» » Beginner's Luck (1935)

Short summary

At her afternoon tea social Spanky's mother has her son recite for the assembled ladies. It is easily seen they are bored to death as he has no talent. After he finishes the mother shocks everyone ,including her mother and son, by announcing she has signed him up to appear at a local children's talent show. The Grandma tries to intervene to no avail. The gang come up with a plan to sabotage his performance with peashooters and noise makers. Spanky is overjoyed but must keep his mother from finding out. At the theater Spanky meets a little girl who needs the prize money to buy her dancing costume but fell victim to stage fright. Spanky's mother has run afoul of the Master of Cerimonies by showing up with her son not ready to go on then saying he was too much of an artist to open a show. He is a real hard boiled type and well able to deal with the mother. He has kept Spanky's act for last. Spanky has decided he'll win the prize for the little girl but he must tell the gang. As he is ...

Film debut of Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer.

Film debut of Harold Switzer,

Carl 'Alfalfa" Switzer and his brother Harold had been in the Our Gang cafe, which was open to the public. They were performing and entertaining the crowd. One of the spectators was assistant director Gordon Douglas (I). He liked what he saw, and immediately wrote the brothers into this film.

The name Daisy Dimple was meant to be a parody of Shirley Temple.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Fiarynara
    An OUR GANG Comedy Short.

    To his embarrassment, Spanky's mom enters him in a talent contest. He immediately gets the Gang's help in a plan to lose. Once on stage, however, Spanky meets a sweet little girl & his plans change. Now he'll need real BEGINNER'S LUCK to have a chance of winning...

    A very funny little film, with Spanky in rare form. Highlight: Spanky's performance on stage. This was the film debut for Alfalfa (he sings `She'll Be Comin' 'Round The Mountain').
  • comment
    • Author: THOMAS
    There is an unwritten rule that runs through the rascals shorts that the villain always gets theirs in the end .We have seen this come into play with the bully ,the brat, the dishonest businessman,the cheat all getting theirs and are usually made the laughing stock of in the end.With a few exceptions such as Dickie's father in "Birthday Blues" who beats his son savagely and has nothing happen to him at all to Wally's mother in "Honkey Donkey" who actually is only guilty of being very wealthy and has a mule chase her after she sneezes all over the house ,down the stairs and out into the spacious gardens.Wally's mom is chased till the donkey knocks her into a fountain and she emerges from under the water to spew water from her mouth like some type of fancy ornament,as the donkey laughs hysterically at her. This brings us to "Beginner's Luck" where Spanky's mother is the villain.She has put her son into a local talent show against his will and he has received help from the gang who promise to hiss and boo and destroy his act.However Spanky has a change of plans ,as he now needs to win the prize so he can help a little girl buy a special dress.Spanky asks his mom can he go into the audience and tell his friends of his change of plans but she refuses as he is about to go on and insists she will deliver his message to them.She has no idea that Spanky wants to flop and the gang was ready to bombard him with peashooters and noisemakers.Spanky's mom does use her power as a mom and an authority figure as she says to the gang"Remember boys we want Spanky to win",but she fails to make them understand and they agree to go ahead with their plan and give him the works.Spanky's mother is beaming as she walks away from them and back to the stage wings thinking that the audience will fall in love with Spanky as a Shakespearian actor ,she could never imagine the cruel twist of fate that awaits her for failing to deliver the correct message .Spanky's mother is a true stage mother trying to relive some faded glory that eluded her through her son.She did not ask Spanky if he wanted to pursue this venture and didn't listen to her own mother when she tried to intervene and save Spanky from this.She has shown herself to be pushy as she has had numerous run ins with the MC backstage.She has one goal for Spanky to win first prize and be a hit on the stage. Well the gang goes ahead with their plan to ruin Spanky's act .Spanky's mom rushes to save her son from the cruel audience laughter and pull him off from behind the back curtain.The MC informs the little girl that Spank has won the prize as a comedy act.Grandma raises the curtain to deliver lesson to her daughter for putting Spanky on the stage.A hook snags Spanky's mother's dress hem and it starts to rise along with the curtain ripping her dress off on the stage amid howls of uncontrollable laughter from the audience.Grandma has made a comedic burlesque stripper out of her daughter to be ogled as a sex object by the male audience members who love to see this pretty girl wiggle about frantically trying to free herself as her dress hikes higher and higher.She is being laughed at by everyone including the gang who mustlove seeing this happen.

