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Western Animation / The Little Rascals

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"Sit down, Alfalfa, and enjoy the ride!"

Hanna-Barbera and King World co-produced this Saturday-Morning Cartoon for ABC, based on the live-action theatrical shorts series of the same name, as part of a 90-minute omnibus with Pac-Man and Richie Rich (1980). Its voice cast included Peter Cullen, Patty Maloney, Julie McWhirter Dees, Scott Menville, Shavar Ross and B. J. Ward.

Hanna-Barbera artists Iwao Takamoto and Bob Singer created the character models by tracing photographs of the actual Our Gang child actors. This technique was previously used for the studio's animated spin-offs of The Harlem Globetrotters and Happy Days.


  • Accidental Misnaming: In "The Zero Hero", when Darla finally goes on the date she won with her favorite TV superhero, Captain Muscles:
    Captain Muscles: And so I saved the universe once again. I'm pretty terrific, eh, Delilah?
    Darla: [no longer impressed] The name is Darla!
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Instead of black hair and hazel eyes, Darla has brown hair and blue eyes.
    • In "Darla's Dream Dance", Miss Crabtree has black hair, whereas she was a blonde in the original Our Gang shorts.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The French dub has one, sung by a chorus of children over a montage of clips from both the theatrical shorts and Hanna-Barbera's animated shorts.
  • Ambiguous Time Period/Anachronism Stew: The cartoon is supposedly set in the late 1930s, but it includes microcomputers and commercial television. "Pete's Big Break" features a black man who directs TV commercials (it was his daughter whose puppy Pete rescued), and in "The Zero Hero", Spanky and Buckwheat mention push-button traffic controls. Wikipedia considers it a Setting Update. Also, "Rock & Roll Rascals" had references to rock music.
  • Babysitting Episode: "Tiny Terror" has Butch leave his baby brother, Spike, with the Rascals so he [Butch] can go fishing. Among other things, the baby escapes the treehouse, crawls onto a nearby tree limb, and bombards Alfalfa and Spanky with apples. Then after Darla leaves for her piano lesson, Spike flees in one of Buckwheat's contraptions and leads the boys on a chase through the city, onto a construction site and to a drawbridge over the river. The boys think Spike landed on a ship bound for China. By the end of the cartoon, Spike has crawled back into his carriage as if nothing happened.
  • Bamboo Technology: Used in Buckwheat's Homemade Inventions.
  • Barely-Changed Dub Name: In the German dub, Die kleinen Strolche, Darla appears to have been renamed Karla. Her English name is still displayed in "Yachtsa' Luck"note , "Cap'n Spanky's Showboat"note  and "Rock & Roll Rascals"note .
  • Beach Episode: "The Irate Pirates". As viewers might expect, Darla wears a bikini here, not so much for fanservice as because it was easier to animate than a one-piece swimsuit.
  • Beast in the Building: In the short "Trash Can Treasures", while Alfalfa and Spanky return stolen money to the bank, the other Rascals wait outside on Darla's horse. Frightened by the traffic, the horse gallops into the bank, with Darla, Buckwheat, and Porky still on it.
  • Big Eater: Porky, although Pete often intercepts his food the way Scooby-Doo does with Shaggy.
  • Bindle Stick: Darla carries one in "Beauty Queen for a Day", and Porky carries one in "King of the Hobos".
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: In "Beauty Queen for a Day", Porky offers Dolly Van Dumpling a mayonnaise and pickle sandwich. After she refuses, Porky eats the sandwich himself.
  • Blinding Camera Flash: Alfalfa gets one in "All the Loot That's Fit to Print" when, as photographer for the Neighborhood Bugle, he tries to photograph Darla and Waldo, but mistakenly turns the flash toward himself.
    • He also receives one in "Darla's Dream Dance" when Alfalfa got into the picture of Darla and Waldo sitting on a crescent moon prop at the school dance.
  • Circus Episode: In "Big Top Rascals", the kids are denied entry to a traveling circus because they don't have any money to buy tickets. So they put on their own circus, charging the neighborhood kids 10 cents each, but Butch and Woim take unfair advantage of their free admission. Unknown to the Rascals, the circus lion has escaped and is wandering around the city.
  • Complaining About Things You Haven't Paid For: In "Big Top Rascals", Butch complains about the makeshift circus and asks for a refund. When Spanky says, "But we let you in for free," Butch suggests that everyone's money be refunded.
