Pinch Singer and Mush and Milk) were cut to nearly half of their original length. At the same time, eight Little Rascals shorts were pulled from the King World television package altogether. Lazy Days, Moan and Groan, Inc. The Stepin Fetchit-guest-starred A Tough Winter, Little Daddy, A Lad an' a Lamp, The Kid From Borneo, and Little Sinner were deleted from the syndication package because of perceived racism, while Big Ears was deleted for dealing with the subject of divorce. The early talkie Railroadin' was never part of the television package because its soundtrack (recorded on phonographic records) was considered lost, although it was later found and restored to the film. In the early 2000s, the 71 films in the King World package were re-edited, reinstating many (though not all) edits made in 1971 and the original Our Gang title cards. These new television prints made their debut on the American Movie Classics cable network in 2001 and ran until 2003.
Many producers, including Our Gang alumnus Jackie Cooper, made pilots for new Little Rascals television series, but none ever went into production. In 1977, Norman Lear tried to revive the Rascals franchise, taping three pilot episodes of The Little Rascals.
The pilots were not bought, but were notable for including Gary Coleman. 1979 brought The Little Rascals Christmas Special, an animated holiday special produced by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson, written by Romeo Muller and featuring the voice work of Darla Hood (who died before the special aired) and Matthew "Stymie" Beard. From 1982 to 1984, Hanna-Barbera Productions produced a Saturday morning cartoon version of The Little Rascals, which aired on ABC during The Pac-Man/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show (later The Monchichis/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show).  It starred the voices of Patty Maloney as Darla; Peter Cullen as Petey and Officer Ed; Scott Menville as Spanky; Julie McWhirter Dees as Alfalfa, Porky and The Woim; Shavar Ross as Buckwheat, and B. Ward as Butch and Waldo.In 1994, Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures released The Little Rascals, a feature film based loosely on the series and featuring interpretations of classic Our Gang shorts, including Hearts are Thumps, Rushin' Ballet, and Hi'-Neighbor! The film, directed by Penelope Spheeris, starred Travis Tedford as Spanky, Bug Hall as Alfalfa, and Ross Bagley as Buckwheat; with cameos by the Olsen twins, Whoopi Goldberg, Mel Brooks, Reba McEntire, Daryl Hannah, Donald Trump and Raven-Symoné. In 2014, Universal Pictures released a direct-to-video film, The Little Rascals Save the Day. This was a second film loosely based on the series and featuring interpretations of classic Our Gang shorts, including Helping Grandma, Mike Fright, and Birthday Blues.
The film was directed by Alex Zamm, and starred Jet Jurgensmeyer as Spanky, Drew Justice as Alfalfa, Eden Wood as Darla, and Doris Roberts as the kids' adopted Grandma. The characters in this series are well-known cultural icons, and identified solely by their first names.
The characters of Alfalfa, Spanky, Buckwheat, Darla, and Froggy were especially well known. Like many child actors, the Our Gang children were typecast and had trouble outgrowing their Our Gang images. Several Our Gang alumni, among them Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, Scotty Beckett, Norman "Chubby" Chaney, Billy "Froggy" Laughlin, Donald Haines, Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins, Darla Hood, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas, and George "Spanky" McFarland, died before age 65, in most cases well earlier. This led to rumors of an Our Gang/Little Rascals "curse", rumors further popularized by a 2002 E! True Hollywood Story documentary entitled "The Curse of the Little Rascals".
The children's work in the series was largely unrewarded in later years, although Spanky McFarland got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame posthumously in 1994. Neither he nor any other Our Gang children received any residuals or royalties from reruns of the shorts or licensed products with their likenesses. One notable exception was Jackie Cooper, who was later nominated for an Academy Award and had a career as an adult actor. Another was Robert Blake, who found great success in the 1960s and 1970s as an actor, with films like In Cold Blood and television shows like Baretta (which netted him an Emmy Award). The 1930 Our Gang short Pups is Pups was an inductee of the 2004 National Film Registry list.Due to the popularity of Our Gang, many similar kid comedy short film series were created by competing studios. Among the most notable are The Kiddie Troupers, featuring future comedian Eddie Bracken; Baby Burlesks, featuring Shirley Temple; the Buster Brown comedies (from which Our Gang received Pete the Pup and director Gus Meins); and Our Gang's main competitor, the Toonerville Trolley-based Mickey McGuire series starring Mickey Rooney.