    Spanky rushes to hide his now frozen mother from the vicious audience laughter as she kneels on stage gazing up to see where her dress went with a piece of scenery resulting in her head on top of a caricature of an animals body.Spanky's mother is degraded and humiliated in her attempt to rescue Spanky from being laughed at and now is herself made much more of a laughing stock with the audience in complete bedlam at the sight of her.She did get everything she wanted ,Spanky has won first prize and was a big hit,although she never expected that she would wind upjoining the act .Spanky's mother may have actually enjoyed being the center of attention in her truly unforgettable stage appearance. She has been given the most embarrassing comeuppance of all the rascals villains ,but I don't believe she was all that bad and really didn'deserve her fate.Maybe she got this treatment from the Roach studios for being a stage mother which they must have had to deal with all the time. The viewer enjoys watching Spanky's mother being made a hysterical spectacle of and the viewer laughs along with the the theater audience at the fate that is dealt out to Spaky's mom.
  • comment
    • Author: BroWelm
    This Little Rascals short is the funniest one of all of them. It involves Spanky being entered in a talent show by his somewhat overbearing mom, while her own mom disapproves. The acting, story & outcome are classic, and anyone who has watched this on television growing up remembers it fondly. I think the whole gist of this was to highlight overbearing stage moms, and this film did it perfectly. You see good acts, not so good acts etc, but the film never loses its zest. Spanky's mom in the film, the pretty Kitty Kelly, gives a standout performance which, judging from the comments here, is unforgettable. No need to divulge the fate of Spanky's mom here. If you've seen this, you know. If you haven't, find it. You'll love it.
  • comment
    • Author: Cetnan
    "Beginner's Luck is a charming mix of high and low comedy forms done at the zenith of the Hal Roach M-G-M era.It is the first appearance of Alfalfa and the last of Stymie."Beginner's Luck" was not scheduled to be produced but was forced upon the studio by theater owners who demanded more shorts like "Mike Fright" in which the gang performed in some sort of talent show."Beginner's Luck " went on to be the highest in critical acclaim and the biggest money maker.There are many twists in the production that made this a gem.Kitty Kelly was brought in to play Spanky's mother and replace Ruth Hiatt ,who winds up playing Daisey Dimples mom, and Kitty did a tremendous job.Alfalfa and his brother were added to the short during production and Alfalfa wound up joining the gang for many years.There are a good number of great lines that hint of what is to come such as "Girlie the dress is in the bag" and "I won't have my son laughed at "and You can't break up that act".

    The story has Spanky reciting to a group of his mother's lady friends and then being informed ,along with everyone else,that he will be appearing in a children's talent show .Everyone ,including Spank and his grandmother are stunned by the announcement by his mother.Spanky's mom is beaming with joy and extremely confident that he will win first prize and be a tremendous hit.The gang comes to his rescue with a plan to destroy his act with noisemakers and peashooters and thus end his acting days.However at the show Spanky befriends a little girl who just came off the stage after falling victim to stage fright and desperately needs the prize money to buy a dress.Spanky comes to her aide and asks his mother can he give the girl the prize money ,the mother says yes and says she only wants him to be a big hit.Now ,however ,he must tell the gang of his change of plans but his mother won't allow him to go into the audience and insists she will tell the gang his message.His mother has no idea there is a plan to ruin the act and she only asks the boys to root for Spanky.This winds up being a BIG MISTAKE for her.The gang decides to go ahead with the original plan and give him the works.Spanky steps out for his Shakesperean debut only to be assailed with the gangs weapons.His act quickly turns into a farce.Spanky's mother is upset and gallantly tries to rescue him from the cruel audience with a pole from behind a back curtain.At that moment the viewer is informed that he won the prize as a comedy act.Just at the point that the mother is beginning to reel him in she herself is about to be reeled in.Spank's grandmother sees a chance to make a fool of her daughter for putting Spank into this by pulling down on the curtain ropes and raising the back curtain thus exposing Spanky's mother on the stage.Grandma must see humor in seeing the mother's rescue attempt made public ,but she couldn't have thought she would make Spanky's mother join the act and wind up bringing down the house as events soon will dictate .As the curtain starts to rise the viewer sees a hook on the bottom of the curtain moving up between Spanky's mother's legs towards her dress hem and the viewer knows grandma will be exposing more than she thought.As Spanky's mother gets herself hooked and she realizes her situation she lets out a shrill squeal and jumps to her feet to try to save her dignity.The grandmother cannot believe her eyes as she now has caught her daughter on stage with her dress rising with the curtain and quickly tries to reel her in as if she were a fish .The audience now turns their attention away from Spanky and greet his mother with howls of laughter.Spanky's young,blonde and beautiful mother has now fallen victim of the cruel treatment of the audience as she is forcibly giving them an up skirts view of herself.The male audience members must have been aroused at the sight of her and hoping that all her clothing would come off her and this little cutie would wind up on stage in her birthday suit.She frantically tries to save herself as her own mother is laughing and quickly trying to finish her sadistic task.With a rip the dress is yanked off her and heads towards the ceiling.Spanky's mother freezes from shock on stage looking up at the remnants of her dress.The girl that went to save her son from the audience laughter needs someone to save her.Spanky rushes a piece of stage scenery to hide his now scantily clad mother's T and A that were on view for the audience.This has a caricature of a squatting animals body with her head protruding on the top.The audience are in a state of bedlam and lambaste her with laughter.This mother and well respected member of society has had a completely unexpected turn of events turn her into a total laughing stock.Spanky's mother looks out on the audience helpless ,slip clad and her head perched atop the prop, she has a look of complete mortification as the audience roar with uncontrollable laughter at her humiliating predicament.Spanky's mother could have never imagined that Spanky's act would turn into a comedy and herself being served up to the audience in a most degrading manner as the most hilarious aspect of the act!
  • comment
    • Author: Tiv
    This is a rather cute little Our Gang short, but I also found it unsettling as it was clearly a case of art imitating life. It all begins with Spanky doing a recitation for his mother's friends. Clearly, the mother is an obnoxious mother of a kid who just wants to be a kid! Later, she enters him in a talent show--when all sorts of hijinks ensue--some of which is pretty cute.

