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The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang: 10/03/10
I grew up watching the Our Gang (aka The Little Rascals) shorts at my grandparent's house. I'm not old enough to have seen the in the theater but my grandmother would share stories about how she knew the kids who acted in the Our Gang shorts. I wish I had paid more attention to her stories because I've forgotten most of what she's told me and she's no longer living.
Around the time that I was first watching the Our Gang shorts while lying on my stomach and coloring in oversized coloring books, Leonard Maltin wrote The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang. It was published in 1977 and he must have been working on it throughout the 1970s. It was a decade when film historians were coming to the realization that a lot of the old films and television shows were being lost to poor storage and general laziness on the part of the studios.
Maltin has written a number of excellent film compendiums which I've referenced many times (especially when I was in film school). The Little Rascals book is one of his earliest ones and it shows. The analysis and annotations of the films isn't as robust. Instead of analysis we get a lot of moaning and groaning about how under appreciated the films are. Maltin's newer books are sometimes prone to emotional outbursts but he has matured as a writer over the years.
The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang will still make a good reference for anyone studying the shorts. It does have all the release dates, original titles and new titles that were sometimes used for the televised versions. But I recommend that it be used with other books that must have been written about the series in the last thirty years.
Comment #1: Tuesday, October, 5, 2010 at 13:51:31
I really enjoyed the Little Rascals when I was younger. Alfalfa was always my favorite! I recognize Leonard Maltin from his introductions!
Comment #2: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 22:07:35
I was more of a Spanky fan. Thank you for your comment.