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Seller: collectiblecollectiblecollectible (558) 100%, Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ships to: US & many other countries, Item: 332962446698 c1935 Signed, autographed ALBUM PAGE of PORKY LEE AND FREDDIE BARTHOLOMEW ALSO SIGNED BY FREDDIE BARTHOLOMEW'S MOM LILLIAM BARTHOLOMEW AND HIS AUNT "CISSIE", MILLICENT MARY BARTHOLOMEW Freddie Bartholomew was born Frederick Cecil Bartholomew in 1924 in Harlesden in the borough of Willesden, Middlesex, London. His parents were Cecil Llewellyn Bartholomew, a wounded World War I veteran who became a minor civil servant after the war, and Lilian May Clarke Bartholomew. By the age of three, Freddie was living in Warminster, a town in southwest England, in his paternal grandparents' home. He lived under the care of his aunt "Cissie", Millicent Mary Bartholomew, who raised him and became his surrogate mother. Freddie was educated at Lord Weymouth's Grammar School in Warminster, and by his Aunt Cissie. PorkyEDIT SHARE PorkyProfileName: Eugene Lee McFarlandNick Name: PorkyPlayed By: Eugene LeeBorn: 1933Relatives: Emerson (father), Gaye (mother), Dickie Moore, Breezy Brisbane, Spanky (brothers), Patsy (sister), GrandmotherClubs: former member of All-For-One Club, former member of He-Man Woman-Hater's Club, The Wise Owl Club, The Four NitengalesFirst Short: Little SinnerLast Short: Auto AnticsCharacterBio: In his earliest appearance, little Porky looks almost exactly like his big brother Spanky did at his age. He's best friends with Buckwheat, the son of the family housekeeper (Anniversary Trouble), and the two of them follow Spanky and his friends around in mischief and on adventures. They follow Spanky when he skips church to do some fishing in Little Sinner, but the rest of the time, the two of them are relegated to being mere sidekicks, delivering messages, notes and often following their instructions explicitly. When Alfalfa tells them to "keep it under your hat" to Porky in Mail And Female, Porky and Buckwheat think he means to hide the love note to Darla under Buckwheat's cap.Porky and Buckwheat aren't bothered by any form of racial segregation or prejudice, and the fact that they are different isn't important to them. They like each other, and they get along as friends, playing marbles together and even singing with each other as part of The Four Nitengales in Night 'N' Gales. At one time, they get some firecrackers, but upon discovering the cool new diversion, Alfalfa and Spanky con them out of them, only to get their revenge later. Porky can be a rascal, making noises and scaring everyone after the dark at the schoolhouse in Spooky Hooky. At other times, Porky and Buckwheat have a better grasp of what's going on than the bigger kids, as did Spanky and Scotty Beckett before them, coming to the rescue to save Alfalfa from Butch in Glove Taps and Came The Brawn.Quotes: "O-Tay!" - Porky in Pay As You Exit, often erroneously attributed to Buckwheat"Poor Alfalfa, he's in love again." - Porky"Yes, ain't it a shame?" - Buckwheat in The Little Ranger"Porky, I'll never forget you, you saved my life!" - Spanky"Oh, that's nothin'." - Porky in Practical Jokers"What am I gonna do?" - Alfalfa"I don't know." - Porky in Duel Personalities Eugene LeeEDIT SHARE ButchgordonBiographyCharacter: PorkyBirthday: October 25, 1933Place of Birth: Fort Worth, TexasDate of Death: October 16, 2005Place of Death: Minneapolis, MinnesotaFirst Short: Little SinnerLast Short: Auto AnticsNumber of Shorts: 43History: Eugene Gordon Lee owes his screen career to his mother. She was so amazed by her adopted son's resemblance to Spanky that she sent his photograph to Hal Roach and ended up landing a screen test that led to him getting cast in Little Sinner, as Spanky's kid brother, all at the age of three-years-old. Much like Tommy Bond's family, they up and moved to California, arriving unannounced at the studios ready for Gordon to work before getting help with lodgings at the Culver City Hotel, a location that appeared in several of shots in the series.Jackie Cooper once recognized that one had to have a certain "look" to be one of the cast, and while Porky had that look, he grew faster and taller than the rest. He learned to act on the set, but when he left the series to be replaced by Robert Blake, it was a hard time settling into the real world. Just when he could read his own fan mail, it stopped coming.Gordon learned to put Porky behind him and have a regular life. His father was a mortician and times were often tough so he knew how to appreciate what he had, unlike so many other former child stars. After the Our Gang TV revival, he was slow to embrace Porky again. He began to realize how special his work was to others and started "Otay Products" for licensed merchandise, based on a response he said many times in the series. By time he tried to rebond with Buckwheat, his best friend in the series, it was too late. Buckwheat had passed on, but he made friends with his son. Alfalfa once left a message for him in Lubbock, but he didn't get it in time. His memories include the scary treadmill ride from Hide And Shriek and the smells of the bear suits in Bear Facts.At one point, Gordon went to court over the use of his likeness by Hanna-Barbera in a cartoon and won a settlement. As a historian, he reviewed his old shorts for his students, many of whom were bothered by the fates of his co-stars. He also tackled with an imposter who had used Gordon's anonymity to benefit himself.In 1989, Gordon received an award from the Society of Cinephiles for his work in the series. In his later years, Gordon was identified by friends as a tall, intelligent and eloquent man far removed from word-warbling Porky. He still said "Otay" from time to time, but just for the fans.Gordon was also a big automobile fan, building, buying, restoring and post-war European sports cars. Nine days before his seventy-second birthday, Gordon died after a battle with lung and brain cancer. List of ShortsLittle SinnerOur Gang Follies Of 1936Divot DiggersThe Pinch SingerSecond ChildhoodBored Of EducationTwo Too YoungPay As You ExitSpooky HookyGeneral SpankyReunion In RhythmGlove TapsHearts Are ThumpsThree Smart BoysRushin' BalletRoamin' HolidayNight 'N' GalesFishy TalesFraming YouthThe Pigskin PalookaMail And FemaleOur Gang Follies Of 1938Canned FishingBear FactsThree Men In A TubCame The BrawnFeed 'Em And WeepThe Awful ToothHide And ShriekThe Little RangerParty FeverAladdin's LanternMen In FrightFootball RomeoPractical JokersAlfalfa's AuntTiny TroublesDuel PersonalitiesClown PrincesCousin WilburJoy ScoutsDog DazeAuto AnticsOther ProjectsTopper - with Cary Grant Eugene "Porky" Lee BornEugene LeeOctober 25, 1933Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.DiedOctober 16, 2005 (aged 71)Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.Other namesGordon Lee Eugene Gordon LeeOccupationChild actorYears active1935–1939Spouse(s)? (?-1971)[1]Partner(s)Janice McClain (1992-2005) (his death)[2]Children1Eugene Gordon Lee (October 25, 1933 – October 16, 2005) was an American child actor, most notable for appearing in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) comedies as Porky from 1935 to 1939. During his tenure in Our Gang, Porky originated the catchphrase "O-tay!", though it is commonly attributed to Buckwheat. Contents1Biography1.1Our Gang1.2Later years1.3Death2See also3References4External linksBiographyLee was born in Fort Worth, Texas as Eugene Lee, and was adopted.[3] Our GangLee got his break in motion pictures in 1935, after producer Hal Roach noted how much the eighteen-month-old toddler looked like Our Gang star Spanky McFarland, also from Texas. The Lee family traveled from Texas to Culver City, California, and Eugene Lee, nicknamed "Porky" by the studio, joined the cast as Spanky's little brother. Porky appeared in forty-two Our Gang comedies over four years.