    As I say, it's a case of art imitating life because I have read Leonard Maltin's book about the Rascals. And, unfortunately, a lot of the kids had pushy parents just like Spanky's in the film. It made the laughs a little less funny when I realized the writer for this short was probably influenced by the kids' real life folks! By the way, speaking of obnoxious folks, this was Alfalfa's first film with Our Gang. While cute in the films, he and his family are a VERY sad example of the sorts of pushy behavior and monstrous egos that were all too common with child actors. Read up on them when you get a chance--it's interesting but very, very sad.

    Also, in this film you hear a child poorly singing "Honolulu Baby"--the tune that was popularized in the great Laurel & Hardy feature "Sons of the Desert".
  • comment
    • Author: Meztisho
    "Beginner's Luck" is a rascals jewel set around a children's amateur show.Spanky has been put into this show by his ambitious mother ,who believes he will wow the audience with his ability to recite Mark Antony's funeral oration of Shakespere's "Julius Ceasar".Spanky conspires with the gang to ruin his act and therefore put an end to his acting days.At the theater Spanky meets a lovely young girl who needs the prize money to buy the dress she is wearing but freezes on stage and now Spanky comes to her aide by telling her he will win and give her the prize.Spanky has his mom ,who has no idea their is a sabotage planned, go talk to the gang and stop their assault.As one would figure they don't understand his message and go ahead with their original idea.When Spanky begins his act the gang starts up hitting him with peashooters and loud wales on their noisemakers.Spanky tries his best to continue and try and win the prize.The audience think this is all part of his act and are laughing along as peashooters clack off his armored costume.Spanky's act is a pure winner in it's comedic form but his mother is upset that her son is being laughed at in such a raucous manner.She pleads to have the show stopped or someone to take Spanky off the stage.Her pleas fall on deaf ears as his act is a major hit.Spanky has won over the audience and doesn't know it.At this point the viewer is informed that Spanky has won the prize.His mother finally rushes to a back curtain to try to hook him and drag him off the stage.She is set to fall victim to the show stopping ending that she could have never imagined ,but is pure belly laughs! Spanky again steals the spotlight by trying to save his mother and winds up making a hysterical sight gag at his mother's expense that is nothing short of a hilarious.
  • comment
    • Author: ZEr0
    This comedy classic is in my top 5 favorite episodes of the Our Gang Series.I'll start with my Granddaughter Sammy who recently had her first ballet recital. At the moment of truth froze up and ran off the stage into the comfort of her Mother's arms. When the show was over I said to my Daughter-In-Law, "Samimy Froze up like Daisy Dimple!" Of course my Daughter-In-Law replied, "Who Is Daisy Dimple?" Hence my review begins now! Spanky the new leader of the gang due to the departure Of Wally Albright and his limited contract, performs in front of his Mother's friends reciting Shakespeare. Spanky projects his prose perfectly to the delight of his wannabee stage Mother. For doing a stellar job of acting what is Spanky's reward? Mother Dear is entering him in a talent show. Show business is not to Spanky's liking as he practices to the company of his talking parrot. The gang member's show up at his window.The only way out is to have Spanky flop on stage with the help of his gang and an endless supply of Pellets and spit balls. On with the talent show as Spanky dressed in full Michigan State apparel (A ROMAN SOLDIER) will do everything in his power to bomb on stage. Ironically Spanky was picked to go first by the Master of Ceremonies Tom Herbert but his pushy Mom (Kitty Kelly) who bears a striking resemblance to actress Barbara Stanwyck protests that you Don't have