AN EXTREMELY RARE EUGENE PINEAPPLE JACKSON OUR GANG 1959 AFTRA AGREEMENT SIGNED DOCUMENT FOR NBC WITH COPY RECEIPT IN BLUE. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW I HAVE CUT OUT HIS SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. Jackson II (December 25, 1916 – October 26, 2001) was an American former child actor who was a regular of the Our Gang short series during the silent Pathé era. Guns firing, cannons blasting, and thousands of Americans dying sum up the horrific conditions during the Civil War that are depicted so vividly in Andrew McLaglen’s momentous Western saga, Shenandoah. Sentimental as well as action-packed, the film is graced by an all-star cast of sensitive performers including James Stewart, Rosemary Forsyth, Glenn Corbett, Katherine Ross, and Doug McClure. Eugene Jackson III, in particular, had the responsibility of representing the entire black race. As the young slave, “Gabriel, ” Jackson’s integrity, loyalty, and ultimately, his heroism, made him Shenandoah’s champion of human decency. Shenandoah was not Jackson’s first film, nor his last. Guided by his loving parents, Eugene II and Susie, Jackson was raised in front of the camera. As an adult, Jackson’s fascination for the medium led him to further his motion picture career by working directly through its lens. Today, his resume of camera work is impressive, and includes classic television programs like Emergency, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Columbo, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Mork and Mindy, as well as the more recent hits, Hearts Afire, Hunter, Cheers, Hill Street Blues, and Seinfeld. Incidentally, Paramount Studios, where Jackson has distinguished himself as a cameraman, is where he got his start as an actor in 1953. In those days, Jackson’s father in show business since 1924-he was the beloved “Pineapple” of the Our Gang comedies! Was a respected actor….. Eugene Jackson, who starred in several”Our Gang” comedies in the 1920’s as a character called Pineapple, died on Friday at his home in Compton, Calif. Jackson’s character appeared in six”Our Gang” films:”The Mysterious Mystery,””The Big Town,””Circus Fever,””Dog Days,””The Love Bug” and”Shootin’ Injuns. Jackson broke into show business in 1923 doing the shimmy for a bag of groceries at a downtown Los Angeles theater. When he was 6, he was introduced to Hal Roach, the man behind the classic”Our Gang” shorts, who took one look at the boy’s Afro, dubbed him”Pineapple” and signed him to a two-year contract. After his contract ended in 1926, Mr. Jackson went to work for Mack Sennett as the only black child in the Buster Brown comedies, and also was in Mary Pickford’s silent feature”Little Annie Rooney. Jackson experienced early Hollywood’s typecasting and pay differentials for minorities. Unlock more free articles. Create an account or log in.’Black kids had to look the part,” he said.’They would put stuff on my hair to make it look kinkier. Entering adolescence, he sang and danced on the vaudeville circuit and over the years was often cast in uncredited and stereotyped bit parts in films. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Mr. Jackson was on several pioneering black television shows. He was Diahann Carroll’s Uncle Lou on”Julia” and played Redd Foxx’s friend on occasional episodes of”Sanford and Son. Sweating to the Oldies. How to Help in a Pandemic: Ask Before You Donate 1,000 Pizzas. They Played Sports at the Highest Level. Now Their Job Is to Save Lives. Jackson taught dance at studios he established in Compton and Pasadena in his later years, and he published his autobiography,”Eugene Pineapple Jackson: His Own Story,” in 1998. His work was featured in a dance retrospective prepared for the 1993 Los Angeles Festival, an offshoot of the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival. He is survived by his wife, Sue; two daughters, Hazel Clark and Sue Black; and a son, Eugene III. Eugene Jackson with Jackie Condon. Birthday: December 25, 1916. Place of Birth: Buffalo, New York. Date of Death: October 25, 2001. Place of Death: Compton, California. First Short: The Mysterious Mystery! Last Short: Shootin’ Injuns. Number of Shorts: 6. History: Eugene Jackson Jr. Was already a child actor in Hollywood when he was brought in to replace Ernie Morrison Jr. In the vastly popular Our Gang series. Nicknamed Pineapple because of the uniquely shaped frock of hair on his head, he starred for one year in the shorts and went on to other acting roles. He was the the first African-American child actor to have a speaking part in a major motion picture in “Hearts in Dixie” (1929), and also had a recurring role in Julia, the first television series to star a female African-American lead. One of his last acting roles was as a one-armed musician in “The Addams Family” (1991) alongside Raul Julia, Angelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd and Christina Ricci, another child actor who would go on to great success. He wrote his autobiography in 1999 to celebrate his long film career, He died of a heart attack in 2001 at the age of eighty-four. He is survived by his son, Eugene Jackson III, a camera operator in the television industry. Little Annie Rooney (1925). Hearts In Dixie (1929) – with Matthew Beard and Dorothy Morrison. Cimarron (1931) – with Edith Fellows. Julia – TV Series (1968). The Addams Family (1991). Pineapple (Snowball) in The Mysterious Mystery! Name: Eugene “Gene” (Jackson) (Hoskins). Nicknames: Pineapple, Snowball in The Mysterious Mystery! Played By: Eugene Jackson. Bio: Not much is known about Pineapple. So named because his hair comes out of the top of his head like the leaves of a pineapple, he is revealed as Farina’s older brother after they both get “speckled fever” and will both be out of school for six weeks at the same time the circus is in town in Circus Fever. When he’s not stuck at home or in school, Pineapple earns pennies as a page for the local beauty salon, which the gang explores during their visit. When they get locked in a boxcar at the railroad yard, Pineapple and the others get an unexpected trip to New York City to see the sights. He and Farina also own a dog in Dog Days. Lissen, Hawk-eye — They’s callin’ us! – Pineapple (as Snowball) in The Mysterious Mystery. Ah got speckle fever – We kaint go to school fo’ six weeks. Pineapple (as Gene) in Circus Fever. Ah works me down in the beauty shop – We makes people look like what they ain’t. Pineapple in The Love Bug. Pineapple is referred to as “Snowball” in The Mysterious Mystery! And