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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
minutes long but has enough laughs to definitely make it worthwhile
viewing. It's the normal "spooks" spooking the kids (Three Three
Stooges did the same) but it always makes people (including me)
laugh.....even if you know it's coming.
The boys break "into" school - yes, into, not out of school. It turns out they have a change of heart about the fake doctor's note to get out of school the next day after hearing the teacher has tickets to the circus. Yikes, now they don't want to miss school.
They come back at night, of course, (where are the parents?) to break into the building. Owls, janitors, skeletons and whoopee-type cushions all make it a scary (and funny) night for everyone there.
The guy who plays the janitor had a very familiar face. He was Dudley Dickerson, a guy who was hilarious in some of the Three Stooges shorts, such as the one in which he played a cook in "A Plumbing We Will Go" where water comes out of light bulbs, clocks, etc.
At the end of the school day the gang see's a circus truck ride by
announcing with music that will be only for one day the next morning.
Spanky writes a phony doctor's note and has Buckwheat and Porky place
it on Miss Jones desk, and they pretend to sneeze and be sick. But Miss
Jones tells them she bought tickets and plans to surprise the whole
class. The gang has to go back later in the evening and break in
through a window since the door of the school is locked and Sam the
janitor who lives there in the basement wouldn't let them in to get the
note earlier. Buckwheat is a lookout while standing outside in the
thunderstorm, stepping on a noisemaker and seeing an owl which made
Buckwheat rush back inside. Spanky doesn't believe in spooks but when
he and his friends see a spook inside the class, but Porky was under a
bed sheet to scare them and at the same time breaking light bulbs in
the Janitor Supply Room. By doing this he wakes up Sam who leaves the
basement and stands there in the dark which the storm knocked out the
lights. The gang was hiding under the teacher's desk and Buckwheat was
tiptoeing out of the corner of the supply room, behind a curtain was a
skeleton clinging right to his back. He thought it was Porky but was
scared and ran out of the room and passing Sam whose nightcap stood up
on end. Sam saw Buckwheat with the skeleton coming back towards him, he
screamed and went right through the door of the schoolhouse, while the
gang who found the phony note, ran out of the cutout of the door that
Sam made, he also ran away from there screaming. The gang was very sick
with real colds the next day which prevented them from going to the
Rosina Lawrence who played Miss Jones the teacher was pretty and very nice to Spanky and Alfafa when she believed they were catching colds, and hoped they get well to come the next day to school and be at the circus. Dudley Dickerson as Sam the janitor was very good in this episode, I liked him as he acted looking scared and wearing his nightshirt and nightcap. I also wondered what happened the next morning like the gang was seen sick in bed with colds, where did Sam go that stormy night? Did he have a girlfriend, or family close by, like a brother or sister who has a family of their own to sleep with them? I'm sure he got very sick that night too and what happened the next morning when he had to return to the school and explain to the teacher how he went through the door, the skeleton on the rug outside with the cutout of himself, and telling her that it sure was spooky last night. I also wondered how Miss Jones reacted when she saw Sam in his damp nightshirt and nightcap instead of being dressed for work, saw the door, the cutout and the skeleton as well. She had her work that morning on calling a carpenter to replace the door, and a electrician to fix the lights, getting ready to have herself and the children to go to the circus. How did a skeleton end up in the schoolhouse behind those curtains in that room? Was it left from a Halloween party from a previous teacher? Did another janitor earlier worked there knew about it or not? Did Sam still worked there after what happened if the teacher was nice enough not to complain to anybody? Did the children wonder what kind of strange shape the door has? I guess we'll never know all these answers but I can imagine anyway.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This Hal Roach comedy short, Spooky Hooky, is the one hundred forty-ninth entry in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" series and the sixty-first talkie. A partial remake of the silent Circus Fever, once again there's a circus in town and Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, and Porky want to go there instead of school the next day so they fake a note from their parents to excuse them. But when Miss Lawrence passes by Spank and Alf with their "colds", she nonchalantly tells them her class were going to see the clowns the next day. So now the boys have to retrieve the note but the school's now locked for the day and there's a rainstorm on the way...Quite a funny and maybe scary one for any little kiddies stumbling onto this one. Dudley Dickerson appears as the janitor who easily gets scared some of the time. His part may have been cut from syndication prints since I didn't remember him from my '70s childhood. Perhaps stereotypical concerning his race of the time but no harm done, otherwise. So on that note, I recommend Spooky Hooky.
An OUR GANG Comedy Short.
It's SPOOKY HOOKY time for all concerned when Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat & Porky break into the schoolhouse one dark & stormy night to retrieve a faked doctor's note left on teacher's desk...
A few laughs here, but the Short is too short to really develop the chills. Highlight: Buckwheat meets the skeleton.
This film is a reworking of an earlier Our Gang comedy--"Fish Hooky".
Because of this, it's hard to score this one as high as other
shorts--though I must admit it's still a pretty good little film.
"Spooky Hooky" begins with Spanky and Alfalfa planning on playing hooky by telling the teacher that Alfalfa is sick and cannot come to school tomorrow. The plan backfires, as the class is supposed to go on a surprise outing to the circus tomorrow! To make it worse, the note that they forged is locked in the school and they MUST sneak in that night to get that note. Maybe then they can go with the class on the outing.
During the 1935-36 period, the cast of characters was much more stable than usual for the comedies. As is typical of these films, the four boys doing most of the acting are Alfalfa, Spanky, Buckwheat and Porky. Because there is a storm that night, the kids all get scared pretty easily. While it's probably not seen as politically correct today, Buckwheat is awfully cute in these scenes. In the end, the four kids get theirs--learning a good lesson in the process about honesty and the like. Though, considering how often they played hooky in these films, I am not sure they really learned much of anything! Overall, a clever little film despite it being a bit too familiar.
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