I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

My Photo
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Little Rascals and Our Gang

When I was a little girl, the The Little Rascals and Our Gang shorts were a staple on local Chicago television. The other day, one of the two classic TV stations in town ran a marathon of those shorts, which I hadn't seen in awhile.

The escapades of the kids in those shorts pointed out to me that a lot of basic things about kids in general do not change. In one short, Spanky (George McFarland), who looked like he was no older than three years old at the time, kept disturbing his parents while they tried to sleep. His dad had just received a promotion at work, and wanted a good night's rest. Spanky was scared of a moth on the window, and cats meowing outside, among other things.

In another tale, Alfalfa (Carl Switzer) was showing off to his girlfriend Darla Hood about a wrestling match he was going to be in. He had fixed the outcome in advance, asking bookworm Waldo (Darwood Kaye) to be his opponent. At the last minute, Butch (Tommy Bond), who was also trying to woo Darla, forced Waldo to step aside so he could take on Alfalfa. Alfalfa won the match, but Darla had switched her affections to Waldo, whom she declared to be more refined. "I'm never talking to another girl again!" Alfalfa grumbled. Darla was quite the little vixen.

Racial stereotypes in those shorts abounded, but Buckwheat (Willie Mae Taylor and Carlena Beard), Cotton (Bobby Beard), Stymie (Matthew J. Beard, Jr.), Sunshine Sammy (Ernie Morrison) and Farina (Allen Hoskins) -- the African-American kids -- seemed to have experienced no problems hanging around with the mostly white kids. There were also some Asian kids in the mix, as well. The kids just accepted each other for who they were. When the shorts were packaged for television syndication in 1955, some were either heavily edited, or not shown at all due to racial stereotypes.

The Our Gang shorts began in 1922, and the very last short was issued in 1944. The Little Rascals titles refer to the shorts made between 1929 and 1938, but they were all under the Our Gang banner.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home