  • Cowboy Episode: "Showdown at the Rascal Corral" wasn't set in the Old West as such, but Alfalfa did play cowboy.
  • Creepy Old-Fashioned Diving Suit: In the first episode, Butch wears one of Captain Mildew's diving suits to scare Darla and the boys out of the abandoned house.
  • Dragged into Drag: In "Just Desserts", Darla has fallen ill just before the big baking contest, so Alfalfa has to dress like a girl and take her place. Spanky doesn't care that Alfalfa doesn't resemble Darla at all, since the judges have not met her.
  • Election Day Episode: In "Alfalfa for President", Alfalfa and Waldo run competing campaigns for class president at their school.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Butch is a bully, but in "Tiny Terror", he is fiercely protective of his baby brother.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: In "Beauty Queen for a Day", the boys compete for the affections of their new neighbor, Dolly Van Dumpling, all but forgetting about Darla.
  • Faint in Shock: In the short "The Zero Hero", Alfalfa faints after Darla tells him that the bank robbers are not his disguised friends.
  • Free-Range Children:
    • In "Grin and Bear It", the Rascals are hiking and camping in the wilderness without adult supervision.
    • Also, in "The Irate Pirates", Spanky discovered a treasure map while swimming. Later in the same short, the Rascals were operating a rowboat to an island. Both these events were done without adult supervision.
    • During a repair task in "Cap'n Spanky's Showboat", just before Darla was seen barefoot, Alfalfa was seen climbing a ladder with no adult watching.
    • In "Case of the Puzzled Pals", at Alfalfa's surprise birthday party in the treehouse, there was a cake with lit candles, which implies they were lit by one of the Rascals and not an adult.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Buckwheat
  • Girls Like Musicians: In "Rock & Roll Rascals", Darla asks the boys to get her an autograph from a rock 'n' roll singer.
  • Hammerspace: In "Rascals' Revenge", as the Rascals are about to enter the abandoned house at night, Buckwheat pulls a firefly-powered flashlight out of his shirt.
  • Handy Feet: In "Cap'n Spanky's Showboat", Darla and Buckwheat have brushes and sponges attached to their respective bare feet, and use them like skates to efficiently clean the deck of the Mississippi Queen.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: In at least three shorts ("Yachtsa' Luck", "Cap'n Spanky's Showboat" and "Tiny Terror"), Pete is shown as a passenger in the Rascals' wooden car, rather than being hitched in front. It isn't stated what propels the car in these instances.
  • Kids Driving Cars: As shown in the page image, Spanky almost always drives the gang's wooden car.
  • Limited Wardrobe: With a few exceptions, the Rascals seldom change their clothes. This comes into play early in "Yachtsa' Luck", when Darla freaks out over a ketchup stain on her dress, and Waldo offers to buy her a new dress. The next time we see Darla, she's wearing the same dress as before, with no ketchup stain.
  • Loophole Abuse: In "Science Fair and Foul", Buckwheat makes the other boys promise not to peek at his science fair project before the fair is held. But since Darla wasn't in on that promise, Spanky decides that they, Alfalfa and Porky can inspect Buckwheat's project on the sly.
  • "Meet the Celebrity" Contest: Part of the plot of "The Zero Hero" concerns Darla being selected for a date with the actor who plays Captain Muscles, her favorite TV superhero.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Captain Muscles in "The Zero Hero" turns out to be this after one of the bank robbers deflates his costume. Later Alfalfa, who faints after Darla tells him that the bank robbers are not his disguised friends.
  • Mirror Routine: Butch does it to Alfalfa in "Rascals' Revenge".
  • Motivation on a Stick: Their wooden car usually had Pete hitched in front, with a bone suspended above him.
  • Pajama-Clad Hero: Alfalfa as Alpha-Man in "The Zero Hero":
    María: Why are you wearing your pajamas in the daytime, and outside?
    Alfalfa: Uh, well … [blushing] My regular clothes are in the wash.
  • Pom-Pom Girl: At the start of "Rascals' Revenge", Darla provided the original image for that page, as the cheerleader in Alfalfa and Spanky's informal football game.
  • Quarter Hour Short: Each of the cartoons ran slightly over 11 minutes.
  • Randomly Reversed Letters: In "Beauty Queen for a Day", a "No Girls Allowed" sign with a reversed S has been taped to the treehouse window.
