Sept. 1, 2009, 2:29 p.m. CST
Sept. 1, 2009, 2:31 p.m. CST
not great for the kids. Thanks for another completely pointless article Beaksy. <p> Why you feel you have to embellish your DVD commercials with this shit is beyond me.
Sept. 1, 2009, 2:34 p.m. CST
by Sir Loin
We used to love watching these as kids back then, I never really noticed the racial aspects of course. But they were fun and Froggy's voice was always hilarious. Thanks for the write-up, Beaks!
Sept. 1, 2009, 2:39 p.m. CST
by Samuel Fulmer
Hope there's a disclaimer on that one too. Let's face it, almost all films pre-70's that have a non-WASP character are offensive in some way, just some more than others.
Sept. 1, 2009, 2:39 p.m. CST
Never gets worn. Given as a gift in my very young adulthood, I just don't think I could get away sporting it anywhere. Too bad, it is super-sweet.
Sept. 1, 2009, 2:55 p.m. CST
does anyone care bout this? I remember someone gifting me a vhs of this garbage when I was ten-and said,"lemme give this a shot". Wow, utter boring, outdated crap. Now, I also got the 3 STOOGES-and frankly,I'm still laughing at those!But OUR GANG? crap!
Sept. 1, 2009, 2:59 p.m. CST
Those kids were just too damn cheery doing creepy shit.
Sept. 1, 2009, 3:08 p.m. CST
The Roach-era "Gang" is for the ages, classic ... Post-1938? Absolutely unwatchable. Mr Beaks, you're a braver man than me.
Sept. 1, 2009, 3:08 p.m. CST
by Six Demon Bag
alfafa drinks moonshine and kills the dog in the ravine...<P.hope it has that one where uncle touchy molests buckweat in the basement..
Sept. 1, 2009, 3:32 p.m. CST
by Bouncy X
if they dont even realize it "should" be racist, then why bother saying anything? they'd just see it as funny or whatever. people are way too overly sensitive to this crap. especially considering you have to take the time it was made into context as well. i mean Buckwheat "attacking" a watermelon? if a black person could honestly get offended by that in 2009...that's just sad.
Sept. 1, 2009, 3:39 p.m. CST
by Le Phantom
The Little Rascals shorts were funny...Hilarious! The Our Gang shorts were painfully UNFUNNY! And even unfunnier as they went on and got older! Watch one of each and you will see the difference! Not even close!
Sept. 1, 2009, 3:40 p.m. CST
by Le Phantom
Stymie was funny...Farina was funny...Buckwheat was not funny!
Sept. 1, 2009, 3:52 p.m. CST
I agree that these should be made available...with a disclaimer. It is easy to say: "black people shouldn't be offended" as if white people don't get offended if their pet peeve is tweaked. If they're fat, or gay, or old, or female...and the only member of one of those groups is mocked, trust me, we hear about it. It's easy to stand on top of a hill throwing rocks down and saying "who, me?"
Sept. 1, 2009, 3:55 p.m. CST
Pre-1934 Spanky was a comic genius. Nothing has ever been funnier.
Sept. 1, 2009, 4:06 p.m. CST
by Mullah Omar
I didn't live anything resembling a sheltered life, but it wasn't until I got to high school that I really noticed that anybody cared about race. <br> <br> In my opinion, I think racism in media and in life really doesn't affect kids until you point it out to them and make it into a big deal. As a result, I think kids could watch OUR GANG.
Sept. 1, 2009, 4:08 p.m. CST
by Mel Garga
My kids love slapstick comedy and, though they've never seen Our Gang, would most likely enjoy them for what they are. But to be fair, I have to admit that I can empathize with those who would take offense to Buckwheat's voracious appetite for certain fruits.
Sept. 1, 2009, 4:09 p.m. CST
I also grew up with the Little Rascals and decided to show my kids the shorts that I spent every Sunday morning of my young life watching and enjoying. And I had the same reaction that you did Beaks - surprised and horrified by all the stereotypes. I didn't remember those at all! And why didn't I remember those? Because they didn't make an impression on me. I never took those images to heart that black people loved watermelon, or people from Africa had bones in their noses and said "Yum-Yum-Eat'm-up". Those sort of things never occured to me and I forgot about them. I think you could legitimately get away with NOT addressing the racial stereotypes of the piece. These things aren't as persuasive and sure to pass unnotice by a youngster.
