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River City Rascals 94

Notice: All logos on this page are included within the parameters of 17 U.S.C. § 107, which states that the reproduction of a copyrighted work for purposes of criticism and/or comment is not an infringement of copyright. No challenge to the copyrights of these logos is intended by their inclusion here.
Posted 2016 May 21

This is approximately the 350th review I've written for this site. Longtime readers of the site have probably noticed over the years that I've developed a habit of straying from the actual topic of the site in several reviews. At one point or another, readers have been treated to a history of the building of Mount Rushmore, accusations that one team was engaged in specicide, complaints about how bad Saturday morning cartoons in the 70s were, and a couple dozen other topics that I can't even remember. I'm sure you can guess why I do this: after this many reviews, it gets difficult to find something new and interesting about every logo that comes down the pike. So I try to find other light-hearted subjects to write about, or at least subjects I can write about in a light-hearted way. I wish I could do it more often, truth be told; I feel like I'm being tedious just writing about the name and logo when I so rarely come up with something new to say about them. And so when I saw this logo and instantly recognized that the dog in the logo was supposed to be the dog from the old Little Rascals shorts (presumably because the team's name is "Rascals", and it's not easy to represent a "Rascal" in logo form), I thought I had myself a nice, light-hearted topic to write about.

Then I started researching. And things got dark.

You know the supposed "Little Rascals Curse"? For those not familiar with it, the idea is that an unusually large number of people who appeared in the Little Rascals shorts died tragically at young ages, often for reasons such as suicide, being shot, and so forth. Snopes has debunked the idea, but for reasons that are a bit subtle. There really are a fair amount of tragic deaths to be found studying the lives and deaths of Little Rascals actors; it's just that such cases weren't really any more common among Little Rascals actors than they were among the general population born in that general time span. (It also seems worse than it is because the fact that there were only half a dozen or so members of the group at any given time obscures the fact that dozens of actors appeared in them over the course of the series' 22-year run.) But the fact remains that many of the actors did meet tragic ends, and that even manages to include the first non-human actor in the series.

The dog in question was named "Pal, the Wonder Dog" in real life. He actually got his start in Buster Brown shorts, which ran around the same time as the first Our Gang shorts, playing Buster's pet, Tige. He soon moved over to Our Gang where he was dubbed Petey. However, his run as Petey was short-lived, as he was poisoned soon after. From what I could find, no one knows who did it or why, but it's generally assumed that someone had a grudge against Pal's owner and took it out on Pal. Pal was then replaced by his son (named Peter) for the next two years. At this point Peter's owner (and formerly Pal's owner) was fired by the producer, and a string of other dogs played Petey for the remainder of the series' run.

So much for a light-hearted bit about a show biz dog.

As I said a few paragraphs above, it's not hard to figure out why the logo for the River City Rascals involves a drawing of the dog from the Little Rascals shorts when you try to think of anything else to put into the logo. (That being said, they didn't have to give the dog steroidal arms and a baseball bat.) But it's still an odd choice when you think about it. The last Little Rascals short was released in 1944. I'm guessing most people under the age of 50 or so have only the vaguest memories of watching Little Rascals, and don't necessarily recognize the dog. I'm not entirely certain why I recognize the dog, to be honest. I don't remember watching much Little Rascals when I was young. And although I could be wrong, I suspect I've watched more early movie shorts than most people my age (particularly Harold Lloyd, and to a lesser extent Three Stooges). If I don't remember Petey, what are the odds more than a small handful of the people who go to the games do?

Still, it's not like I have any better ideas, and I doubt anyone reading this does, either. So the team may as well stick with the dog from nearly a century ago.

Final Score: 94 points.
Penalties: Region, 8 pts; Alliteration, 5 pts; Humanoid, 30 pts; Player, 51 pts.
Bonuses: None.


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