Today is the birthday of George “Spanky” McFarland (1928-1993). Unspeakably adorable at age three, he was less so at 13 when he neared the end of his reign as leader of Our Gang (later rebranded as Little Rascals), when he began to resemble Providence Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci:
After the series ended in 1942, Spanky was unable to work as an actor, and so began a long series of quotidian jobs for the next five decades, although towards the end of his life he did enjoy several guest shots on national television. Here he is at his height, however, co-starring with Pete the Dog and a small bug:
For more on silent and slapstick comedy don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc
To find out more about show business past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.