a talented actor the likes of Spanky to go on first. Some of the Acts were entertaining to watch .Honorable mention to The Hawaiian Dancers and the Cabin Kids and most importantly the Arizona Nightingales featuring a young freckled Carl Switzer who makes his first of many appearances in the series as the the High pitched off key singer Alfalfa! Now it's time for our cu pie faced Dancer Daisy Dimple to perform and try to win the cash prize of $10.00 but she choked in front of a bewildered audience and all those eyes!! Spanky comforts the crestfallen girl and claims he'll win her the money for her ballet costume. Spanky wants to go out to the audience to tell his friends not to ruin his act and that he want's to win after all. Instead Spanky's Mom intervenes and goes over to the rowdy troupe and tells them that her son wants to win. Spanky from the Stage winks at them and the gang is confused so the gang sticks with the original plan of abuse and spitball to the disdain of out toupee pianist James Morton seated between the stage and the arsenal. Spanky goes on and the rest of the short is sheer pratfalls combined with howling comedy with a grand finale of Grandmother Mae Wallace pulling up the final curtain to a ripped dress. Great episode to show your grand kids if they failed on stage. Whether it be a dance recital or a school play . Tell your children not to freeze up and give it your best effort. Don't be a DAISY DIMPLE!
  • comment
    • Author: net rider
    "Beginner's Luck" is another "Our Gang" short film and like most of these it runs for slightly under 20 minutes. The original is black-and-white, but there is also a colored version out there. The director is Gus Meins ("Babes in Toyland" starring Laurel and Hardy) and he made this film 5 years before his suicide when he was accused of sexually abusing several boys. This puts his work with the Gang into a slightly dubious light. Anyway, this short film here is probably neither among the most famous nor among the least known Our Gang films. Spanky is the star this time and his mother wants him to win a talent contest. The film starts of nicely, but as it goes on, it quickly turns into a talent contest with several participants who really have nothing to do with the movie series. Spanky's big final scene in-stage is also not as funny as I hoped it would be. What do we learn from this movie? Maybe that soccer moms already existed 80 years ago. But that's it. Not too interesting or funny of a watch and I don't recommend it. Many better Our Gang short films out there.
  • comment
    • Author: Black_Hawk_Down
    Noticeably absent from all other comments I've read are these two: 1. The script doesn't make even a reference to Spanky's dad, and; 2. Kitty Kelly's (Spanky's mom) "shocking" experience when stage hook meets blown foot light socket.

    1. Where's Dad? Surprisingly for a '30s Roach short, the presence of at least a disinterested father in contrast to such a matriarchal mother figure was absent. Was Spanky's mom divorced/separated? Did dad pass away? Was he in the audience that fateful "talent" Friday night? Or was he just a busy guy at work and play so to stand clear of mom's equally boorish treatment of him (like son)? Without a father figure figuring into the script, it leaves the Rascals rescue crew (and Spanky's live-in grandma) to stand in for daddy. In the end. it was a rather hyper-matriarchal decision of director Gus Meins to leave dad completely out of the picture. Even a henpecked buffoon of a dad would've been comical!

    2. Static Cling-on. Perhaps a bit of a stretch, but Gus Meins really put some production value into this sight gag very near the marquee climax. So, consider this possible setup that the director may well have thought of, though not entirely clear...

    Question: Could the enormous amount of static electricity stored in Spanky's mom's dress following the "shocking socket" scene also account for why the rather dull-tipped metal curtain hook managed to so relentlessly snag onto her dress hem in the end?