[3] Lee, McFarland, and Our Gang co-stars Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas, and Darla Hood constituted what is today the most familiar incarnation of Our Gang. This group moved from Hal Roach Studios to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1938 after Roach sold the series. When Lee grew several inches in height during early 1939 (to the point that the five-year-old was the same height as ten-year-old McFarland), MGM replaced him with Mickey Gubitosi, later better known by the stage name of Robert Blake. Later yearsAfter leaving the series, Lee retired from motion pictures, and entered public school. As an adult, he became an alternative school educator at Broomfield High School in Colorado. Lee changed his name and began going by Gordon Lee (naming himself after his favorite Our Gang director, Gordon Douglas) to avoid any correlation with his former acting career. After retiring, Lee moved to Minnesota to be closer to his son Douglas. In the early 1980s, Lee began appearing at Little Rascals reunions and began a business selling "Porky"-related merchandise. Finally embracing his past, Lee was known to tell Our Gang fans "we are relics of history."[4] DeathOn October 16, 2005 after battling lung cancer and brain cancer, he died at the age of 71, nine days before his 72nd birthday.[3] Our Gang (later known as The Little Rascals or Hal Roach's Rascals) are a series of American comedy short films about a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures. Created by comedy producer Hal Roach, the series was produced from 1922 to 1944 and is noted for showing children behaving in a relatively natural way, as 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 boys and girls interacting as equals.[1] The franchise began in 1922 as a series of silent short subjects produced by the Roach studio and released by Pathé Exchange. 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. Production continued at the Roach studio until 1938, when the series was sold to MGM, which produced the comedies until 1944. In total, the Our Gang series includes 220 shorts and one feature film, General Spanky, and featured over 41 child actors. As MGM retained the rights to the Our Gang trademark following their purchase of the production rights, the 80 Roach-produced "talkies" were syndicated for television under the title The Little Rascals beginning in 1955. 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, Little Rascals, released by Universal Pictures. Contents 1Series overview1.1Directorial approach1.2Finding and replacing the cast1.3African-American cast members2History2.11922–1925: Early years2.21926–1929: New faces and new distributors2.31929–1931: Entering the sound era2.41931–1933: Transition2.51933–1936: New directions2.6The final Roach years2.7The MGM era3Later years and The Little Rascals revival3.1The Little Rascals television package3.2King World's acquisition and edits3.3New Little Rascals productions4Legacy and influence4.1Imitators, followers, and frauds4.2Persons and entities named after Our Gang5Home video releases and rights to the films5.116 mm, VHS, and DVD releases5.2Cabin Fever/Hallmark releases5.3MGM/Warner Bros. releases6Status of ownership7Our Gang cast and personnel7.1Roach silent period7.2Roach sound period7.3MGM period8Notable Our Gang comedies9References10External linksSeries overviewUnlike 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.[1] Directorial approachSenior 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.[2] 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.[2] 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.[2] 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).[2] Finding and replacing the castAs 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. Norman "Chubby" Chaney (who replaced Joe Cobb), Matthew "Stymie" Beard (who replaced Allen "Farina" Hoskins) and Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas (who replaced Stymie) all won contests to become members of the gang.[3][4][5] 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.[6] African-American cast members 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 brotherThe Our Gang series is notable for being one of the first in cinema history in which blacks and whites were portrayed as equals. The four African-American child actors who held main roles in the series were Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison, Allen "Farina" Hoskins, Matthew "Stymie" Beard and Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas. Ernie Morrison was, in fact, the first African-American actor signed to a long-term contract in Hollywood history[7] and the first major African-American star in Hollywood history.[8] In their adult years, Morrison, Beard and Thomas became some of Our Gang's staunchest defenders, maintaining that its integrated cast and innocent story lines were far from racist. They explained that the white children's 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", Stymie Beard recalled.[9] Ernie Morrison stated, "When it came to race, Hal Roach was color-blind."[10] Other minorities, including the Asian Americans (Sing Joy George “Sonny Boy” Warde, Allen Tong (also known as Alan Dong), and Edward Soo Hoo) and the Italian American actor (Mickey Gubitosi), were depicted in the series with varying levels of stereotyping. History 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 comedies1922–1925: Early yearsAccording 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.[11] 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.[12] Theater owners then were wary of booking shorts focused on a black boy,[12] and the series ended after just one entry, The Pickaninny, was produced.[12] 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. Director Fred C. 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..."[13] 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 "Farina" 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 Sunshine Sammy, Mickey Daniels, Mary Kornman, and little Farina, who eventually became the most popular member of the 1920s gang[14] and the most popular black child star of the 1920s.[15] 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."[16] 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 "Pineapple" Jackson, Scooter Lowry, Andy Samuel, Johnny Downs, Winston and Weston Doty, and Jay R. Smith. 1926–1929: New faces and new distributorsAfter Sammy, 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,[17] 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.[18] New faces included Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins, 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 pit bull terrier 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 Out1929–1931: Entering the sound eraStarting 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 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 "Chubby" 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. Cooper soon won the lead role in Paramount's feature film Skippy, and Roach sold his contract to MGM in 1931. Other Our Gang members appearing in the early sound shorts included Buddy McDonald, Bobby "Bonedust" 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 When the Wind Blows, 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 Leroy Shield and featuring a notable saxophone solo. Shield and Hatley's scores would support 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!1931–1933: TransitionJackie 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. Stymie Beard, Wheezer Hutchins, and Dorothy DeBorba carried the series during this period, aided by Sherwood Bailey and Kendall "Breezy Brisbane" McComas. 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 "Spanky" McFarland joined the gang 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!" and "Okey-doke!"