The Spanking Age (1928)

Hal Roach Studios
Starring:
 Mary Ann Jackson, Bobby ‘Wheezer’ Hutchins
Directed by: Robert F. McGowan

Synopsis: Mary Ann and Wheezer are treated badly by their stepmother who dotes on her own daughter (Jean Darling) so they decide to throw a party for the Gang while she is away.

Cat Burglar (Scene Stealer): Several scenes in this short feature a beautiful tabby cat who is sitting in the kitchen.

Our Gang - The Spanking Age - tabby cat sitting on kitchen floor

The first time the cat is seen is when both Pete the Pup and the cat place their paws over their heads in a common comedy shot of animal exasperation.

Our Gang - The Spanking Age - tabby cat on kitchen floor with paw over head

Our Gang - The Spanking Age - tabby cat places paw over head animated gif

Kitty Carnage Warning: Unfortunately the scenes featuring the cat after this are part of a cute but somewhat painful to watch running gag in which the frustration of punishment is taking out on the next smallest available being. It starts after Mary Ann and Wheezer are caught eating a cake placed up high on a shelf. An accident brings the whole shelf down and their stepmother spanks Mary Ann, then pours coal oil over the cake on the floor so it can’t be eaten. In frustration Mary Ann kicks Wheezer in the behind. Wheezer then turns and kicks Pete in the rear. Pete then spots the cat sitting nearby and backs up to it, kicking it in the rear as well.

Our Gang - The Spanking Age - tabby cat being kicked by Pete the dog animated gif

Our Gang - The Spanking Age - tabby cat sitting up on kitchen floor

The next time Jean slaps Mary Ann in the face. Mary Ann wants to hit Jean back but the stepmother appears, so she turns and slaps Wheezer instead. Wheezer then slaps Pete’s head. Again Pete walks up to the cat and bops it on the head with his paw.

Our Gang - The Spanking Age - tabby cat being bopped on head by Pete the dog animated gif

Our Gang - The Spanking Age - close up of tabby cat sitting on kitchen floor

The kicking joke is repeated when Mary Ann feels Wheezer isn’t moving fast enough to get eggs from the barn and kicks him, setting off the cycle once more.

Our Gang - The Spanking Age - tabby cat being kicked again by Pete the dog animated gif

Granted the hits and kicks in this are not extremely violent but it’s still a bit unnerving to see animals being treated this way (not to mention the children!)

Our Gang - The Spanking Age - tabby cat sitting on kitchen floor with Pete the Pup standing beside

Final Mewsings: Cats shouldn’t be at the bottom of the abuse chain.


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