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Little Rascals / Our Gang on TV
The Little Rascals & Our Gang - PART TWO
Our Gang / Little Rascals / Little Rascals on TV / What Happened to the Little Rascals?
by Billy Ingram & Kevin S. Butler

GROWING UP

spanky of Our Gang / little rascalsFilms shot by the Hal Roach studio just before the franchise moved to MGM in 1938 were considerably slicker than the crude, early films; now episodes revolved around the most familiar core group of kids that included Alfalfa, Spanky, Darla, Butch, Froggy (and the He-Man Women-Haters club and "I'm the Barber of Saville"). The shorts began reflecting a more modern American family ideal. As a result, parents were less likely to be depicted as lousy role models.

The MGM shorts were slicker still, the gang was given the full-on studio high gloss treatment. The MGM shorts featured the same core group of kids (Alfalfa, Spanky, Darla, Butch, etc.) but didn't share the hardscrabble nature of the original run.

By the time the series ended in 1944, the 'Gang' were jaded city slickers who couldn't cope when dropped into a rural setting; theirs was a world of elaborate stage shows, fundraisers, radio broadcasts, film studios and - gasp - schoolwork!

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The MGM scripts were uniformly flat, predictable and hindered by the fact that the kids were well into their teens and not so cute anymore.

MGM evidently believed there was a flicker life left in the franchise. Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer and Tommy 'Butch' Bond starred in a short-lived series of films as part of the Gas House Kids, a teen Little Rascals / Bowery Boys type concept that failed to catch on.

TV TIME

Our Gang Comedies castWhen Our Gang initially arrived on television, it was retitled The Little Rascals. The series had been called Our Gang from the beginning; when creator Hal Roach (Laurel & Hardy) sold the franchise to MGM in 1938, he retained the rights to the films he had produced up to that point.

Roach sold his package of shorts to TV in 1954, he called them The Little Rascals because MGM owned the name Our Gang.

The success of the Roach comedies on TV led to MGM releasing their Our Gang shorts to television a couple of years later as a competing package.

Local TV stations were starved for content to fill the daytime hours in the mid-fifties and The Little Rascals / Our Gang (along with Laurel and Hardy, the Three Stooges and old westerns) was a relatively inexpensive property to air. After all, the cast members didn't have to be paid. No one could have envisioned that these shorts, which were shot two decades earlier, would enjoy a second life on a whole new entertainment medium.

Because they timed out between ten and twenty minutes each, many stations around the country employed local hosts who could provide entertainment between the Our Gang films.

 

Our Gang TV ShowsNEXT - PART TWO:
Little Rascals Shows in NYC
The Little Rascals / Our Gang TV shows
...and what happened to the cast?
Also - the Our Gang Curse?!?


Our Gang / Little Rascals
Little Rascals Early Years

Little Rascals
on TV
Little Rascals Shows in NYC

What Happened to the Little Rascals?

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
Classic TV!

Little Rascals on DVD

Our Gang / Little Rascals
Little Rascals - The Early Years

Little Rascals
on TV
Little Rascals Shows in NYC

What Happened to the Little Rascals?

Fridays TV Show on DVD DVDWhen Things Were Rotten on DVD

 

 


 


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