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Okay, we all know how good most of the Our Gang comedies are, and this this is certainly one of the best. That said, I think it's fascinating how these shorts also serve as historical documents. For example, the actress who plays Cap's wife, Louise Emmons, was born in 1852. The president at the time was Millard Fillmore! This is nine full years before Abe Lincoln was elected! He was probably still splitting logs in 1852. Just imagine sitting with Louise during lunch at the studio commissary and picking her brains.
An OUR GANG Comedy Short
It's just MUSH AND MILK for the Rascals to eat at the Bleak Hill Boarding School, which is run by a wicked old crone. Her elderly brother, Cap, loves the kids and has promised them a good life if ever his back pension arrives. Spanky, Stymie & the Gang wonder if that day will ever come...
This is a very funny little film. Highlights include Stymie & Dickie trying to milk a cow, Spanky's recitation of Mary Had A Little Lamb & Butch's crooning `Just Friends'. That's Cap Leonard as Cap, Louise Emmons as his dreadful wife and - hilariously - James Finlayson as the banker.
This was to be the last OUR GANG appearance by Dickie or Wheezer. Richard `Dickie' Moore had been with the Gang for two years and was featured in 7 of their films. He appeared in several other movies before leaving the business in the 1950's. He's now married to actress Jane Powell. Bobby `Wheezer' Hutchins had become a Rascal at the tender age of two, and now, at the ripe old age of eight, had starred in 59 shorts. He made no more films. In 1945 he died in a military plane crash - he was only 19 years old.
I remember seeing this Our Gang short as a child. It was funny then. It's even funnier now seeing it as an adult. This is a great vehicle for the Our Gang kids. A very young Spanky is a stand out. His poetry reading and phone conversation scenes steal the show. The film also makes great use of young Tommy Bond, several years before he took on the role of the gang's arch nemesis Butch. His heartfelt singing could go up against Alfalfa any day. This is a wonderful example of the fine talent and comic timing the Our Gang kids had. It's one of their best shorts.
Mush and Milk was one of numerous school-oriented Our Gand comedies. This particular episode had, as its setting, Bleak Hill Boarding School, which bore sign saying it offered LOWEST RATES and "MOTHER'S CARE(?)" I wonder if the Dickens novel Bleak House furnished inspiration. The "MOTHER's CARE(?) logo proved what a dump this boarding school was, with Louise Emmons portraying the disagreeable old crone who headed the school, a dasmal dame if ever there were one. "Dasmal dame" is a woman who plays DOMINEERING MOTHER. Cap was sharp contrast; he was kind and understanding; Gus Leonard was just the actor for that sort of role. (He did stellar job later in "Lucky Corner" as Scotty Becket's grandpa.) Gus did not mind the silly answers that the kids gave in class, and surely appreciated Spanky's getting up to answer the phone, when James Finlayson, as Mr. Brown of First National Bank, told Cap that his back pension had arrived, something that he had long waited for (but which the crone who ran the school SCORNED). Cap's receiving this wonderful news, and his treating the kids to day at amusement park, calls to mind recent developments in MY life, to wit, improvement in living standard after settlement of Mom's estate, in form of larger apartment, new car, etc. Surely, Mush and Milk was heartwarming, especially with Cap's confidence that things would turn out all right, something that the Little Rascals came to believe.
This Hal Roach comedy short, Mush and Milk, is the one hundred twenty-third in the "Our Gang/Little Rsacals" series and the thirty-fifth talkie. The gang are at an orphanage and they don't like it what with the mean headmistress and the regular servings of the title food. But the old man who teaches them loves them and promises as soon as his pension arrives, he'll get them all out of there. I'll stop there and just say this was another hilarious short in the series with Stymie and Dickie trying to make some milk and Spanky doing some funny dialogue with James Finlayson on the other line on the phone. The amusement park scenes may have been taken from Fish Hooky a few shorts back. Tommy does a nice rendition of "Just Friends". So on that note, I highly recommend Mush and Milk. P.S. This marked the last series appearance of Dorothy DeBorba, Dickie Moore who went back to features, and Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins. Wheezer went back to private life after leaving. Unfortunately, he died during an air cadet training exercise on May 17, 1945 before he was to graduate that, or maybe the following week. He was 20. His brother, Dickie who was in Forgotten Babies, died on July 2, 1978.
Milk And Mush (1933) is a "Little Rascals" short subject comedy movie
made by Hal Roach and featuring Spanky MacFarland and his pals. It is
The kids are stuck in a bad home for orphans, but rescued when the old man caretaker named "Cap" gets his "back pension" and bails the kids out of the home, and celebrates by taking them to an amusement park and big dinner at a fancy restaurant when his $4,000 "back pension" finally "comes through.
Was $4,000 much money back in 1933? Yes, $4,000 was indeed a lot of money back in 1933 (almost 80 years ago...I write this in 2009), and a thrifty pensioner could do OK on that for the rest of his life.