Sept. 1, 2009, 4:13 p.m. CST
I think people always bring up 'the proper context' excuse when discussing risky material, as if the people being negatively portrayed didn't object to them during the historical period. Certain scenes are cringe-worth, and there's an explicit difference between knowing 'parody' of racist attitudes (examples: people like Dave Chappelle or Louis CK) and the actual portrayal of it. I don't buy the idea that the images are justified because of the time period.<br><br>I think the material should be available and it's definitely worthy of discussion, but lets not suggest these images shouldn't be seen as racist, as if somehow, they are just 'innocent humour' devoid of precedent. That attitude is just as loaded as the images contained in the episodes.<br><br>It's offensive. Full stop.
Sept. 1, 2009, 4:18 p.m. CST
Sept. 1, 2009, 4:24 p.m. CST
by Royston Lodge
It's only offensive if you already know about the stereotype about african americans and watermelons. I really think a youngster watching it today would just think that one of the gang really likes watermelon. So what?<p> It would be different if the rest of the gang tried to make Alfalfa feel inferior about himself, but they never do (as far as I remember).<p> He's just "one of the gang".<p> Hell, EVERY character in Our Gang is a stereotype of one sort or another. But I don't remember it ever being HATEFUL. That's the key.<p> Like, Speedy Gonzales crosses the line because ALL the Mexican mice are ALWAYS depicted as lazy criminals. So I don't hate that he's been thrown down the "memory hole".<p> If Our Gang depicted white kids as "good" and black kids as "bad", then that would be intolerable.<p> But just because Alfalfa enjoys a watermelon in one scene? No kid's going to grow up hating blacks because they once saw one on tv that enjoyed eating a watermelon.
Sept. 1, 2009, 4:25 p.m. CST
by Royston Lodge
Thank goodness they didn't have more friends named Canola, Semolina, and Sorghum!
Sept. 1, 2009, 4:30 p.m. CST
They are all stereotypes, but the watermelon idea is specific to ethnicity. I think the character "Stymie" is definitely more in line with the general gang. "Buckwheat" was known primarily for his smile ad his heavy dialect. But, the episode with the ghosts where his hair stands on end and his eyes bug out? Blech.
Sept. 1, 2009, 4:32 p.m. CST
Fucking idiot. I like watermelon so should I be offended? Do us a favor, Beaks. Keep your kids indoors. Better yet, keep yourself indoors. We wouldn't want your widdle feelings hurt. Faggot.
Sept. 1, 2009, 4:35 p.m. CST
Directed the Little Rascals movie? What the fuck.
Sept. 1, 2009, 4:40 p.m. CST
Hyper Realistic film about the trials and the escalation(of violence) for our gang of five little children
Sept. 1, 2009, 4:42 p.m. CST
by Bouncy X
"But, the episode with the ghosts where his hair stands on end and his eyes bug out? Blech." i dont see the big deal there, its no different then when cartoon characters see ghosts, their eyes bug and their hair stands up just like that.
Sept. 1, 2009, 5:01 p.m. CST
You can show them a birth of nation and they wouldn't grasp on what the fuck it is... Just leave them in a sandbox all day while the adults watch the dvd, no business for kids, fuck em!!!
Sept. 1, 2009, 5:10 p.m. CST
I grew up watching what must have been bowdlerized versions from the public library. Imagine my shock and shame when, a few holidays back, I gathered all my nieces and nephews together to watch the off-brand boxed set. Oh, the horror...
Sept. 1, 2009, 5:29 p.m. CST
and yet my favorite "Little Rascals" character was Stymie. That one short where the dog catcher was trying to smoke Pete? Stymie's pain was my pain. Moreover, Stymie always seemed like he was the most clever, and like he was the one having the most fun. He was the breakout character of the group; a breakout character who, as we all know, never really broke out. <br><br> The Little Rascals were on weekday afternoons in my neck of the woods, and along with Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, and Jerry Lewis movies, they shaped my early comedy sensibilities. And often they taught me a little bit more: virtue wins the day (or it should win the day if the victory means anything); being fallible is survivable, and almost fun, as long as it's funny. The Little Rascals, at least the Hal Roach ones, taught me that everybody is welcome in the gang; that Dickie and Stymie could be best pals, ostensibly (to my young eyes, at least) on equal footing. This even though, as I've described, Stymie was cooler.
