Production Notes

Length: Seventy-One Minutes
Producer: Hal Roach and Sidney Van Keuren
Director: Gordon Doglas and Fred Newmeyer
Photography: Art Lloyd and Walter Lundin
Editor: Ray Snyder
Writer: Unrevealed
Music: Marvin Hatley
Sound Effects: Elmer A. Raguse and William Randall
Special Effects: Roy Seawright
Set Director: Arthur I. Royce and William I. Stevens
Casting: Joe Rivkin
Released: December 11, 1936
Studio: M-G-M

Main Cast

Supporting Cast

  • Alex Finlayson - - Extra
  • Buddy Roosevlt - First Lieutenant
  • Carl Voss - Second Lieutenant
  • Ernie Alexander - Extra
  • Frank H. LaRue - Extra
  • Ham Kinsey - Extra
  • Harry Bernard - Extra
  • Harry Strang - Extra
  • Henry Hall - Slavemaster
  • Hobart Bosworth - Captain Blanchard
  • Hooper Atchley - Slavemaster
  • Irving Pichel - Simmons
  • Jack Cooper - Extra
  • Jack Daugherty - Captain's Aide
  • Jack Hill - Extra
  • James Burtis - Boat Captain
  • Karl Hackett - Extra
  • Louise Beavers - Cornelia aka "Mammy"
  • Philip Holmes - Marshall Valiant
  • Portia Lanning - Extra
  • Ralph Morgan - Yankee General
  • Richard Niell - Extra
  • Robert Middlemass - Overseer
  • Rosina Lawrence - Louella Blanchard
  • Slim Whittaker - Extra
  • Walter Gregory - Captain Haden
  • Willie Best - Henry

The Film

Plot: In a departure to the (then) comtemporary era of the time, Spanky is now an orphan shoeshine boy on a Mississippi riverboat durig the Civil War, and Buckwheat is part of a consignment of slaves who gets lost. The two of them attract the wrath of Simmons, a crooked gambler, and flee to a plantation where Spanky is reunited with Marshall Valiant, an old friend preparing to enter into combat. He leaves Spanky to watch over the plantation and protect the beautiful Louella, so Spanky builds an army of kids to help him defend the plantation from the Yankees. The Union army coming through is being led by Simmons himself, and Spanky's forces launch an impressive defense to the point that Simmons can be turned away and discredited before his superiors. Valiant by now returns after being wounded in battle. Spanky and his forces even make friends with a Northern general.
Quotes: None

  • "General Spanky" was inspired by the success of the Shirley Temple movies The Little Colonel and The Littlest Rebel.
  • Since "General Spanky" was only a moderate success, Hal Roach turned away from any future Our Gang feature films to focus mostly on shorts.
  • "General Spanky" was nominated for for an Academy Award in 1936 for Best Sound Recording.
  • The Civil War stock footage was borrowed from Buster Keaton's "The General" and D. W. Griffith's "Abraham Lincoln."
  • The movie features a real riverboat called The Cherokee filmed on the Sacramento River to simulate the Mississippi River.
  • In 1935, Hal Roach had written a script for a proposed Our Gang feature film titled Crook's Incorporated. The film was to have costarred Hal Roach Studios stars Charley Chase, Thelma Todd, and Patsy Kelly.
  • Eugene Lee was absent from a majority of shooting for this film. As a result, he only appears in a few longshots.
  • Darla Hood is absent from this film, possibly since she was busy working in the Charley Chase film Neighborhood House.


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