Our Gang

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Our Gang is a series of American comedy short films about a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures. Created by comedy producer Hal Roach, the series is noted for showing children behaving in a relatively natural way, as Roach and original director Robert F. McGowan worked to film the unaffected, raw nuances apparent in regular children rather than have them imitate adult acting styles. In addition, Our Gang notably put boys, girls, whites and blacks together as equals, something that "broke new ground," according to film historian Leonard Maltin. That had never been done before in cinema, but has since been repeated after the success of Our Gang. The first production at the Roach studio in 1922 was a series of silent short subjects. When Roach changed distributors from Pathé to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1927, and converted the series to sound in 1929, the series took off. Production continued at the Roach studio until 1938, when the series was sold to MGM, continuing to produce the comedies until 1944. The Our Gang series includes 220 shorts and one feature film, General Spanky, featuring over forty-one child actors. As MGM retained the rights to the Our Gang trademark following their purchase of the production rights, the 80 Roach-produced "talkies" were syndicated for television under the title The Little Rascals beginning in 1955. Both Roach's The Little Rascals package and MGM's Our Gang package have since remained in syndication, with periodic new productions based on the shorts surfacing over the years, including a 1994 Little Rascals feature film released by Universal Pictures.

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