Saturday, March 2, 2013

"The Pooch" with the Little Rascals (1935)

This is the first time I have ever seen an episode of the Little Rascals in color. I didn’t think that I would enjoy it as much as I did. I was the same way when it came to the colorizations of many of my favorite classic movies when that was first being done in the 1990’s., but I have come to really enjoy it with some films. Of course, certain movies should always be viewed in black and white; Casablanca is a prime example of that; but for the most part the colorization process lends certain clarity to the old films. It’s also interesting to be able to see the furnishings and clothing more clearly. There is so much more detail, which I did not expect.

In this 1935, the gang struggles with the everyday problem of finding enough food to eat. In the midst of the Great Depression this was not an isolated problem, but one with which audiences could readily identify. Even if they themselves were not on Public Assistance, everyone in the audience knew someone who was.

Woven into this story is a bit of Social Injustice, as Stymie tries to keep the dreaded Dog Catcher from taking his dog to the pound. Unless he can come up with the $5 necessary for a license, the dog will be gassed by the end of the day. With no money for food, it’s a stretch of the imagination to figure out where he is going to get the money to save his dog. But, they say that the Lord hears the prayers of children first, so when Stymie prays for that $5, and it just floats in on the wind, it is really no surprise. Neither is the policeman who chases him thinking the money is stolen.

When the gang finally arrives at the Pound with the money, they are told by the sadistic Dog Catcher that they are too late and the dog is dead. He actually smiles as he tells them. But things usually work out in these old shorts, and this is no exception. I used to watch these old films every day before going to school. As a kid I readily identified with their problems and the injustices heaped upon them by the adults. And, at 58 years of age, I still do.

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