Kids Just Being Kids–100 years later.
A Once-Novel Concept Created Enduring Characters in The Little Rascals
A Culture story excerpt from The Daily Citizen. Read the entire article by Paul Batura.
The idea for what would eventually become the legendary “Our Gang” (also known as “The Little Rascals”) franchise came to Hollywood producer Hal Roach after a series of personal incidents in the summer of 1921.
It had been a long day in the studio, and the 29-year-old producer was desperately trying to come up with a storyline for his next series of short films. Arriving home, Roach began playing with his young children, Hal, Jr., and Margaret, along with two four-year-olds from the neighborhood.
According to an account in The New York Times, Hal became “engaged in a free-for-all with the quartet of mettlesome youngsters.” The frivolity planted a seed, which later took root back at his office.
After enduring an audition of a young girl singer made up to look like an adult starlet, an exasperated Roach retreated to his office and was drawn to the sounds of a lumber yard outside his open window. For the next fifteen minutes, he became mesmerized watching a group of young boys fighting over scraps of wood and playing with their new treasure.
“Those are kids doing things kids do,” he thought. “If you do things kids do, maybe the public will like it.”
While some studio executives were intrigued with the idea, the majority were not – but Roach nevertheless plowed ahead.
“Our Gang” debuted a year later, a delightful silent film series featuring young, often poor, children, engaged in simple but humorous hijinks. Many of the kids had little to no professional acting experience, a fact that led to greater authenticity – and a warm public reception. To keep the flavor of the shorts young and fresh, he rotated boys and girls every three to four years.
The public loved the films, and the series was in production for 22 years.
Nearly a century later, 22 of the “Our Gang” episodes have been remastered and are being released for an entirely new generation of children.
Genius has been sometimes defined as restating the obvious, especially when everyone around you seems blinded by distractions and empty trends. After all, insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.
Roach was trying to create something different and didn’t want to keep doing what hadn’t really been working well. He knew from watching his own children that most kids don’t pay attention to skin color, nor do they need a lot of adults orchestrating every recreational outing for them. By leaving them alone, youngsters are often forced to make good things happen.
Imagination is a powerful gift and one that leads to great fun – and admittedly, even a little innocent mischief from time to time. That’s exactly what the exploits of Chubby, Spanky, Stymie, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, and the gang aimed to demonstrate, and to great acclaim.
Hollywood has long tried to force young people to grow up too quickly not only by creating content that corrupts them but by portraying children far more sophisticated and emotionally mature than they really are. As a result, other children watch their contemporaries on the screen and feel compelled to catch up and keep up – and the vicious cycle continues.
Yet, beyond the intrigue of the minutia of “Our Gang” lies a fundamental distinction to which purveyors of today’s family entertainment would be wise to return:
Embrace the innocence and charm of where children reside socially, intellectually, and spiritually. Celebrate their unique and fun point of view and their all-too-brief season of youth. Such a posture will not only allow them to flourish, but it will enrich those adults fortunate enough to be around them.
In the end, children don’t just say humorous things but also unknowingly utter the profound.
“Take my heart,” once said the “Our Gang” star Darla. “But please don’t break it.”
Parents might say the same to Hollywood’s producers regarding the hearts of their children.
Coming up this Fall for Kids:
So many things are going on in Children’s Ministry. Here are a couple of important announcements:
Back to School Blessing – Sunday September 12, during both services.
4K-6th Grade Sunday School
Sunday, September 12 | 9:45–10:40 am
Attention all 4K-6th Graders! Sunday School is back beginning Sunday, September 12 from 9:45–10:40 am. Come join us for Popcorn and Praise to celebrate the beginning of the new school year! We will have some activities, music, time to play on the playground, popcorn! So ‘pop’ on in to see what Sunday School is all about!
Sunday School Registration:
Please help us plan for this year’s Sunday School. Click the link below to register your child/children for this school year! This will also make sure you continue to receive FPC Children Ministry’s email communications.
We are looking for some help!
