Harold “Slim” Switzer: How Alfalfa’s Brother Ended it All in a Murder-Suicide

Harold Switzer (1925-1967) had an awkward role in life. He was two years older than his brother Carl. Both were hired at the same time in 1935 by Hal Roach to be in Our Gang. Harold was nicknamed “Slim”, Carl as Alfalfa. Alfalfa, as we all know, became one of the biggest stars of the series. Harold, not so much. In fact, Harold only got to play a named character for his first year or so. After that, he was employed as an extra for the next five years. He also had a small role in the feature The Bohemian Girl (1936) with Thelma Todd and Laurel and Hardy.  His last film was the Our Gang short The New Pupil (1940).

27 years later, the older Switzer met a sudden and violent finish when he was working as a washer/dryer salesman and killed a customer in the course of a dispute. He took his own life immediately thereafter. Harold’s death appears particularly significant given that his more famous brother Carl had died in an uncannily similar way 8 years earlier. (Carl had been murdered while fighting with one of his dog walking customers).

Of all the child star franchises, perhaps only Diff’rent Strokes exceeds Our Gang in the violent later lives of its alumni. It must have been hard to live down being a former Little Rascal.

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