Our Gang is an American series of comedy short films chronicling a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures. The films were created by studio executive Hal Roach, who was best known as the man behind the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. The series was produced in various formats from 1922 to 1944 and is noted for showing children behaving in a relatively natural way.
About Our Gang in brief
Our Gang is an American series of comedy short films chronicling a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures. The films were created by studio executive Hal Roach, who was best known as the man behind the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. The series was produced in various formats from 1922 to 1944 and is noted for showing children behaving in a relatively natural way. Across 220 short films and a feature-film spin-off, General Spanky, the Our Gang series featured over 41 child actors as regular members of cast. The four black child actors who held main roles in the series were Ernie Morrison, Allen Hoskins, Matthew Beard and Billie Thomas. The African-American characters have often been criticized as racial stereotypes. One early Our Gang short, Lodge Night, revolves around the kids forming a monkey club based on the Ku Klux Klan. In later years, adult actors, such as Gus Meins and Gordon Douglas, revolved their characters around their skin color and revolved around their racist gags. The Our Gang shorts have been made over the years, including a 1994 feature film, The Little Rascals, released by Universal Pictures. The shorts have also been re-released to theaters and syndicated for television under the title The LittleRascals and have remained in syndication since the 1970s and 1980s. The children, some too young to read, rarely saw the scripts; instead, McGowan would explain the scene to be filmed to each child immediately before it was shot, directing the children using a megaphone and encouraging improvisation.
Unlike many motion pictures featuring children and based in fantasy, most of the children were poor, and the gang was often at odds with snobbish adults, parents, and other such adversaries. Among them were the future child stars Mickey Rooney and Shirley Temple, neither of whom made it past the audition. For example, Norman Chaney, Matthew Beard, and Billies Thomas all won contests to become members of the gang: Chaney replaced Joe Cobb, Beard replaced Allen Hoskin, and Thomas replaced Beard. In fact, in fact, Ernie was the first black actor signed to a long-term contract in Hollywood history and the first major black star in HollywoodHistory. In the early years, the children spoke a stereotypical Negro dialect, and several gags revolved directly around the Negro skin color: Beard’s Stymie character being given fake measles instead of fake white ones instead of dark ones, instead of black ones. In. the 1930s, Roach halved the running times of the shorts from two reels to one reel. As children became too old for the series, they were replaced by new children, usually from the Los Angeles area. As a result, the studio was bombarded by requests from parents who were sure their children were perfect for theSeries. The franchise began in 1922 as a series of silent short subjects produced by the Roach studio and released by Pathé Exchange. Roach changed distributors from Pathé to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1927, and it entered its most popular period after converting to sound in 1929.