Tulsa TV Memories: Tulsa pop culture      

Spanky McFarland

Spanky's Clubhouse

featuring the original,
and by then, grown-up

Spanky McFarland
of "Little Rascals" fame

Spanky as a Little Rascal(from Guestbook 5) George Brumby said:

Spanky McFarland was hip..he used to do remotes at the old fire station on 18th and Boston. I was on his show a couple of times...

(Once) my sister and I went down to the fire station to film a skit...Spanky hooked me up to one of those big hooked firemen's belts, then he told me to take off running...Of course, I didn't go anywhere 'cause I was leashed to Spanky...

(You can't quite read it in this picture, but the adult Spanky's beany says "Swift's Ice Cream")

(from Guestbook 24) former Tulsa mayor Terry Young said:

I had asthma REALLY bad as a kid. This takes on more importance later. My cub scout group (Den 21, Pack 42, Holmes School) had its day on Spanky's Clubhouse on Channel 6. I got to sit in the Sargeant-At-Arms seat on Spanky's right and my pal, Mike Beason (who lived around the block) was on Spanky's left. Spanky began asking us a lot of "boy scout" kinds of questions. He wanted to know how we would start a fire in the woods...."by rubbing two sticks together?" We said, "Yeah." He grabbed me and Mike and walked us straight out to the camera, took my left arm and Mike's right arm and proceeded to rub them together. One of the floor crew, on cue, threw a match into a pile of explosive powder on the floor beneath the camera and -- BOOM! Now, I'm sure that the audience at home got a big kick out of the two cub scouts being rubbed together and exploding. What it did to me, though, was create an acrid smoke that gave me an asthma attack that lasted three days. That's why I like Lee and Lionel better than Spanky. Besides, no 40+ year old guy should be running around in a beany and shorts playing with little boys!

Lee Woodward (from Guestbook 42) Lee Woodward said:

In response to the Spanky McFarland mention: I was asked to sit in as "host" on the Spanky set until he could arrive in town. I think he was about a week late.

An amusing sidebar was that after two or three days on the show, sitting on the front porch of his make believe house, some viewers called in suggesting that Spanky avail himself of a jock strap! It was apparent that Spanky was no longer a little kid! (Although I must say he still looked like one except for the heavy beard.)

Spanky McFarland, taken in 1974 at the Oklahoma Alliance of Fans (OAF) in OKC by Gailard Sartain Picture of Spanky McFarland taken in 1974 at the Oklahoma Alliance of Fans (OAF) in OKC by Gailard Sartain

(from Guestbook 45) Mike Staniford said:

Does anyone but me remember Barnabas the balloon committing suicide on Spanky's Club House? Barnabas was a penny balloon with an evil-looking face painted on it. He would inflate and then Spanky would have a conversation with him. Barnabas' lips didn't move or anything. His whole thing was inflating and deflating. One day Barnabas became extremely aggravated and threatened to keep inflating until he burst. Spanky took him up on his threat and a day was set for Barnabas' self-inflicted death to be telecast on local TV. If I remember correctly, Spanky made a contest out of this and the kid who guessed the nearest time of Barnabas' death won a prize. It did happen. Barnabas got bigger and bigger. I don't remember what he was saying, but he kept talking until "POP" he blew himself into pieces. I often wonder how many kids who saw this have been marked for life. When I tell people about Barnabas, I sometimes doubt if it actually happened.

(from Guestbook 46) Mary Ann said:

As I read Mike Staniford's account of the infamous balloon, "Barnabas" on Spanky's Club House, I remember begging my mother to send in a postcard with our guesstimate of the time and date of Barnabas' demise. I wondered if Mike remembered that the prize was a puppy.

(from Guestbook 46) Joe Langley said:

Some memories to share. My family moved to Tulsa in 1957. Children's programming in the afternoon included Spanky McFarland showing "Little Rascals" on KOTV, "Popeye Theater with Captain Hal" on KTUL and another show which was a predecessor to "Big Bill and Oom-A-Gog" on KVOO. My first visit to a TV station was my sixth birthday at KTUL to be on "Popeye Theater."

I also remember meeting Spanky at the Tulsa State Fair when KOTV did live remotes from the fair. I remember the balloon head exploding, but didn't recall that being a suicidal gesture.

In 1992, I was on a plane from Nassau to Atlanta. Spanky was in the seat behind me. We chatted briefly--I told him that I had met him when I was about six or seven years old. He said it must have been in Tulsa. I told him it was indeed.

(from email, 7/6/2004) Jim Reid said:

I am sending along a copy of a picture a friend of mine took down here in Dallas in 1992. It's Spanky McFarland and Hal Roach.

Webmaster: The links above are to the Internet Movie Database for more about the careers of these gentlemen. Hal Roach, the producer of the "Our Gang" and Laurel and Hardy features, was 100 years old in 1992!

From the IMDb: Spanky's famous double and triple-takes were taught to him by Stan Laurel, while a lot of his mannerisms (rolling of eyes, hands on hips, and his trademark exasperated expression) were inspired by Oliver Hardy.

Spanky McFarland and Hal Roach, 1992
Spanky McFarland and Hal Roach in 1992, courtesy of Jim Reid

Little Rascals by Leonrad Maltin    Read a brief Spanky bio

More about Spanky in Tulsa at TVparty!

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