Arbor Day (1936)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Family-Oriented Comedy  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Spanky tries to escape his "command performance" at the Spring Street School's annual Arbor Day show, but local truant officer Smithers (George Guhl) is a little too fast for him. Meanwhile, a pair of wisecracking midgets (George and Olive Brasno) take an unauthorized day off from their performance schedule at a local sideshow. Disguised as children, the midgets are spotted by the indefatigable Smithers, who assumes that they're also trying to duck out of the Arbor Day festivities. Forceably dragged into the School, the midgets are told to sit down and keep quiet while the show proceeds. After an endearingly clumsy kiddie ensemble piece and Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer's ear-piercing rendition of "Trees, the midgets decide to get even with Smithers by putting on a show that no one will ever forget. In addition to the aforementioned adult cast members, the film is also graced by the presence of Maurice Cass as the pompous principal, future Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel as the mother of Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas, and Rosina Lawrence in her first appearance as the Gang's pretty schoolteacher Miss Lawrence. Originally released on May 2, 1936, "Arbor Day" was the last two-reel "Our Gang" comedy; thereafter, with the special exception of "Our Gang Follies of 1938," all of the series' releases would be one reel (approximately ten minutes) in length.