Sept. 1, 2009, 5:31 p.m. CST
It's good to see these oldies released on DVD. Our Gang was the brainchild of Hal Roach himself who was just sat in his office at the studios and heard a bunch of kids playing and watched them for hours, being amused at the innocence and funny antics. That innocence may be considered in some ways as sterotypical nowadays was just plain harmless fun back in those days, when the Roach studios churned out countless shorts. <p> The Lot of Fun was a major player in film history.<p> Fuck, I want to see more Laurel and Hardy releases, like we get in Europe. Simple humour without fart jokes that can make you laugh and appreciate a bygone age. More L&H Beaks please.
Sept. 1, 2009, 5:43 p.m. CST
My parents were enlightened enough to school me in the fact that black people weren't treated very well by white society, and traces of these attitudes were reflected in old movies. Like I said before, black kids were always part of the gang to some degree, and nobody was forced to use another water fountain, but obviously there was something lacking. In other words, in my 8 year old head, I knew that black people weren't all like Rochester, but were more like a guy I knew named Kenny, or any of the other black kids like Kenny that I went to school with. <br><br> No, what REALLY chafed me was the way they treated Alfalfa's singing voice. Arrggh! The fact that NOBODY could recognize the fact that it sounded so terrible, and thus we were subjected to it again and again, wasn't charming but relentlessly annoying. Frankly, it was only Spanky's charisma that kept me tuned in through the Alfalfa era.
Sept. 1, 2009, 5:51 p.m. CST
We're awesome. My dad fortunately showed me these when I was younger, and I really enjoyed them.
Sept. 1, 2009, 5:51 p.m. CST
Sept. 1, 2009, 6:32 p.m. CST
excellent. hope they're as good as i remember them.
Sept. 1, 2009, 7:09 p.m. CST
Why is it I only ever see us white people bringing up the "racist" angle of all these wonderful old classics. I grew up on Heckle and Jeckle, Our Gang, Goe with the Wind, Amos and Andy - blah blah blah. As long as your kid isn't a stupid fucking twat who bends over like a sheep he's ot suddenly going to start lynching tarbabies. Asshole spent more time in his review trying to sound like the socially responsible know it all than even really bothering to go into REAL detail about the quality (or lack thereof) of the MGM shorts. If you're that concerned about your idiot children associating watermelon with darkies - let them read Leonard Maltin's exhaustive history book on Our Gang... If they can't read it - odds are they're a stupid cunt and probably it IS a good idea that you don't let them see anything their Ritalin addled brains would twist into some deep-deated bigotry and hatred...
Sept. 1, 2009, 7:11 p.m. CST
If you ignore all film/literature/history that has some aspects of racial sterotyping then I feel sorry for you. Go ahead and bury you head in the sand, but the Little Rascals are phenomenal entertainment for kids - they don't talk down to them at all. Our Gang's Follies stands out as an amazing recreation of Busby Berkeley musicals.If anything the racial stereotypes are a reminder of how entrenched in the culture these sterotypes were, and shows just how far we have come.
Sept. 1, 2009, 7:23 p.m. CST
by juice willis
One of two white kids, that I remember. Most of my friends were second generation from Trinidad. I used to love watching "The Little Rascals" as my only alternative to Lawrence Welk on Sunday mornings. The funny thing is that I would never have attributed Buckwheat's affection for watermelon as anything other than his own personal preference. And you know what? I probably would have thought to myself "I'd have gone for the watermelon, too. 'Cause watermelon is fucking delicious!" Not until the episode of Different Strokes, where Kimberly's new boyfriend freaks out about Arnold and Willis, did I have any idea what racism even was? This shit is PC overkill. Kids are cooler than that.
