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This Hal Roach comedy short, Tire Trouble, is the twenty-second entry in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" series. In this one, Mickey drives his own makeshift car with Mary, Joe, and Jackie in tow. Among the unusual gadgets: a boxing glove attached to the outside front that knocks out any passersby! When they stop where Sunshine Sammy and Farina are standing, Sammy gets punched by that glove twice and also gets hit by the front grille that moves! He's making a delivery to a rich man named J. William McAllister. This man believes he's very sick because of what his doctor and wife says but after the gang come in uninvited, they look at him and think otherwise. He agrees and since all his cars are elsewhere, rides in Mickey's car. After being frightened by a trolley that almost hits the car (Mickey: "I can come closer than that.") and being stopped by a cop ("You should drive, that kid will do the loop de loop next."), they arrive at the amusement park where the real fun begins...Another very funny winner from director Robert McGowan, this is a wonderful wish-fulfillment episode that explores the relationship of the old and sickly millionaire with a bunch of kids that give him a new appreciation of life. Loved seeing them all go down a large slide, going on a moving circular floor, and riding the roller coaster with a point-of-view shot that rivals the dog fight scene in Star Wars (or if you prefer, Episode IV: A New Hope) for massive thrills. Also loved the way the inter-titles, when Mr. McAllister is truly feeling excited as he descends quickly on the ride, prints "Hot-Diggity" in such a crooked way that conveys the full meaning. Then there's scene stealing Farina, who's left on the moving circular floor while everyone else is on the coaster, moving slowly after it ends and then the director conveys that dizziness by showing the point-of-view of the picture going slowly around. I've really got to give special props to the actor that played McAllister but there's no name on the cast list, either on IMDb or in the book "The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang" by Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann, of who played him. So on that note, I highly recommend Tire Trouble. P.S. Once again, kudos for the YouTube poster who added the familiar LeRoy Shield music from the "Little Rascals" talkies for this short.
This early entry of the silent Our Gang comedies represents the
juvenile jokesters at their best. Long lost for many years, rabid
rascalists will notice that elements of this treasure from the tot
troupe resurfaced in more familiar Little Rascals films such as "Free
Wheeling" (the Gang's use of a wild homemade car to help a sick
person), and "Fish Hooky" (the amusement park scene).
Essentially, the Gang builds a bizarre contraption that loosely resembles an automobile, and the resident Black kids Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison and Allen "Farina" Hoskins hop a ride to deliver some laundry in a rich neighborhood. After some scrapes with some sissy rich kids, the cops are called and the gang hides out with a hypochondriac millionaire. The millionaire loves the kids right away and decides to join them in their rattletrap contraption in a ride to a nearby amusement park and--WATCH OUT! See what happens next! The film is not strong on plot and the existing print appears to be quite blurry in spots. A few scenes (such as Joe Cobb and Farina's encounter with the circus fat man) require viewing more than once to "get it" as a result. However, the film as a whole is so pleasant and upbeat to watch that it's worth it. Like many of the best silent Our Gangs, this is not exactly the kind of stuff that will make you bust a gut with guffaws or fall down on the floor in hysterics, but it will indeed brighten your spirits and give you a good relaxing smile after a hard day at work or school.
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