[19] 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. 1933–1936: New directionsRobert 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.[17] Lacking a replacement, Hal Roach persuaded him to stay on for another year.[17] 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.[17] 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 McFarland 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—Stymie 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 Spanky McFarland's work permit,[20] 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.[17] Hi-Neighbor!, 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. Gordon Douglas served as Meins's assistant director, and Fred Newmeyer alternated directorial duties with Meins for a handful of shorts. Meins's Our Gang shorts were less improvisational than McGowan's and featured a heavier reliance on dialogue.[21] McGowan returned two years later to direct his Our Gang swan song, Divot Diggers, released in 1936. Retaining Spanky McFarland, Stymie 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, Carl Switzer and his brother Harold joined the gang after impressing Roach with an impromptu 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. Stymie Beard left the cast soon after, and the Buckwheat character morphed subtly into a male. That same year, Darla Hood, Patsy May, and Eugene "Porky" Lee joined the gang, as Scotty Beckett departed for a career in features. The final Roach yearsOur 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.[22] 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.[22] Directed by Gordon Douglas and Fred Newmeyer, General Spanky featured Spanky, Buckwheat, and Alfalfa in a sentimental, Shirley Temple-esque story set during the Civil War. The film focused more on the adult leads (Phillips Holmes and Rosina Lawrence) than the children and was a box office disappointment.[23] No further Our Gang features were made. George "Spanky" McFarland, Darla Hood, and Carl "Alfalfa" 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. Most casual fans of Our Gang are particularly familiar with the 1936–1939 incarnation of the cast: Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla, Buckwheat, and Porky, with recurring characters such as neighborhood bullies Butch and Woim and the bookworm Waldo. Tommy Bond, an off-and-on member of the gang since 1932, returned to the series as Butch beginning with the 1937 short Glove Taps. 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. Other popular elements in these mid-to-late-1930s shorts include the "He-Man Woman Haters Club" from Hearts Are Thumps and Mail and Female (both 1937), the Laurel and Hardy-ish interaction between Alfalfa and Spanky, and the comic tag-along team of Porky and Buckwheat. 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,[24] Roach could no longer afford to continue producing Our Gang. However, MGM did not want the series discontinued and agreed to take over production. On May 31, 1938, Roach sold MGM the Our Gang unit, including the rights to the name and the contracts for the actors and writers, for $25,000 (equal to $434,634 today).[25] 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 MGM eraThe 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). Robert A. 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 or not. By 1938, Alfalfa had surpassed Spanky as Our Gang's lead character; Spanky McFarland had departed from the series just before its sale to MGM.[26] Casting his replacement was delayed until after the move to MGM, at which point it was arranged to re-hire McFarland.[27] Porky was replaced in 1939 by Mickey Gubitosi, later known by the stage name of Robert Blake. Tommy Bond, Darwood Kaye, and Carl 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. 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.[28] The MGM entries are considered by many film historians, and the Our Gang children themselves, to be lesser films than the Roach entries.[29] The children's performances were criticized as stilted and stiff, and adult situations often drove the action, with each film often incorporating a moral, a civics lesson, or a patriotic theme.[28] 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,[30] MGM discontinued Our Gang, releasing the final short, Dancing Romeo, on April 29, 1944. Since 1937, Our Gang had been featured as a licensed comic strip in the UK comic The Dandy, drawn by Dudley D. Watkins. 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. Later years and The Little Rascals revivalThe Little Rascals television packageWhen Roach sold Our Gang to MGM, he retained the option to buy the rights to the Our Gang trademark, provided he produced no more children's comedies in the Our Gang vein. In the late 1940s, he created a new film property in the Our Gang mold and forfeited his right to buy back the name Our Gang to obtain permission to produce two Cinecolor featurettes, Curley and Who Killed Doc Robbin. Neither film was critically or financially successful, and Roach turned to re-releasing the original Our Gang comedies. In 1949, MGM sold Roach the back catalog of 1927–1938 Our Gang silent and talking shorts, while retaining the rights to the Our Gang name, the 52 Our Gang films it produced, and the feature General Spanky. 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 1951. 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. The television rights to the silent Pathé Our Gang comedies were sold to National Telepix and other distributors, who distributed the films under titles such as The Mischief Makers and Those Lovable Scallawags with Their Gangs. King World's acquisition and editsIn 1963, Hal Roach Studios, by then run by Roach's son Hal Jr, filed for bankruptcy. A struggling novice syndication agent named Charles King purchased the television rights to The Little Rascals in the bankruptcy proceedings and returned the shorts to television. 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, CBS Television Distribution handles distribution rights. In 1971, because of controversy over some 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 dealing with the subject of divorce. 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. Turner Entertainment acquired the classic MGM library in 1986, and the 1938–44 MGM-produced Our Gang shorts were shown on Turner's TBS and TNT cable networks for many years as early-morning programming filler, with a regular slot on Sundays at 6 AM ET on TNT. 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. New Little Rascals productionsMany 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 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).[31] 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.J. 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.[32] The Little Rascals was a moderate success for Universal, bringing in $51,764,950 at the box office.[33] 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. Legacy and influenceThe characters in this series are well-known cultural icons, and identified solely by their first names. The characters of Alfalfa, Spanky, Buckwheat, Darla, and Froggy 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".[34] The Snopes.com website debunks the rumor of an Our Gang curse, stating that there was no pattern of unusual deaths when taking all of the major Our Gang stars into account, despite the deaths of a select few.[35] The children's work in the series was largely unrewarded in later years, although Spanky McFarland got 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. The only remittances were their weekly salaries during their time in the gang, ranging from $40 a week for newcomers to $200 or more weekly for stars like Farina, Spanky, and Alfalfa.