Wednesday, October 19, 2022

OUR GANG - "Spooky Hooky" (1936)

This Wednesday's Countdown To Halloween featurette is the 1936 short by Hal Roach featuring Our Gang in something called "Spooky Hooky."

This spooky shot of the old schoolhouse is a good place to start, but before I do, does anybody but myself ever question what is wrong with the English language? Why are words like spooky and hooky which look exactly the same pronounced differently? Another couple examples are good and food, or how about safe and cafe? Then on the other hand, you have words that look completely different and are pronounced the same way like sweet and suite, or what and butt, or liar and choir, I mean who came up with stuff anyway? Why do we need three ways to say two, or too, or to??? Inquiring minds want to know!

While you ponder that, the Our Gang kids are pondering how to get out of school for the day so they can sneak off to the circus which just came to town.

They come up with this brilliant idea. At the end of the day, leave the teacher a note that says they are all sick, which will explain why they are all not at school the next day.
The one day that Tabonga and I ditched high school together we got caught, because we were such close friends, they thought it was suspicious that we were both sick on the same day, and called our Mothers. We got two week's detention, and then we got another week's detention for talking in detention!
We never ditched school again! the boys are leaving school for the day, they run into the teacher who tells them she is taking the whole class to the circus the next day, so now they have come back to retrieve the now unnecessary and damning note.

Eugene Lee was the lovable Porky who was always creating problems for the older kids. Porky was replaced by Robert Blake after 44 episodes of Our Gang because he was growing up, and was no longer chubby. He never acted again. In real life, Porky and Buckwheat were also best friends.

Porky has this funny toy that makes weird noises that scare the other boys!

To my knowledge, no episodes of Our Gang ever included anything real that was supernatural. It was always just them thinking there were ghosts or goblins.
George McFarland was Spanky. He learned a lot of his mannerisms from working with Laurel and Hardy!
Billie Thomas had the role of the lovable Buckwheat, a character who has been revered by young and old for decades. The character of Buckwheat was originally a female role, and Billie was the third actor, and the first male to play the role.

The boys get into the class room through a window. They spot the note immediately, but while the window is open, the wind comes up and blows papers on the teacher's desk all over the place, making the note difficult to find.

Things that seem scary, but are really innocent start happening. These are the eyes of an owl.

What appears to be a ghost is really just Porky with a sheet over him.

It scares the heck out of the other three just the same!
The forth character is of course Alfalfa, one of the most famous of the gang, as played by Carl Switzer. Tragically Carl was shot over a dog and a fifty dollar dispute at the age of 31. At the time it was declared self defense, but testimony decades later disputes that, and to this day, nobody knows the real story.

Just to prove that crime doesn't pay, the boys get sick from being out in the cold and rain the night before, and end up staying home in bed, and miss going to the circus anyway!

No comments:

Monster Music

Monster Music
AAARRGGHHH!!!! Ya'll Come On Back Now, Y'Hear??