Producer Hal Roach had intended to terminate his "Our Gang" short-subject series at the end of the 1935-36 season, but was talked out of it by Louis B. Mayer, the head of Roach's distributor MGM. As a cost-cutting measure, Roach shortened the running time of each subsequent "Our Comedy" from two reels (approximately 20 minutes) to one (approximately ten minutes), beginning with the first release of the 1936-37 season, "Bored of Education." It's the first day of school, and Gang members Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer and Spanky McFarland look forward to meeting their new teacher Miss Lawrence (Rosina Lawrence) with fear and loathing. Hoping to skip out of class, Spanky fabricates a phony toothache for Alfalfa, using a balloon stuffed inside his pal's cheek. But when the boys discover that Miss Lawrence intends to serve ice cream to her new students, they change their minds about playing hookey. Unfortunately, Alfalfa swallows the balloon, causing him a great deal of discomfort and embarrassment when he is called upon to sing in front of his fellow students. Originally released on August 20, 1936, Bored of Education was the only "Our Gang" entry to win an Academy Award.
by Hal Erickson synopsis