| Chicken Feed is a little tasteless for a silent Our Gang comedy
This Hal Roach comedy short, Chicken Feed, is the sixty-second in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" series. The Gang are watching magician Johnny Downs (in disguise with mustache and proper costume) turning little Jean into a rabbit which inspires Joe to try the same on Farina's little sister Mango (Allen "Farina" Hoskins' actual sis Jannie). She runs out of sight of them in her box and in comes a monkey. That's when the trouble begins...This was a pretty uncomfortable short to watch what with all the racial connotations concerning Mango's "change". There was also a pretty cruel sequence involving a duck and that monkey though I admit I laughed at that one especially since neither of them seemed damaged by it. This short was later partially remade as the talkie series entry A Lad an' A Lamp which also wasn't very funny. The version I saw was only 12 minutes so this may not have been the complete version. Oh, and Robert F. McGowan was on vacation during this period so the actual directors of this one was his nephew Anthony Mack and Cherles Oelze. And there were some sound effects added like lions roaring when Farina encounters some in cages which was another sequence I thought was pretty funny. P.S. This was Downs' last appearance in the series. He appeared in vaudeville and feature films before hosting a San Diego kids show during the '50s in between "Little Rascals" shorts (presumably also among the silent ones he was in being in that show so he could talk of his experiences in them). He also sold real estate before passing on June 6, 1994. This short also marked Harry Spear's first appearance in the series. When Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann wrote their book "The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang", they included a "Where Are They Now?" section and had little info on Spear noting the last thing known about him was from a 1955 article that said he was working in a bank in San Pedro. This site lists him as having died on September 22, 2006.