Sept. 1, 2009, 9:05 p.m. CST
Unless you are interested for historical purposes, skip these entirely. This was the last gasp of the series Hal Roach created and oversaw from 1922 until MGM took over and produced the shorts in this set. MGM totally ignored what made the Roach shorts so incredible (the innocence of the kids) and went for contrived situations. They did include over the top racial stereotypes that were patently offensive that the earlier shorts didn't quite lack but could be forgiven for because of their quality. Plus, they hung on to the stars (milked their careers) far past their cute date. Who wants to see Spanky on the verge of a five o'clock shadow?
Sept. 1, 2009, 9:55 p.m. CST
Sept. 1, 2009, 10:08 p.m. CST
Sept. 1, 2009, 10:10 p.m. CST
It aint just the watermelon that makes the depictions of Blacks in our gang racist (unless you know the context which most young kids don't that will not matter), it is the way bu'wheat (the way he pronounces it) and stymie speak and act that makes it racist you fukken motards. <p> When you only show a stereotype - an offensive one, then that is the impression you leave - especially in young minds that do not have anything else to contrast it with.
Sept. 1, 2009, 10:16 p.m. CST
I'm with some of the other people. When I was a kid I missed a bunch of the racist stuff as being racist. Forget the watermelon gag. Later in the MGM crappy ones there is one where the kids think they'll get rich and dream what they'll do with the money. Buckwheat dreams of having good clothes a kickass car and tons of fried chicken. When I was a kid, lol, I just thought Buckwheat was cool because I freaking loved fried chicken. Wasn't till I was older and learned about stereotypes that I realized there was anything wrong with the scene.<br><br> Awhile back they put out a ton of Rascal shorts as a set on VHS. The one thing I learned is that, really, Stymie was the man. Weird because on the one level you do have the blatant racist gags now and again. But at the same time, at his prime Stymie was head of the gang and the coolest kid in those shorts.<br><br> The funniest thing with the tapes was they actually set aside the 4 most troubling and offensive and put them on one tape. Leonard Maltin did intros for all the tapes and on that tape he really had to go, "Okay... mistakes were made..." The worst one though didn't have race issues. Weezer's parents are going to get a divorce. The kids decide if Weezer gets sick they'll stay together for his sake. So they start feeding him random medicine from the bathroom. I think at one point Stymie takes a swig of something and spits it out. Then someone goes, "What was that?" "Arsonic!" WOAH!
Sept. 1, 2009, 10:35 p.m. CST
by Little Beavis
Sept. 1, 2009, 10:37 p.m. CST
by Angry Mike
I just want to say that I liked this dvd set, but I feel really guilty about that. So I'm gonna spend some time lecturing you about why you shouldn't like it, even though it's good. I'm gonna go demonstrate for Reparations now.
Sept. 1, 2009, 10:44 p.m. CST
They should be taken by their fat uncles to see Hostel.
Sept. 1, 2009, 10:49 p.m. CST
I totally agree. I enjoyed the lil rascals on TV as a kid. But I knew from an early that blacks did not act the way they were depicted on screen. I was lucky to have lived in a mixed neighborhood. But as I got older, I found out that my childhood experience was not the norm for most. So lots of kids never met any blacks until they hit high school or the service or college even. When I was in the Marines I constantly encountered dudes who had never seen a Black or a Latino or indoor plumbing!(that was a joke) <p> But they had nothing but stereotypes to go from. Not just lil racsals. But the point is that when you have no balance in portrayals -nothing positive to show, then all you will know is that blacks speak and act like you see them on these old tv shows. It does not make you a racist, but it makes you ignorant.
Sept. 1, 2009, 10:53 p.m. CST
I didn't get the racist aspect of the joke. I thought it was funny because that was the kind of thing we joked about as children. If we were rich we would be dressing up in tuxedos, have a brand new car and eat cake and fried chicken, like my grandmother made. I remember Buckwheat eating the watermelon when Darla was sick. I took the humor as being the size of the watermelon and the speed in which he "ate" it. Cartoony stuff. My parents weren't racist, and I had to learn about that stuff later in life.
Sept. 2, 2009, 12:01 a.m. CST
by Nasty In The Pasty
Sept. 2, 2009, 12:08 a.m. CST
always making the pedophiles smile.
