|Index||9 reviews in total|
This is one of the all-time great "Our Gang" shorts. Spanky is at his
very cutest and funniest, and the babies that he get's left to babysit
are also hilarious. Tiny Spanky is coerced by the gang into watching
all their little siblings. The opening shot of them all in baby
carriages, being entertained by various things hung by the gang from
fishing poles is a beautiful gag.
Spanky's appearance wearing his huge toy knife when asked to babysit by the older fellows is priceless, as is his response --"Hey, where do you get that stuff -- I don't take care of no babies!" The tiny fellow saying "remarkable" throughout the film, all the beautiful sight gags, and Spanky telling the babies "all about Tarzan" add up to make this one of the best "Our Gang"'s you'll ever see.
One of my favorite OUR GANG shorts. Spanky is conned into babysitting a house full of infants. He resorts to scary actions, even gluing a toddler to the floor. When Spanky is surrounded by the out of control tykes, and he looks in a drawer and says "Ah, glue....". It's with as much menacing glee as the line "No Prisoners" in LAURENCE OF ARABIA. My favorite bit is when one of the babies turns on the radio to a Radio Horror Show about the screamingly insane Dr. Nemo (Voiced over the top by the monsterously funny Billy Gilbert) What radio station would broadcast such lunacy? You couldn't make these sort of fun movies today because modern day audiences want realism. Shame.
An OUR GANG Comedy Short.
The Gang coerces Spanky into watching their younger siblings. Caring for these FORGOTTEN BABIES turns out to be quite a chore, leaving the little nipper with no choice but to come up with some ingenious solutions to the baby-sitting problem...
Spanky is in his glory in this hilarious little film, arguably his best. Highlight: Spanky's retelling the plot of the TARZAN movie he's recently seen to the audience of infants. Movie mavens will recognize Billy Gilbert's voice in the radio drama.
This is an unusual 'Our Gang' as it completely centers around Spanky McFarland. Luckily, he is one of the few 'rascals' who can handle the lone spotlight. The children he is supposed to babysit are little more than props in this one man show. Spanky's retelling of Tarzan is hilarious. What struck me most about his performance, especially his reactions to things, is the similarity to the work of fellow Roach actor Oliver Hardy. Spanky dealing with the babies reminds you of a small Hardy battling several young Laurels.
The greatest Our Gang short ever. 4 year old Spanky gets stuck babysitting with 6 toddlers - need I say more? It's nothing short of miraculous how Robert McGowan was able to get this on film. Included are scenes like a two-year-old standing on a table between two teetering towers of china, putting a china cup on one, watching it fall, then saying "Remarkable" on cue as the other one falls. This all in one take without any special effects or trick photography. Or how about Spanky's near-perfect retelling of a Tarzan movie, with one baby's random reaction of falling head-first off a chair and getting up unfazed. You couldn't film this today even if you had McGowan's genius. Remarkable!!
This is a really great short from Hal Roach. This is because of two
main reasons: The littlest kids in the short are among the cutest to
have ever been on film and the plot has so many funny and well-written
As for the littlest of the Little Rascals, I honestly can't think of a cuter kid than Spanky at about age four. Despite being a rather chubby and unattractive kid in later years, he was just precious here. And, placing the little tiny boy in charge of babysitting the even younger kids was not only funny, but once again high on the cute factor.
After the older kids blackmail Spanky into doing this awful babysitting job, all kinds of funny mayhem breaks loose. The gags are pretty effective and well-done for the time--with an accidental crank call involving a murder and a final scene where Spanky FINALLY gets control of the little ones being the most memorable. I haven't seen these shorts in many decades and I am glad I gave this one a chance.
This Hal Roach comedy short, Forgotten Babies, is the one hundred twenty-first in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" series and the thirty-third talkie. The gang-after temporarily watching their infant and toddler siblings outside-decide to go on their own for some play and leave Spanky-a toddler himself-to watch those little kids. They're all at his house while he spins his own Tarzan story but they're bored so the house becomes quite a mess! And it gets messier when a phone is off the hook while a mystery program is playing on the radio...This was a fine showcase for Spanky in not only doing a free-form monologue but also in his constant running around trying to take care of many kids not much younger than himself without losing control. Of note is the appearance of Spanky's actual younger brother, Tommy McFarland, jumping on the bed and wrecking it and also, Wheezer's younger sibling Dickie Hutchins being the one saying "Remarkable!" constantly! Oh, and this short also marked the first appearance of one Tommy Bond, years before becoming Butch! So on that note, I highly recommend Forgotten Babies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Forgotten Babies" is a black-and-white short film from 1933, so this one came out the year Hitler came to power in Germany already almost 85 years ago. It is a short film from the Little Rascals / Our Gang series and it has sound like these usually do. It runs for approximately 17 minutes and the star in this one is once again Spanky, maybe the biggest "star" from the gang. I may be a bit biased as I am generally not a fan of this series, but I found it truly shocking how weak this one here is. The comments are never funny and the action is really random and not entertaining either, actually to a point where it is almost despicable looking at the last shot of this film here. I hope the kids got at least lots of chocolate as a reward for being trapped into these bird cages. Anyway, I have seen many more Our Gang short films and I somewhat liked some of them, but I see hardly no appealing content in here at all. 4 stars out of 10 is still really generous for this work by director Robert F. McGowan. Even Spanky is very bland in here and I don't recommend checking it out. The rating here on IMDb is really a complete joke I must say.
The "Our Gang" short Forgotten Babies serves as a fascinating timestamp
of the lack of Department of Child and Family Services' involvement on
film sets, specifically for very young toddlers. The Little Rascals is
a show that could never pass on today's Television, given all the
outlandish stunts and dangers they included; this explains why the
modern-day equivalent program, Nickelodeon's Rugrats, is animated.
Forgotten Babies is one of the most excessive displays of child endangerment I've yet to see, yet considering the time the short was made, this is hardly a surprise. Actors, particularly children and animals, didn't have the kind of rampant, around-the-clock protection like they do today, and one can just watch a short like this and quietly hope more fun was had than actual pain. The plot concerns the gang of tykes, all of whom stuck babysitting when they want to go to the local swimming pool and soak up the nice day. As a result, the gang looks towards Spanky (George McFarland) to babysit their younger infant siblings, to which he accepts.
Spanky, who himself is a toddler just like them, isn't fit to watch five children at once, so when his decision to tell them the story of Tarzan fails, he must try and stop the children from going around the home and breaking things. While one is sliding down the stairs on a pillow cushion, one is making the Leaning Tower of Pisa with fine China and another is jumping on the bed so violently the bedboard cracks and subsequently damages the floor. It's maddening chaos and Spanky runs breathlessly, tripping over his stout legs, in order to try and stop all the commotion from occurring.
Forgotten Babies is built on simple laughs and pleasures, revolving around the common, early-cinematic convention of "house-breaking," where a home is fully intact at the beginning of a short before being completely desecrated in the end. This one reminds me of Laurel and Hardy's Big Business short from 1929, involving Laurel and Hardy completely desecrating a homeowner's new home, albeit to a far greater extent than the rascals do here. Nonetheless, this short is fun because it's more-or-less a showcase of changing times and how amazingly unrestricted children were in the realm of being reckless before us for the sake of good comedy.
Directed by: Robert F. McGowan.
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