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The Master of Ceremonies, Spanky, his mother and his Grandmother

Production Notes

Length: Two Reel
Producer: Hal Roach
Director: Gus Meins
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Louis McManus
Titles: None
Writer:
Released: February 23, 1935
Studio: M-G-M

Main Cast

Supporting Cast

  • Bess Flowers - Friend of Spanky's Mother
  • Charlie Hall - Stage Hand
  • Ernie Alexander - Audience Extra
  • The Five Cabin Kids - sing "Dinah"
  • The Floradora Dollies - sing "Honolulu Baby"
  • Fred Holmes - Audience Extra
  • Jack "Tiny" Lipson - Audience Extra
  • James C. Morton - Piano Player
  • Kitty Kelly - Spanky's Mother
  • May Wallace - Spanky's Grandmother
  • The Meglin Kiddies
  • Robert McKenzie - Audience Extra
  • Ruth Hiatt - Daisy's Mother
  • Tom Herbert - Master of Ceremonies

The Short

Plot: Spanky's mother has entered him into a talent show at the Greenpoint Playhouse to recite Shakespeare. Scared to death he'll be condemned to doing this again, Spanky gets an oath and promise from his former Ancient And Honery Order Of Wood Chucks club brothers to heckle him so badly that he'll never have to do it ever again. Backstage at the show, his mother, convinced of her son's talent, presses the Master of Ceremonies to hold Spanky till last as a demonstration of his talent. This results in every time the Master of Ceremonies starts, the gang in the first row launches into applause prematurely expecting Spanky, blowing away the piano player's sheet music and even his toupee. Meanwhile, Spanky connects with a cute girl who desperately wants to win in order to buy a new dress, but she gets stage fright and runs offstage terrified. The audience erupts with vicious laughter at her, proving they're a very cruel bunch. Spanky now wants to win to give her the money, but his mother won't let him go into the audience to call off the gang's assault. He asks his mother to speak to the gang, but she has no idea there is a plot to destroy the act and tells the boys, "We want Spanky to win" and "Remember boys Spanky's depending on you," which makes it sound like Spanky wants the assault to go on. She is shown no respect at all from the boys as she is an adult and not a member of the gang; after she leaves them the gang is discussing what to do and one leans over and says pay no attention to anything his maw says and they decide to give him the works.

As Spanky comes onstage to deliver the soliloquy from Julius Caesar, they don't hold back in giving him the works. He's hit with a barrage of pea-shooter pellets bouncing off the armor of his gladiator costume and shield and the razzing of hoots and noisemakers. The audience loves him; they think it's all part of the act. Spanky's mother is deeply upset that her son has been made a laughingstock of and says, "They're laughing at him," and "I won't have my son laughed at." She pleads with the MC to take Spanky off; he looks at the audience and is only thinking of good business and refuses her. She then tries to run onstage and take her son off but the MC grabs her and pulls her back. Spanky's mom then takes a stage pole and goes under the back curtain and tries to hook him and yank him offstage. Grandma is having such a good time watching that she pulls the rope to the curtain, which has caught on Spanky's mother's dress . As the curtain is hoisted higher Spanky's mother's dress goes up along with it; she can't do a thing but try and unhook the dress. She has become the smash hit of the show as the audience howls with laughter at her predicament. The MC knows that Spanky's mother reluctantly joining the act is great for business; imagine a striptease of one of the children's mothers and he almost didn't stop her from running onstage. The woman who didn't want her son laughed at is now being lambasted by the audience. Eventually Grandma hoists the curtain to the top ripping Spanky's mother's dress right off her. Spanky's mom is now kneeling onstage gawking up at her dress, which is dangling off the curtain. She has become petrified onstage from the shock and everyone is laughing at a near bedlam level. Spanky frees his visor and looks up to see his mother has joined his act onstage and he is no longer the object of the audience's wild bellows. He sees his mother degradingly defrocked of her dress and frozen in place. Spanky pulls out a piece of stage scenery for her to hide behind in her slip and dainties, but when his mother looks over the top of it, her head is now posed atop the body of a weird ostrich-like creature for a much bigger laugh. Spanky's mother gets the works as she tried to make an actor out of Spanky; she winds up being made a spectactle of on the stage.
Quotes:

  • "Is Barrymore ready yet?" - The Master Of Ceremonies in referring to Spanky
  • "Don't worry girlie the dress is in the bag." - Spanky telling Daisy Dimple that he'll win the prize.
  • "I won't have my son laughed at." - Spanky's Mother to the Master of Ceremonies
    "You can't break up that act!" MC to Spanky's mother--She replies "OH NO !!!!"

Notes/Trivia:

  • This was the first appearance of Carl Switzer in the series, though he had not yet been given the character name Alfalfa.

Sequence


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