The Little Rascals (1994 - 2014): Old Classic Comedy Series of the '90s

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Happy new Year Geezers! It has been a minute since our last post. 2022 is out, and 2023 is in. This will be another exciting year of nostalgia and looking back at the good old days. Last year, we had a splendid trip back in time; from cartoons, TV show, video games etc.

This year, we will double the efforts and bring you all the nice things. We will remind each other of the best of the 90’s and 2000s. Not forgetting the good stuff of way back in the 80’s and 70’s. This year, I have been thinking of the timeless shows that have stood the test of time.
The Little Rascals is one of those shows that will forever remain etched in my mind. I have been a fan of such easy to watch shows since the 90’s. Right from the animated series, movies and TV series, the Little Rascals has had many iterations that has made it stand out from its peers in the same class.

Whether you are looking for a show that will wow your nostalgic tendencies or pass time watch that will entertain you, the Little Rascals falls right into these categories. The Little Rascals has undergone metamorphosis since its first production as a family comedy film way back in 1994. The animated TV series of the Little Rascals did set the pace for the movie “The Little Rascals save the Day” of 2014. Unfortunately, this was the last of the little Rascals that we ever saw.

Background History of The Little Rascals Film of 1994.

The Little Rascal movie premiered in 1994 as an American family comedy. This film was produced by Amblin Ent. And released in August 5th, 1994 by Universal Pictures. This was among the hit movies by Universal Pictures at the time. The film came at a time when the movie industry was undergoing changes in terms of technological upgrades and introduction of high-quality video editing techniques.

The movie was an adaptation of Hal Roach’s Our Gang, short films from the 1920s through the 1940s. It centered on the adventures of a group of neighborhood kids. It was broadcast on TV as The Little Rascals. Penelope Spheeris was the director and co-writer of the screenplay, together with Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur. It features re-interpretations of several of the original shorts and features several of the Our Gang characters in an updated setting.

It was Guay and mazur’s first collaboration. Their subsequent comedies include Liar and Heatbreakers. When it comes to childhood memories, I think nothing can beat watching the Little Rascals. Kids have a special place in our hearts , and watching episodes of the show brings back all the good and great memories of our childhood. When most people think of The Little Rascals, they first think of buffoons like Alfalfa (“or hee-haw” as he was known), Darla Hood, and Bubble Gum. But I want to focus on another character: Beverly Snodgrass. She was a tough girl but still had a kind heart and always did what she could to help Alfalfa even thought she got not recognition.

The Plot of The Little Rascals Movie

The 90’s movies had a similar flow and plot, but The little Rascals took movies to another level. It was a mixture of mystery and comedy in a manner that made it entertaining and a must-watch for kids at the time. In this movie, Spanky is the president of the “He-Man Wuman” haters club which is made up of many school-aged boys from the neighborhood. Alfalfa, his best friend, has been selected to drive the -club’s prize-winning undefeated go-kart, “The Blur,” in the annual soap Box Derby Style race. When the announcement is made, however Alfalfa was missing.

As the movie proceeds, Alfalfa is apprehended by the boys in the company of Darla. Members of the club work hard to separate the two, hence causing their clubhouse to burn down. Darla believes Alfalfa is embarrassed, so she turns her attention to Waldo, the rich kid whose father is an oil tycoon. Spanky, Stymie and their friends believe Alfalfa’s punishment is to be assigned to guard the go-kart 24hours a day, seven days a week until the race. Until the day arrives, Alfalfa makes numerous attempts to woo Darla back. These attempts included a visit to her ballet rehearsal, serenade, and an underdelivered love letter. All these attempts failed!

The boys try to raise 450 dollars for the cost of lumber to rebuild the clubhouse. However, the youngest two, Porky and buckwheat, have unknowingly amassed 500 dollars. Their teacher discovers the scheme, but Spanky persuades her to instead allocated the funds as prize money for the go-kart derby.
Local bullies Butch and Woim steal the blur. In addition to rebuilding the clubhouse, the boys now require new set of wheels. They join forces to create: The Blur 2: The sequel. Prior to the race, Alfalfa and Spanky reconcile and agree to share a two-seat go-kart. They hope to take home the prize money and trophy, which will be presented to the winners by the greatest racer of all time AJ Ferguson.

It is this kind of plot that makes The Little Rascals one of my favorite movies since back then in the 90s. The characters have fun adventures together that adds the umph in the entire film. You probably know what cheating means, but did you know it has a cousin, called sneaky? In this case, Butch and Woim are sneaky, but not just because they cheat. They’re also sneaky because they’re trying to trick Alfalfa into losing so that the pair of them can win the race. And it works!

They pull of a few tricks and their own: Waldo pushes Darla out of the race car and gets himself in instead. Darla our of luck, though, because Alfalfa runs him over when he tries to get out of the way of the race. But when Butch and Woim try to beat up Alfalfa, he knocks Butch into pig sloop and Woim throws himself into a wall. When Alfalfa runs them over, they’re out of the race too. The rest of the race was actually a wild affair, with a lot of crazy crashes, as everyone got caught in the mayhem. At the end of the the race, “The Blur 2” crossed the finish line ahead of the pack even though Alfalfa had a pointy hairstyle. The photo-finish gave The blur a slight advantage.

