If you want to work on your Eve Arden impression, say the title of this post 100 times!
The autumn of this year will mark the centennial of the Hal Roach film series known as Our Gang, or The Little Rascals, and so it is especially vital (well, not really) that squeeze in this post on one of the few of that franchise’s kiddie stars we haven’t yet written about, Dorothy DeBorba (1925-2010). Five year old DeBorba came into Our Gang at just the right time to be remembered: 1930, after sound had come into the picture. Far fewer folks have seen the silent era Our Gang shorts, and as a consequence only a couple of the earlier cast members achieved immortality. But lots of people have seen the shorts that Dorothy appeared in from later TV screenings.
DeBorba was from a show biz family; her father was a drummer in Paul Whiteman’s orchestra, and her performed professionally in plays and musicals. DeBorba can be seen in 26 Our Gang shorts, released over a three year period, including such classics as Pups is Pups (1930), Teacher’s Pet (1930), Love Business (1931), Hook and Ladder (1932) and Mush and Milk (1933). She also had bit roles in three feature films: A Royal Romance (1930) with Buster Collier and Pauline Starke, Men of the North (1930) with Gilbert Roland, and Bombshell with Jean Harlow (1933). Eight years old at the time of her last film, DeBorba later went on to administrative jobs at Republic Pictures and UC Berkley School of Journalism.
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For more on show biz history, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous; for more on classic comedy, including Our Gang, please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube