“Fats” Is Reported Dead And Little Rascals Fans Scratch Their Heads In Confusion.
The Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Philadelphia Inquirer were among the dozens of newspapers reporting the sad news of the passing of Don Law aka “Fats.” The Associated Press photo shows a rather glum grown-up Don.
You remember “Fats” from Our Gang a.k.a. The Little Rascals, right? Even serious fans of Our Gang may not exactly be sure which one Fats was. Probably the big fat kid.
Search your memory. You’ll come to the conclusion that you don’t remember anyone named ‘Fats’ in Our Gang. Continue reading →
Some of these posed photographs may have been related to whatever production the star was doing at the time. Others were just good photo opportunities.
The original news caption or a brief explanation for the photo is provided if we have one. Either way, here they are. Click on any photo to enlarge.
Herb Alpert April 16, 1968
“Herb Alpert teaches a friendly chimp at the Los Angeles zoo how to play a few notes at a stopover on a musical tour of America featuring the Tijuana Brass to be televised on Channel 7 at 7 p.m. on Monday. The program is called ‘The Beat of the Brass'”
Jayne Mansfield 1965
Jayne Mansfield holding Laconia 1965
Dom DeLuise 1966
Dom DeLuise appears with one of The Marquis Chimps (probably Candy) on the Dean Martin Show 1966.
Stymie (Matthew Beard) of the Little Rascals (Our Gang)
The Little Rascals Stymie (Matthew Beard) thinks Spanky has turned his brother Cotton into a chimpanzee through the power of a magic lamp in the 1932 Our Gang short ‘A Lad An’ A Lamp.‘
Gary Cooper 1932. photo: Acme
“Gary Cooper and baby chimpanzee as they arrived in Hollywood after an absence of more than a year.” Acme News Photo 4-27-1932Continue reading →
Jackie Cooper, June Marlowe, Shirley Jean Rickert, Norman Chubby Chaney, Dorothy DeBorba
Norman “Chubby” Chaney, a star for Hal Roach’s Our Gang comedies, (aka the Little Rascals) had been buried in an unmarked grave at Baltimore Cemetery since 1936. He was the first former cast member to pass away.
Chaney appeared in the early Our Gang sound films from 1929 – 1931, winning a lookalike contest to replace Our Gang heavyweight Joe Cobb.
One of the the most beloved short films of the series that Chaney starred in was where he was competing with Jackie Cooper for their teacher, Miss Crabtree’s (June Marlowe), affection and attention. In that film, Love Business (1931), Chubby said the immortal words, “Don’t call me Norman, call me Chubsy-ubsy.”
When Chaney died at the age of 21 in 1936 following an operation to correct a glandular disorder, the family had no money to put up a marker in the cemetery.
Finally last year through the efforts of Detroit musician Mikal C.G., money was raised through online donations to put up a headstone. The unveiling ceremony on November 10, 2012, was attended by less than a dozen observers. Whether or not Chaney attracts visitors to his grave, his performances preserved on film will be viewed and enjoyed by countless generations to come.
Jackie Cooper passed away last week at the age of 88. Cooper who rose to prominence in the Hal Roach produced Our Gang (a.k.a. the Little Rascals) movie shorts, was one of the last remaining movie stars who worked during Hollywood’s golden era of the 1930’s.
Jackie Cooper (left) Love Business 1931
The Our Gang / Little Rascals remaining cast is now down to under a dozen stars. The other living supporting players made brief appearances, many in the later films of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s after creator Hal Roach had sold the franchise to MGM. The most notable living star of those later Our Gang comedies is Robert Blake. I grew up watching Cooper star in Our Gang and his passing is sad, as he was a gifted actor and it is a reminder of how few of the early Hollywood stars remain. Unlike his more popular and well known successors as leads in Our Gang, George “Spanky” McFarland and Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer, Cooper was cast in several big budget Hollywood productions and was almost always very good in whatever he was in.