    • In "Rock & Roll Rascals", Alfalfa forges Greg Groove's autograph to Darla, using a reversed D in her name.
  • Recycled Premise: "Case of the Puzzled Pals" has Alfalfa, Buckwheat, and Porky as amateur detectives, similar to the final Roach theatrical short, "Hide and Shriek".
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: In "Science Fair and Foul", it's implied that Buckwheat has built a fully functional voice-activated robot in just a few hours.
  • Scare Dare: This starts the plot of "Rascals' Revenge": Butch kicks the gang's football into an abandoned house, and dares them to go retrieve it, despite Officer Ed telling the Rascals that the old house is private property.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: In "Grin and Bear It", even though the Rascals didn't know about him at first, the Phantom Lumberjack is revealed to be a bank robber who stashed the stolen money in a cave.
  • Serenade Your Lover: Alfalfa does it to Darla in one of the 30-second cartoons. Alfalfa's off-key singing scares Pete away.
  • Skintone Sclerae: All characters have them, except Buckwheat and Darla.
  • Stage Magician: Spanky is this in "Alfalfakazam!".
  • Stolen Good, Returned Better: This happened to Darla's doll in "Case of the Puzzled Pals".
    Darla: Jennifer! And she's wearing a new dress!
    Spanky: I needed the doll to get her measurements.
  • Superhero Episode: In "The Zero Hero", Alfalfa becomes Alpha-Man in hope of persuading Darla to cancel her date with Captain Muscles.
    Alfalfa: So, Darla, now that I'm a superhero, too, you can cancel your date with Captain Muscles today.
    Darla: I'm not giving up my chance to meet a real superhero!
    Alfalfa: I'm a broken man.
  • Toon Physics: In "Case of the Puzzled Pals", Butch leaves Alfalfa suspended in midair for about a second, after which Alfalfa lands gently on his feet.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Used in three episodes.
    • In "Yachtsa' Luck", Alfalfa and Spanky don a nautical jacket with cap and eyepatch to pose as "Too-Tall Smith" in order to recover Waldo's gold coins from a pair of pirates at a tavern. Their cover is blown when the collar of the jacket snags on a low-hanging hook on Waldo's yacht, and Spanky walks out from under a dangling Alfalfa.
    • In "Alfalfakazam!", Buckwheat and Porky are revealed to have done this in Spanky's Saw a Woman in Half variant.
    • Buckwheat and Porky do it again in "Poached Pooch", to hide Pete (whose collar Butch had stolen) from the dogcatcher.
  • Translator Buddy: Buckwheat is this to Porky.
  • Treehouse of Fun: The Rascals often gather in their treehouse.
  • TV Head Robot: Buckwheat built one in "Science Fair and Foul", which later became a merry-go-round.
  • The Unintelligible: Nobody could understand what Porky is saying... unless Buckwheat was around to translate. In "Science Fair and Foul", Porky's speech impediment causes the destruction of Buckwheat's voice-activated robot, so Spanky and Alfalfa end up operating the robot from inside.
  • Unrobotic Reveal: This happens in "Science Fair and Foul" after Alfalfa, in the lower part of the robot disguise, lands on an ant farm exhibit.
  • Was Just Leaving: In "Case of the Puzzled Pals", Spanky tells the other Rascals that they weren't supposed to be in the treehouse. Alfalfa then falls from the ceiling and discovers that Darla and the other boys are there. To avoid any questioning, Darla says that they were just about to go.
    Alfalfa: W-What do you mean, Spanky? We—yipes! [falls from ceiling]
    Darla: We were just leaving.
    Buckwheat: Yeah, to the scene of the crime!
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: In "Yachtsa' Luck", Waldo states that his family owns a fleet of yachts.
    Darla: Waldo, dear, how big is your beautiful, big, wonderful, big yacht?
    Waldo: The yacht is sizable enough to accommodate well over 100 guests.
    [Darla does an Aside Glance]
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In "Rascals' Revenge", the Rascals were scared so badly by the disguised Butch that they forgot about retrieving their football.
  • Writing Indentation Clue: In "Case of the Puzzled Pals", Alfalfa and Darla find one via pencil rubbing on the notepad Spanky used in taking a call from his mother.


Video Example(s):


No Boys Allowed

After Spanky tells her the treehouse is for the He-Man Woman Haters Club, Darla threatens to start a She-Woman Man Haters Club.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / StartMyOwn

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