Working class people in the early 1930's typically earned $15 per week and that could pay rent for an OK house or apt., pay for food, basic clothing, etc......some people (many people, maybe) supported families (in a thrifty way) on money that small.
The idea with pensions back then (and now, too) was you were supposed to have paid off your house, and had basically no major capital expenses facing you....you just needed money for food....kept wearing clothes you already had.
Doctors still made home visits back then, and charged maybe $2 for a standard house call. Medications doctors prescribed didn't cost much...also just a few bucks at local indy drug stores (NO drug store chains or mega-drug companies back then charging $10 per pill for treatment expected to go on for years).
A big day at the local amusement park in 1933 for 10 children going on maybe 5 rides each (ferris wheel, roller coaster, etc.) plus a sit down lunch or dinner could easily have been pulled off for $20 total....not a big chunk at all of Cap's $4,000.
Life was better in 1933 for many reasons....things were cheaper and people were decenter and kinder, and that included landlords, health care people, and vendor sources people depended on...drug stores, hospitals, entertainment venues. Less crime, cleaner cities, cheap public transportation, great public park and recreation systems (concerts in park bandstands in every city which had public parks, etc.).
What happened? In 1932, the world population crossed over from one billion (at which it had arrived in 1850) to two billion people...total.
Population for the entire USA back in 1933 was maybe 100 million. (It's now ....2009..... around 300 million).
Two billion worldwide total was a workable number. It got to 3 billion by the early 1950's and just recently skyrocketed/ crossed over into SEVEN BILLION recently (2009).
That's too many people, all scrambling for life's necessities...which explains why things previously cheap NOW cost too much...not enough to go around, despite claims about how "we've never had it so good." The world is NOW filled with people all of whom need things which were easier to get, and cheaper, in 1932.
I hope Cap enjoyed his $4,000 back pension he finally got in MILK AND MUSH (1933).
Written by Tex Allen, SAG Actor. Visit WWW.IMDb.Com and choose "Tex Allen" "resume" for contact information, movie credits, and biographical information about Tex Allen.
Tex Allen has reviewed more than 35 movies posted on the website WWW.IMDb.Com (the world's largest movie information database, owned by Amazon.Com) as of January 2011.
These include: 1. Alfie (1966) 29 July 2009 2. Alien (1979) 24 July 2009 3. All the President's Men (1976) 16 November 2010 4. American Graffiti (1973) 22 November 2010 5. Animal House (1978) 16 August 2009 6. Bullitt (1968) 23 July 2009 7. Captain Kidd (1945) 28 July 2009 8. Child Bride (1938) 24 September 2009 9. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) 22 September 2010 10. Detour (1945) 19 November 2010 11. Die Hard 2 (1990) 23 December 2010 12. The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993) 19 November 2010 13. Jack and the Beanstalk (1952) 26 July 2009 14. King Solomon's Mines (1950) 1 December 2010 15. Knute Rockne All American (1940) 2 November 2010 16. Claire's Knee (1970) 15 August 2009 17. Melody Ranch (1940) 10 November 2010 18. Morning Glory (1933) 19 November 2010 19. New Moon (1940) 3 November 2010 20. Pinocchio (1940) 6 November 2010 21. R2PC: Road to Park City (2000) 19 November 2010 22. Salt (2010) 24 August 2010 23. Sunset Blvd. (1950) 1 December 2010 24. The Great Dictator (1940) 1 November 2010 25. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) 9 January 2011 26. The Man in the White Suit (1951) 5 August 2009
Written by Tex Allen, SAG-AFTRA movie actor. Visit WWW.IMDb.Me/TexAllen for more information about Tex Allen.
Tex Allen's email address is TexAllen@Rocketmail.Com.
See Tes Allen Movie Credits, Biography, and 2012 photos at WWW.IMDb.Me/TexAllen. See other Tex Allen written movie reviews....almost 100 titles.... at: "http://imdb.com/user/ur15279309/comments" (paste this address into your URL Browser)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a pretty poor Our Gang film--plus it marks the last appearances
by Wheezer and Dickie Moore. Wheezer's career pretty much disappeared
after this, though Dickie went on to one of the more popular child
actors of the mid-1930s. So why do I say this one is poor? Well, aside
from the ending, it just isn't very funny and the setup is pretty bad
The film begins in a boarding school. However, it's run by an ugly old hag who beats and starves the kids!! It's all WAY overdone--especially giving the nasty old lady a giant whip! Talk about lacking subtlety. There is one bright spot in the place--an old retired captain who loves the kids and vows to one day take them away from this rat hole. What follows is a lengthy school scene where the Captain teaches the kids absolutely nothing of value and it's littered with really, really lame jokes. At the end, however, the old guy strikes it rich and treats all the kids to a wonderful meal...or so he thinks.
Overall, pretty bad and worth skipping unless you are a die-hard fan.
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