The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection – Centennial Edition Blu-ray Review

4.5 Stars Essential, definitive collection of the great Our Gang shorts with treasurable bonus material.
The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection Screenshot

The multi-year project by ClassicFlix to bring all eighty of the Hal Roach/Our Gang sound shorts (covering the years 1929-1938) to Blu-ray fully restored to near-pristine condition has culminated in The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection – Centennial Edition.

Our Gang Follies of 1938 (1937)
Released: 18 Dec 1937
Rated: Approved
Runtime: 21 min
Director: Gordon Douglas
Genre: Comedy, Family, Musical
Cast: Our Gang, George 'Spanky' McFarland, Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer
Writer(s): Jack Jevne
Plot: The gang is putting on a show with Alfalfa billed as "King of the Crooners." But Alfalfa abandons the show saying his crooning days are over, and that opera is his true calling. But after taking a nap and dreaming of a successful fut
IMDB rating: 7.2
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: MGM
Distributed By: ClassicFlix
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 22 Hr. 24 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: clear keep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: MM/DD/2022
MSRP: $99.99

The Production: 4.5/5

The multi-year project by ClassicFlix to bring all eighty of the Hal Roach/Our Gang sound shorts (covering the years 1929-1938) to Blu-ray fully restored to near-pristine condition has culminated in The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection – Centennial Edition. Not only is this the one-stop shop for the eighty shorts but new to this set is a set of bonus materials which extend the value of this package to fans even farther than one might imagine. We have the gang speaking foreign languages, some unseen silent shorts featuring the Gang’s first incarnation, tons of publicity materials, featurettes on the time-honored music cues so familiar to fans, and a tour of present-day Los Angeles locations used in some of the shorts, and so much more. (See the Bonus Features section below for a full rundown.) For those who have already purchased the six volumes of Our Gang shorts, ClassicFlix is offering just the Bonus Disc for purchase separately.

Rather than rehash thoughts and opinions of the shorts which I have already written about in six previous in-depth pieces, I have included links below for those earlier reviews. All of those shorts are contained on five Blu-ray discs in this package.

Volume One

Volume Two

Volume Three

Volume Four

Volume Five

Volume Six

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

See the individual package reviews linked above for more specific information on the transfers. In general, quality (which is pretty marvelous throughout) does become near perfect as the series works its way to its final Roach years.

Audio: 4/5

The primitive audio equipment used during the early years of these shorts (produced at the dawn of the sound era) prevents the earliest soundtracks from being artifact-free even with today’s most modern engineering effects. But as with the visuals, audio improves as the years progress.

Special Features: 5/5

Unless otherwise noted, these bonus materials are presented in high definition.

Leonard Maltin Introduction (6:25): on disc one, film historian and Our Gang expert Leonard Maltin briefly discusses the origin of the Our Gang comedies and remarks on their incarnations through several different generations of child actors.

Disc Six

Foreign Language Shorts: Las Fantasmas (21:06, 1930, When the Wind Blows performed in Spanish); reel two of Los Cazadores de Osos (11:15, 1930, Bear Shooters performed in Spanish); reel one of Temps d’Hiver (10:58, 1930, A Tough Winter performed in French).

Our Gang Silent Shorts

  • The Big Show (1923, 21:01): after failing to sneak into the local county fair, the gang mounts their own fair to great success.
  • Dogs of War (1923, 19:56): the gang plays war for a while and then decides to infiltrate a movie studio with chaotic results.
  • Mary, Queen of Tots (1925, 20:25): Lonely Mary Kornman is given dolls of her neighborhood pals who spring to life in her dreams and play with her.

Good Old Days (28:53): historian Ray Faiola offers a fascinating and historically essential featurette on the music cues and songs used throughout the run of the sound Our Gang shorts.

Then and Now (12:50): historian Ray Faiola narrates a fanciful tour of Los Angeles locations showing us then and now comparisons of places featured in some of the shorts.

Our Gang Centennial (17:11, SD): highlights of the opening day gala held to commemorate the 100 years birthday of Our Gang at the Hollywood Museum. Among the speakers are historians Leonard Maltin and Richard Bann, Hal Roach’s daughter Maria, and Sidney “Woim” Kibrick, the last surviving main player of the Hal Roach era.

Our Gang Reunion (8:45): members of the Gang’s first incarnation: Joe Cobb, Farina Hoskins, Mickey Daniels, Johnny Downs, and Jackie Condon appear on 1951’s You Asked for It. Also appearing are the Gang’s on-set teacher Fern Carter, cameraman Art Lloyd, and director Robert McGowan.

A Day in the Life of Spanky and Porky (47:54, SD): the duo spend a day in 1985 doing radio interviews, personal appearances, and autograph signings.

The Little Rascals (audio with stills) Jukebox: Alfalfa’s (painful) solos (18:47); all of the other musical performances in the series (27:09) including the magnificent Club Spanky sequence from The Our Gang Follies of 1938.

