Friday, January 7, 2011

Silent Our Gang Comedies

This week, TCM aired a marathon of Our Gang Comedies.  As a kid, I was a very big fan of the Rascals. I remember watching and videotaping them on TV every day. I remember when I was about 12 years old, I got the book Our Gang: The Life And Times of the Little Rascals by Richard Bann and Leonard Maltin.  Looking through it when I first got it, on a Christmas morning, I was surprised by the discovery the films I was watching on TV were only half of the series output, that the Rascals were making silent films since the 1920s.

As I got older, my interest in the Rascals waned, but I remained fascinated by the early silent films produced in the 1920s.  I bought three of these silent gems on Super 8 film, and I also bought a series of 4 VHS tapes that had two or three silents per tape (with great musical scores played on a Wurlitzer organ).

On the TCM marathon this week, they aired about 30 of the silent Our Gang films, and watching them (and video taping them) reignited my enjoyment for this classic film series. While I still may not be as big a fan as I once was of the talkies, if a film company were to restore the entire series of 88 silent films, and release them on DVD, I would buy it in a second.

Our Gang: (l-r, top) Johnny Downs, Mickey Daniels, Allen "Farina" Hoskins,
(l-r, bottom) Joe Cobb, Mary Kornman, and Jackie Condon

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