With the first place trophy at hand, Alfalfa wins back Darla’s heart after it turns out that Darla kicked Waldo out of the car, not the other way around. Meanwhile, Spanky is shocked at the trophy presentation when he finally meets his favorite driver AJ, for the first time –a girl. As soon as the clubhouse is rebuilt, the boys collectively have a change of heat towards membership and welcome Darla and her friends to their club, with “Women Welcome” added to the sign.

At the ends, it is discovered that Uh-Huh can say more that just the phrase uh-huh. The movie ends with bloopers from the kids while filming.

The Little Rascals Animated TV Series (1982 – 1983)

We cannot end the history of the Little Rascals without mentioning the original TV series that led to the production of the 1994 film. This TV series was produced by the popular Hanna-Barbera production and later on joined by King World Productions.

The animated characters of the show were created by Iwao Takamoto and Bob Singer. They traced over photographs of the real-life characters, and used a pencil to sketch the characters. This technique was also used for previous Hanna-Barbera spin-offs like Fonz and Happy Days Gang and Laverne and Shirly in the Army.

What is the difference between the Animated TV Series and the live-action Our Gang films?

The animated series and the Original Our Gang films differ in many ways. For instance, they no longer live in the historical 1880s setting and their parents are divorced. Darla’s eyes were changed from hazel to blue. Buckwheat is now an inventor and is interested in science, constantly inventing new devices for the gang, and he doesn’t always get along with Spanky.

In addition, the Rascals now meet in a treehouse, and drive around Greenpoint in a do-drawn vehicle. Another difference is that the theme music is completely different, as well as a number of characters including Stymie who don’t appear.

Legal Issues with The Rascals Animated TV Series

In early 1984, the adult actor Eugene Lee filed suit against Hanna-Barbera Production for the unauthorized use of his likeness in the character Porky Pig. Along with him were other former child star of the Our Gang film series: George McFarland, Tomy Bond, and Sidney Kibrick. The case was settled before going to trial.
The plaintiff’s case had been based on the fact that a new contract had been signed with King world features after the expiration of their earlier license with Paramount and included the right to reproduce children’s characters in comic books, and other publications. The defendants argued that the likeness rights had expired when the child actors moved on the new acting careers.

The Little Rascals Save the Day (2014)

Later on in April 2014, The Little Rascals Save the Day was produced. This was another hit film from the sequel that came at the right time to quench the thirst of nostalgic fans of the original film. It was directed by Chris Buck. This one came after the success of the 1994 film: Little Rascals 2: Rascals’ Beginnings directed by Steve Carr. The plot of this movie revolves around the kids who are learning to be responsible and independent. It includes their problems and triumphs, and the challenges they face. A great deal of the action takes place inside the house and the classroom. The story involves the Rascals finding magic potion, which allows them to return to their childhood.1674930112843.png

This movie was relatable at the time. Since it brought back the sweet memories of the original The Little Rascal movie of 1994 in style. It features a screenplay by William Robertson and Alex Zamm, who also directed the film. It is the second of Universal’s feature-length Our Gang adaptations, following 1994’s theatrical release “The Little Rascals”.

The Plot for “The Little Rascals Save the Day”.

The last day of school before summer vacation is the time when all the kids are eager to go home. They take advantage of the opportunity and try to escape from the teacher’s class by telling the teacher that they have to go home. Miss Crabtree, however refuses to let the kids go, so the kids decide to go and ask their friend Officer Kennedy to let them go.

The gang then heads over to Grandma’s bakery to make a red velvet cake but the kids accidentally add too much yeast to the mix, which causes the cake to inflate. Luckily, the kids manage to get the cake out of the oven onto a plate. Meanwhile, Grandma is being taken to visit the bank and is leaving the kids in charge of her bakery. Waldo, who was after the tree house ends up setting off the burglar alarm. As a result, the kid’s bakery is closed down.

The plot of this movie is slightly different from that of the original film of 1994. But the character’s personalities remained the same. In the end, Spanky suggests that they all get jobs. They others agree; however, they are turned away at each job they apply for. Spanky and Alfalfa both land jobs at the country club, but they are swiftly removed from the job because of the incident with Officer Kennedy.

Spanky then suggest a pet washing service, which promptly goes wrong when he accidentally fills the shampoo with green dye. This results in a lot of pets turning green including Darlar’s cat. The Rascals try to make up for it by trying to give Darla a ride on her way to the library. Unfortunately, she ends up going in his toy car, which sends them off the road into a gazebo. This inspires Spanky to think of the Rascals building their own taxi cab. However, this business fail when Waldo cuts the brakes off the car.

Final Thoughts

While The Little Rascals TV show and movies remain timeless, you will enjoy it more if you happened to have watched the original series back then. I recently watched the 1994 film for an umpteenth time and I must admit it is a show you shouldn’t miss. Am looking forward for a reboot of the same. Or maybe a video game based on the move.

What are your memories of The Little Rascals?
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