as “Gene” in Circus Fever and Shootin’ Injuns. When he joined the gang, Jackson replaced the series’ first black cast member, Ernie Morrison who was billed in the series as Sunshine Sammy, Jackson’s characters nickname was “Pineapple” because of his haircut’s similarity to the shape of the pineapple fruit. He played the character “Humidor” in one of Mary Pickford’s most successful films, Little Annie Rooney (1925). A large film poster of the cast of Little Annie Rooney, including Jackson, hangs in the lobby of the Mary Pickford Theatre of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood. Jackson also starred in Hearts in Dixie (1929), one of the first all-talking, big-studio productions to boast a predominately African-American cast. He was the first African-American child to have a speaking part in a major motion picture. In television, Jackson was a recurring character on Julia, the first network sitcom to have a female African-American lead, Diahann Carroll. Jackson played Julia’s uncle. Jackson’s last major feature film was The Addams Family (1991) with Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia and Christopher Lloyd.  He played a one-armed musician. Jackson wrote an autobiography in 1999 that contains pictures from his career in show business. Jackson died of a heart attack in Compton, California on October 26, 2001.  He was 84. Penrod and Sam (1923) – Verman. Her Reputation (1923) – Boy pushed into pond. Boy of Mine (1923) – Little Boy (uncredited). The Thief of Bagdad (1924) – Child (uncredited). Little Annie Rooney (1925) – Humidor (uncredited). Flirty Four-Flushers (1926, Short) – Boy Eating Watermelon (uncredited). Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1927) – Child (uncredited). Little Mickey Grogan (1927) – Dancing Black Boy (uncredited). Hearts in Dixie (1929) – Chinquapin. Dixiana (1930) – Cupid – Plantation House Boy (uncredited). Cimarron (1931) – Isaiah. Sporting Blood (1931) – Sam “Sammy”. Sporting Chance (1931) – Horseshoe. Secret Service (1931) – Israel Polk. Ladies Crave Excitement (1935) – Lightcrust – Horse Groom (uncredited). Tumbling Tumbleweeds (1935) – Eightball. Red River Valley (1936) – Iodine. The Lonely Trail (1936) – Harmonica Player / Dancer. Hearts in Bondage (1936) – Sam (uncredited). Guns and Guitars (1936) – Eightball. Midnight Court (1937) – Garfield Brown (uncredited). It Can’t Last Forever (1937) – Jackson Brothers Act (uncredited). Blonde Trouble (1937) – Bootblack (uncredited). Wine, Women and Horses (1937) – Eight Ball. Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry (1937) – Black Stable Boy (uncredited). The Buccaneer (1938) – James Smith, a Servant. Arrest Bulldog Drummond (1938) – Hotel Page Boy (uncredited). Tom Sawyer, Detective (1938) – Boy (uncredited). Kentucky (1938) – Jimmy (uncredited). Rhythm Rodeo (1938) – Tap Dancer. The Lady’s from Kentucky (1939) – Winfield (uncredited). Reform School (1939) – Pete. Boy Friend (1939) – Porter (uncredited). Television Spy (1939) – Tommy (uncredited). The Honeymoon’s Over (1939) – Parking Man (uncredited). Seventeen (1940) – Attendant (uncredited). Sporting Blood (1940) – Sam – Lockwood’s Horse Groom (uncredited). Melody and Moonlight (1940) – Dancer (uncredited). Golden Hoofs (1941) – Curly (uncredited). Unfinished Business (1941) – Bootblack (uncredited). Reap the Wild Wind (1942) – Dr. Jepson’s Black Servant (uncredited). Take My Life (1942) – Bill, Harlem Tuff-Kid Gang Member. Reveille with Beverly (1943) – Franklin Delano Lincoln Van Buren Jones (uncredited). What’s Buzzin’, Cousin? (1943) – Bellboy (uncredited). (1948) – Stable Hand – Tony (uncredited). The Story of Seabiscuit (1949) – Stablehand (uncredited). The Killer That Stalked New York (1950) – Bootblack (uncredited). Artists and Models (1955) – Street Saxophonist (uncredited). Jeanne Eagels (1957) – Piccaninny (uncredited). The Long, Hot Summer (1958) – Waiter (uncredited). King Creole (1958) – Saxophonist in Blue Shade (uncredited). The Gene Krupa Story (1959) – Saxophone Player (uncredited). The Apartment (1960) – Office Worker (uncredited). Two Weeks in Another Town (1962) – Commuter at Airport (uncredited). Critic’s Choice (1963) – Audience Member (uncredited). Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964) – Congregation Member (uncredited). Looking for Love (1964) – Office Worker (uncredited). Your Cheatin’ Heart (1964) – Theatre Patron (uncredited). Zebra in the Kitchen (1965) – Newsboy (uncredited). Shenandoah (1965) – Gabriel. Wild in the Streets (1968) – Congressman (uncredited). Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971) – Waiter Aboard Train (uncredited). Chandler (1971) – Shoe Shine Boy. The Carey Treatment (1972) – Doctor (uncredited). Black Girl (1972) – Parishioner (uncredited). Coffy (1973) – Man at Rally (uncredited). 40 Carats (1973) – Party Dancer (uncredited). Cleopatra Jones (1973) – Henry. The Day of the Locust (1975) – Doorman (uncredited). Sparkle (1976) – Hotel Bellboy (uncredited). Five Days from Home (1978) – Inmate (uncredited). Escape from Alcatraz (1979) – Inmate #7. American Gigolo (1980) – Bootblack. Off the Wall (1983) – Old Black Man. Swing Shift (1984) – Bartender at Kelly’s. Life Stinks (1991) – Office Janitor (uncredited). The Addams Family (1991) – One-Armed Bass Player. Our Gang (known subsequently to television syndication as The Little Rascals or Hal Roach’s Rascals) is an American series of comedy short films chronicling a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures. Created by comedy producer and studio executive Hal Roach, the series was produced in various forms from 1922 to 1944 and is noted for showing children behaving in a relatively natural way. Roach and original director Robert F. McGowan worked to film the unaffected, raw nuances apparent in regular children rather than have them imitate adult acting styles. The series broke new ground by portraying white and black children interacting as equals. Roach changed distributors from Pathé to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in 1927, and the series entered its most popular period after converting to sound in 1929. Across 220 short films and a feature-film spin-off, General Spanky, the Our Gang series featured over 41 child actors as regular members of cast. Roach’s The Little Rascals package (now owned by CBS Television Distribution) and MGM’s Our Gang package now owned by Turner Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros. Television have since remained in syndication. New productions based on the shorts have been made over the years, including a 1994 feature film, The Little Rascals, released by Universal Pictures. Finding and replacing the cast. The final Roach years. Later years and The Little Rascals revival. The Little Rascals television package. King World’s acquisition and edits. New Little Rascals productions. Imitators, followers, and frauds. Persons and entities named after Our Gang. Home media and rights to the films. 