Comedy / War
Directed by Fred Newmeyer and Gordon Douglas
George 'Spanky' McFarland as Spanky
Phillips Holmes as Marshall 'Marsh' Valient
Ralph Morgan as Yankee General
Irving Pichel as Captain Simmons, the Gambler
Rosina Lawrence as Louella Blanchard
Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas as Buckwheat
Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer as Alfalfa
Hobart Bosworth as 2nd Lieutenant
Robert Middlemass as Overseer
James Burtis as Boat Captain
Louise Beavers as Mammy Cornella
Willie Best as Henry the lazy slave
Jerry Tucker as Our Gang member
Harold Switzer as Our Gang member
Slim Whittaker as Extra
A Hal Roach production released by MGM in 1936, General Spanky was directed by Fred Newmeyer and Gordon Douglas. The feature film is a comedy spin-off of the Our Gang / Little Rascals series.
By 1936 theaters were commonly showing double features, and the demand for short films was decreasing. This film was produced as a test to see how the Our Gang / Little Rascals formula would be accepted as feature-length films, but was not successful at the box office.
Set in the Civil War, Spanky and Buckwheat, an orphaned shoeshine boy and a runaway slave, find themselves on a riverboat on the Mississippi. When they run afoul of Simmons, a crooked gambler, they have to jump ship and find themselves stranded.
Luckily, Marshall Valiant takes them under his wing and brings them to live in his home, but then he’s called away to war. Before he leaves he asks Spanky and Buckwheat to watch over his lady friend, Miss Louella, and the boys take their orders seriously.
Spanky, along with Buckwheat, Alfalfa, Porky and other kids, forms his own army, the RPWCRCWMR, or The Royal Protection of Women and Children Regiment Club of the World and Mississippi River.
Their little army is put to the test when Spanky’s enemy Simmons shows up leading a regiment of Northern soldiers and looking for trouble.