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Beginner's Luck (1935)

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Spanky's mother's pushes him to join a local theater amateur night.


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Title: Beginner's Luck (1935)

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Credited cast:
Ernie Alexander ...
Audience member
Scotty Beckett ...
Eileen Bernstein ...
Our Gang member
Alvin Buckelew ...
The Cabin Kids ...
Marianne Edwards ...
Daisy Dimple
Bess Flowers ...
Friend of Spanky's mother
Charlie Hall ...
Stage hand
Tom Herbert ...
Master of Ceremonies
Ruth Hiatt ...
Daisy's mother
Fred Holmes ...
Audience member
Kitty Kelly ...
Leonard Kibrick ...
Audience member (unconfirmed)
Sidney Kibrick ...
Our Gang member


Spanky's mother is convinced that he is the most talented child entered in the talent contest. Spanky, however, wishes his mother would stop pushing him to perform. He arranges for his friends to sit in the front row and "ruin" his performance. But backstage Spanky meets Marianne, a little girl whose mother is depending on the prize money. When Marianne freezes onstage with stage fright, Spanky must find a way to overcome his own sabotage and win the prize, so he can give it to Marianne. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy | Family

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 February 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ungerne optræder  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Daisey runs off stage they play some of the same laugh track from the ending of Spanky's act , including the gang's noise makers. Spanky's mother is shown very concerned when Daisey runs off checking that she and her mother will be alright . See more »


When Spanky's mother is pulling him from behind the curtain at one point her dress hikes a little and it's obvious she isn't wearing a slip. However a few minutes later when her dress is hooked she is wearing a slip. See more »


Spanky's mother: Why don't you give him some lights.
Master of Ceremonies: What for?
Spanky's mother: So he can act.
Master of Ceremonies: Oh, so he can act.
Spanky's mother: Yes, please go ahead.
See more »


Edited into The Our Gang Story (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Spanky's mother is made a laughing stock of
3 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There is an unwritten rule that runs through the rascals shorts that the villain always gets theirs in the end .We have seen this come into play with the bully ,the brat, the dishonest businessman,the cheat all getting theirs and are usually made the laughing stock of in the end.With a few exceptions such as Dickie's father in "Birthday Blues" who beats his son savagely and has nothing happen to him at all to Wally's mother in "Honkey Donkey" who actually is only guilty of being very wealthy and has a mule chase her after she sneezes all over the house ,down the stairs and out into the spacious gardens.Wally's mom is chased till the donkey knocks her into a fountain and she emerges from under the water to spew water from her mouth like some type of fancy ornament,as the donkey laughs hysterically at her. This brings us to "Beginner's Luck" where Spanky's mother is the villain.She has put her son into a local talent show against his will and he has received help from the gang who promise to hiss and boo and destroy his act.However Spanky has a change of plans ,as he now needs to win the prize so he can help a little girl buy a special dress.Spanky asks his mom can he go into the audience and tell his friends of his change of plans but she refuses as he is about to go on and insists she will deliver his message to them.She has no idea that Spanky wants to flop and the gang was ready to bombard him with peashooters and noisemakers.Spanky's mom does use her power as a mom and an authority figure as she says to the gang"Remember boys we want Spanky to win",but she fails to make them understand and they agree to go ahead with their plan and give him the works.Spanky's mother is beaming as she walks away from them and back to the stage wings thinking that the audience will fall in love with Spanky as a Shakespearian actor ,she could never imagine the cruel twist of fate that awaits her for failing to deliver the correct message .Spanky's mother is a true stage mother trying to relive some faded glory that eluded her through her son.She did not ask Spanky if he wanted to pursue this venture and didn't listen to her own mother when she tried to intervene and save Spanky from this.She has shown herself to be pushy as she has had numerous run ins with the MC backstage.She has one goal for Spanky to win first prize and be a hit on the stage. Well the gang goes ahead with their plan to ruin Spanky's act .Spanky's mom rushes to save her son from the cruel audience laughter and pull him off from behind the back curtain.The MC informs the little girl that Spank has won the prize as a comedy act.Grandma raises the curtain to deliver lesson to her daughter for putting Spanky on the stage.A hook snags Spanky's mother's dress hem and it starts to rise along with the curtain ripping her dress off on the stage amid howls of uncontrollable laughter from the audience.Grandma has made a comedic burlesque stripper out of her daughter to be ogled as a sex object by the male audience members who love to see this pretty girl wiggle about frantically trying to free herself as her dress hikes higher and higher.She is being laughed at by everyone including the gang who mustlove seeing this happen.

Spanky rushes to hide his now frozen mother from the vicious audience laughter as she kneels on stage gazing up to see where her dress went with a piece of scenery resulting in her head on top of a caricature of an animals body.Spanky's mother is degraded and humiliated in her attempt to rescue Spanky from being laughed at and now is herself made much more of a laughing stock with the audience in complete bedlam at the sight of her.She did get everything she wanted ,Spanky has won first prize and was a big hit,although she never expected that she would wind upjoining the act .Spanky's mother may have actually enjoyed being the center of attention in her truly unforgettable stage appearance. She has been given the most embarrassing comeuppance of all the rascals villains ,but I don't believe she was all that bad and really didn'deserve her fate.Maybe she got this treatment from the Roach studios for being a stage mother which they must have had to deal with all the time. The viewer enjoys watching Spanky's mother being made a hysterical spectacle of and the viewer laughs along with the the theater audience at the fate that is dealt out to Spaky's mom.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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