16 mm, VHS, and DVD releases. Our Gang cast and personnel. Notable Our Gang comedies. Unlike many motion pictures featuring children and based in fantasy, producer/creator Hal Roach rooted Our Gang in real life: most of the children were poor, and the gang was often at odds with snobbish “rich kids, ” officious adults, parents, and other such adversaries. Senior director Robert F. McGowan helmed most of the Our Gang shorts until 1933, assisted by his nephew Anthony Mack. McGowan worked to develop a style that allowed the children to be as natural as possible, downplaying the importance of the filmmaking equipment. Scripts were written for the shorts by the Hal Roach comedy writing staff, which included at various times Leo McCarey, Frank Capra, Walter Lantz and Frank Tashlin, among others.  The children, some too young to read, rarely saw the scripts; instead McGowan would explain the scene to be filmed to each child immediately before it was shot, directing the children using a megaphone and encouraging improvisation.  When sound came in at the end of the 1920s, McGowan modified his approach slightly, but scripts were not adhered to until McGowan left the series. Later Our Gang directors, such as Gus Meins and Gordon Douglas, streamlined the approach to McGowan’s methods to meet the demands of the increasingly sophisticated movie industry of the mid-to-late 1930s.  Douglas in particular had to streamline his films, as he directed Our Gang after Roach halved the running times of the shorts from two reels (20 minutes) to one reel (10 minutes). As children became too old for the series, they were replaced by new children, usually from the Los Angeles area. Eventually Our Gang talent scouting employed large-scale national contests in which thousands of children tried out for an open role. For example, Norman Chaney who played Chubby (replaced Joe Cobb), Matthew Beard who played Stymie (replaced Allen Hoskins, who was Farina) and Billie Thomas as Buckwheat (who replaced Stymie) all won contests to become members of the gang.  Even when there was no talent search, the studio was bombarded by requests from parents who were sure their children were perfect for the series. Among them were the future child stars Mickey Rooney and Shirley Temple, neither of whom made it past the audition. Original theatrical poster for the Our Gang comedy Baby Brother, in which Allen “Farina” Hoskins (center) paints a black baby with white shoe polish so that he can sell him to a lonely rich boy, Joe Cobb (right), as a baby brother. The Our Gang series is notable for being one of the first in cinema history in which African-Americans and White Americans were portrayed as equals. The four African-American child actors who held main roles in the series were Ernie Morrison, Allen Hoskins, Matthew Beard and Billie Thomas. Ernie Morrison was, in fact, the first African-American actor signed to a long-term contract in Hollywood history and the first major African-American star in Hollywood history. Although the African-American characters have since been criticized as racial stereotypes,  in their adult years, actors Morrison, Beard, and Thomas defended the series, maintaining that its integrated cast and innocent story lines were not racist. They argued that the white characters in the series were similarly stereotyped: the “freckle-faced kid”, the “fat kid”, the “neighborhood bully”, the “pretty blond girl”, and the “mischievous toddler”. “We were just a group of kids who were having fun”, Beard recalled.  Morrison stated, When it came to race, Hal Roach was color-blind.  Other minorities, including Asian Americans Sing Joy, Allen Tong (also known as Alan Dong), and Edward Soo Hoo; and Italian American actor Mickey Gubitosi (later known as Robert Blake), were depicted in the series with varying levels of stereotyping. Left to right: Ernie “Sunshine Sammy” Morrison, Andy Samuel, Allen “Farina” Hoskins, Mickey Daniels and Joe Cobb in a 1923 still from one of the earliest Our Gang comedies. According to Roach, the idea for Our Gang came to him in 1921, when he was auditioning a child actress to appear in a film. The girl was, in his opinion, overly made up and overly rehearsed, and Roach waited for the audition to be over. After the girl and her mother left the office, Roach looked out of his window to a lumberyard across the street, where he saw some children having an argument. The children had all taken sticks from the lumberyard to play with, but the smallest child had the biggest stick, and the others were trying to force him to give it to the biggest child. After realizing that he had been watching the children bicker for 15 minutes, Roach thought a short film series about children just being themselves might be a success. Our Gang also had its roots in an aborted Roach short-subject series revolving around the adventures of a black boy called “Sunshine Sammy”, played by Ernie Morrison.  Theater owners then were wary of booking shorts focused on a black boy,  and the series ended after just one entry, The Pickaninny, was produced.  Morrison’s “Sunshine Sammy” instead became one of the foci of the new Our Gang series. Under the supervision of Charley Chase, work began on the first two-reel shorts in the new “kids-and-pets” series, to be called Hal Roach’s Rascals, later that year. Newmeyer helmed the first pilot film, entitled Our Gang, but Roach scrapped Newmeyer’s work and had former fireman Robert F. McGowan reshoot the short. Roach tested it at several theaters around Hollywood. The attendees were very receptive, and the press clamored for lots more of those’Our Gang’ comedies. ” The colloquial usage of the term Our Gang led to its becoming the series’ second (yet more popular) official title, with the title cards reading “Our Gang Comedies: Hal Roach presents His Rascals in…  The series was officially called both Our Gang and Hal Roach’s Rascals until 1932, when Our Gang became the sole title of the series. The first cast of Our Gang was recruited primarily of children recommended to Roach by studio employees, with the exception of Ernie Morrison, under contract to Roach. The other Our Gang recruits