Animated Image Galleries: divided into (1) Ephemera, (2) Holidays, (3) Promotional Stills, (4) Scene and Production Stills.

Rarities:

  • Speed-O-Byke advertisement with Spanky (0:53)
  • Mary Ann Jackson Personal Appearance Ad (2:12)
  • Teenaged Mary Ann Jackson Screen Test (1:47)
  • Chubby Chaney Personal Appearance Ad (1:40)
  • Spanky McFarland Interview with Tommy Bond (4:25)
  • Art Lloyd Home Movies (4:15): Spanky and Joe Cobb are present
  • MGM promo for their iteration of Our Gang (1:19)
  • Jackie Lynn Taylor Audition Reel (5:45)

Overall: 4.5/5

No fan of Our Gang can afford to miss ClassicFlix’s The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection – Centennial Edition. With eighty gorgeous looking and unendingly hilarious short subjects and bonus features you can spend hours enjoying, it’s an essential package that should be as timeless as the Our Gang shorts themselves. Highest recommendation!

Matt has been reviewing films and television professionally since 1974 and has been a member of Home Theater Forum’s reviewing staff since 2007, his reviews now numbering close to three thousand. During those years, he has also been a junior and senior high school English teacher earning numerous entries into Who’s Who Among America’s Educators and spent many years treading the community theater boards as an actor in everything from Agatha Christie mysteries to Stephen Sondheim musicals.

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Nick*Z

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The ClassicFlix Restorations were a revelation, indeed. Now, if the company could get on board with some other major overhauls of Public Domain catalog like Topper, we'd really have some heady times ahead of us.
 

RobertMG

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Topper and the two sequels look the best they have in years as does One Million BC Captain Fury too problem is the Roach Library is owned by numerous parties = ClassicFlix stunning work on the Roach Projects are TOPS but they are all from the same rights holders Laurel and Hardy are with a different firm I wish they do them but nope - VCI has the Toppers and they look the best they have in years but a major redo might not even be possible? I am just thrilled the Rascals look stunning and we are seeing Charley Chase, Thelma Todd Zasu Pitts etc!
 

Matt Hough

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B-ROLL

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Mine too.
Mine 3!
1667932661221.png
:D!
 

Brian W.

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I got my bonus disc order a couple days ago, but it arrived with the spine of the bonus disc torn, ripped through the plastic and the paper. Disc itself is fine.

I'm not understanding how the whole series fits into the empty Complete Collection empty box, though. There are only four nubs to hold the discs in the box I received. Did I get a defective box?
 

Malcolm R

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I got my bonus disc order a couple days ago, but it arrived with the spine of the bonus disc torn, ripped through the plastic and the paper. Disc itself is fine.

I'm not understanding how the whole series fits into the empty Complete Collection empty box, though. There are only four nubs to hold the discs in the box I received. Did I get a defective box?
I think it's been discussed in a different thread, but I believe some of the hubs are intended to accommodate two discs stacked on top of each other.

I received mine, but haven't yet opened it to check it out. My order was mostly for the bonus disc. I'll probably not be using the empty box and will just leave my six volumes in their individual cases.
 

Brian W.

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Yeah, I saw on another website that they tried to get 7-disc cases and couldn't, and that each spindle will hold two discs in the Complete Collection case.
 

BobO'Link

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I got my bonus disc order a couple days ago, but it arrived with the spine of the bonus disc torn, ripped through the plastic and the paper. Disc itself is fine.

I'm not understanding how the whole series fits into the empty Complete Collection empty box, though. There are only four nubs to hold the discs in the box I received. Did I get a defective box?
The "top" two spindles (one on each side) are for stacking 2 discs each... They couldn't get 7 disc cases so used the 6 disc one from the official "Complete Collection" release and put the bonus disc in its own, separate, case (which is thicker than and doesn't match the cases the individual releases came in).

I'm quite disappointed with the 6 disc case. See details/images in my post here:

I found that my 6 disc case has a 1/4" tear/rip on the bottom of a spine edge effecting both the case and paper - and was packaged that way as the plastic shrink holding the 2 items together was completely intact. Don't know if I'll complain as I really don't plan to use that crappy case anyway - I'm looking at purchasing a proper 7 disc case instead.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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I found that my 6 disc case has a 1/4" tear/rip on the bottom of a spine edge effecting both the case and paper - and was packaged that way as the plastic shrink holding the 2 items together was completely intact. Don't know if I'll complain as I really don't plan to use that crappy case anyway - I'm looking at purchasing a proper 7 disc case instead.

Let us know how that goes searching for a replacement boxset case. I could certainly be interested in such myself... though I'm really tempted to just (re)buy the whole set instead since I otherwise still need the out-of-stock-til-whenever Vol 6 to complete the set...

_Man_
 
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