Monday, September 14, 2009

Bored of Education - 1936


We’re going back to school over the next two posts. First, the Little Rascals and their elementary school woes, and on Thursday, Harold Lloyd’s college hijinks.

“Bored of Education” (1936), pits the Little Rascals, known before TV serialization as Our Gang, against the First Day of School. Darla brings a shiny apple for the teacher, Porky eats it, Buckwheat is just plain funny sitting there, but the plot focuses on our heroes Alfalfa and Spanky, who are loathe to suffer The New Teacher.

They decide to get out of class by Alfalfa faking a toothache, and Spanky charged with the mercy mission bringing him home. There are suitable histrionics, slow burns, double takes, a rather nauseating sequence of misadventures with a balloon shoved into Alfalfa’s mouth to make his cheek appear swollen, and an enormous kerchief wrapped under his chin and tied over to his head to indicate he is suffering. We had this discussion once before the comments section of the “Shadow on the Wall” (1950) post about the old movie use of kerchiefs to indicate toothache.


However, The New Teacher turns out to be very pretty and buys the kids off with ice cream, so Alfalfa and Spanky worm their way back into class. Alfalfa, told he must sing before he gets his ice cream, manfully girds his loins and screeches out a tortuous rendition of “Believe Me if All Those Endearing Young Charms.”


The funniest thing about this short is that it won an Oscar. Beating out “Moscow Moods” and “Wanted-A Master” (which had to do with a dog needing to find an owner before 3 o’clock when he is scheduled to be exterminated), we can see the competition was probably not too steep. Sounds like a cakewalk, actually.

5 comments:

John Hayes said...

The old shorts were wild in a way weren't they--I imagine somewhere out there someone has a blog just for them! The one I remember is an all-dog cast doing a send-up of Philo Vance (no doubt a follow-up to "The Kennel Murder Case."

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Hi, John. Yes, those one-reelers could be off the wall. I don't think I've seen the all-dog cast one. Kennel Murder Case. Indeed.

Amanda said...

I loved this short when I was a kid. Often wondered if it would really work . . .

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Welcome, Amanda, and thanks for commenting. Yes, the adventure of cutting school is always going to be appealing for kids. Alfalfa and Spanky may have been inventive, but seemed to have a poor success rate.

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