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Shivering Spooks (1926)

 -  Comedy | Family | Short  -  8 August 1926 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 32 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

The kids are playing baseball when a man dressed in Middle-Eastern clothing comes out and tells them to be quiet. They join Mary, Farina, and Scooter in the gang's hide-out while Mary is ... See full summary »

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Title: Shivering Spooks (1926)

Shivering Spooks (1926) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Harry Bowen ...
Assistant to Professor Fleece
Joe Cobb ...
Joe
Dorothy Coburn ...
Woman with Three Husbands
Jackie Condon ...
Jackie
Johnny Downs ...
Johnny
George B. French ...
Professor Fleece
Clara Guiol ...
Séance attendee (unconfirmed)
Henry J. Hill ...
Henry (unconfirmed)
Allen 'Farina' Hoskins ...
Ham Kinsey ...
Assistant to Professor Fleece
Mary Kornman ...
Mary
Scooter Lowry ...
Skooter
Tiny Sandford ...
Detective
Jay R. Smith ...
Jay
Dorothea Wolbert ...
Séance attendee (unconfirmed)
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Storyline

The kids are playing baseball when a man dressed in Middle-Eastern clothing comes out and tells them to be quiet. They join Mary, Farina, and Scooter in the gang's hide-out while Mary is reading ghost stories. While on the other side of the wall, the Arab-looking man is cheating people out of their money by staging a fake séance using state-of-the-art special effects. The cave entrance for the gang's hide-out collapses, so they light candles and dig into the wall, entering into the house. The "suckers" find out they are being cheated and run to get the cops to book the guys. The guys find out that the kids are in the house, and one dresses up in a ghost costume and chases the kids throughout the house. Written by anonymous

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Genres:

Comedy | Family | Short

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8 August 1926 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Featured in Muppet Babies: Is There a Muppet in the House? (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Controversial? Perhaps. Amusing? Certainly
22 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Overall, I'd say this is a pretty good silent Our Gang film.

Essentially, the gang stumbles into the lair of a crooked spiritualist aptly named Professor Fleece, who with his partners in crime try to scare the gang away. That sums up the plot without giving away the ending, but in spite of the slim storyline, a lot happens within these 20 minutes! The opening scene is rather shocking, as it seems that Farina and Scooter are running away form a man shooting point blank at them, but our horror quickly turns to relief and (depending on how sensitive you are) laugher when the camera reveals that we are not watching what we think.

Yes, there are a few unsettling scenes, such as the gang forcing Farina to enter a tunnel out of a cave by saying, "If you get killed, we know it ain't safe." (With friends like these...). However, the bit with the Klan-like ghost scaring Farina, who if you don't know by now was the series' Black star of the 20s, is neutralized by the fact that the phony ghost scares ALL of the children in the film. But the gag involving Farina turning white at the site of the ghost and the exchange with Mary Kornman about seeing "Colored ghosts" in the dark are relatively mild in comparison to some of the far cruder gags involving modern Black comedy (Chapelle's Show and Def Comedy Jam, anyone?) . The humor of the latter scene is clearly based on the innocence of children as opposed to mean-spiritedness (as was the case in some later Gang films as "Spook Spoofing" and the horribly cruel and unfunny "Glorious Fourth").

Yes, Allen "Farina" Hoskins has defended his work with the Gang/Rascals, but how much sensitivity and political correctness could one expect considering he was a small child when these films were made? As in many films of this period, he steals the show years before his tenth birthday! So yeah, the film shows its age and PC types will call their heart surgeons over some of the humor. But much of the film is undeniably amusing and as is the case with the Our Gang Rascals, the pros outweigh the cons.


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