Fontaine Fox's Toonerville Folks comic strip was one of the most elaborate comic strips of its era. There were more than eighty character subject to Fox's extreme perspective and caricature. Two series came out of it: a Toonerville series produced by Lubin in the early 1920s, with a cartoon revival in the mid 1930s and the Mickey Maguire series. The latter starred Joe Yule Jr., who was billed as Mickey Maguire. When his work on the series ended about 1934, he kept the first name but adopted a new last name and became Mickey Rooney.
The series was largely an "Our Gang" knockoff. Although it was competently produced, the inevitable comparison makes it seem less impressive than it probably was.
In this one, Mickey is running a detective school. When his baby brother -- played by Billy Barty -- is kidnapped by by the rival kid gang, Mickey and his pals go in pursuit and get involved with an inventor, ether bombs and the dog catcher.
The short subject is carried largely by Mickey. Even at the age of six, he was a high-energy performer, doing imitations of Chaplin and Fairbanks. The series' survival for six years is undoubtedly due to Mickey and little else. Me, I'd rather look at Our Gang any day.
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