When they overhear Miss Witherspoon, the school superintendent, say that nothing short of an epidemic will allow the school to be closed for a week, the Our Gang conspire to fake illness. ... See full summary »
Eugene 'Porky' Lee,
George 'Spanky' McFarland,
Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer
First of five Our Gang comedy shorts without top series' marquee star, George 'Spanky' McFarland. Spanky was away acting, in theatrical movie, Peck's Bad Boy with the Circus (1938) was occurring. Spanky was absent from the Our Gang series from April to until July of 1938, during the remaining five shorts for the 1937-1938 theatrical season were filmed and shot, and also during this time, producer Hal Roach sold the series to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. When Spanky returned to the series (by then, it was, at a new location at M-G-M. Aladdin's Lantern (1938), was his first entry of the 1938-1939 season. All 5 "Little Rascals" & "Our Gang" shorts filmed without "Spanky", this era were Feed 'em and Weep (1938), The Awful Tooth (1938), Hide and Shriek (1938) & (the last three with Little Rascals nickname). The Little Ranger (1938) and Party Fever (1938), were the first two after Hal Roach sold the group of children out to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. See more »
The title of this film is shared by another film from Hal Roach Studios--a Max Davidson film from 1928.
The short begins with Johnny Arthur talking about how hungry he is and how he's looking forward to his birthday dinner. However, when the gang shows up, Arthur is visibly saddened--he just wants to eat! But throughout the film, he's prevented again and again from eating and the kids drive him crazy while they try to wish him the happiest of birthdays. Considering that eventually Alfalfa sings for him, you really have to feel sorry for the guy! This is a decent short--even if you have to endure Alfalfa's singing. Arthur's reactions are funny and serve to make a pretty ordinary film just a bit better. Worth seeing.
By the way, this is the first Our Gang film without Spanky in some time. All the last Our Gang films from Hal Roach lacked Spanky--but he returned to the series when rights to the films were sold outright to MGM (who previously had just distributed them). Now, starting in 1939, MGM would begin making their own Little Rascals films. These were very popular on TV when I was a kid but they are unavailable today--just the earlier and superior Our Gang comedies. Also, Buckwheat is replaced by a new black kid (there always is at least one in their films)--and I have no idea who this kid is.
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