Are you someone who likes to work with kids, plan events like Trunk or Treat or the Easter Trail? Do you enjoy working in the background to make events successful or just want to have a great time praising God? Children’s Ministry is looking for you! We have several areas in need of volunteers! Follow the link below to find service areas that might interest you. If you have any questions please contact Patricia Coley, Director Of Children’s Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Blood Drive
Masks are now required for all donation appointments.
There is a severe shortage of blood so it’s more important than ever to sign up to donate. Patients are in need!
To sign-up for an appointment click here, then choose the August 13 date. Or you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
WEEKLY ANNOUNCEMENTS | August 8, 2021
Opportunities for serving at FPC:
The Adult Nuture and Spiritual Growth committee is looking for new members
Elder Scott Legwold is encouraging anyone in the FPC congregation to consider joining the committee for Adult Nurture and Spiritual Growth. Exciting opportunities are in the works for this area of ministry. Get involved today! Interested individuals can email Scott directly at: email@example.com.
Are you tech-savvy and interested in learning aspects of updating the FPC website and other entry-level tasks of communications at FPC? We are looking for someone high-school age or older for this internship-like position.
Our online service video team is looking to add camera operators to our Wednesday morning recording sessions. This volunteer position requires experience with different camera settings and lighting situations, and some production experience would be helpful.
If you are interested in either of these opportunities, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
A visitation reminder…
Under current restrictions, hospitals are allowing patients to receive only 1 visitor each day (except clergy, who can go anytime). Before visiting the hospital, check with the family to verify that you can be that day’s visitor. Watch upcoming Connectors for updates to these hospital visitation rules.
New Greeters Information Meeting
THIS MONDAY, August 9 at 6:00 p.m | Fellowship Hall
Our Greeting Ministry is looking for new members to join the team. The Greeting Ministry holds a very important place in our church to welcome our members and guests to our worship services. If you are looking for a way to meet church members, warmly welcome visitors to the FPC family, or simply get involved in an easy way, the Greeting Ministry may be for you.
Greeting requires a warm smile and small periodic commitment to arrive shortly before the start of our worship services. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Wes Ray or Rebekah Temple. We also are hosting an interest meeting on Monday, August 9, at 6:00 p.m. in FPC’s Fellowship Hall. Please come to learn more and enjoy some of Wes’s famous barbeque pulled pork. All are welcome, but we ask for you to RSVP to Rebekah at email@example.com.
Congratulations to new families!
Ben Baker and Anna Schwegel were married on Saturday, July 24, by Pastor Kirk at Sugarland Barn. Ben is the son of Bill and Maribeth Baker.
Steven Van Haren and Toni Machi were married on Saturday, July 31. Steven is the son of Alka and Marty Van Haren.
Our deepest sympathies to the family of Maria Falkner who passed away a year ago on August 7, 2020. A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at FPC’s Chapel on Saturday, August 7 at 1 pm. Pastor Ben will be presiding over the service. Prayers for comfort and assurance for Maria’s daughter, Delaney, and her sister, Milissa Statz, and family. A small reception will be held in the Gathering Place after the service.
Stephen Ministry at FPC: Providing God’s Care to Hurting People
What is this ministry about?
Extensively trained and supervised Stephen Minister Caregivers provide high-quality, one-on-one confidential Christian care to anyone in need. They provide weekly visits and ongoing support as long as the care receiver needs. Should the care receiver have needs that are beyond the scope of a Stephen Minister Caregiver, they are referred to professional caregivers.
What kind of care is offered from a Stephen Minister?
- CRISIS CARE – For people experiencing change(s) that significantly challenge their ability to cope.
- FOLLOW-UP CARE – After the crisis event.
- CHRONIC CARE – For a person whose situation is unlikely to change.
- PREVENTIVE CARE – Providing care before a crisis occurs.
- SUPPORTIVE CARE – Care for the caregiver.
How can I find out more about this ministry?
Call the church office at 608-949-9445, or reach out to a pastor or deacon. Stephen Minister Caregivers don’t replace the care of pastors and deacons. They carry it a step further.
Want to receive an email notification when the weekly Connector is updated? Sign up here!