[14] One notable exception was Jackie Cooper, who was later nominated for an Academy Award and had a career as an adult actor. Cooper is known today for portraying Perry White in the 1978–1987 Superman movies, and for directing episodes of TV series such as M*A*S*H and Superboy. Another was Robert Blake, who found great success in the 1960s and 1970s as an actor, with films like In Cold Blood and television shows like Baretta (which netted him an Emmy Award). The 1930 Our Gang short Pups is Pups was an inductee of the 2004 National Film Registry list.[36] Imitators, followers, and fraudsDue 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. Less notable imitations series include The McDougall Alley Gang (Bray Productions, 1927–1928), The Us Bunch and Our Kids. There is evidence[37] 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[38] claimed to be or have been publicly called former Our Gang children.[39] Bracken's official biography was once altered[39] to state that he appeared in Our Gang instead of The Kiddie Troupers, although he himself had no knowledge of the change.[39] Among notable Our Gang impostors is Jack Bothwell, who claimed to have portrayed a character named "Freckles",[39] going so far as to appear on the game show To Tell The Truth in the fall of 1957, perpetuating this fraud.[39] In 2008, a Darla Hood impostor, Mollie Barron, died claiming to have appeared as Darla in Our Gang.[40] 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,[39] and in December, William Thomas, Jr. (son of Billie Thomas, the person who played Buckwheat) filed a lawsuit against ABC for negligence.[39] Persons and entities named after Our GangA 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. Home video releases and rights to the filmsFurther information: Our Gang filmography16 mm, VHS, and DVD releasesIn 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 16 mm film. The sound discs for Railroading' 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. Republic would release Little Rascals VHS volumes for retail purchase in non-comprehensive collections through the rest of the 1980s and early 1990s. By then, all but 11 of the Roach-era sound films were available on home video. Cabin Fever/Hallmark releasesIn 1993, Republic Pictures Home Video sold the home video rights to the 80 sound Roach shorts and some available silent shorts to Cabin Fever Entertainment. 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 the original format. 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.[41] [42] Each tape contains four shorts, as well as specially-produced introductions by Leonard Maltin. With these releases, Cabin Fever made all 80 Roach sound shorts, and four silents, available for purchase, uncut, uncensored, unedited and with digitally restored picture and sound. 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.[43] 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. The Little Rascals home video rights were then sold to Hallmark Entertainment in 1999, who released the DVDs without an official launch while cleaning out their warehouse in early 2000. 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.[44][45] 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.[46][47] 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. MGM/Warner Bros. releasesDuring 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. On September 1, 2009, Warner Home Video released all 52 MGM Our Gang shorts in a compilation titled The Our Gang Collection: 1938–1942 (though it contains the 1943–44 shorts as well) for manufacture-on-demand (MOD) DVD and digital download. The set is available by mail order and digital download as part of the Warner Archive Collection, and is available for purchase via the iTunes Store. 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. Status of ownershipCurrently, the rights to the Our Gang/Little Rascals shorts are scattered. Sonar Entertainment (formerly known as RHI Entertainment, Cabin Fever Entertainment and Hallmark Entertainment)[48] 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.[49] CBS Television Distribution, formed by the merger of King World Entertainment with CBS Paramount Domestic Television, owns the rights to the Little Rascals trademark and has all media rights to the 1929-1938 Roach shorts, which constitute The Little Rascals television package, with certain territory exclusions controlled by Cinematografische Commers Anatalt. 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.[50] 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 Warner Bros. Entertainment as part of the Turner Entertainment library. Turner Entertainment acquired these assets in 1986 when its founder, Ted Turner, purchased the pre-May 1986 MGM library; Turner merged with Time Warner in 1996.[51] 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.[52] Our Gang cast and personnelFor 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. Roach silent periodErnie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison (1922–1924)Mickey Daniels (1922–1926)Jackie Condon (1922–1929)Peggy Cartwright (1922)Allen "Farina" Hoskins (1922–1931)Jack Davis (1922–1923)Lassie Lou Ahern (1923–1924)Mary Kornman (1923–1926)Peggy Ahern (1923–1927)Joe Cobb (1923–1929)Andy Samuel (1923–1924)Eugene "Pineapple" Jackson (1924–1925)Johnny Downs (1925–1927)Jay R. Smith (1925–1929)Bobby "Bonedust" Young (1925–1931)Elmer "Scooter" Lowry (1926–1927)Jean Darling (1927–1929)Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins (1927–1933)Harry Spear (1927–1929)Mary Ann Jackson (1928–1931)Pete the Pup (1929–1938)Roach sound periodNorman "Chubby" Chaney (1929–1931)Jackie Cooper (1929–1931)Donald Haines (1929–1933)Dorothy DeBorba (1930–1933)Matthew "Stymie" Beard (1930–1935)Jerry Tucker (1931–1938)Kendall McComas (1932)Dickie Moore (1932–1933)George "Spanky" McFarland (1932–1942)Tommy Bond (1932–1934 as "Tommy," 1937–1940 as "Butch")Jackie Lynn Taylor (1934 as "Jane")Scotty Beckett (1934–1935)Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas (1934–1944)Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer (1935–1940)Darla Hood (1935–1941)Eugene "Porky" Lee (1935–1939)Darwood "Waldo" Kaye (1937–1940)MGM periodMickey Gubitosi (Robert Blake) (1939–1944)Janet Burston (1940–1944)Billy "Froggy" Laughlin (1940–1944)As of April 2018, living Our Gang actors included Betty Jane Beard, Laura June Williams, Paul Hilton, Mildred Kornman, Margaret Kerry, Robert Blake and Sidney Kibrick. Notable Our Gang comediesFor 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 Day1924: High Society1925: Your Own Back Yard, One Wild Ride1929: Small Talk, Lazy Days, Boxing Gloves, Cat, Dog & Co.1930: The First Seven Years, Pups Is Pups, Bear Shooters, Teacher's Pet, School's Out1931: Helping Grandma, Love Business, Little Daddy, Fly My Kite, Big Ears, Dogs Is Dogs1932: Readin' and Writin', The Pooch, Hook And Ladder, Free Wheeling, Birthday Blues1933: Fish Hooky,Forgotten Babies, The Kid From Borneo, Mush and Milk, Bedtime Worries1934: Hi'-Neighbor!, For Pete's Sake!, The First Round-Up, Honky Donkey, Mama's Little Pirate1935: Anniversary Trouble, Shrimps for a Day, Beginner's Luck, Little Papa, Our Gang Follies of 19361936: Divot Diggers, Bored of Education, General Spanky1937: Reunion in Rhythm, Glove Taps, Hearts Are Thumps, Rushin' Ballet, Night 'n' Gales, Mail and Female, Our Gang Follies of 19381938: Three Men in a Tub, Hide and Shriek1939: Alfalfa's Aunt, Cousin Wilbur1940: Goin' Fishin', Waldo's Last Stand, Kiddie Kure1942: Going to Press Frederick Cecil Bartholomew (March 28, 1924 – January 23, 1992), known for his acting work as Freddie Bartholomew, was an English-American child actor. One of the most famous child actors of all time, he became very popular in 1930s Hollywood films. His most famous starring roles are in Captains Courageous (1937) and Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936). Bartholomew was born in London,[1] and for the title role of MGM's David Copperfield (1935) he emigrated to the United States at the age of 10 in 1934, living there the rest of his life.