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Puttin' On A Play With The Little Rascals
Ron Oliver17 April 2000
An OUR GANG Comedy Short.

Little SPANKY is a real pill & the bane of older brother Brisbane's existence. Forced to baby-sit while the Rascals put on their production of Uncle Tom's Cabin, he's not surprised when the little tyke makes a shambles of the proceedings. But then Spanky discovers a hidden horde of cash...

This very funny little film was made to showcase newcomer Spanky - and his bug hunt & money tossing are hilarious - but the talents of Stymie are equally on display as he portrays both Uncle Tom & Topsy in the play. That's Billy Gilbert as Spanky's pop.
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Goofy fun.
MartinHafer2 December 2011
For the most part, this short featuring the kids from Our Gang is unfocused and seems more an opportunity to reuse the footage from Spanky's screen test than anything else. It seems that many clips in "Spanky" were taken directly from this--such as the scenes where he's chasing bugs with a hammer. Apart from this, you'll see a very young Spanky get into lots of trouble as he destroys the kids' play as well as throws his father's (Billy Gibert) hidden money out the window! All in all, Spanky played a really destructive brat in this one...but he was so cute that you enjoyed it anyway and could look for the lack of a clear plot.

While this is a pretty good short, hold on to your seat and breath deep when you see the play. After all, all the white kids are in black-face to do the story "Uncle Tom's Cabin"! Funnier (and less offensive) is when Stymie's sister drops out of the play and Stymie is drafted to play BOTH roles--that of Uncle Tom and Topsy the female slave!
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Warning: Spoilers
Here we got "Spanky", an American black-and-white sound film from 1932, so this one has its 85th anniversary this year. The names of director McGowan and writer Walker from that time stand for another Our Gang short film. This one runs for 20 minutes and the title is of course the name of the possible most famous Rascal. He is joined by Wheezer, Stymie and a few of the others as we find out about Spanky's dad's mischief in here. Especially money-wise. Spanky himself does not have really more screen time than the rest of the gang. For McFarland who plays the title character, it was just his second appearance as a Rascal, so you can see the film as a bit of an introduction. And many other films starring Spanky followed afterward. His dad here is played by Walk of Fame honoree Billy Gilbert. Sadly neither his plot nor the parts where the kids are once again rehearsing a stage play were really entertaining in my opinion. This is one of the Rascals shorts without Miss Crabtree. Is that the reason why it was so forgettable? One of the reasons maybe. I give it a thumbs-down. Not recommended.
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Spanky marks the first time a talkie Our Gang short is named after one of its characters
tavm25 October 2014
This Hal Roach comedy short, Spanky, is the one hundred thirteenth in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" series and the twenty-fifth talkie. The beginning is actually the screen test directed by James W. Horne of the little tyke that got great reactions from the studio brass including Roach himself who signed Spanky to a five-year contract. He's chasing a bug with a toy shotgun (I think) and a hammer. Then we transition to a talkie remake of Uncle Tom's Uncle with most of the same gags intact. Oh, and Billy Gilbert-previously in Shiver My Timbers, Dogs Is Dogs, and Free Eats-plays Spanky's father here. I'll just say this was another very funny Our Gang short mainly because of Spanky. There was also a very funny sound effect of someone "crying" in the play. I think I've said enough so that's definitely a recommendation.
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