To be clear, the Little Rascals and Our Gang are the same thing. They were created by Hal Roach, a producer best known today for his delightful comedies, including much of the early Laurel & Hardy films. Our Gang/Little Rascals depicted generally poor kids having fun on the cheap. One revolutionary facet of the short subject films is that the kids were often ethnically diverse – in a time of blatant racism, African-American children played equally alongside Caucasians.
Our Gang shorts were produced between 1922 and 1944. By the time of the release of Hi’-Neighbor! in 1934, 125 shorts had already been made. The short subject’s story is all about the kids spotting the toy firetruck of a wealthy neighbor who refuses to give them a ride. Their efforts to build their own firetruck inspire comic results and a very wet end of the day. Notably, this was the first Our Gang film to be released after a four-month hiatus caused by a suspension suffered by George “Spanky” McFarland, who was being punished for spreading whooping cough on the set of Miss Fane’s Baby Is Stolen earlier in the year. In total, there would be 220 Our Gang shorts and one feature-length film before the original cast was ‘retired.’