[3] He became an American citizen in 1943 following World War II military service.[4][5] Despite his great success and acclaim following David Copperfield, Bartholomew's childhood film stardom was marred by nearly constant legal battles and payouts which eventually took a huge toll on both his finances and his career. In adulthood, after World War II service, his film career dwindled rapidly, and he switched from performing to directing and producing in the medium of television. Contents1Biography1.1Early life1.2Child star1.2.1From England to Hollywood1.2.2MGM contract troubles1.3World War II and beyond1.3.1Enlistment and aftermath1.3.2Switch to television and off-camera work2Honors3Filmography4Mentions in popular culture5References6Notes7External linksBiographyEarly lifeBartholomew was born Frederick Cecil Bartholomew[1][2][6] in 1924 in Harlesden in the borough of Willesden, Middlesex, London.[1][6][7] His parents were Cecil Llewellyn Bartholomew, a wounded World War I veteran who became a minor civil servant after the war, and Lilian May Clarke Bartholomew.[2][8][9] By the age of three, Freddie was living in Warminster, a town in southwest England, in his paternal grandparents' home. He lived under the care of his aunt "Cissie", Millicent Mary Bartholomew, who raised him and became his surrogate mother.[6][10] Freddie was educated at Lord Weymouth's Grammar School in Warminster, and by his Aunt Cissie.[11] Child star Herbert Mundin, Freddie Bartholomew and Jessie Ralph in David Copperfield (1935) Basil Rathbone, Greta Garbo and Freddie Bartholomew in Anna Karenina (1935) Freddie Bartholomew and Dolores Costello in Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936)From England to HollywoodIn Warminster, Bartholomew was a precocious actor and was reciting and performing from age three.[12] By age five he was a popular Warminster celebrity, the "boy wonder elocutionist", reciting poems, prose, and selections from various plays, including Shakespeare.[13] He did singing and dancing as well.[14] His first film role came by the age of six, in 1930. He also pursued acting studies at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London,[15] and appeared in a total of four minor British films. American filmmakers George Cukor and David O. Selznick saw him on a 1934 scouting trip to London and chose him for the young title role in their MGM film David Copperfield (1935).[16] Bartholomew and his aunt emigrated to the United States in August 1934, and MGM gave him a seven-year contract.[3][17][18] David Copperfield, which also featured Basil Rathbone, Maureen O'Sullivan, W. C. Fields, and Lionel Barrymore, was a success, and made Bartholomew an overnight star.[19] He was subsequently cast in a succession of prestigious film productions with some of the most popular stars of the day. Among his successes of the 1930s were Anna Karenina (1935) with Greta Garbo and Fredric March; Professional Soldier (1935) with Victor McLaglen and Gloria Stuart; Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936) with Dolores Costello and C. Aubrey Smith; Lloyd's of London (1937) with Madeleine Carroll and Tyrone Power; The Devil is a Sissy (1936) with Mickey Rooney and Jackie Cooper; and Captains Courageous (1937) with Spencer Tracy. Captains Courageous, which contains Bartholomew's most iconic performance, was the movie he most enjoyed working on. The film took an entire year to make, and much of it was shot off the coasts of Florida and Catalina Island, California. He later recalled, "For a kid, it was like one long outing. Spencer Tracy, Lionel Barrymore, Mickey Rooney, Melvyn Douglas and I – we all grew very close toward one another in those 12 months. When the shooting was finished, we cried like a bunch of babies as we said our goodbyes."[20] His superb acting skills, open and personable presence, emotional range, refined English diction, and angelic looks made him a box-office favorite. He quickly became the second-highest-paid child movie star after Shirley Temple. Ring Lardner Jr. had high praise for him, saying of his performance as the star of Little Lord Fauntleroy, "He is on the screen almost constantly, and his performance is a valid characterization, which is almost unique in a child actor, and, indeed, in three fourths of adult motion-picture stars."[21] Of his role as the protagonist of Captains Courageous, Frank Nugent of the New York Times wrote, "Young Master Bartholomew ... plays Harvey faultlessly."[22] By April 1936, following the very popular Little Lord Fauntleroy, Bartholomew's success and level of fame caused his long-estranged birth parents to attempt to gain custody of him and his fortune.[23][24] A legal battle of nearly seven years ensued, resulting in nearly all the wealth that Bartholomew amassed being spent on attorneys' and court fees, and payouts to his birth parents and two sisters.[2][25][26] MGM contract troublesThe extreme financial drain of his birth parents' ongoing custody battles prompted Bartholomew's aunt to demand a raise in his salary from MGM in July 1937, leveraged by the huge success of Captains Courageous. She threatened to break his MGM contract in order to find a better-paying studio. The contract battle kept him out of work for a year, causing among other things the postponement and eventual loss of his planned lead in a film of Rudyard Kipling's Kim, and the loss of his planned lead in Thoroughbreds Don't Cry with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.[27] He eventually resumed acting through 1942, in mostly lesser-quality films and roles, only three out of 11 of which were with MGM, and after 1938 he was less popular than in his heyday. This fall in popularity stemmed not only from the quality of the roles and his conflicts with MGM, but also from the fact that by late 1938 he was a tall, nearly 6-foot teenager, and the fact that the world was focusing on the growing problems of World War II and therefore the literary classics and costume dramas Bartholomew excelled at were less in fashion. In 1938, Twentieth Century Fox hired him for the lead in their film of Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped. MGM then re-teamed him for the fourth and fifth times with Mickey Rooney in Lord Jeff (1938) and A Yank at Eton (1942), and he co-starred with Judy Garland in the lightweight MGM musical Listen, Darling in 1938. In 1939 Universal re-teamed him for the third and fourth times with Jackie Cooper in The Spirit of Culver and Two Bright Boys. For RKO distribution, he performed in Swiss Family Robinson and Tom Brown's School Days in 1940. And as World War II deepened, Columbia had him star in three military-related films: Naval Academy (1941), Cadets on Parade (1942), and Junior Army (1942). World War II and beyondEnlistment and aftermathWorld War II military service interrupted Bartholomew's career even further. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force on January 13, 1943, at the age of 18, and worked in aircraft maintenance. During training he fell and injured his back, was hospitalized for seven months, and was discharged on January 12, 1944.[28] He had one film role in 1944, in the low-budget comedy The Town Went Wild. The film reunited him with Jimmy Lydon, with whom he had starred in Tom Brown's School Days, Naval Academy, and Cadets on Parade. This ended up being Bartholomew's penultimate film performance, and his last for seven years. His efforts to revive his film career were unsuccessful; and efforts performing in regional theaters and vaudeville did not spark a comeback either. After distressing experiences including a devastating auto accident and performing unsuccessfully in a play in Los Angeles, in 1946 Bartholomew married publicist Maely Daniele. Daniele, six years his senior, was a twice-divorced woman, and his marriage to her caused a serious and permanent rift with his aunt, who moved back to England. The marriage was not a happy one.