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1922 - 1944
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Little Rascals [7.9]
Little Rascals Plot SummaryIn 1922, Hal Roach inaugurated a new series of short film comedies called Hal Roach's Rascals. The series featured ordinary kids, usually poor, getting into the usual types of trouble that ordinary kids get into. There was no running plot throughout the series. Each film was an entity unto itself. For instance, in "When The Wind Blows," Mary Ann has a crush on neighbor boy Jackie. But in "Love Business," Jackie and Mary Ann are siblings. In most films, the kids have parents, but in at least a couple of films, they live in an orphanage. This provided the series with quite a wide range of potential situations. There were many fairly ordinary episodes, but also quite a few that are truly unique.
The first film was titled "Our Gang" and was previewed in the early half of 1922. Reviewers at the time began referring to the series as Our Gang, and the studio adopted it as the official name soon thereafter. The Hal Roach Rascals name also continued on into the early '30s, so the series had two names for about a decade.
In 1938, Roach sold the series (lock, stock and barrel) to MGM, which had been distributing the series since 1927. MGM ended up with the cast and crew, the rights to the name Our Gang, and all of the films they had distributed previously. This last item was eventually bought back by Roach, but he had to redo the titles to remove the Our Gang name and any reference to MGM. A new series name was selected for this batch of films: Hal Roach's Little Rascals. The home movie and video prints of these films carried this name. The TV prints, which debuted in 1955 (after having run in theaters starting in 1950), were known simply as The Little Rascals. For the earliest films in the series, distributed by Pathé from 1922 to 1927, the Our Gang name was variously replaced by the Mischief Makers and Those Lovable Scallawags With Their Gangs. Other silent kid comedies also contributed to these two series.
At no point were there ever any new episodes produced for TV (unless you count the animated versions). In essence, all of the episodes were repeats even on their first airing. The series was primarily syndicated, giving individual TV stations the ability to mix and match Little Rascals titles with other material, most often The Three Stooges, or the MGM Our Gang titles - the only Our Gang films that retained that name.
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