Mike Fright (1934) Poster

(1934)

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Hal Roach's revenge
Squonk23 June 1999
In 'Mike Fright' Spanky, Stymie and gang try to get on a radio amateur show as The International Silver String Submarine Band. They compete against a variety of different children, all groomed to perfection by unseen stage mothers. One has to think that 'Mike Fright' was, in a way, Hal Roach's revenge. One can only imagine the countless stage mother's and obnoxious children he had to deal with. Of course, the kids Roach made a part of his gang were not these kind of primped and polished little munchkins. He always went for just plain kids who loved to have fun. That's what makes the Our Gang shorts so great. Seeing the gang up against their exact opposites in this short makes for some great comedy. My favorite scene features Tommy Bond and Alvin Buckelew sabotaging Leonard Kibrick's trumpet performance by eating a lemon. Interesting to note that Bond and Kibrick would be partner's in crime as Butch and The Woim in later Our Gang Shorts.
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The best part is.......
Shroudx18 April 2007
....the man working the sound room! How come nobody mentioned the man who's hat keeps flying off every time one of the Gang causes a blown circuit. I'm no technical expert, so I'm not sure what problems the Rascals actually cause, but damn it's great stuff! The look on his face and that head of hair! This episode probably gets more laughs out of me than most (and that's saying a lot). The Gang is at their best, and all the great character actors involved work so well together. Hal Roach was a magician who's comedy, no matter how slapstick it was, still attained a gentle touch. This stuff is good clean harmless fun that will always stand the test of time. How often can one say that?
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10/10
Radio Listeners Cannot See The Costumes!
inclass1 October 2000
In my opinion, it is not so much that the rascals are in some competition with slick little performers, but as is pointed out in the film, a young dancer who is dressed in a suit, and has fancy moves, in how he may sway his arms in time with a beat when he dances, which are strictly visual, cannot possibly be appreciated by a radio audience. The same is true of cute little girls dressed up in Hawaiian outfits, who are winking on cue while they dance the hula in a procession around the sound stage. That would mean nothing to a radio listener who can't see what is going on, which makes the whole idea of the non-"our gang" participants so funny; not that they are slick or perfect while the gang is not, but that the gang had prepared a song to perform, and performed it well, which is what a radio listener can really appreciate, no matter how the performer is dressed, rag tag or not, and no matter what their instruments look like, which to a radio audience, can't possibly matter. Not realizing this, (as Maltin didn't either, according to his spoken review of this film on the newly released video), Spanky throws his arms up and declares, "Well, that's that!" thinking the gang lost the contest to a dancer before the gang even tried out. But the joke is, while the dancer was very good, who can see a dancer on their radio? This is why the more visual acts were a "fright" for the "mike" (or microphone). A radio microphone only picks up sound. The gag or joke is not slick kids compared to our rag tag heroes, but the content of the act being suitable to radio, which only the rascals got right, despite their appearance. Now that's funny! It seems that Hal Roach pulled the wool over quite a few eyes when making this film. The highlight in "Mike Fright" for me, is the rare, early appearance, in fact his first, of one of Hollywood's most talented young stars of the 30's and early 40's, Billy Lee, who, at age 4, does quite an impressive tap routine for his age.
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6/10
I agree, it's all harmless fun.
MartinHafer15 January 2012
This is not one of the deeper Our Gang comedies--and that's not necessarily that a bad thing. So, despite having a rather simple plot, it's full of the sorts of shenanigans you'd expect from such a film.

Tommy (Tommy Bond--who later played the villainous 'Butch' in the Our Gang comedies) is going to the local radio station to participate in a talent contest. He tells the gang and they decide to participate as well--even though they don't seem to have any discernible talent. At the studio, the kids pretty much make a mess of things and end up destroying the show AND the sound man's ears! None of it is especially plot-driven--just lots of gags thrown in rather randomly. Enjoyable and undemanding--while it's not one of the best films (I think many of the early ones are better), it's worth seeing.
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10/10
Performin' On The Radio With The Little Rascals
Ron Oliver1 May 2000
An OUR GANG Comedy Short.

