The Spanking Age (1928)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Family-Oriented Comedy  |   Run Time - 22 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Another silent "Our Gang" comedy built around crazy inventions, The Spanking Age cast kiddie troupers Mary Ann Jackson and Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins as the children of a widowed inventor. Forced to endure the cruelties of their stepmother and stepsister, the kids get even by rigging a few clever contraptions of their own. All ends happily as Daddy sells a patent worth millions -- but not before the Our Gang kids have trotted out the old "alum" gag, along with several other tried-and-true comedy bits. The film's most intriguing aspect was director Robert F. McGowan's decision to show all the adult actors exclusively from the waist down, making it impossible to identify any of the supporting players, save for Lyle Tayo as the stepmother. Initially released on December 15, 1928, "The Spanking Age" was presumed to be a lost film when the first package of "Little Rascals" reissues were made available in the 1950s. The film unexpectedly resurfaced in 1990, complete with its original music-and-sound effects discs.