[29] In 1946 he was in a radio play in an episode of Inner Sanctum Mystery.[30] In 1947, he appeared as himself in a five-minute cameo in the otherwise all-black musical film Sepia Cinderella, relating his post-war efforts to have a successful vaudeville routine and telling a few gags onscreen. He spent most of 1948 touring small American theaters, and in November 1948 left without his wife for an Australian tour as a night-club singing, patter, and piano act.[31] Switch to television and off-camera workUpon his return to the United States in 1949, and in rather desperate circumstances,[29] he switched to the new and burgeoning medium of television. He shifted from performer to television host and director to television producer and executive. Preferring to be known as Fred C. Bartholomew, he became the television director of independent television station WPIX in New York City from 1949 through 1954.[32] His final acting role was as a priest in the 1951 film St. Benny the Dip. Bartholomew divorced his first wife in 1953, and in December of that year he married television chef and author Aileen Paul, whom he had met at WPIX.[33] With Aileen he had a daughter, Kathleen Millicent Bartholomew, born in March 1956,[34] and a son, Frederick R. Bartholomew, born in 1958. The family, including stepdaughter Celia Ann Paul, lived in Leonia, New Jersey.[32] This was an era in which advertising firms created and produced radio and television shows. In 1954, Bartholomew began working for Benton & Bowles, a top New York advertising agency, as a television producer and director.[32] At Benton & Bowles, he produced shows such as The Andy Griffith Show,[32] and produced or directed several high-quality television soap operas including As the World Turns, The Edge of Night and Search for Tomorrow.[35][36][37] In 1964 he was made a vice president of radio and television at the company.[32] Bartholomew and Aileen divorced by early 1977. He eventually remarried again, and remained married to his third wife, Elizabeth, for the rest of his life. Suffering from emphysema, he retired from television by the late 1980s.[38] He eventually moved with his family to Bradenton, Florida. In 1991 he was filmed in several interview segments for the documentary film MGM: When the Lion Roars (1992). He died from heart failure in Sarasota, Florida in January 1992, at the age of 67. HonorsOn April 4, 1936, Bartholomew placed his handprints, footprints, and signature in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.In 1960, he received a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6663 Hollywood Boulevard for his contributions to the film industry.[39]He is one of the 250 Greatest Male Screen Legends nominated by the American Film Institute in 1999 as part of their AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars selection.[40]FilmographyToyland (1930)Fascination (1931)Lily Christine (1932) (uncredited)Strip! Strip! Hooray!!! (1932)David Copperfield (1935)Anna Karenina (1935)Professional Soldier (1935)Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936)The Devil is a Sissy (1936)Lloyd's of London (1936)Captains Courageous (1937)Kidnapped (1938)Lord Jeff (1938)Listen, Darling (1938)The Spirit of Culver (1939)Two Bright Boys (1939)Swiss Family Robinson (1940)Tom Brown's School Days (1940)Naval Academy (1941)Cadets on Parade (1942)A Yank at Eton (1942)Junior Army (1942)The Town Went Wild (1944)Sepia Cinderella (1947)St. Benny the Dip (1951)Mentions in popular cultureThe seven-minute Warner Bros. cartoon The Major Lied 'Til Dawn (1938) includes a caricature of Bartholomew as his Little Lord Fauntleroy role.[41][42] He was also caricatured, along with many other Hollywood celebrities, in the eight-minute 1938 Disney cartoon Mother Goose Goes Hollywood – in this case as his character from the film Captains Courageous.[43] As in the film, Freddie falls into the sea and is saved by Spencer Tracy's character. A non-alcoholic cocktail – a parallel of the Shirley Temple – which combines ginger ale with lime juice, known as a "Freddie Bartholomew cocktail", is named for him. Although his name isn't mentioned, he is referred to in J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, as a figure whom Holden Caulfield looks like – specifically, Bartholomew's most iconic role as Harvey Cheyne in Captains Courageous (1937), referred to by the character Sunny as the kid in the movie "who falls off [a] boat".[44] Freddie Bartholomew, a Hollywood child star whose name became synonymous with the proper, curly-haired little English boys he played in "David Copperfield" and "Little Lord Fauntleroy," died yesterday at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Fla. His age was variously reported as 69 and 70. He lived in Bradenton, Fla. Mr. Bartholomew died of emphysema, said his stepdaughter, Celia Paul of Manhattan. Born in Dublin, Mr. Bartholomew was brought up by an aunt in Warminster in southern England, where he made his performing debut at age 4, reciting a poem at a church social. He later told interviewers that his aunt, Mylicent Mary Bartholomew, was so impressed by his stage presence and his ability to memorize that she took him on the rounds of British film studios and helped him get bit parts. Overnight Success at 10 M-G-M discovered him when he was 10 and signed him to play the title role in "David Copperfield." The film opened in 1934, and Master Bartholomew, as he was then reverentially called, became an overnight star. After the success of "Little Lord Fauntleroy" (1936), in which he played a poor boy from Brooklyn who travels to England to gain his rightful inheritance, and "Captains Courageous" (1937), in which he played Kipling's spoiled boy who falls in with hard-bitten fishermen, his salary soared to $2,500 a week, making him the highest-paid child star after Shirley Temple. So great was his fame in the late 1930's that it made headlines when he had his customary curls sheared off because he thought them "too sissified." Continue reading the main storyHis years of stardom were also plagued by headlines generated by the efforts of his parents, Cecil and Lillian Mae Bartholomew, to regain custody of their son. The dispute was finally resolved in 1936 when it was agreed that he could continue to live under the guardianship of his aunt. His parents were given allowances for their living expenses from his salary. Life After Stardom By 1939, when he was a gangling teen-ager, his days of stardom were over and he returned to school, having been adopted by his aunt. In World War II he served with scarcely any public attention as a maintenance worker for a group of B-17 bombers. After his discharge, he appeared in vaudeville and nightclub shows, performed in summer theater and traveled widely, but he was never able to re-establish his acting career. Eventually, he moved into directing television shows in the United States. In 1954, he went to work for the Benton & Bowles advertising agency in New York, eventually becoming a vice president. He handled the company's involvement in "The Andy Griffith Show" and other shows. The millions of dollars he earned as a child had long since disappeared, he told an interviewer in 1951. Between the lawsuits involving his parents and movie studios, he said, "I was drained dry." In all, he made 24 films. Looking back on his life as a star, he said the movie he most enjoyed making was "Captains Courageous." The film took a year to make, with much of it shot off the coasts of Florida and Catalina Island in California. "For a kid," he said, "it was like one long outing. Spencer Tracy, Lionel Barrymore, Mickey Rooney, Melvyn Douglas and I -- we all grew very close toward one another in those 12 months. When the shooting was finished, we cried like a bunch of babies as we said our good-byes." In