There is evidence that Our Gang-style productions were filmed in small towns and cities around the country using local children actors in the 1920s and 1930s. These productions did not appear to be affiliated with Hal Roach, but often used storylines from the shorts of the period, and sometimes went so far as to identify themselves as being Our Gang productions. In later years, many adults falsely claimed to have been members of Our Gang. A long list of people, including persons famous in other capacities such as Nanette Fabray, Eddie Bracken, and gossip columnist Joyce Haber claimed to be or have been publicly called former Our Gang children.
 Bracken's official biography was once altered to state that he appeared in Our Gang instead of The Kiddie Troupers, although he himself had no knowledge of the change. Among notable Our Gang impostors is Jack Bothwell, who claimed to have portrayed a character named "Freckles",  going so far as to appear on the game show To Tell The Truth in the fall of 1957, perpetuating this fraud. In 2008, a Darla Hood impostor, Mollie Barron, died claiming to have appeared as Darla in Our Gang.  Another is Bill English, a grocery store employee who appeared on the October 5, 1990, episode of the ABC investigative television newsmagazine 20/20 claiming to have been Buckwheat. Following the broadcast, Spanky McFarland informed the media of the truth,  and in December, William Thomas, Jr. (son of Billie Thomas, the person who played Buckwheat) filed a lawsuit against ABC for negligence.
Persons and entities named after Our Gang. A number of groups, companies, and entities have been inspired by or named after Our Gang.The folk-rock group Spanky and Our Gang was named for the troupe because lead singer Elaine "Spanky" McFarlane's last name was similar to that of George "Spanky" McFarland. The band had no connection with the actual Our Gang series. Numerous unauthorized Little Rascals and Our Gang restaurants and day care centers also exist throughout the United States. Home video releases and rights to the films. Further information: Our Gang filmography. 16 mm, VHS, and DVD releases. In the 1950s, home movie distributor Official Films released many of the Hal Roach talkies on 16 mm film. These were released as "Famous Kid Comedies". As Official could not use "Our Gang". The company's licensing only lasted for a short period. For years afterward, Blackhawk Films released 79 of the 80 Roach talkies on 16 mm film. The sound discs for Railroading' had been lost since the 1940s, and a silent print was available for home movie release until 1982, when the film's sound discs were located in the MGM vault and the short was restored with sound. Like the television prints, Blackhawk's Little Rascals reissues featured custom title cards in place of the original Our Gang logos, per MGM's 1949 arrangement with Hal Roach not to distribute the series under its original title.
Edits to the films were the replacements of the original Our Gang title cards with Little Rascals titles. In 1983, with the VHS home video market growing, Blackhawk began distributing Little Rascals VHS tapes through catalogue, with three shorts per tape.
Blackhawk Films was acquired in 1983 by National Telefilm Associates, later being renamed Republic Pictures. By then, all but 11 of the Roach-era sound films were available on home video. Cabin Fever acquired the rights to use the original Our Gang title cards and MGM logos, and for the first time in over 50 years, the Roach sound Our Gang comedies could be commercially exhibited in the original format.
The first twelve volumes of The Little Rascals were released on July 6, 1994, followed by nine more on July 11, 1995, coinciding with the theatrical and home video releases of Universal's 1994 feature.   Each tape contains four shorts, as well as specially-produced introductions by Leonard Maltin. On August 26, 1997, a limited edition volume, For Pete's Sake, was released in honor of the Rascals' 75th anniversary, and contained an introduction from original cast member Tommy "Butch" Bond and Petey from the 1994 feature.
The video contained three previously-released shorts, plus the never-before-available silent short Dog Heaven; it was also available in a gift set with a Pete plush doll. Cabin Fever began pressing DVD versions of their first 12 Little Rascals VHS volumes (with the contents of two VHS volumes included on each DVD), but went out of business in 1998 before their release. Hallmark colorized a few Our Gang shorts and released them across 8 VHS tapes. Later that year, the first 10 Cabin Fever volumes were re-released on VHS with new packaging, and the first two volumes were released on DVD as The Little Rascals: Volumes 1-2.Two further Hallmark DVD collections featured ten shorts apiece, and were released in 2003 and 2005, respectively. From 2006 to 2009, Legend Films produced colorized versions of twenty four Our Gang comedies (23 Roach entries, and the public domain MGM entry Waldo's Last Stand), which were released across five Little Rascals DVDs. In 2011, Legend Films released black and white versions of Little Rascals DVDs. RHI Entertainment and Genius Products released an eight-disc DVD set, The Little Rascals - the Complete Collection, on October 28, 2008.  This set includes all 80 Hal Roach-produced Our Gang sound short films.
