7.6/10
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8 user 1 critic

Alfalfa's Aunt (1939)

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Alfalfa thinks that his own aunt is plotting to murder him.

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Porky (as Our Gang)
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Spanky (as Our Gang)
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Alfalfa (as Our Gang)
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Buckwheat (as Our Gang)
Gary Jasgur ...
Slapsie (as Our Gang)
Leonard 'Percy' Landy ...
Leonard (as Our Gang)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Martha Switzer
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Aunt Penelope
William Newell ...
John Switzer
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Storyline

Alfalfa's dilettante Aunt Penelope comes for a visit, and her latest kick is writing murder mysteries. But when Alfalfa finds a page from Penelope's manuscript, he thinks she is plotting his own murder. As night falls, Alfalfa summons the members of his "All for One Club" to protect him . . . Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

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Genres:

Comedy | Family | Short

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Release Date:

7 January 1939 (USA)  »

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(Western Electric Sound System)
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Trivia

The date of release: Saturday, January 7th, 1939, was 1 day before Elvis Presley's 4th birthday, on Sunday, January 8th, 1939. See more »

Quotes

Aunt Penelope: [reads a page of her story to John] "Dear X, I have discovered that only my nephew stands between me and the Switzer millions. So like the others, he shall die in agony - tonight - at the stroke of nine!"
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User Reviews

 
Marie Blake AKA Blossom Rock Rocks ALFALFA'S AUNT
29 September 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Marie Blake's greatest claim to fame was being Jeanette MacDonald's sister, or maybe for playing Grandmama on the 1960s sitcom THE ADDAMS FAMILY (where her talents were fairly wasted on a tiny part) but to me this talented character actress will always be Aunt Penelope, the pretentious old biddy aunt of Alfalfa in the classic Our Gang comedy short ALFALFA'S AUNT (1939), surely on everyone's list as one of the best OG comedies and certainly one of the greatest from the MGM era.

Alfalfa's mother's sister comes to stay with the family for a period much to his father's annoyance. Aunt Penelope is apparently an old maid with artistic delusions, an amateur sculptor and now embarking on an attempted career as a murder mystery novelist. Aunt Penelope is to sit a night with Alfalfa as his parents enjoy a night away. Alfalfa meanwhile has come across his aunt's book manuscript (written in first person form) in which the narrator announces her plans to murder her nephew to inherit the family fortune. This terrifies Alfalfa and he enlists the gang to secretly stay with him that night in order to protect him from harm. The gang makes such a racket in their hidden guarding they manage to scare the hell out not only Alfalfa but his jittery aunt as well!

The film has a wonderful GHOST AND MR CHICKEN type vibe about it and manages to be amusingly creepy in haunted house fashion even if this is just midnight at Alfalfa's own two-story home.

All of the performances in this short are wonderful most especially the wonderfully eccentric Marie Blake and her definitely nephew under the skin Alfalfa. Alfalfa Switzer was one of the greatest child comedians of alltime and this episode is one of his best showcases. Spanky and Buckwheat are good too and it is fun to see the underrated Porky Lee get one of his better showcases in the series with good gag lines and bits. I was delighted to discover Alfalfa's mother was played by the silent film star Barbara Bedford (THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS), I never realized that before seeing her name on the IMDb credits.

This was Aunt Penelope's only appearance in an OG episode (Marie Blake had previously appeared once as Tommy "Butch" Bond's mother in a minor role) although she makes such a vivid impression she's certainly among the series' most memorable adult characters, indeed she's mentioned in at least one other episode. Scotty Beckett would later guest star as Alfalfa's Cousin Wilbur in two episodes and his plain, glasses-wearing, nerdy demeanor suggests perhaps that he may be Aunt Penelope's son but this was never confirmed on those episodes and indeed in her lone OG episode Aunt Penelope's personality seems to be in keeping with the stereotype of a rather cross, melodramatic old maid. One wishes there had been at least another episode with Marie Blake and not only Miss Phipps had come back, but Aunt Penelope as well.

who fancies herself a murder-mystery writer which leads to all sorts of hilarity as both she and Alfalfa get the *beep* scared out of them! It's hard to believe she was just in one OG episode in this character (she did appear in a couple of others in a different, throwaway role of Butch's mother), she made such an impression and is even referred to in at least one other episode.


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