The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang

The Little Rascals, by Leonard Maltin and Richard Bann, is the most complete filmography, history, photo album and “fun facts” book you’ll ever find on Our Gang. The book covers the silent beginnings of those Rascals from 1922, to their sound successes through 1944. But that’s not all folks! The Gang’s revival on television (via Hal Roach himself) revitalized the kids and delightfully pressed them all into a new generation’s collective memory. Each and every detailed synopsis is fascinating. Also included are bios and “where are they now” sections on Rascals and their costars (two-legged and four-legged). If you love photos, these pages are packed with them! The only drawback of this terrific book is the lack of an index of names for quick and easy reference. Unfortunately, this book was published before the “latest revival” of Our Gang with the feature film The Little Rascals Movie (Universal, 1994). However, Maltin’s movie guide for 1997 dismisses the remake as “no match for the Hal Roach comedy shorts.”

In response to this pronouncement, if a 1994 remake of The Little Rascals can shift interest to the 1925 Rascals, then that remake has done the noblest act a remake can do: pay homage to the original and revive the art of silent film. Who says that something excellent, popular and a financial hit back then can’t get good returns for a new audience (or one devoted to nostalgia) in the present? There have always been kids in the movies, but overall the best remembered, most beloved and imitated were Our Gang. They say you can’t stay a kid forever, but as the Rascals insisted, “Ya can so! Ain’t that right, Petey?”

Madison Morrison