included Roach photographer Gene Kornman’s daughter Mary Kornman, their friends’ son Mickey Daniels, and family friends Allen Hoskins, Jack Davis, Jackie Condon, and Joe Cobb. Most early shorts were filmed outdoors and on location and featured a menagerie of animal characters, such as Dinah the Mule. Roach’s distributor Pathé released One Terrible Day, the fourth short produced for the series, as the first Our Gang short on September 10, 1922; the pilot Our Gang was not released until November 5. The Our Gang series was a success from the start, with the children’s naturalism, the funny animal actors, and McGowan’s direction making a successful combination. The shorts did well at the box office, and by the end of the decade the Our Gang children were pictured on numerous product endorsements. The biggest Our Gang stars then were Ernie Morrison as Sunshine Sammy, Mickey Daniels, Mary Kornman, and Allen Hoskins as little Farina, who eventually became the most popular member of the 1920s gang and the most popular black child star of the 1920s.  A reviewer wrote of her character in Photoplay: The honors go to a very young lady of color, billed as’Little Farina. Scarcely two years old, she goes through each set like a wee, sombre shadow.  Daniels and Kornman were very popular and were often paired in Our Gang and a later teen version of the series called The Boy Friends, which Roach produced from 1930 to 1932. Other early Our Gang children were Eugene Jackson as Pineapple, Scooter Lowry, Andy Samuel, Johnny Downs, Winston and Weston Doty, and Jay R. After Ernie, Mickey and Mary left the series in the mid 1920s, the Our Gang series entered a transitional period. The stress of directing child actors forced Robert McGowan to take doctor-mandated sabbaticals for exhaustion,  leaving his nephew Robert A. McGowan (credited as Anthony Mack) to direct many shorts in this period. The Mack-directed shorts are considered to be among the lesser entries in the series.  New faces included Bobby Hutchins as Wheezer, Harry Spear, Jean Darling and Mary Ann Jackson, while stalwart Farina served as the series’ anchor. Also at this time, the Our Gang cast acquired an American Bulldog with a ring around one eye, originally named Pansy but soon known as Pete the Pup, the most famous Our Gang pet. In 1927, Roach ended his distribution arrangement with the Pathé company. He signed on to release future products through the newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which released its first Our Gang comedy in September 1927. The move to MGM offered Roach larger budgets and the chance to have his films packaged with MGM features to the Loews Theatres chain. Some shorts around this time, particularly Spook Spoofing (1928, one of only two three-reelers in the Our Gang canon), contained extended scenes of the gang tormenting and teasing Farina, scenes which helped spur the claims of racism, which many other shorts did not warrant. These shorts marked the departure of Jackie Condon, who had been with the group from the beginning of the series. Jackie Cooper in the 1930 short School’s Out. Starting in 1928, Our Gang comedies were distributed with phonographic discs that contained synchronized music-and-sound-effect tracks for the shorts. In spring 1929, the Roach sound stages were converted for sound recording, and Our Gang made its “all-talking” debut in April 1929 with the 25-minute film Small Talk. It took a year for McGowan and the gang to fully adjust to talking pictures, during which time they lost Joe Cobb, Jean Darling and Harry Spear and added Norman Chaney, Dorothy DeBorba, Matthew “Stymie” Beard, Donald Haines and Jackie Cooper. Cooper proved to be the personality the series had been missing since Mickey Daniels left and was featured prominently in three 1930/1931 Our Gang films: Teacher’s Pet, School’s Out, and Love Business. These three shorts explored Jackie Cooper’s crush on the new schoolteacher Miss Crabtree, played by June Marlowe. Other Our Gang members appearing in the early sound shorts included Buddy McDonald, Clifton Young, and Shirley Jean Rickert. Many also appeared in a group cameo appearance in the all-star comedy short The Stolen Jools (1931). Beginning with the short When the Wind Blows, in 1930 background music scores were added to the soundtracks of most of the Our Gang films. Initially, the music consisted of orchestral versions of then popular tunes. Marvin Hatley had served as the music director of Hal Roach Studios since 1929, and RCA employee Leroy Shield joined the company as a part-time musical director in mid 1930. Hatley and Shield’s jazz-influenced scores, first featured in Our Gang with 1930s Pups is Pups, became recognizable trademarks of Our Gang, Laurel and Hardy, and the other Roach series and films. Another 1930 short, Teacher’s Pet, marked the first use of the Our Gang theme song, “Good Old Days”, composed by Shield and featuring a notable saxophone solo. Shield and Hatley’s scores supported Our Gang’s on-screen action regularly through 1934, after which series entries with background scores became less frequent. In 1930, Roach began production on The Boy Friends, a short-subject series which was essentially a teenaged version of Our Gang. Featuring Our Gang alumni Mickey Daniels and Mary Kornman among its cast, The Boy Friends was produced for two years, with fifteen installments in total. The gang races rich-kid Jerry Tucker in their makeshift fire engine in the 1934 short Hi’-Neighbor! Jackie Cooper left Our Gang in early 1931 at the cusp of another major shift in the lineup, as Farina Hoskins, Chubby Chaney, and Mary Ann Jackson all departed a few months afterward. Our Gang entered another transitional period, similar to that of the mid 1920s. Matthew Beard, Wheezer Hutchins, and Dorothy DeBorba carried the series during this period, aided by Sherwood Bailey and Kendall McComas, who would play Breezy Brisbane Unlike the mid-1920s period, McGowan sustained the quality of the series with the help of the several regular cast members and the Roach writing staff. Many of these shorts include early appearances of Jerry Tucker and Wally Albright, who later became series regulars. New Roach discovery George McFarland joined the gang as Spanky late in 1931 at the age of three and, excepting a brief hiatus during the summer of 1938, remained an Our Gang actor for eleven years. At first appearing as the tag-along toddler of the group, and later finding an accomplice in Scotty Beckett in 1934, Spanky quickly became Our Gang’s biggest child star. He won parts in a number of outside features, appeared in many of the now-numerous Our Gang product endorsements and spin-off merchandise items, and popularized the expressions Okey-dokey! Dickie Moore, a veteran child actor, joined in the middle of 1932 and remained with the series for one year. Other members in these years included Mary Ann Jackson’s brother Dickie Jackson, John “Uh-huh” Collum, and Tommy Bond. Upon Dickie Moore’s departure in mid 1933, long-term Our Gang members such as Wheezer (who had been with Our Gang since the late Pathé silents period) and Dorothy left the series as well. Robert McGowan, burned out from the stress of working with the child actors, had as early as 1931 attempted to resign from his position as Our Gang producer/director.  