Most of the collection uses the 1994 restorations, while 16 shorts are presented with older Blackhawk Films transfers as their remastered copies were lost or misplaced during preparations. On June 14, 2011, Vivendi Entertainment re-released seven of the eight DVD's from RHI/Genius Products' The Little Rascals - The Complete Collection as individual releases. This includes the 80 shorts - replacing the Blackhawk transfers on the previous set with their respective 1994 restorations - but excludes the disc featuring the extras.
During the 1980s and 1990s, MGM released several non-comprehensive VHS tapes of its shorts, and a VHS of the feature General Spanky. After video rights for the classic MGM library reverted to their new owners, Turner Entertainment/Warner Bros. In the late 1990s, four of the MGM Our Gang shorts appeared as bonus features on Warner Bros. Issued classic film DVD releases.There are many unofficial Our Gang and Little Rascals home video collections available from several other distributors, comprising shorts (both silent and sound) which have fallen into the public domain. Currently, the rights to the Our Gang/Little Rascals shorts are scattered. Sonar Entertainment (formerly known as RHI Entertainment, Cabin Fever Entertainment and Hallmark Entertainment) owns the copyrights of and holds the theatrical and home video rights to the Roach-produced Our Gang shorts. Sonar acquired these after absorbing Hal Roach Studios in 1988, and both Roach's estate and Cabin Fever Entertainment in the late 1990s.
CBS offers original black-and-white and colorized prints for syndication. The King World/CBS Little Rascals package was featured as exclusive programming (in the United States) for the American Movie Classics network from August 2001 to December 2003, with Frankie Muniz hosting.As part of a month-long tribute to Hal Roach Studios, Turner Classic Movies televised a 24-hour marathon of Roach Our Gang shorts - both sound films and silents - on January 4-5, 2011.  Some of the silent Our Gangs (such as Mary, Queen of Tots and Thundering Fleas) resurfaced on TCM at this time with new music scores in stereo sound; these silent Pathé Our Gangs are now being syndicated by Mackinaw Media. The MGM-produced Our Gang shorts, General Spanky, and the rights to the Our Gang name are owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment as part of the Turner Entertainment library.  The television rights for the MGM Our Gang shorts belong to Warner Bros. Television Distribution, and the video rights to Warner Home Video. The MGM Our Gangs today appear periodically on the Turner Classic Movies cable network, and are available for streaming via the subscription-based Warner Archive Instant streaming video service. Our Gang cast and personnel. For a detailed listing of the Our Gang child actors, recurring adult actors, directors, and writers, see Our Gang personnel.
The following is a listing of the primary child actors in the Our Gang comedies. They are grouped by the era during which they joined the series. Jackie Lynn Taylor (1934 as "Jane").
As of April 2018, living Our Gang actors included Betty Jane Beard, Laura June Williams, Paul Hilton, Mildred Kornman, Margaret Kerry, Robert Blake and Sidney Kibrick. For a complete filmography, see Our Gang filmography. The following is a listing of selected Our Gang comedies, considered by Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann (in their book The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang) to be among the best and most important in the series. 1923: The Champeen, Derby Day.1925: Your Own Back Yard, One Wild Ride. 1929: Small Talk, Lazy Days, Boxing Gloves, Cat, Dog & Co. 1930: The First Seven Years, Pups Is Pups, Bear Shooters, Teacher's Pet, School's Out. 1931: Helping Grandma, Love Business, Little Daddy, Fly My Kite, Big Ears, Dogs Is Dogs. 1932: Readin' and Writin', The Pooch, Hook And Ladder, Free Wheeling, Birthday Blues.
1933: Fish Hooky, Forgotten Babies, The Kid From Borneo, Mush and Milk, Bedtime Worries. The First Round-Up, Honky Donkey, Mama's Little Pirate. 1935: Anniversary Trouble, Shrimps for a Day, Beginner's Luck, Little Papa, Our Gang Follies of 1936. 1936: Divot Diggers, Bored of Education, General Spanky. 1938: Three Men in a Tub, Hide and Shriek.
1939: Alfalfa's Aunt, Cousin Wilbur. 1940: Goin' Fishin', Waldo's Last Stand, Kiddie Kure.
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