Posted by: Dahni | February 3, 2017

Getting Along

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Getting Along

By Dahni
© 207, all rights reserved

Oh no, not another can’t we all just get along spiel? Yep! I know, we’re all supposed to be divided and mostly over what is politically correct or politically incorrect. I’ve come to the conclusion that we will ALL never get along, but in the spirit of an idealist or to try anyway, maybe this might help more of us get along? I am referring to the great teachings and examples from my childhood known as: ‘the Little Rascals’, ‘Our Gang’, or ‘Hal Roach’s Rascals’.

The Little Rascals L to R - Porky, Scotty, Darla, Marmalade, Spanky, Buckwheat, Alflfa & Pete

The Little Rascals
L to R – Porky, Scotty, Darla, Marmalade, Spanky, Buckwheat, Alfalfa & Pete

Our Gang L to R – Pete, Peggy, Spanky, Mango, Porky, Alfalfa, & Buckwheat

Our Gang
L to R – Pete, Peggy, Spanky, Mango, Porky, Alfalfa, & Buckwheat

No, I am neither dead as many of these are nor as old, but I sure did watch these shows in my youth. These were a series of U.S. American, comedy short films from 1922-1944. See there, I told you it was long before I was born.  🙂

There were 52 films in all and I believe they are still available. They were all filmed in black and white which enhances the imagination, far greater than color ever could. Besides, color was not available until the transition to color from 1953 to 1974. But like children, these films are timeless and apropos for most anyone and at any time day or night, year after year. They teach much about getting along as children still do, IF we watch them and limit our interference with them.

Our Gang or The Rascals was about a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures. Poor? Well, close to the times of the Great Depression and forward through it and when the series ended in 1944, most everyone was poor. But this did not stop Our Gang, the Little Rascals from fun, frolicking, adventures and imagination. In a word, play, play is, the work of children. It is how we learn much about life. Things like acceptance, friendship, right and wrong and even how to handle our obvious differences.

Our Gang, the Little Rascals is noted for showing children behaving in their normal way rather than by imitating adult acting styles. Long before the Civil Rights Act and Women’s Equality Movement, this series broke new ground with white and black boys and girls interacting as equals. This really wasn’t “breaking ground” because, for the most part, this is the way children see each other and still do, unless adults interfere.

Oh sure, these kids and all kids did and do recognize differences, but it sure didn’t, doesn’t or shouldn’t prevent one from becoming one of the gang. Race and prejudice is something adults foster, generally NOT children. One regular character Spanky, did not like to wash his face and told the black character Buckwheat, “You’re lucky.” To Spanky, Buckwheat never had to wash his face because, dirt just wouldn’t show.

Kids are all different. They are all unique. They all have different personalities, interests and skill sets. And they all develop differently and at different times. Many in the series had nicknames and were descriptive. They were not derogatory, just descriptive or ways to tell each other apart, especially when speaking or writing to each other. There were names like: Spanky, Alfalfa, Porky, Chubby, Butch, Stymie, Buckwheat, Marmalade, Darla, Mango, Specks, Wheezer, Froggy, Porkchop, other regulars and extras and Pete the Dog or Pete the Pup. Sometimes he was called, Petey.

Petey (Was he the inspiration for the Target logo?) :)

Petey (Was he the inspiration for the Target logo?) 🙂

Spanky

Spanky

 

Scotty

Scotty

Stymie

Stymie

Wheezer

Wheezer

froggy

Froggy

Chubby

Chubby

 

porkchop

Porkchop

 

Jackie

Jackie

Our Gang built stuff like a their own race car or soapbox out of whatever they could find, beg, borrow or steal. Yes, sometimes they and other kids of today will lie, cheat, steal and even are mean to each other, but this is how they learn and learn they did and will. When they want to be part of a group, a family, a Gang, they will automatically change their behavior on purpose and intentionally. They soon realize if you hurt others, you hurt yourself especially, if it costs you your membership in the Little Rascals.

Leaders, workers, builders, thinkers, romantics, uncanny abilities and even strange voices would cement your part in the Gang as a unique and contributing member, which made the Gang whole. There was a place for everyone!

The word ‘Gang’ was just a word that appeared tough or strong, but really was just like a family. As to rascals, well, as most kids, their adventures were often rascally. 🙂 And yes, they had a club too, ‘The He Man Woman Hater’s Club.’

clubhouse1

Just so not to be sexist, let’s just say they also had, ‘The She Woman Men Hater’s Club’ as well.

clubhouse2

This is not entirely untrue. There was an episode where the character Alfalfa was conflicted because, he wanted to be a member of the club, but his heart had fallen for Darla, a girl, a woman.

