A big monkey has escaped from the circus, and Buckwheat sees it enter the neighborhood "haunted house." Buckwheat tries to tell his friends, but they don't believe him because he has been ... See full summary »
A big monkey has escaped from the circus, and Buckwheat sees it enter the neighborhood "haunted house." Buckwheat tries to tell his friends, but they don't believe him because he has been fibbing lately. To teach him a lesson, the gang dress Froggy up in a monkey suit and have him posted inside the "haunted house." They take Buckwheat inside, but the joke backfires when the Our Gang are pursued by the real monkey . . . Written by
Thomas McWilliams <email@example.com>
Let's book back to the early years of Buckwheat....
In the Hal Roach days, all Buckwheat had to do (and presumably could do) was spout catch phrases like "here I is" and "O-tay!," while acting as Porky's comrade. His "character" was firmly established.
Then along came the MGM Our Gangs. Apparently, Buckwheat was getting too old for his catch phrases, so he just became just another supporting (and at times peripheral) member of Our Gang. I guess the writers couldn't figure out what to do with him.
Along came "Don't Lie" in which Buckwheat assumed the persona of a scared, bug-eyed, overreactive little guy, especially in the haunted house scenes. Now, of course, nowadays, they couldn't get away with this because it would be politically incorrect today. But at the time Buckwheat was imitating what many Black actors of that time did. And he did it quite well. His best moment is when he first sees the "monkey-faced spook": the camera pans down to a close-up of his feet which run in place for several seconds. Hilarious!
As a whole, this film has a few flaws. One flaw emanates from the unlikelihood that the Gang would be afraid of a chimp (which objectively wasn't all that big and scary). Another problem is that seems strange for the chimp to be wearing a chimp mask over his face. That part was left unexplained. Froggy, dressed as an ape in order to scare Buckwheat straight, does the classic mirror gag with the chimp. The only problem is that it wasn't done in a very funny way. Finally, one gag that should have worked involved the kids who, after seeing a lion, escaped their club house by crashing through a wall leaving cut-outs of themselves behind. So why didn't it work? Because it's obvious these cut-outs were prepared in advance, making the whole joke seem fake.
This short is distinguishable mainly for Buckwheat's performance. He really does a decent job!
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