    Well, gang, chew on these two for awhile as I look forward to your comments! Also, which if any Rascals and Stooges stunts have you tried to publicly duplicate? Candid Camera, anyone?
  • comment
    • Author: Zulkigis
    "Beginner's Luck" has Spanky being forced to go on the stage by his Mother and the gang coming up with a plot to sabotage his act. Spanky meets a little girl who needs the prize money so he decides to win.

    This short starts off rather slow and there just aren't to many laughs at all. Even after they arrive at the theater it's really watching the actions of Spanky's Mother and the way she tries to handle the Master of Ceremonies after he is sick of waiting for Spanky to be ready he lets all other acts go on before him. Just before he goes on he tries to go tell the gang of his change of mind but his Mother won't let him only to insist she will talk to the boys. Of course any fan of the rascals will know she can't convince them of her son's change of mind but rather she makes them think Spanky wants their intervention more than ever.

    When Spanky finally takes the stage the gang erupt with peashooters and noise makers. The audience believe this is a spoof of Shakespere and begin to laugh along. Spanky is trying to recite while trying to dodge barrages of peashooters and wild noises coming from the gang. He uses his shield to fend off the waves of peas and the audience is really beginning to enjoy his act everyone is laughing at his antics except his Mother who is standing in the stage wings taking it all in and very upset that her son is being laughed at. Spanky's Mother watches as the peas are shot from the gang and then the laughter starts she then starts to wave for him to come off only to have the MC wave him to go on. it gets so bad you can see her trying to talk and no words come out.

    She turns to the MC and asks if he will take her son off ,the man can't believe his ears as this kid is a major hit and the audience is in near hysterics watching him. Of course he refuses her request as they both continue to watch him. Spanky eventually flips down his visor and can't free it and starts to fumble around the stage only adding to the level of the laughter. That's the last straw and the Mother demands he be taken off only to be rejected again then she decides she will run onstage herself but her actions were stopped by the MC who won't have this act ruined. The furious Mother goes to the back stage-curtain with a stage-pole and tries to hook her boy and pull him off. This too adds to the comical performance and raises the laughter as he attempts to avoid the pole. The short has made up for it's early boring parts with Spanky's stage show it is nothing short of side splitting laughter. The added bonus is Spanky's Mother's planned rescue of her son. At one point she takes off the piano players toupee another she inserts the pole into an electrical outlet and gives herself a huge shock kicking her to sit back of her heels writhing her hands. This last action is seen by only the Grandmother and the MC who both love watching the young Mother suffer.Each attempt she makes fails until she hooks his boot and starts to pull him off as he is fighting her all the way. The audience is near bedlam laughing at this kid being dragged off by someone unseen behind the curtain. The mother is using all her strength and starts to have him close just as this point the scene changes to Spanky's grandmother and the MC both laughing in the stage wings as the old woman looks behind the curtain at her daughter she taps the MC on the shoulder and says "Here's where we stop the show!" the MC bends over with laughter but gives his approval. The granny starts to pull down on the ropes rising the back curtain and catching the mother's dress and hiking that up with it. The audience is howling at the mother's attempt to keep her dress on as its keeps going higher until it finally tears off her. Spanky has freed his visor in time to see his mom has joined his stage act and how the grandmother has exposed her to the audience. Spanky's mother has frozen from her experience and just kneeling onstage in a petrified state. Spanky pulls a stage prop in front of his mother but this results in one of the funniest scenes of all the Rascals shorts a fine sight gag.

