Spanky and Alfalfa play hooky to go fishing, but must take
care of Junior instead.
An okay short, funny
not so much for the
antics of Spanky, Alfalfa and Buckwheat but for the Droopy Dog-like
presence of Junior. As a "playing hooky to go fishing" entry,
it's about as entertaining as Fish
Hooky (not one of the better 1933 films) and is a notch
above Little Sinner
and Little Papa.
will Spanky learn that playing hooky to go fishing always backfires?
STORY: Hoping to get a job in the circus, Alfalfa brags about
animal training prowess.
I knew I
was going to run into
trouble with these one-reelers. I loved them as a kid, I
them today but... jeez louise, they are so compact and go by so
there's really not much I can think of saying beyond "Another good
entry" or "Not a bad little short". So... Bear Facts is
good entry, and in fact, it's not a bad
little short. It's got Alfalfa waltzing with a bear to Laurel
Hardy music. That's got to be good, right?
In yet another one of those leaps of continuity, Darla is a
to the Gang, having just moved into the neighborhood.
GOOD OLD DAYS
In Alfalfa's tale of how he and the Gang went to Africa to
bears, Buckwheat is depicted as a native guide, complete with spear.
STORY: When Darla falls for Waldo and his miniature boat, the
Gang build their own and challenge Master Waldo to a race "for the
championship of Toluca Lake, and Darla Hood!"
Three Men in a Tub borrows elements of past Our Gang films and blends them into yet another chapter in the Ballad of Alfalfa and Darla. It is perhaps the best of the final Roach Our Gang shorts, and, ironically, it is not directed by Gordon Douglas but by Nate Watt. (Nate who? No, Nate Watt!). Perhaps it took another director to breathe some fresh air into the series, even if that fresh air is borrowed from Gus Meins's Hi'-Neighbor!. The recycled plot is made new again by substituting boats for fire engines and using some above-average process work as well as location footage to convince us the race is real. Three Men in a Tub also has some very good gags, including Waldo replying to a question so eruditely and completely that Buckwheat and Porky begin to back away in the middle of his lengthy, undecipherable answer.
About the only
negative element of Three
Men in a Tub is Darla
Hood. Darla was a fine member of Our Gang,
and was excellent at putting over her character's coy, fickle
personality. But when handling straight dialogue, she
left something to be desired. Throughout the entire race, she
keeps yelling out her dialogue in such a headache inducing way, you
almost feel glad when Alfalfa accidentally lets her fall into the
Wildcat Alfalfa wrestles The
Masked Marvel, thinking it is Waldo when it is really Butch.
Although it is
obvious that the Our Gang
writers were running out of ideas, borrowing old plots was not
necessarily a bad thing. Came
the Brawn borrows from 1930's Boxing
Gloves as well as the more recent Glove Taps,
switches boxing to
wrestling, adds a twist or two and winds up being as good a short as Three Men in a Tub.
It should be noted
for posterity that Came
the Brawn shows Butch being
under the spell of Darla for the first time, and, even stranger, Da
Woim being under the spell of Waldo. Or at least Waldo's way
reciting Shakespeare. "It's supoib!" sez Da teary-eyed Woim.
This was the last Hal
Roach Our Gang film
for both George "Spanky" McFarland and Tommy "Butch" Bond.
would return to the series when it was sold to MGM.
For reasons known
only to God, Came the
Brawn was once remade in claymation, along with several
Our Gang shorts. I hope nobody in Hollywood reads this - it
become the new remake trend.
STORY: It's Mr. Hood's birthday, and the Gang comes over to
lavish him with songs and presents, much to his consternation.
fun short. Johnny Arthur returns as Mr. Hood, and the Gang
make his evening miserable. Only now, the Gang consists only
Alfalfa, Porky and Philip Hurlic, a sort of "Stymie Lite" ("Now with
fewer puns!") whose Our Gang career ended ten minutes after this film's
opening credits. Apparently, after Feed 'Em and Weep,
out of hiding, yelled "Here I Is!" and things went back to
normal. This is Philip's only short, but I feel like
that he was pretty good. He doesn't do anything special, and
muffs a line, but for whatever reasons, he feels like part of the Gang,
even though he really isn't. Compare him to "Spud" from Bear Shooters and
you may see what
'Em and Weep is a winner
thanks to Johnny Arthur's always amusing characterization of the
put-upon Mr. Hood. The Gang is more irritating in this film
in the previous Mr. Hood short Night
N' Gales, but that is tempered by the fact that
they genuinely seem to be fond of the poor guy, their sole purpose of
coming over being to help him celebrate his birthday. The
celebration consists of singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. Hood" while
presenting him with a frog, a duck and a cat, getting into an argument
over whether Flash Gordon or Tarzan is stronger, and not allowing Mr.
Hood to consume even a nibble of his dinner or dessert.
of "Many Happy Returns
of the Day" is a bit painful to sit through, but otherwise, Feed 'Em and Weep
is the last truly
above-average Our Gang short from the Roach years.
MR. HOOD: "And to think that this should happen to me on my
STORY: Lacking funds for baseball gear, the Gang plan to have
their teeth, thereby getting money from the Good
the local dentist teaches them a durned good lesson, gosh darnit!
This short brought to
you by The American
Dental Association. Or at least it should have
Norton, famous for playing drunks, plays the dentist stone cold
sober. Too bad. A drunken dentist would have least
the edge off the preachy, afterschool special atmosphere of this
film. At one point, Elmer the Monkey threatens to create
but even that comes to nothing.
Besides Jack Norton, the only interesting things about this short is the half-hidden advertisement featuring Babe Ruth in the window of the sporting goods store, and the final all-too-brief appearance of Pete the Pup in a Hal Roach comedy. And remember, Doctor Schwartz says: take good care of your teeth and keep them as long as you possibly can!
STORY: Detective Alfalfa's search for Darla's missing candy
him into a Haunted House exhibit at the local pier.
Not bad for
the last Our Gang short,
but not great either. A fun idea - Alfalfa, Buckwheat and
stuck in what they think is a haunted house - could have been better
had Roach and company actually let the Gang loose in a real amusement
park spook house. Instead, they create one
of what looks like leftover props (including a bogeyman costume
from BABES IN TOYLAND) and novelties from a local magic shop.
It's not convincing at all, but it is
amusing to see them trying so hard.
And with that, the
Hal Roach version of Our
Gang was officially...
"Now what would Sherlock's Home do in a case like this?"