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Trivia / The Little Rascals

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Tropes specific to the original series:

  • Acting for Two: Carl Switzer played both Alfalfa and rich kid Cornelius in Alfalfa's Double.
  • Banned Episode: A handful of episodes (Lazy Days, Moan & Groan, Inc., A Tough Winter, Little Daddy, A Lad an' a Lamp, and The Kid From Borneo) were banned from TV beginning in the 1970s due to the fact that they featured quite a bit of racial humor (usually involving African-Americans). Big Ears was banned due to (a.) its plot, involving Wheezer's parents threatening to get a divorce, and (b.) a sequence in which the kids get into a medicine cabinet.
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  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: The line "Otay!" is often said to have been coined by Buckwheat. In actuality, it was coined by Porky.
  • Casting Gag:
    • Farina's younger sister Mango was in reality Allen Hoskins' (Farina) younger sister Jannie.
    • Two of Stymie's younger siblings (Marmalade and Cotton) were the younger siblings of Matthew Beard (Stymie).
  • The Cast Showoff: Darla had the chance to show off her strong singing voice in several episodes.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Billy Bletcher dubbed the voice of Margaret Bert (as Froggy's mother) in Robot Wrecks.
  • The Danza: Several of the cast members.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • Norman Chaney was 14 when he was hired to play grade school-aged Chubby in 1929. A glandular disorder had stunted his height and made him obese.
    • Kendall McComas (Breezy Brisbane) was 14 when he joined the cast.
    • Dick Henchen, a 19-year-old dwarf, played a kid in three of the silent films.
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  • Follow the Leader: The shorts spawned a few imitators, such as Mickey McGuire, Hey Fellas, and McDougall Alley Kids.
  • I Am Not Spock: Carl Switzer was asked to reuse his off-key singing shtick in several of his earliest post-Little Rascals films.
  • Missing Episode:
    • A few of the earlier silent films (Yale vs. Harvard, Heebee Jeebees, Edison, Marconi & Co., Growing Pains, The Holy Terror) are completely lost, while footage from a handful of other silent entries (notably Our Gang, the series first film) has also gone missing.
    • Some of the sound shorts (Small Talk, Lazy Days, Moan & Groan, Inc., A Tough Winter, Little Daddy, Big Ears, A Lad an' a Lamp, The Kid From Borneo) were removed from the Little Rascals' television package in the early 1970s, largely due to content deemed inappropriate. Railroadin' was never shown on television, as its soundtrack was reported missing during the initial sell to syndication (it has since shown up). Some stations supposedly didn't air The First Seven Years, possibly due to its climax involving the kids playing with swords.
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    • Cast member Tommy "Butch" Bond once filed a lawsuit against the owners of the MGM entries for using his likeness without his permission. As such, all of the Butch episodes were not shown in syndication for a period of time.
  • The Other Darrin: Buckwheat was played by Willie Mae Taylor for two shorts, before the role permanently went to William Thomas (though some fans consider Taylor's Buckwheat and Thomas' Buckwheat to be two completely different characters).
  • The Pete Best:
    • After Ernie Morrison's departure from the series, a new character named "Powder-Puff" took his spot as the series' older black kid. However, Powder-Puff was only in two shorts, as the role was quickly given to Eugene "Pineapple" Jackson.
    • Supporting player Marianne Edwards was slated to be the series' new leading lady during the mid-1930s, but lost the role to Darla Hood.
  • Pet Fad Starter: The original shorts helped popularize the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (alternatively, the American Pit Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier according to some sources) in the early 1900s. Pete was smart, loyal, and good with kids which made the breed become popular with families (to the point where it had a nickname of "Nanny Dog").
  • Real Song Theme Tune: For a brief period, the series' theme music was Ray Henderson's "That Old Gang of Mine..."
    • Replaced the Theme Tune: ...after which the theme music became "Good Old Days," an original piece by LeRoy Shield.
      • During the MGM years, the theme tune became David Snell's "Our Gang," a medley consisting of "London Bridge," "Mulberry Bush," and "The Farmer in the Dell."
    • Rearrange the Song: Happened to "Good Old Days" several times, notably shifting from a quiet piece to a louder, marching band piece in the mid-late 1930s.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The series today comes off as quaint stories your grandparents might tell about being children at the time. Specifically, it's about children during The Great Depression. In more than a few episodes, the children wonder where their next meal is coming from.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Among the child actors who auditioned for roles in the series, but were rejected, were Mickey Rooney and Shirley Temple.
    • Hal Roach toyed with the idea of keeping the original kids and following them through their teen years, but ultimately decided that the series should focus on young children, and wound up replacing the cast every few years. However, a remnant of the idea did remain in that a teenage Joe Cobb and Farina Hoskins showed up once during the Spanky era to give the younger kids some well-intentioned, but comically bad, advice. Ironically, there is a teen version of the series (which was also the spin off to Our Gang), The Boy Friends, which only lasted for three years.
    • Roach also considered a series featuring Oliver Hardy as the father of Spanky, presumably to involve family hijinks.
    • Promotional material for the all-star film The Stolen Jools reveals that Jackie Cooper was supposed to have been featured alongside his fellow Little Rascals. Cooper had departed from the Our Gang series by the time production began.
    • June Marlowe was supposed to have reprised her role as Miss Crabtree in Teacher's Beau, but (having retired from show business) turned town the offer to appear in the film.
    • Hal Roach submitted a script for a proposed Our Gang feature film in 1935. The movie, Crooks Incorporated, was to have co-starred Charley Chase, Thelma Todd, and Patsy Kelly.
    • What would have been the 222nd Our Gang film, Home Front Commandos, was in early development stages when the series was cancelled.
    • Some Rascals departed from the series before their contracts expired. Therefore, a handful of the kids (Harry Spear, Mary Ann Jackson, Dorothy DeBorba, Shirley Jean Rickert, Harold "Bouncy" Wertz, Dickie Moore, and Tommy Bond, among others) could have remained with the series much longer.
  • You Look Familiar: Every recurring adult actor in this series, with the exception of June Marlowe (Miss Crabtree), Edgar Kennedy (Kennedy the Cop), Rosina Lawrence (Miss Lawrence), Margaret Mann (Grandma), and Walter Wills (Froggy's Uncle Walt).

Tropes specific to the Hanna-Barbera series:

  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Julie McWhirter and BJ Ward played boy characters.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Consider yourself lucky if you owned a VCR in 1982 and had the foresight to record the ABC broadcasts, or you recorded the more recent showings on Cartoon Network UK & Ireland, on Australia's Seven Network or on Singapore's MediaCorp Channel 5. A major reason for this is this show is unique in the HB library for being co-owned. It's not a matter of WB just paying rights costs, they actually have to mutually agree with the IP owner to do anything with this series in the US, hence the reason so far it's not on dvd or on the US Cartoon Network/Boomerang.

Tropes specific to the 1994 movie:

Tropes specific to the 2014 movie:

  • Shout-Out: Several references for fans of the original shorts:
    • The kids attend Robert McGowan Elementary School, a reference to series longtime director Robert F. McGowan.
    • The first names of Miss Crabtree and Officer Kennedy are "June" and "Edgar," a reference to the actors who portrayed the two characters in the original shorts (June Marlowe and Edgar Kennedy).
    • Waldo's last name is "Kaye." Darwood Kaye played Waldo in the original series.
    • In the background of a few scenes, a marquee on a local movie theater reads "Hal Roach Film Festival," a reference to Little Rascals creator/producer Hal E. Roach.
    • The talent show host is named Leo McCarey, a reference to one of the series' earliest writers.

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