    "Beginner's luck" far exceeds the perceived ideas the viewer has starting when Spanky starts his act and his Mother's various attempts to then stop the show and get him off the stage. Up to that point it's a major success but really turns into something else when Spanky's Mother goes behind the curtain and has herself turned into a laughing stock of. Watching her fall victim to the MC and the grandmother is priceless. The way they set her up throughout the short is something that greatly adds so much. Spanky's mother becomes the poor misfortunate fly the lands on the spider web and can't get herself out. Looking at her loosing the dress then the hapless way she stays on stage with the prop in place is one of the funniest things in the history of the Our Gang and a fine example of stripped humiliation. Of course it is all enjoyable as it is much well deserved that the Mother gets her comeuppance after watching her antics throughout the short. The Mother that wanted to stop the laughter her son was receiving had herself made an ever larger laughing stock.
  • comment
    • Author: Whiteseeker
    This Hal Roach comedy short, Beginner's Luck, is the one hundred thirty-fifth in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" series and the forty-seventh talkie. Spanky is pushed by his mom to go on stage at a talent contest. He really doesn't want to and his gang plans to sabotage it that night. But Spank changes his mind when a girl-who wants the dress she's wearing that she can't afford-gets stage fright. This was quite a funny short making fun of untalented kids and their stage mothers of which Spanky's is played by Kitty Kelly. Among the acts: a girl unenthusiastically singing "Honolulu Baby" with girls dancing to it the same way, The Cabin Kids-an African-American singing act-performing "Dinah" entertainingly, and Tom and Jerry, the Arizona Nightingales-who are really Harold and Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, in their first Our Gang appearance, performing "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain" nicely. Alfalfa and Spanky have a memorable first meeting as they're not friends yet. So on that note, Beginner's Luck is highly recommended.
  • comment
    • Author: Rit
    This is my favorite Our Gang short. It has everything that I recall fondly: rowdy fellowship and kids conspiring against adults resulting in innocent mischief.

    Although the series had already been around a dozen years, for me the master cast was the Spanky, Buckwheat, Alfalfa period. This was the first with them together.

    And it has my own favorite trick, the simple fold of a show within the show. That gives the producers an opportunity to have some "straight" child performances. These always have puzzling appeal.

    And then there's the joke performance with us sort of sharing in the audience.

    (This is a replacement comment, the original having disappeared.)

    Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
  • comment
    • Author: Joony
    I have found this short to be very strange,cruel,disturbing and really sets a poor example.I have also thought it to be very predictable as well.Knowing the rascals shorts one can see once Spank tells the girl he is going to win the prize for her and his mother has spoken to the gang to try and stop their planned assault what is going to happen.

    Spanky's mother runs afoul of the MC who is a real hard boiled type after he selects her son to open the show and she tells him "My son is too much of an artist to open a show".The MC decides to hold their act till the finale but doesn't tell them.From this point on the MC is nothing but pure obnoxious to Spank and his mom.

    When the little girl runs offstage the audience erupt with pretty wild laughter at her expense you know how cruel they are.Spanky has done a good deed by offering the prize after he wins and his mom also has done a good deed by agreeing and giving the girl and great big smile.Spanky's mom also does another good deed when she says she will talk to the gang.When Spanky starts off everything goes wrong,the act is now a comedy .His mother pleads with the MC but he won't take him off and is violent when she tries to run on stage.The good Samaritans have no allies at all even his granny is laughing at him.Granny then takes matters into her own hands and asks to raise the back curtain saying "Here's where we stop the show" and proceeds hiking the curtain as it snags the mother's dress and is taking it up with it.Grandma can be seen laughing hysterically as the audience joins in as it sees whats happening.What is going on with her-she is stripping her daughter in front of this wild crowd.No one comes to their aide and Spanky has to see his mother humiliated like this.Spanky tries to protect his mom and puts a theater board in front of her to hide her ,the audience laughter hits near riot level as she has her head on top of a large dog art work board.This is pure sadistic and cruel and way over the top .Very disturbing to see an adult woman and one of the kid's mother get this type of treatment.Once that prop goes into place you know the mother is degraded.It sets a bad example laughing at their misfortune.
  • comment
    • Author: Phenade
    This short is an offshoot from the previous Our Gang short "Mike Fright". Which featured the gang performing in a children's radio talent show. In that short the Roach studio first brought in the obnoxious stage mother but not in a major way. That changes with "Beginner's Luck" where the stage mother has a major focus.

    It opens with Spanky reciting to his mother's friends and it is quite clear that he has no talent at all but his mother announces that she arranged for him to appear in a local children's amateur show, it's obvious that his mother thinks he is a mega star. The grandmother and Spanky protest all to no avail. Later the gang comes to tell Spanky they will sabotage his act.

    When the arrive at the theater Spanky befriends a sweet little girl who needs to win the prize to buy the special costume she's wearing. She suffers from stage fright and flops. Spanky decides to win the prize and give the girl the money to get the dress. He must get the word to the gang to stop their bombardment but his mom won't let him leave the stage and she delivers his message to the boys making a huge mistake in the process. The gang thin he still wants to loose.

