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Butch has been playing practical jokes on the gang, but now they get their turn.



(screen play by), (screen play by) (as Robert McGowan)


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Cast overview:
Our Gang ...


Butch has been playing practical jokes on the gang, but now they get their turn.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Family | Comedy


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Release Date:

17 December 1938 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Because It's Your Birthday Today (The Birthday Song)
Written by Nick Kenny and Charles Kenny
Performed by Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer
Sung a Butch's birthday party
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User Reviews

Ominous sign of things to come...
28 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Hal Roach is on record as stating he sold off the venerable Our Gang series to his distributor, MGM, in May, 1938 due to the shorts format being squeezed of the screen theatrically. Hmmm... the true story is vastly different. Roach became enamored with Benito Mussolini (going so far as to host Il Duce's son's 21 birthday bash) and announced plans to form a Mussolini-Roach film studio (for the ultimate irony see the trivia section for Quo Vadis) and distribution alliance in 1937. Oye! Roach's dalliance with Mediterranean fascism horrified MGM/Leow's Inc., his distributor. Oddly, MGM bought the series in 1938 and Roach made a hop, skip and possibly goose-step over to UA (I don't mean to imply Hal was a Nazi--- his studio was ground zero for U.S. training film production during WW2--- the guy just liked Mussolini on a personal level--- he kept a warmly signed photo of the dictator proudly on display at his home the rest of his life... but talk about a guy who can overlook a friend's character flaws). Back to Our Gang: The long running shorts had been in production since 1922 and Roach had seen the future as features enjoying big hits with Laurel & Hardy, Topper and (hugely) with 1-Million Years B.C. (the #1 film of 1940) along with the prestige production of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. His lone attempt at "featurizing" Our Gang failed miserably with the poorly conceived General Spanky (1936; lessee... put the Gang in the Civil War? Brilliant concept!) probably confirmed Roach's decision to sell the series off and sign a feature distribution deal with United Artists. Anyhow, Practical Jokers is the 6th MGM production (out of an eventual 52 entries) and marks the first sign that the studio was clueless as to comedy. This entry centers around the gang's plot to sabotage the evil Butch's birthday party with an improvised explosive device. Unfortunately they also let Alfalfa warble a song. Practically excruciating. Even more unfortunately, things would soon get even worse.

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