Lacking a replacement, Hal Roach persuaded him to stay on for another year.  At the start of the 1933-34 season, the Our Gang series format was significantly altered to accommodate McGowan and persuade him to stay another year.  The first two entries of the season in fall 1933, Bedtime Worries and Wild Poses (which featured a cameo by Laurel and Hardy), focused on Spanky and his hapless parents, portrayed by Gay Seabrook and Emerson Treacy, in a family-oriented situation comedy format similar to the style later popular on television. A smaller cast of Our Gang kids-Matthew Beard, Tommy Bond, Jerry Tucker, and Georgie Billings-were featured in supporting roles with reduced screen time. An unsatisfied McGowan abruptly left after Wild Poses. Coupled with a brief suspension in McFarland’s work permit,  Our Gang went into a four-month hiatus, during which the series was revised to a format similar to its original style and German-born Gus Meins was hired as the new series director. Released in March 1934, ended the hiatus and was the first series entry directed by Meins, a veteran of the once-competing Buster Brown short subject series. Meins’s Our Gang shorts were less improvisational than McGowan’s and featured a heavier reliance on dialogue. Retaining McFarland, Matthew Beard, Tommy Bond, and Jerry Tucker, the revised series added Scotty Beckett, Wally Albright, and Billie Thomas, who soon began playing the character of Stymie’s sister “Buckwheat, ” though Thomas was a male. Semi-regular actors, such as Jackie Lynn Taylor, Marianne Edwards, and Leonard Kibrick as the neighborhood bully, joined the series at this time. Tommy Bond and Wally Albright left in the middle of 1934; Jackie Lynn Taylor and Marianne Edwards would depart by 1935. Early in 1935, new cast members Carl Switzer and his brother Harold joined Our Gang after impressing Roach with an impromptu musical performance at the studio commissary. While Harold would eventually be relegated to the role of a background player, Carl, nicknamed “Alfalfa, ” eventually replaced Scotty Beckett as Spanky’s sidekick. Matthew Beard as Stymie left the cast soon after, and the Buckwheat character morphed subtly into a male. That same year, Darla Hood, Patsy May, and Eugene Lee as Porky joined the gang. Our Gang was very successful during the 1920s and the early 1930s. However, by 1934, many movie theater owners were increasingly dropping two-reel (20-minute) comedies like Our Gang and the Laurel & Hardy series from their bills and running double feature programs instead. The Laurel & Hardy series went from film shorts to features exclusively in mid 1935. By 1936, Hal Roach began debating plans to discontinue Our Gang until Louis B. Mayer, head of Roach’s distributor MGM, persuaded Roach to keep the popular series in production.  Roach agreed, producing shorter, one-reel Our Gang comedies (ten minutes in length instead of twenty). The first one-reel Our Gang short, Bored of Education (1936), marked the Our Gang directorial debut of former assistant director Gordon Douglas and won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject (One Reel) in 1937. As part of the arrangement with MGM to continue Our Gang, Roach received the clearance to produce an Our Gang feature film, General Spanky, hoping that he might move the series to features as was done with Laurel & Hardy.  Directed by Gordon Douglas and Fred Newmeyer, General Spanky featured characters Spanky, Buckwheat, and Alfalfa in a sentimental, Shirley Temple-esque story set during the American Civil War. The film focused more on the adult leads (Phillips Holmes and Rosina Lawrence) than the children and was a box office disappointment.  No further Our Gang features were made. George McFarland, Darla Hood, and Carl Switzer in the “Club Spanky” dream sequence from the 1937 short Our Gang Follies of 1938. After years of gradual cast changes, the troupe standardized in 1936 with the move to one-reel shorts. Sidney Kibrick, the younger brother of Leonard Kibrick, played Butch’s crony, Woim. Glove Taps also featured the first appearance of Darwood Kaye as the bespectacled, foppish Waldo. In later shorts, both Butch and Waldo were portrayed as Alfalfa’s rivals in his pursuit of Darla’s affections. Roach produced the final two-reel Our Gang short, a high-budget musical special entitled Our Gang Follies of 1938, in 1937 as a parody of MGM’s Broadway Melody of 1938. In Follies of 1938, Alfalfa, who aspires to be an opera singer, falls asleep and dreams that his old pal Spanky has become the rich owner of a swanky Broadway nightclub where Darla and Buckwheat perform, making hundreds and thousands of dollars. As the profit margins continued to decline owing to double features,  Roach could no longer afford to continue producing Our Gang. However, MGM did not want the series discontinued and agreed to take over production.  After delivering the Laurel and Hardy feature Block-Heads, Roach also ended his distribution contract with MGM, moving to United Artists and leaving the short-subjects business. The final Roach-produced short in the Our Gang series, Hide and Shriek, was his final short-subject production. The Little Ranger was the first Our Gang short to be produced in-house at MGM. Gordon Douglas was loaned out from Hal Roach Studios to direct The Little Ranger and another early MGM short, Aladdin’s Lantern, while MGM hired newcomer George Sidney as the permanent series director. Our Gang would be used by MGM as a training ground for future feature directors: Sidney, Edward Cahn and Cy Endfield all worked on Our Gang before moving on to features. Another director, Herbert Glazer, remained a second-unit director outside of his work on the series. Nearly all of the 52 MGM-produced Our Gangs were written by former Roach director Hal Law and former junior director Robert A. McGowan also known as Anthony Mack, nephew of former senior Our Gang director Robert F. McGowan was credited for these shorts as “Robert McGowan”; as a result, moviegoers have been confused for decades about whether this Robert McGowan and the senior director of the same name at Roach were two separate people. The last few of the Roach comedies featured Alfalfa Switzer as the lead character; Spanky McFarland had departed from the series just before its sale to MGM.  