Tag Archives: Joe Cobb

Buried Treasure (1926, Robert F. McGowan)

Buried Treasure would be a lot better if director McGowan knew how to embrace the absurdity of the short. The gang has made a seaworthy boat. They take it out to look for buried treasure. Unfortunately, everyone–dog and cat included–get seasick and they’re out all night.

Obviously, the Our Gang kids have difficult home lives… but no one noticed they were missing?

Then they land, conveniently at their intended destination, and crash a location movie shoot. Instead of worrying about the kids or helping them, the movie extras decide to scare them.

Oh, and Farina pals around with a chimp. Regardless of the likely racial undertones, at least Farina got to have some fun this short. He and Joe are the only ones with any personality in Treasure.

The short also shows McGowan’s genre limitations. And the titles are dumb.

I guess Treasure‘s set is nice….

Otherwise, blah.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Robert F. McGowan; written and produced by Hal Roach; titles by H.M. Walker; director of photography, Art Lloyd; edited by Richard C. Currier; released by Pathé Exchange.

Starring Allen ‘Farina’ Hoskins (Farina), Jackie Condon (Jackie), Jay R. Smith (Specks), Johnny Downs (Johnny), Joe Cobb (Joe), Mickey Daniels (Mickey), Mary Kornman (Mary), Charlie Hall (Man in gorilla suit), Jack Roach (Man in lion suit), Lyle Tayo (Johnny’s mother) and Dorothy Vernon (Mickey’s mother).


RELATED

Advertisements

Good Cheer (1926, Robert F. McGowan)

Good Cheer is unexpected. It’s the only Our Gang Christmas short and it’s a mix of high concept morality and special effects extravaganza.

The short opens with a lot of ice storm effects, down to cats and mice being affected, and it’s excellent work. There’s also some great composite photography bringing toys to life in a shop window. But the kids discover the storefront Santa is just a guy in a beard and become disillusioned. So a couple of the other kids start selling hot bricks to make money to make the littler kids toys.

So here we have the first altruistic element.

Then, for Christmas, there’s a gang of crooks dressed as Santa. They get stuck in the gang’s building (in the twenties, orphans lived unsupervised) and end up having to give out their loot as gifts.

The second half’s off, but the charming beginning makes up for it.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Robert F. McGowan; written and produced by Hal Roach, titles by H.M. Walker; director of photography, Art Lloyd; edited by Richard C. Currier; released by Pathé Exchange.

Starring Allen ‘Farina’ Hoskins (Farina), Jackie Condon (Jackie), Jannie Hoskins (Arnica), Jay R. Smith (Jay), Johnny Downs (Johnny), Joe Cobb (Joe), Mickey Daniels (Mickey), Mary Kornman (Mary) and ‘Tonnage’ Martin Wolfkeil (Store window Santa).


RELATED

Back Stage (1923, Robert F. McGowan)

Back Stage opens with a vaudeville owner, played by William Gillespie, coming to town. Once the show’s presence is established, the narrative moves to the gang. They’ve turned a car into a donkey-powered double decker bus. It’s an extremely complex contraption. It doesn’t seem likely a bunch of kids could have constructed it, but the mechanics are interesting to watch in action.

Following that lengthy sequence, the gang ends up at the show. Some of the gang are put to work, the others just disrupt from the audience. Here, the steady jokes flow, even on the title cards. There are a couple excellent ones.

The show belongs to Farina, who doesn’t just disrupt… he demolishes. Gillespie watches in confusion–and the audience in delight–as Farina improves the acts by undermining the adults.

I can’t forget… there’s also an adorable monkey.

It’s a charming, if overlong, Our Gang short.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Robert F. McGowan; written and produced by Hal Roach, titles by H.M. Walker; released by Pathé Exchange.

Starring Allen ‘Farina’ Hoskins (Farina), Andy Samuel (Andy), Ernest Morrison (Ernie), Jackie Condon (Jackie), Jack Davis (Jack), Joe Cobb (Joe), Mickey Daniels (Mickey) and William Gillespie (Vaudeville Leader).


RELATED

Boxing Gloves (1929, Robert A. McGowan)

It’s hard not to like Boxing Gloves’s central sequence—a boxing match between Norman ‘Chubby’ Chaney and Joe Cobb—it’s two little fat kids in enormous boxing gloves duking it out. It’s also the sequence where McGowan shows the most directorial zeal. Unfortunately, it’s the place where the short’s particular sound situation (it’s a silent converted to sound and most of the bout is eerily silent) is most damaging.

Overall, the short’s reasonably amusing. It’s my first Our Gang as an adult and there’s a definite appeal to it. More, actually, before the big boxing match, as H.M. Walker’s dialogue sounds more like adult dialogue—and situations—given to deadpan kids.

The treatment of Allen ‘Farina’ Hoskins is interesting. He’s black and race is a nonissue; to say it’s uncommon for films of the era is beyond understatement. He easily gives the Gloves’s best performance, balancing charm and self-awareness.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Robert A. McGowan; screenplay by H.M. Walker, based on a story by McGowan and Hal Roach; director of photography, F.E. Hershey and Art Lloyd; edited by Richard C. Currier; music by Marvin Hatley; produced by Roach; released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Starring Norman ‘Chubby’ Chaney (Chubby), Joe Cobb (Joe), Jean Darling (Jean), Allen ‘Farina’ Hoskins (Farina), Bobby ‘Wheezer’ Hutchins (Wheezer), Mary Ann Jackson (Mary Ann), Harry Spear (Harry) and Jackie Cooper (Jackie).


RELATED