Billing themselves as The International Silver Screen Submarine Band, the Gang enters a prestigious radio talent hunt for youngsters. Arriving late at the studio, Stymie, Spanky & the Rascals create havoc - giving those around them a good case of MIKE FRIGHT.

A fun little film, with interesting performances by kids not part of the Gang. Highlight: the Rascals perform `The Man On The Flying Trapeze'.
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8/10
One of the popular forms of entertainment during the 1930s . . .
pixrox114 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
. . . was kid acts on the Big Screen. If a tyke could cough, blink, or nod, chances are he or she achieved at least two minutes of celluloid fame. In lampooning this sorry state of American Culture, MIKE FRIGHT harkens back to the previous decade (aka, the "Roaring" Twenties), when most of America merely had to tolerate these no-talent toddlers on the radio--NOT projected bigger-than-life in their local movie theater. (At this time, most citizens clove to that famous expression, "Children should be heard--not seen!") During MIKE FRIGHT, the young cynics comprising "Our Gang" easily out-class a typical gathering of hopeless rejects and failures more likely to promote the concept of POST-marital abstinence than the financial fortunes of commercial radio. In an era when economist Jonathan Swift was promoting baby consumption as the solution to the Irish Potato Famine, viewers kind of wonder whether MIKE FRIGHT constitutes a subliminal suggestion that Americans embark upon a similar Swiftian tack to navigate the travails of the on-going U.S. Great Depression. (After all, if people could order a "Shirley Temple" to quench their thirst, why not a "Little Leonard" to slake their hunger?)
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4/10
Mostly music
Horst_In_Translation28 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Mike Fright" is a 17.5-minute I've action short film from 1934, so this one is already over 80 years old and when I tell you that it was made by Gus Meins and features some of the most known Rascals, then you know immediately that this is a black-and-white sound film. In this one, the kids from "Our Gang" are at a radio station and cause a bit of mayhem, nothing too serious obviously and eventually they are in charge of the program. Not really many girls, grown-ups or animals in here this time and it is all about the boys and their interactions. And music is a more dominant factor than usual as well. I personally am probably not the greatest Rascals fans, so no surprise this one here I found relatively underwhelming. In general, these short films with the Rascals have not aged too well I must say. Comedy and music are sub-par here, looking at other (short) films from that era, some of them starring really big names. But at least the film has some historic relevance looking at how crucial the medium of radio was back then, in terms of both news coverage and entertainment. But I don't recommend seeing "Mike Fright". Thumbs down.
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8/10
Mike Fright was another funny Our Gang short with some enjoyable musical acts
tavm15 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This Hal Roach comedy short, Mike Fright, is the one hundred thirtieth in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" series and the forty-second talkie. There's a radio talent show on with the gang coming on as The International Silver String Submarine Band. But before they can go on, they have to wait for a couple of girls singing "Jimmy Had a Nickel", a hula girl singing "I Want to Go Back to My Little Grass Shack" with her fellow girl dancers and a boy sailor tap dancing, and Little Leonard doing a trumpet version of "My Wild Irish Rose". But it's when the gang perform "The Man on the Flying Trapeze", they attract the sponsor enough to put them on regularly! This was quite a funny and entertaining short of various musical acts with Spanky and Scotty providing most of the punchlines, as usual during this period. So on that note, I recommend Mike Fright. P.S. This was the first time since before Teacher's Pet that LeRoy Shield's "Good Old Days" wasn't used as the theme song. Instead, his "Little Dancing Girl" was the opening credits theme here. The other Roach composer, Marvin Hatley, appears as the pianist here and briefly plays his "Honolulu Baby" before the program begins. It's interesting seeing Tommy Bond confronting Little Leonard Kibrick since he'd eventually come back to the series as the bully Butch a few years later with Leonard's brother Sidney playing his sidekick "The Woim". And the tap dancing little sailor-Billy Lee-would eventually co-star with future Our Gang member Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer in the feature Reg'lar Fellers.
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