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The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang Paperback – November 24, 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; Updated edition (November 24, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517583259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517583258
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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That's what I call a Wanna Know book.
Curt Jester
Leonard Maltin has done his homework on this book (he had a lot of movies to watch and review for this one)!
W. Langan
This book is a must have for anyone who is a fan of Our Gang/The Little Rascals.
"netsuke1"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Mark Engblom on January 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a life-long fan of The Little Rascals and owner of the complete set of "Cabin Fever" videos from the early 90's, this guide is an indispensable source of information and nostalgia.
I was fascinated by the background information, particularly the biographies of EVERY ONE of the Little Rascals and how they lived the rest of their lives. Be prepared for some tragic, tear-jerking stuff! The information makes viewing the classic episodes even more poignant in hindsight.
I am not familiar with ANY of the "silent era" episodes, but I appreciate the information nonetheless. It was interesting to see how so MANY ideas for later episodes were either inspired by or directly picked up from the silent era.
I also appreciated Maltin's candor as he reviewed the declining later years of the Our Gang franchise. What was obvious to any fan, Maltin confirms with honest (yet never mean-spirited) criticism.
Highlights: The information-packed episode guides, the aforementioned actor biographies and the wonderful collection of Our Gang photos (I only wish there were MORE)!
Warning: If you are only a casual fan of the Rascals or if you're someone who's only watched the 90's "Little Rascals" motion picture, you should probably skip this book. Devoted "Our Gang" fans need only apply!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Samantha Glasser VINE VOICE on September 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang is the most comprehensive book available about the popular short series. Leonard Maltin, longtime fan of both Hal Roach comedies and the Our Gang series itself, writes both intelligently and lovingly about the series with the help of Richard W. Bann.

This book opens with a short history of the Hal Roach film company and the Our Gang series.

Then, it leads to a collection of all of the shorts made for the series including the cast, release date, and highly effective synopses and analyses of each short. These are listed chronologically and noted according to ownership and distributor and silent and sound. Some of the silent have been lost, but they are not neglected. Instead, Maltin has used reviews from the time period to give the reader a sense of the short and an idea of its quality. Opinions are used, but they are obviously separate from the factual information and are supported by facts. They add to the effectiveness of the synopses and paint a more vivid picture of the shorts that are unavailable. What is also unique about this book is the listing of the MGM shorts that are often regarded as the worst quality episodes of the series. Skipping these films, although understandable, would have made this book far less complete.

Next, the spin-offs and pop culture effects of the series are addressed, including the Saturday Night Live spoofs of Buckwheat and the cartoon versions of the show.

Last, the book includes a brief history of all of the major stars of the series and a few sentences about the more minor players. Sadly, this section needs to be updated because of the deaths of the cast members after this second publication.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 14, 1996
Format: Paperback
RE-MARK-ABLE!

Bann and Maltin uncover the history of Hal Roach Studios' brainchildren, known today as "The Little Rascals", originally known as Our Gang. This book is the definitive authority. The authors have gone to great detail in covering the history of this film series and it's endless cast of kiddie actors, including Spanky, Buckwheat, Alfalfa, Stymie, Wheezer and others including Jackie Cooper, probably the most successful of the series' child actors, who grew up to be one of the most influential directors in Hollywood during the Advent of TV and Baby boomer era. Scores of interview material (including interviews with Hal Roach who just died in 1992, and Stan Laurel) are included in this hefty paperback volume, worth more than the list price!

Most of the book is dedicated to the 220 or so short subject films (and one major motion picture) of Roach's Rascals, from Our Gang's inception with their first silent two-reeler in 1922 with Pathe (I believe) to the final MGM sound one-reeler film during the War (WW2) in 1944. Uh-huhhhh! That's a lot of celluloid over a 22 year period! The film documentaries are divided into 3 sections: The Silent Years (Pathe and Hal Roach Studios), The Sound Years at Hal Roach Studios (The "Talkies", Our Gang's Golden Era), and the MGM years (when The Rascals really declined).

You can find out all you need to know about the Little Rascals in this book by Richard Bann and Leonard Maltin (of Entertainment Tonight). This book is a must for comedy buffs who love the black and white era of film (especially Laurel & Hardy fans!). Also, for video collectors, the Little Rascals' best sound (and some silent) films are available from Cabin Fever Entertainment in 21 volumes.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By W. Langan on November 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Leonard Maltin has done his homework on this book (he had a lot of movies to watch and review for this one)! It mentions each of the films that the various Our Gang members starred in (1922-44). It starts with the Silent Years (featuring Joe Cobb and Mickey Daniels, who would both make cameo features in the Golden Years). Then it moves onto the "Golden Era" Talkies (featuring an all-star cast of Jackie Cooper, Farina, Mary Ann, Norman "Chubby" Chaney, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, George "Spanky" McFarland, Tommy/Butch Bond, Scottie, Carl "Alfalfa" Schwitzer, Waldo, Darla, Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas, and Eugene "Porky" Lee). In this section, some of the best films of all time are remembered and reviewed: Teacher's Pet, Hook and Ladder, Railroadin' (rarely seen), Forgotten Babies, Hi! Neighbor, Lucky Corner, Fishy Tales (Butch's best performance), and Our Gang Follies 1938 (Alfalfa attempting to sing opera is a scream!). The MGM era of 1939-44 has its moments though they are limited (featuring Froggie and Mickey better known as Robert Blake).
Maltin includes interviews with Our Gang alumni and fills in what happened to many of them afterward. A grown up "Porky" Lee sums it up perfectly- you'll be happy to hear about the successes of some (particularly Jackie Cooper, who went on to be a movie director) and depressed to find out the tragedies that befell other Our Gang alumnists (particularly Alfalfa).
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More About the Author

Leonard Maltin is a respected film critic and historian, perhaps best known for his annual paperback reference Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, which was first published in 1969. He lives with his wife and daughter in Los Angeles and teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.