Casting his replacement was delayed until after the move to MGM, at which point MGM rehired McFarland. In 1939, Mickey Gubitosi (later known by the stage name of Robert Blake) replaced Eugene “Porky” Lee, who had matured too quickly.  Tommy Bond, Darwood Kaye, and Alfalfa Switzer all left the series in 1940, and Billy “Froggy” Laughlin (with his Popeye-esque trick voice) and Janet Burston were added to the cast. By the end of 1941, Darla Hood had departed from the series, and Spanky McFarland followed her within a year. Billie Thomas as Buckwheat remained in the cast until the end of the series as the sole holdover from the Roach era. Overall, the Our Gang films produced by MGM were not as well-received as the Roach-produced shorts had been, largely due to MGM’s inexperience with the brand of slapstick comedy that Our Gang was famous for, and to MGM’s insistence on keeping Alfalfa, Spanky, and Buckwheat in the series as they became teens.  The MGM entries are considered by many film historians, and the Our Gang children themselves, to be lesser films than the Roach entries.  The children’s performances were criticized as stilted and stiff, their dialogue being recited instead of spoken naturally. Adult situations often drove the action, with each film often incorporating a moral, a civics lesson, or a patriotic theme.  The series was given a permanent setting in the fictitious town of Greenpoint, and the mayhem caused by the Our Gang kids was toned down significantly. Exhibitors noticed the drop in quality, and often complained that the series was slipping. When six of the 13 shorts released between 1942 and 1943 sustained losses rather than turning profits,  MGM discontinued Our Gang, releasing the final short, Dancing Romeo, on April 29, 1944 (as an MGM Miniature, not an Our Gang comedy). Since 1937, Our Gang had been featured as a licensed comic strip in the UK comic The Dandy, drawn by Dudley D. Starting in 1942, MGM licensed Our Gang to Dell Comics for the publication of Our Gang Comics, featuring the gang, Barney Bear, and Tom and Jerry. The strips in The Dandy ended three years after the demise of the Our Gang shorts, in 1947. Our Gang Comics outlasted the series by five years, changing its name to Tom and Jerry Comics in 1949. In 2006, Fantagraphics Books began issuing a series of volumes reprinting the Our Gang stories, mostly written and drawn by Pogo creator Walt Kelly. Neither film was critically or financially successful, and Roach turned to re-releasing the original Our Gang comedies. Under the terms of the sale, Roach was required to remove the MGM Lion studio logo and all instances of the names or logos “Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer”, “Loew’s Incorporated”, and Our Gang from the reissued film prints. Using a modified version of the series’ original name, Roach repackaged 79 of the 80 sound Our Gang shorts as The Little Rascals. Monogram Pictures and its successor, Allied Artists, reissued the films to theaters beginning in 1950. Allied Artists’ television department, Interstate Television, syndicated the films to TV in 1955. Under its new name, The Little Rascals enjoyed renewed popularity on television, and new Little Rascals comic books, toys, and other licensed merchandise were produced. Seeing the potential of the property, MGM began distributing its own Our Gang shorts to television in September 1958, and the two separate packages of Our Gang films competed with each other in syndication for three decades. Some stations bought both packages and played them alongside each other under the Little Rascals show banner. In 1963, Hal Roach Studios, by then run by Roach’s son Hal Jr, filed for bankruptcy. The success of The Little Rascals paved the way for King’s new company, King World Productions, to grow into one of the largest television syndicators in the world. Currently, ViacomCBS, King World’s latest successor, handles distribution rights. In 1971, because of controversy over some dated racial humor in the shorts and other content deemed to be in bad taste, King World made significant edits to Little Rascals TV prints. Many series entries were trimmed by two to four minutes, while others (among them Spanky, Bargain Day, The Pinch Singer and Mush and Milk) were cut to nearly half of their original length. At the same time, eight Little Rascals shorts were pulled from the King World television package altogether. Lazy Days, Moan and Groan, Inc. The Stepin Fetchit-guest-starred A Tough Winter, Little Daddy, A Lad an’ a Lamp, The Kid From Borneo, and Little Sinner were deleted from the syndication package because of perceived racism, while Big Ears was deleted for its depiction of carelessly ingesting an assortment of drugs out of a medicine cabinet. The early talkie Railroadin’ was never part of the television package because its soundtrack (recorded on phonographic records) was considered lost, although it was later found and restored to the film. In the early 2000s, the 71 films in the King World package were re-edited, reinstating many (though not all) edits made in 1971 and the original Our Gang title cards. These new television prints made their debut on the American Movie Classics cable network in 2001 and ran until 2003. Many producers, including Our Gang alumnus Jackie Cooper, made pilots for new Little Rascals television series, but none ever went into production. In 1977, Norman Lear tried to revive the Rascals franchise, taping three pilot episodes of The Little Rascals. The pilots were not bought, but were notable for including Gary Coleman. 1979 brought The Little Rascals Christmas Special, an animated holiday special produced by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson, written by Romeo Muller and featuring the voice work of Darla Hood (who died suddenly before the special aired) and Matthew “Stymie” Beard. From 1982 to 1984, Hanna-Barbera Productions produced a Saturday morning cartoon version of The Little Rascals, which aired on ABC during The Pac-Man/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show (later The Monchichis/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show).  