‘The He-Man Woman-Haters Club was a neighborhood boys club founded by Spanky and compromising nearly all the boys from the series in the club. Spanky was often found as the ‘person in charge’ in Our Gang and the Little Rascals. He was not necessarily the smartest, but he definitely was a leader. Spanky founded the exclusive club as a defense against girls and Valentine’s Day, but Alfalfa’s heart was just not in it. His love for Darla keeps him from taking it seriously, but Spanky soon forces him to realize the bonds of brotherhood. Spanky later restores the club as an act of revenge after none of the boys get invited to the MacGillicuddy Girls’ party, and institutes Alfalfa as president. However, when Alfalfa learns the club rules to never fraternize with the girls again, he is forced to rush back and get back a love note he sent to Darla, later trapping the club members there, but he gets busted when the love note is discovered.

As we all develop differently and at different times, Alfalfa became interested in Darla. He was conflicted because, he like her and was not supposed to. He was supposed to hate girls and women, yeeeeck! 🙂

This is not unlike today. How often have I or have you heard boys not liking girls and girls not liking boys? Not all boys and girls are like that! I even hear adults cringe at the thought of their parents kissing and responding with things like “get a room” or simply, “ewwwww, yuck.” 🙂

I was probably like Alfalfa. Yes, I sometime got or still get that piece of unruly hair sticking up, but I am talking about girls. I liked girls probably better than boys when I was growing up. But unlike Alfalfa, who thought he could sing, I believe I could. 🙂 Like alfalfa, my freckles disappeared too, as I grew older. Oh, and I did not wear a bow tie and suspenders. See, there’s room for everyone in Our Gang! 🙂

Alfalfa

Alfalfa

Darla

Darla

Buckwheat (as a girl)

Buckwheat (as a girl)

Buckwheat (as a boy)

Buckwheat (as a boy)

In the 1980’s version of the Little Rascals, Spanky “re-founds” the club and installs himself as President.

He Man’s Woman Hater’s Club

He Man’s Woman Hater’s Club

For the initiation, Spanky has fellow members Alfalfa, Buckwheat and Porky stand on their left foot and raise their right hand, while agreeing to the club’s oath. Spanky asks his friends, “Do you promise never to trade your bubble gum card with a girl? Never lend your best fishing worms to a girl? And never let a girl carry your books home from school?”

After the boys refuse to let Darla into the Rascals’ tree-house, Darla briefly considered starting her own club, ‘The She-Woman Man-Haters Club.’ However, in an attempt to cheer Darla up for losing the town beauty pageant, the boys make Darla queen of their club. Darla’s response to her role was, “I guess anybody can be a beauty queen, but not everybody can be “Queen of the He-Man Woman-Haters Club!”

clubsign1

Or, it could have been, could be…

clubsign2

My favorite characters were Spanky and Buckwheat.

otay
Spanky was most often the leader, but not necessarily the brightest crayon in the box. In fact, I think Buckwheat was the smartest kid on Our Gang or the Little Rascals. As a matter of another fact, the same boy played Buckwheat as both a girl and as a boy. That takes a lot of smarts and skill!

My favorite expression is probably attributed to Spanky, “Okey Dokey” or “Okie Dokey.” I have even seen the road in Arkansas!  🙂

Corner of Okie Doke Road & S. Arkansas – Russellville, AR

Corner of Okie Doke Road & S. Arkansas – Russellville, AR

Although Buckwheat never talked much, he always seemed to have a greater grasp of what was going on, than even Spanky, who usually came up with the ideas for Our Gang’s and the Little Rascals’ adventures. But Buckwheat had an incredible ability, to succinctly put everything into perspective with simple and clear language, like changing Okey Dokey, to just simply, “Otay.”

Otay, I’m nearly done. Getting Along is pretty easy If, we remember ourselves as children or just go and watch them. Differences don’t really matter that much to kids. Differences are just your unique place in the gang. Friendship and camaraderie begin with wanting to be a part of a gang, a family, a group or a club. It’s love that draws people and keeps people together. Lose these and it’s a long, cold, hard road to the opposite of love, Okey Dokey, Otay?! 🙂

 

Just Imagine,

dahnisigblu

 

 

 

Enjoy the following on YouTube: ‘Sprucin Up’ from 1937

 


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