addition to his stepdaughter, he is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; a daughter, Katie, of Santa Fe, N.M.; a son, Frederick, of Coral Springs, Fla., and three grandchildren. Freddie's rise to fame came as Millicent, called Cissie by Freddie and soon the worldwide press, ushered him off to America to star in David O. Selznick's production of David Copperfield (1935) at MGM. Freddie's instant success led to his parents regaining interest in his custody and several Bartholomew vs. Bartholomew court battles primarily over money for many years afterward. Meanwhile, Freddie Bartholomew solidified his box office standing as second to only Shirley Temple among child stars starring in classics such as Anna Karenina (1935) with Greta Garbo, Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936), Captains Courageous (1937) with Spencer Tracy, and several other minor classics of the 1930's. After the success of Captains Courageous, Freddie tried to get an increase in salary from MGM but this action just led to suspension and a critical year away from film. Freddie's screen popularity dwindled as the young man grew taller and it would take a major hit when World War II saw him take another extended absence from the screen. Bartholomew only served a year before being discharged due to a back injury, returning to Hollywood in January 1944 as an American citizen. Freddie's screen career was all but over and he spent the remainder of the 1940's on small stages across America and, briefly, in Australia. One such early project led to the first of three eventual marriages, but that first union would cause a split with Aunt Cissie who soon returned to England. By 1949 he had returned to America and began a new career in television, not in front of the camera, but behind it as TV director at WPIX in New York. By 1954 Bartholomew was working for the Benton & Bowles advertising agency where he would eventually rise to Vice-President. Fred C. Bartholomew last gained some mention in the press in the early 80's as executive producer of a few of the more popular soap operas on network TV. He'd soon retire to Florida where he'd live out his final years before succumbing to emphysema at age 67, January 23, 1992. Settle in and keep reading below the following Freddie photo for the long version! Freddie Bartholomew circa 1936 R95 8x10 Linen Textured Premium Photo IntroductionThis biography of Freddie Bartholomew is not yet complete. That said it is the most complete biography ever written about him. I began researching Freddie Bartholomew for what was intended as a short blog post. I became more intrigued by the subject when I quickly spotted errors in his 1992 New York Times obituary. This was the Times after all and the facts were obviously wrong! What's worse, over the next couple of decades those inaccuracies were passed down across the Internet and even into print books. From there I became obsessed with mining as much information as I could about the former child star and I am pretty certain that as of this publication I've scoured every available source about Freddie Bartholomew. Some mysteries remain. But isn't that always the case? Freddie Bartholomew vintage 1930s postcardBefore the biographical puzzle came the films. As one who normally accepts the presence of child stars as a necessary evil just what was it that drew me to the work of Freddie Bartholomew? After extensive viewing of Freddie's films over the past couple of years what I've most appreciated about him is that he doesn't come across as a spectacle like many child stars. Rather than wishing he was your kid you wished that you were that kid again. Freddie Bartholomew behaves in a way that the adult can relate back to their own childhood, he recalls a nostalgia of experience rather than simply causing you to point and say look at the cute kid! I think Freddie best accomplished this through the sense of wonder he brought to his characters. Rather than sing, dance or simply act cute, Bartholomew is always discovering. He reacts to his often adult environment and despite the occasional outbreak of tears he must come to cope with serious problems in realistic ways. Not coincidentally some of his best reactions come when paired with the courser Mickey Rooney, who's typically introducing Bartholomew to the ways of American youth. I don't think the charm of Freddie in his classics such as David Copperfield, Little Lord Fauntleroy or even the brattier Freddie of Captains Courageous comes from the viewer simply observing him--I find that more than any other child star we're walking in Freddie's shoes in these films and experiencing the world as he experiences it. Freddie BartholomewWith only a handful of British film credits to his name Freddie Bartholomew exploded to stardom in his first American film, David O. Selznick's production of David Copperfield for MGM in 1935. The interruption of World War II timed with Freddie's growth spurt into adulthood would just as quickly push Freddie's career off a cliff. Despite several postwar attempts to recapture his earlier successes Freddie Bartholomew's path would eventually lead to other careers off the screen. Freddie Bartholomew 1936 Godfrey Phillips tobacco cardAfter sifting through all of the available information my general thought is, yes, we've heard a lot about child stars having it tough but little Freddie Bartholomew had it rougher than most. He was paid and paid well. Or at least the Freddie Bartholomew name was paid--after Captains Courageous Freddie's paycheck would be $2,500 a week or $98,000 annually depending on how the numbers were presented. This salary was second only to mega moppet Shirley Temple among child stars. But not only did Bartholomew not see anywhere near as much of his fortune as he should have, he had to go to court over two dozen times to do battle with his parents over not just his earnings, but other aspects of his life and livelihood as well. Freddie Bartholomew was one of the most popular movie stars alive from approximately 1935 to 1940. But he was not yet an adult. Had he been he could have had the type of movie star life that is often dreamed of. Freddie's finances became public because of his legal entanglements. One release of his bank figures put his savings at $1,800 at the time of his Captains Courageous raise. Much more than most Depression Era teenagers no doubt. But a movie star? Nobody: not Freddie, not his parents, his two sisters, nor even his Aunt Cissie, saw as much money as the various lawyers involved on each side must have banked. And then there was Uncle Sam. Freddie Bartholomew didn't squander his fortune. He was an earning machine for everyone but himself. Cecil Llewellyn and Lilian Mae BartholomewFreddie's parents, Cecil Llewellyn and Lilian Mae Bartholomew, 1936 Corrected BiographyThe pre-MGM years of Freddie Bartholomew are the most uncertain, but one agreed upon fact is that he was born March 28, 1924. The general consensus, apparently established by his 1992 New York Times obituary, has held that Freddie was born in Dublin, Ireland. I was never able to uncover the source information leading to this incorrect citation but the Times piece has been cited so often that Freddie even appears in books about Irish stars now. He doesn't belong in them. Freddie's birth was registered in the Willesden Registration District in the January to March quarter of 1924. This would make Freddie Bartholomew's place of birth Willesden, Middlesex, London, England. Many modern sources also list Freddie's birth name as either Frederick Llewellyn or Frederick Llewellyn March, adding that he didn't take the Bartholomew name until coming under his Aunt's care between ages 3 and 4. This implies that the Bartholomew name was either his aunt's married name or his mother's maiden name. Wrong again. Freddie Bartholomew and Aunt Cissy, 1937Freddie with his Aunt Cissy, 