    Spanky walks on the stage and the kids start their razzing. He stands there trying to recite and dodge peashooters and speak over their noisemakers. The audience think it's a spoof of a Shakespeare recital and start to laugh. The mother is standing there and she can't believe her eyes and begins to wave to tell him to come off the stage. The MC is standing next to her and sees what his mother is doing so he waves for the kid to go on. In the process of avoiding the peashooters Spanky flips down his visor which gets stuck and he is now wandering around on the stage blind and trying to lift his visor. The act has turned into a laugh marathon. The mother has had enough and asks the MC to take him off but she is rebuffed so she then decides to go out and take him off but the MC grabs her and pulls her back. Then she goes back stage with a pole and tries to pull her son off. She starts off having trouble with the pole peeking under the curtain and making wild swings on the stage then the mother winds up taking off the piano players toupee then sticking the pole into a stage light. The grandmother and the MC are looking at Spanky on the stage and then looking behind the stage and laughing at the mother's antics. Eventually the mother hooks him and starts to pull him back. The Grandmother tells the MC "Here's where we stop the show"! They turn Spanky's mother from a person trying to rescue her son into a girl in need of rescue herself. The audience loves this turn and laugh at Spanky's mother at a near riot level. The grandmother took her actions to teach her daughter a real good lesson for putting Spanky into this situation. Spanky reacts to seeing his Mother in a humiliating situation and tries to rescue this backfires and mortifies her much worse.

    Even though Spanky has little actual talent through a series of turns he winds up winning first prize. When the gang informs Spanky they will ruin his act he stops the pet parrot from warning His Mother by putting a fish bowel over the bird. Then the Mother's error of arriving at the theater not having Spanky dressed and her run in with the MC who then holds his act till the end. Because Spanky was still standing waiting he meets Daisy and then decides to win the prize for her. Then you have the mother not letting Spanky go speak to the gang and doing it herself which results in the kids not understanding Spanky's message. The grandmother is first annoyed that the Mother put Spanky into this acting experience then as the mother and Spanky are having run ins with the MC The grandmother bursts out with loud laughter laughing at how funny it is watching the mother who's in it way over her head. The grandmother has watched the daughter take it way to serious announcing she wouldn't have her son laughed at. In the end the Mother's rescue attempt is thwarted by the grandmother who decides to teach Spanky's mother a lesson and put her the position of the butt of the audiences laughter as Spanky's Mother winds up falling victim to the gang, MC and Grandma.

    Clearly the Roach Studios were taking a shot at the armies of stage mothers they had to deal with running a series with child actors. They certainly loved watching the character of Spanky's Mother suffer.

    This is a very good short with the stage performance of Spanky being hilarious.
  • comment
    • Author: Mojar
    There are many Our Gang shorts that I love dearly, and many that bring a smile or a warm feeling inside. Out of all of them, this is the one that can truly cause me to laugh out loud.

    Of course, the laughter of the audience is infectious and tends to help things along, but Spanky's continued stumbling about as one disaster after another befalls him is priceless.

    Something to note about the reviews: one reviewer, who has posted under several different names here, is clearly obsessed with this film. I have encountered him over the years on other forums besides this one, and his thoughts on "Beginner's Luck" remain the same. He can be identified (across his multiple identities) by his habit of not putting spaces after periods — and alternately, of putting a space BEFORE a comma and none after!

    Leaving aside the content of his reviews, how anyone who reads the English language could get the idea that it can or should be written this way is beyond me.
  • Credited cast:
    George 'Spanky' McFarland George 'Spanky' McFarland - Spanky (as Our Gang)
    Matthew 'Stymie' Beard Matthew 'Stymie' Beard - Stymie (as Our Gang)
    Scotty Beckett Scotty Beckett - Scotty (as Our Gang)
    Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas - Buckwheat (as Our Gang)
    Jerry Tucker Jerry Tucker - Jerry (as Our Gang)
    Eileen Bernstein Eileen Bernstein - Our Gang member (as Our Gang)
    Alvin Buckelew Alvin Buckelew - Alvin (as Our Gang)
    Sidney Kibrick Sidney Kibrick - Our Gang member (as Our Gang)
    Cecelia Murray Cecelia Murray - Our Gang member (as Our Gang)
    Donald Proffitt Donald Proffitt - Our Gang member (as Our Gang)
    Merrill Strong Merrill Strong - Our Gang member (as Our Gang)
    Marianne Edwards Marianne Edwards - Daisy Dimple (as Our Gang)
    Pete the Pup Pete the Pup - Pete (as Our Gang)
    Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
    Ernie Alexander Ernie Alexander - Audience member
    The Cabin Kids The Cabin Kids - Themselves
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