Sept. 2, 2009, 1:02 a.m. CST
Can we PLEASE bring back the fat black chick in "Tom and Jerry". They went so far as to replace those fat black legs with skinny white ones on some of the old cartoons.....I think that's more racist than leaving the originals.
Sept. 2, 2009, 1:43 a.m. CST
Maybe he could get something done then
Sept. 2, 2009, 2:19 a.m. CST
Setting aside the irony of the use of the word "motard," a spooneristic variation of the word "retard," in a post lecturing about sensitivity, I think the point about "young minds with nothing to contrast it with" is not working. <br><br> We're talking about kids today, right? The world of Tiger Woods, Denzel Washington, and Barack Obama, right? Yes, children will have nothing to contrast the 8 minutes they spend with Buckwheat, except for the other 23 hours and 52 minutes of the day where they can clearly see that black people exhibit a broad range of behavior, just like anybody else. <br><br> Otherwise, the problem only starts with Buckwheat. I shudder at the thought of developing minds corrupted into believing that all gawky, vaguely androgenous kids with freckles and bad hair will all be cowards with bad singing voices. <br><br> I think a better objection could be based on the idea that despite whatever entertainment comes from the show, it's still fruit from a poisoned tree. Whether a kid realizes it or not, elements of Our Gang are offensive, (increasingly anachronistically offensive, but still), and thus it does not deserve to be enjoyed.
Sept. 2, 2009, 3:48 a.m. CST
What a bunch of pussies on here. Gimme' a fucking break. The PC thing has gotten out of control if you cannot enjoy The Little Rascals, classic comedy with not a mean-spirited bone in its body, for exactly what it is. Of course there are stereotypes all over the place (the fact that people only get "upset" over the black kids just shows their own racism and paranoia, IMO), and yes you have to put it in context of the times. How about a club called "He-Man Woman Haters"?? Oooh. Sexism. Violence against women. Oh shut the fuck up. Seriously. You're bringing your own poisoned mind to the party, that's the problem. I have seen old cartoons that really ARE racist against Blacks, Japanese, etc, play on ridiculous negative generalizations, I know the difference. TLR is quite the opposite, it PROMOTES a color-blind group of kids hanging out together when racism was the law of the land. Hello??? Fuckin' idiots. It reminds me of those people who don't want their kids to read HUCKLEBERRY FINN because the word "nigger" is used - when the WHOLE POINT of the book is Huck realizing what Jim has put up with his entire life and learning how evil racism is. But these people are too stupid to realize that. By all means, let's ban Faulkner while we're at it and, IMO, the single greatest American novel ever written, THE SOUND AND THE FURY. Just stupid.
Sept. 2, 2009, 8:21 a.m. CST
Really??? I'm pretty "liberal" but even I have to agree Rebeck2, I hate all this revision of things I enjoyed as a kid, warnings in front of old Sesame Street shows because, oh my Cookeie Monster is smoking a pipe!!! Run for the hills. Buckwheat ate a watermellon??? It's the end of the world. Get over yourself and enjoy the show for what it is, entertainment. Like someone above mentioned, kids usually don't pick up the racist shit unless an adult tells them about it. I loved watching The Little Rascals, Abbott and Costello, Sisco and Poncho, etc. on Sunday mornings before church.
Sept. 2, 2009, 8:43 a.m. CST
You make a decent point. But the point I was making is that it is an offensive stereotype that is accepted as gospel. That within the confines of that program you could see differing views of whites - mostly positive, occasionally stupid. But you only saw one viewpoint of blacks - stupid and ignorant. it had no balance. We are talking children here. how many watch golf? How many care about a President? How many go to a Denzel movie? We are talking early age - impressionable age. With no counter balance coming from the program or programs they are watching. Yes, it is far better these days than it was back then or even 15 years ago. But racist stereotypes without balance is still prevalent. Just look at the two motarded autobots in TF2. With no balance of positive. And Motard stand for more than retards, and was aimed at the racist assholes who posted in this thread.