It starred the voices of Patty Maloney as Darla; Peter Cullen as Petey and Officer Ed; Scott Menville as Spanky; Julie McWhirter Dees as Alfalfa, Porky and The Woim; Shavar Ross as Buckwheat, and B. Ward as Butch and Waldo. In 1994, Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures released The Little Rascals, a feature film based loosely on the series and featuring interpretations of classic Our Gang shorts, including Hearts are Thumps, Rushin’ Ballet, and Hi’-Neighbor! The film, directed by Penelope Spheeris, starred Travis Tedford as Spanky, Bug Hall as Alfalfa, and Ross Bagley as Buckwheat; with cameos by the Olsen twins, Whoopi Goldberg, Mel Brooks, Reba McEntire, Daryl Hannah, Donald Trump and Raven-Symoné. In 2014, Universal Pictures released a direct-to-video film, The Little Rascals Save the Day. This was a second film loosely based on the series and featuring interpretations of classic Our Gang shorts, including Helping Grandma, Mike Fright, and Birthday Blues. The film was directed by Alex Zamm, and starred Jet Jurgensmeyer as Spanky, Drew Justice as Alfalfa, Eden Wood as Darla, and Doris Roberts as the kids’ adopted Grandma. Painted cover to Four Color Comics number 674, featuring “The Little Rascals” (Dell, January 1956). The characters in this series are well-known cultural icons, and identified solely by their first names. The characters of Alfalfa, Spanky, Buckwheat, Porky, Darla, Froggy, Butch, Woim, and Waldo were especially well known. Like many child actors, the Our Gang children were typecast and had trouble outgrowing their Our Gang images. Several Our Gang alumni, among them Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer, Scotty Beckett, Norman “Chubby” Chaney, Billy “Froggy” Laughlin, Donald Haines, Bobby “Wheezer” Hutchins, Darla Hood, Matthew “Stymie” Beard, Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas, and George “Spanky” McFarland, died before age 65, in most cases well earlier. This led to rumors of an Our Gang/Little Rascals “curse”, rumors further popularized by a 2002 E! True Hollywood Story documentary entitled “The Curse of the Little Rascals”. The children’s work in the series was largely unrewarded in later years, although Spanky McFarland was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame posthumously in 1994. Neither he nor any other Our Gang children received any residuals or royalties from reruns of the shorts or licensed products with their likenesses. One notable exception was Jackie Cooper, who was later nominated for an Academy Award and had a career as an adult actor. Another was Robert Blake, who found great success in the 1960s and 1970s as an actor, with films like In Cold Blood (1967) and television shows like Baretta (1975-78), which netted him an Emmy Award. The 1930 Our Gang short Pups is Pups was an inductee of the 2004 National Film Registry list. Due to the popularity of Our Gang, many similar kid comedy short film series were created by competing studios. Among the most notable are The Kiddie Troupers, featuring future comedian Eddie Bracken; Baby Burlesks, featuring Shirley Temple; the Buster Brown comedies (from which Our Gang received Pete the Pup and director Gus Meins); and Our Gang’s main competitor, the Toonerville Trolley-based Mickey McGuire series starring Mickey Rooney. There is evidence that Our Gang-style productions were filmed in small towns and cities around the country using local children actors in the 1920s and 1930s. These productions did not appear to be affiliated with Hal Roach, but often used storylines from the shorts of the period, and sometimes went so far as to identify themselves as being Our Gang productions. In later years, many adults falsely claimed to have been members of Our Gang. A long list of people, including persons famous in other capacities such as Nanette Fabray, Eddie Bracken, and gossip columnist Joyce Haber claimed to be or have been publicly called former Our Gang children.  Bracken’s official biography was once altered to state that he appeared in Our Gang instead of The Kiddie Troupers, although he himself had no knowledge of the change. Among notable Our Gang imposters is Jack Bothwell, who claimed to have portrayed a character named “Freckles”,  going so far as to appear on the game show To Tell The Truth in the fall of 1957, perpetuating this fraud.  In 2008, a Darla Hood impostor, Mollie Barron, died claiming to have appeared as Darla in Our Gang.  Another is Bill English, a grocery store employee who appeared on the October 5, 1990, episode of the ABC investigative television newsmagazine 20/20 claiming to have been Buckwheat. Following the broadcast, Spanky McFarland informed the media of the truth,  and in December, William Thomas, Jr. (son of Billie Thomas, the person who played Buckwheat) filed a lawsuit against ABC for negligence. A number of groups, companies, and entities have been inspired by or named after Our Gang. The folk-rock group Spanky and Our Gang was named for the troupe because lead singer Elaine “Spanky” McFarlane’s last name was similar to that of George “Spanky” McFarland. The band had no connection with the actual Our Gang series. Numerous unauthorized Little Rascals and Our Gang restaurants and day care centers also exist throughout the United States. Further information: Our Gang filmography. In the 1950s, home movie distributor Official Films released many of the Hal Roach talkies on 16 mm film. These were released as “Famous Kid Comedies, ” as Official could not use “Our Gang”. The company’s licensing only lasted for a short period. For years afterward, Blackhawk Films released 79 of the 80 Roach talkies on 8mm and 16 mm film. The sound discs for Railroadin’ had been lost since the 1940s, and a silent print was available for home movie release until 1982, when the film’s sound discs were located in the MGM vault and the short was restored with sound. Like the television prints, Blackhawk’s Little Rascals reissues featured custom title cards in place of the original Our Gang logos, per MGM’s 1949 arrangement with Hal Roach not to distribute the series under its original title. Edits to the films were the replacements of the original Our Gang title cards with Little Rascals titles. In 1983, with the VHS home video market growing, Blackhawk began distributing Little Rascals VHS tapes through catalogue, with three shorts per tape. Blackhawk Films was acquired in 1983 by National Telefilm Associates, later being renamed Republic Pictures. By then, all but 11 of the Roach-era sound films were available on home video. Cabin Fever acquired the rights to use the original Our Gang title cards and MGM logos, and for the first time in over 50 years, the Roach sound Our Gang comedies could be commercially exhibited in their original formats. The first twelve volumes of The Little Rascals were released on July 6, 1994, followed by nine more on July 11, 1995, coinciding with the theatrical and home video releases of Universal’s 1994 feature.  