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Our Gang

Our Gang, also known as The Little Rascals, was a long-lived series of film shorts[?] starring a troupe of neighborhood children and their adventures, often centered around putting on a show. The series was notable in that the gang included both African Americans and girls in leading parts at a time when discrimination against both groups was commonplace.

More than 100 shorts featuring 41 actors were made by the Hal Roach[?] Studios and produced by MGM from 1922 to 1944. They have frequently been played on television as well, when the name The Little Rascals was used.

The characters in this series became well-known cultural icons, and could often be identified solely by their first names. The characters of Alfalfa, Spanky, Darla, and Froggy[?] were especially well-known, though like many child actors they were subsequently typecast and had trouble outgrowing their Our Gang images.

One notable exception is Jackie Cooper, who was later nominated for an Oscar and had a full career as an adult actor (He played Perry White[?] in the Superman films.

The character of Buckwheat was known for being one of the few African-Americans to play a major role in a film series, though historians generally do not look favorably upon the character today. Played by child actor Billie Thomas, Buckwheat often epitomized the Stepin Fetchit stereotype of a "negro" who provided comedy relief by talking in a mangled version of English and frequently being so frightened, his hair stood on end. Comedian Eddie Murphy parodied this character in a series of skits for Saturday Night Live.

In addition to the long-running series of short films, a full-length feature film starring the Our Gang characters was filmed in 1936, entitled General Spanky.

Due to its popularity a number of imitation kid gang troupes were formed. "Our Gang" also spawned a large number of adults in later years who falsely claimed to have been a member of the popular group. Most notable is Jack Bothwell[?] who claimed to have portrayed a non-existent character named "Freckles" and went so far as to appear on the game show To Tell The Truth[?] perpetuating this fraud.

See George McFarland, Robert Blake


  • "Hey, kids! Let's put on a show!"

Note: The folk-rock group Spanky and Our Gang[?] was named in honor of the troupe, but had no other connection with it.

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