Sept. 2, 2009, 9:12 a.m. CST
Popular entertainment has always been a reflection of the times in which they were created. And times change, peoples' tastes change, social mores change. Who exactly is benefitted by trying to 'erase' history, just because some aspects of it may today seem unsavory? Nobody. If people cannot any longer see where we have BEEN, they cannot know where they are HEADED. You want to know the result of generations of concerted efforts to try to 'erase' the history of racism? It has been turned on its ear. Now, in many cases, the supposed 'victims of racism' are the ones who are openly racist. And 'white guilt' does not allow for anyone to say anything about THAT, so it becomes this ever-growing elephant in the room that everyone pretends doesn't exist. Yeah, big improvement.
Sept. 2, 2009, 9:45 a.m. CST
politically correct people can take their pansy ideals and shove 'em up their own asses. Racism and prejudices will always exist..deal with it.
Sept. 2, 2009, 9:50 a.m. CST
Sept. 2, 2009, noon CST
Or the classic, I wish these seeds would stay outta my ears.
Sept. 2, 2009, 1:21 p.m. CST
I've got an early set of Our Gang shorts on several discs and as much as I appreciate the Spanky/Alfalfa focus, the earlier shorts are fucking brilliant. Shrimps For A Day, Free Eats (them ain't babies, them's fidgets!) and Shiver My Timbers for starters. Top notch and I still piss myself laughing when I watch 'em. Still not sold? Hit YouTube and search for Worse Than Brute Larson and see for yourself!
Sept. 2, 2009, 1:23 p.m. CST
Fabrizio was basically a vaudeville act- "I wanna go to America anna make-da spaghetti all day long!"
Sept. 2, 2009, 3:39 p.m. CST
They always made him sing off-key. It was his "trademark". I bet it pissed him off.
Sept. 2, 2009, 3:42 p.m. CST
You're all neanderthals.
Sept. 2, 2009, 3:55 p.m. CST
"I thought I would find you here." "Why's that?" "It's the only Chicken-and-Waffles place in town." "Man, that's racist! You are a racist!" "But you're here!" "Yeah, but you racist for figgerin' it out!" "You know the Dutch invented the Chicken-and-Waffles place." "Yeah, I know, and black people everywhere are grateful to them." "You know they also invented the slave trade?" "Those MOTHER****ers!"
Sept. 2, 2009, 5:44 p.m. CST
the guys who played buckwheat and stymie had speech impediments as children, professor.
Sept. 2, 2009, 5:45 p.m. CST
Sept. 2, 2009, 6:02 p.m. CST
"“Uh-huhhhhh…Isthmus be my lucky day!"
Sept. 3, 2009, 2:17 a.m. CST
It's amazing that the PC Police lose a lot of sleep over Buckweat, but never have a problem with current black performers like Flavor Flav or Snoop Dogg. We have come so far today and we never have to wince when they are rappin about Bitches and Ho's. I'm sure you don't worry about the kids picking up on that since you have the evil Buckweat to worry about.
Sept. 3, 2009, 10:06 a.m. CST
will buy this to show the kids at Christmas.
Sept. 3, 2009, 11:27 a.m. CST
This column should have been about how unfunny the MGM Our Gang shorts were compared to the Hal Roach Our Gang shorts. One of the first things that MGM did was fire Porky and replace him Robert Blake (who cried everytime he was on camera). The logic was that Robert Blake was a better actor, but MGM didn't seem to notice that Robert Blake was not funny and that the Our Gang shorts were supposed to be comedies. The MGM shorts are dismal buy the Hal Roach Our Gang shorts they are some of the best short comedies ever made.
Sept. 6, 2009, 10:42 a.m. CST
by telling parents to teach their children that these shorts are racist. Otherwise they would simply be enjoying an innnocent laugh. Puh-leeze - if someone has to be taught that something is offensive, then by definition it is not offensive. Rather than corrupt the innocent, such energy would be better spent on teaching adults to not be so easily offended. This would certainly be a more peaceful planet.
May 28, 2010, 6 a.m. CST
I'm not a racist but I am a product of my generation and I sure wouldn't mind laughing my ass off again seeing Buckwheat in his tux and limo, surrounded by throngs of cheering black kids - the trunk filled full of fried chicken and watermelon. I can't find any episode listing/title for this short or where the hell I could view this obviously racist "Our Gang" short. Otay? Is it included in this compilation for sale? Anyone know where I could see it again?
May 28, 2010, 10:36 a.m. CST