Each tape contains four shorts, as well as specially-produced introductions by Leonard Maltin. On August 26, 1997, a limited edition volume, For Pete’s Sake, was released in honor of the Rascals’ 75th anniversary, and contained an introduction from original cast member Tommy “Butch” Bond and Petey from the 1994 feature. The video contained three previously-released shorts, plus the never-before-available silent short Dog Heaven; it was also available in a gift set with a Pete plush doll. Cabin Fever began pressing DVD versions of their first 12 Little Rascals VHS volumes (with the contents of two VHS volumes included on each DVD), but went out of business in 1998 before their release. Hallmark colorized a few Our Gang shorts and released them across 8 VHS tapes. Later that year, the first 10 Cabin Fever volumes were re-released on VHS with new packaging, and the first two volumes were released on DVD as The Little Rascals: Volumes 1-2. Two further Hallmark DVD collections featured ten shorts apiece, and were released in 2003 and 2005, respectively. From 2006 to 2009, Legend Films produced colorized versions of twenty four Our Gang comedies (23 Roach entries, and the public domain MGM entry Waldo’s Last Stand), which were released across five Little Rascals DVDs. In 2011, Legend Films released black and white versions of Little Rascals DVDs. RHI Entertainment and Genius Products released an eight-disc DVD set, The Little Rascals – the Complete Collection, on October 28, 2008.  This set includes all 80 Hal Roach-produced Our Gang sound short films. Most of the collection uses the 1994 restorations, while 16 shorts are presented with older Blackhawk Films transfers as their remastered copies were lost or misplaced during preparations. On June 14, 2011, Vivendi Entertainment re-released seven of the eight DVD’s from RHI/Genius Products’ The Little Rascals – The Complete Collection as individual releases. This includes the 80 shorts – replacing the Blackhawk transfers on the previous set with their respective 1994 restorations – but excludes the disc featuring the extras. During the 1980s and 1990s, MGM released several non-comprehensive VHS tapes of its shorts, and a VHS of the feature General Spanky. After video rights for the classic MGM library reverted to their new owners, Turner Entertainment/Warner Bros. In the late 1990s, four of the MGM Our Gang shorts appeared as bonus features on Warner Bros. Issued classic film DVD releases. A MOD release of General Spanky was also released by Warner Archive in 2016. There are many unofficial Our Gang and Little Rascals home video collections available from several other distributors, comprising shorts (both silent and sound) which have fallen into the public domain. Currently, the rights to the Our Gang/Little Rascals shorts are scattered. Sonar Entertainment (formerly known as RHI Entertainment, Cabin Fever Entertainment and Hallmark Entertainment) owns the copyrights of and holds the theatrical and home video rights to the Roach-produced Our Gang shorts. Sonar acquired these after absorbing Hal Roach Studios in 1988, and both Roach’s estate and Cabin Fever Entertainment in the late 1990s. CBS offers original black-and-white and colorized prints for syndication. The King World/CBS Little Rascals package was featured as exclusive programming (in the United States) for the American Movie Classics network from August 2001 to December 2003, with Frankie Muniz hosting. As part of a month-long tribute to Hal Roach Studios, Turner Classic Movies televised a 24-hour marathon of Roach Our Gang shorts – both sound films and silents – on January 4-5, 2011.  Some of the silent Our Gangs (such as Mary, Queen of Tots and Thundering Fleas) resurfaced on TCM at this time with new music scores in stereo sound; these silent Pathé Our Gangs are now being syndicated by Mackinaw Media. The MGM-produced Our Gang shorts, General Spanky, and the rights to the Our Gang name are owned by AT&T, owner of Warner Bros. Entertainment as part of the Turner Entertainment library.  The television rights for the MGM Our Gang shorts belong to Warner Bros. Television Distribution, and the video rights to Warner Home Video. The MGM Our Gangs today appear periodically on the Turner Classic Movies cable network, and are available for streaming via the subscription-based Warner Archive Instant streaming video service. For a detailed listing of the Our Gang child actors, recurring adult actors, directors, and writers, see Our Gang personnel. The following is a listing of the primary child actors in the Our Gang comedies. They are grouped by the era during which they joined the series. Jackie Lynn Taylor (1934 as “Jane”). As of March 1, 2020, the following notable cast members are confirmed as still living. See also: Our Gang personnel § Surviving cast members, and List of surviving silent film actors. For a complete filmography, see Our Gang filmography. The following is a listing of selected Our Gang comedies, considered by Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann (in their book The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang) to be among the best and most important in the series. 1923: The Champeen, Derby Day. 1925: Your Own Back Yard, One Wild Ride. 1929: Small Talk, Lazy Days, Boxing Gloves, Cat, Dog & Co. 1930: The First Seven Years, Pups Is Pups, Bear Shooters, Teacher’s Pet, School’s Out. 1931: Helping Grandma, Love Business, Little Daddy, Fly My Kite, Big Ears, Dogs Is Dogs. 1932: Readin’ and Writin’, The Pooch, Hook And Ladder, Free Wheeling, Birthday Blues. 1933: Fish Hooky, Forgotten Babies, The Kid From Borneo, Mush and Milk, Bedtime Worries. For Pete’s Sake! The First Round-Up, Honky Donkey, Mama’s Little Pirate. 1935: Anniversary Trouble, Shrimps for a Day, Beginner’s Luck, Little Papa, Our Gang Follies of 1936. 1936: Divot Diggers, Bored of Education, General Spanky. 1938: Three Men in a Tub, Hide and Shriek. 1939: Alfalfa’s Aunt, Cousin Wilbur. 1940: Goin’ Fishin’, Waldo’s Last Stand, Kiddie Kure. 1942: Going to Press. 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