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The VERY LAST "Our Gang" musical episode - but a funny one!
Moax42915 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
To those who've seen and remember this "Our Gang" comedy, "Calling All Kids" has the distinction of being (sadly) the VERY LAST musical short in the series - but it went out with a bang!

The skit with Mickey (Robert Blake) and Froggy was funny, and so was Marlene Mains' impression of Virginia O'Brien (especially when she sang the line about "....We'll spend our evenins' rememberin' things like, gas-o-line") and Janet Burston's of Carmen Miranda. And the young man who was doing the impression of Fred Astaire doing the "Torpedo Dance" (from "Holiday Inn") was David Polonsky, who wasn't credited in the press book or in Leonard Maltin and Richard Bann's 1992 "Little Rascals" book.

And Maltin and Bann's negative critique of "Calling All Kids" in their "Little Rascals" book only made it more funny and enjoyable; they claimed this short had nothing to do with the style of the earlier "Our Gang" shorts and that there was "an unpleasant air of phoniness" throughout the film (e.g. Maltin cites some "camera trickery" in the recruiting sketch, particularly when Froggy changes costumes behind the curtain - it was more expert editing than it was cinematography - and the real Rochester Anderson's voice was dubbed for Buckwheat's "'impression'" of Rochester). Apparently Maltin and Bann were too perturbed by what they saw that they forgot to mention in their (caustic) review "Calling All Kids" was the final "Our Gang" musical episode made.

Well, Mr. Maltin, if you're reading this, let me ask you: Which would you rather have, a sick and perverse piece of trash like "American Beauty" (which, mercifully, I NEVER saw and DON'T EVER intend to see - and, knowing your ilk, you'd most likely say *yes*) - or a nice, clean, and innocent (as well as patriotic and historic) "Our Gang" musical short the whole family can enjoy?

Contrived or not, I'd take "Calling All Kids" *any* and *every* time!

(As for "unpleasant airs of phoniness," Mr. Maltin, may I suggest you, as well as the other person who didn't find this comment useful, watch just about any rerun of "The Lawrence Welk Show." Notice especially in some of the song-and-tap-dance numbers the tap sounds were dubbed in, and that the performers weren't wearing tap shoes; also, in one particular episode one of the singers (the late Larry Hooper) forgot to lip-sync to some of the lyrics while a tape of him singing was still playing! Now *that's* phoniness!)
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Last of the musical shorts
dbborroughs11 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The last (thank you, oh please thank you) of the MGM musical Our Gang shorts. The musical shorts have always been short on plot an big on song and dance. This one doesn't have any plot its just song and dance so if you like this sort of thing you're going to love it. If you don't you're going to be like me and want to climb the walls. Actually the nominal plot is simply that the kids are saluting the men and women in uniform and we watch as a stage show is put on the radio. It makes no sense but when has the mere thought of people bursting into song ever made sense? I was never a fan of these shorts and I can't say I'm sad they stopped producing them. If you liked them go right a head and see this cause you're going to eat it up.
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Great Impressions of the Golden Age Stars
Xanthus79828 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This short stands out for the gang's crisp impressions of Judy Garland, Eddie 'Rochester" Anderson, Eleanor Powell, Carmen Miranda, Virginia O'Brien and Fred Astaire. When the gang go into this segment, it just builds and builds in funniness. If you are a classic movie buff (aka regular TCM watcher), you'll likely do a double take when you recall the films these pieces mimic - they're that good. My favorite was Marlene Mains' beautifully funny and spot on impression of Virginia O'Brien! I would watch the whole short again just to see it.

Apart from the cute impressions, the recruitment plot device featuring Froggy, Mickey et al. was likely created to cheer on the servicemen and women in 1943 and they families on the home front. An important initiative for the time.
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Calling All Kids was the final musical Our Gang short
tavm2 February 2015
This M-G-M musical short, Calling All Kids, is the two hundred fifteenth entry in the "Our Gang" series and the one hundred twenty-seventh talkie. This was the last of the musical Our Gangs which begins with the announcer doing the intro ending with him saying, "Take it away, Our Gang!" After a bunch of kids in uniform march in formation, a young girl sings about the Army, Navy, and Marines. Then it's Mickey and Froggy doing a recruitment skit. Then some celeb impersonations among the kids with one doing Judy Garland, one doing Virginia O'Brien, one dancing like Eleanor Powell, Buckwheat doing Rochester (with the real Eddie Anderson providing the voice), Janet dressing, singing, and dancing like Carmen Miranda, and a Fred Astaire impersonator doing the firecracker dance from Holiday Inn. The finale has the song about those military organizations again with film projected back of the stage representing them. The musical numbers aren't bad but Froggy and Mickey's skit is. While it was nice hearing Rochester's voice, nothing he said was funny. So on that note, Calling All Kids was middling entertainment, at best.
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