1937 His Aunt, alternatively Millicent or Myllicent Mary Bartholomew, affectionately called Cissie by Freddie and later others, was his father's sister. His father, usually incorrectly cited as Frederick Llewellyn, was born in Warwick but served in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces during World War I where he is clearly registered under the full name of Cecil Llewellyn Bartholomew.My hypothesis is that some sources are confusing Freddie with either his father and/or his one-time early co-star, Frederic March to come up with these alternate incorrect names. Freddie Bartholomew was born Frederick Cecil Bartholomew. Freddie had two older sisters, Hilda, 2 years his elder, and Eileen, 2 years older than her, who were both raised by his parents, Cecil and Lilian Mae. Freddie's talents would soon put him under Aunt Cissie's care. Show Biz BeginningsThese talents are said to have been first exposed to the public sometime between Freddie's third and fourth birthday, approximately 1927, when he recited poetry at a Church social. In Helen Hoerle's 1935 biography of Bartholomew which is, mind you, a Big Little Book targeted directly at children with a very positive spin, Freddie developed into the local "Boy Wonder Elocutionist" while living at the Carlton Villa, his grandparents big home in Warminster. Aunt Cissie also lived at Carlton Villa and it was she who would accompany Freddie about the area as he gave his recitations. Hoerle writes that Freddie began with nursery rhymes before progressing to the poetry of Winnie-the-Pooh author A.A. Milne and eventually portions of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice! Freddie Bartholomew 1937 Nestles Trading CardHe eventually performed a number called the Toytown Artillery at a Concert Party in Warminster. For Toytown Artillery Freddie rode a make-believe horse while delighting the crowd with a song from atop it. This success led to an invitation to appear at a benefit for blinded soldiers at Wigmore Hall, a famed London auditorium. Hoerle credits that engagement for attracting the interest of the Gaumont Studio which led to Freddie's film debut in the short Toyland for Gainsborough Pictures. Hoerle's account seems an idealized quick rise that leaves out the toil in deference to reimagined quotes of wonder from the young performer. Hoerle is backed up by a mid-1930's newspaper report that also claims by age seven Freddie was performing Shakespeare at benefits and concert parties. Another account of Freddie Bartholomew's earliest performing days comes courtesy of a 1976 letter by a P.Bond of Essex to the Daily Mirror. While the accuracy of these claims only go as far as you are willing to trust Mr. Bond, he said that Freddie had played the part of Tiny in a song and dance act performed around Warminster which saw himself, Mr. Bond, as a character named Lofty and their partner playing the part of Shorty. Bond says Freddie was just 4 at the time! Aunt Millicent soon put him in the hands of Italia Conti, a specialist in training young actors who counted Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence among her trainees. Conti operated an Academy in her name which was founded in 1911 and is still highly respected today. Freddie Bartholomew 1930s5x7 Fan PhotoIn a 1936 Liberty Magazine article Ring Lardner, Jr. wrote that young Freddie "has never appeared in a legitimate play, his appearances in England having been confined to benefits, concert parties, and to three motion pictures." Taken as a whole these varied reports indicate a very active young performer beginning in the year 1927. Freddie Bartholomew's screen career started slowly in his native land. After the Gainsbourough short Toyland in 1930 his next film appearance came the following year in Miles Mander's Fascination starring Madeline Carroll. Mander was also among the cast in Freddie's next U.K. production, Lily Christine (1932), featuring former American silent screen star Corinne Griffith, trying to revive her career overseas, along with, fresh off of Frankenstein, Colin Clive. Lily Christine received a lot of extra fanfare through the interest of the Prince of Wales, who even appeared at its premiere. Despite the extra coverage afforded Lily Christine accompanying reviews found the film lackluster at best. It was a flop. Freddie then appeared in one additional British short, Strip, Strip, Hooray, prior to his exploding to stardom in his next role in America. StarResearching Freddie Bartholomew's peak years it quickly became obvious that there were two main themes to the period coverage: hit films and court battles. Of course, the hit films came first. Like much of Freddie's life his actual entry to America, where he would one day become a citizen, is a story requiring some dots be connected. Poring through numerous sources, what follows appears to be most accurate. Freddie Bartholomew and WC Fields 1935 Gallaher Tobacco CardIn attempting to cast the title role of David Copperfield MGM producer David O.Selznick cast a wide net eventually recruiting over 300 applicants. Of these only six children spoke cultured enough English to be seriously considered for the part. None of those six were even British, a more than minor detail which would surely tick off Mr. Dickens' native country. Selznick and director George Cukor are said to have spotted Freddie on a trip to England and were immediately sold on him, but selecting Freddie for the part was complicated by British immigration and child labor laws which forbade Freddie's legally working in America. The Daily Express explained it best when it reported "Aunt Millicent winked. She packed their bags and sailed for a holiday in Hollywood." According to later articles and testimony that is also similar to what Freddie's parents thought: Aunt Millicent (Cissie hereafter) had taken Freddie on a two month vacation to New York. Well, Cissie and Freddie quickly found themselves in Hollywood where Freddie replaced the previously announced David Jack Holt in the part of young David Copperfield. Selznick himself writes in the Rudy Behlmer edited Memo from David O. Selznick that Freddie and Cissie arrived in August 1934 "having come here with hopes getting title role David Copperfield, for which we thought him strong possibility." Selznick writes that Freddie's case was complicated by his father telling the British press that it was a done deal "falsely putting us in position of trying to violate English law against importation of children for labor." Selznick tells attorney Sol Rosenblatt that they can't budge on production until gaining approval from the British government which costs the studio $1,000 daily, certainly Selznick's own wink that Copperfield by then belonged to Freddie Bartholomew. Soon after Selznick contacted MGM's Managing Director in London, Sam Eckman, Jr., with the text to be released to the British press: "Freddie's stage experience, plus charming personality and distinctly English manner of speech swayed opinion in his favor." That manner of speech was key as Selznick had written Rosenblatt that the "English public would certainly resent seeing American child as David Copperfield." Soon enough Freddie's parents would be using the word "kidnapping" in describing Aunt Cissie's extraction of their son from British soil. Copperfield, or more officially The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, and Observation of David Copperfield, the Younger, was an immediate hit upon it's release in January 1935 and remains a critical success to this day. Most of the praise is heaped upon W.C. Fields' portrayal of Micawber, but reviews at the time also discussed how much more enjoyable the first part of the film, that featuring Freddie as young David Copperfield, was in comparison to the latter half after David grows up to become Frank Lawton. I certainly agree. WC Fields and Freddie Bartholomew 1940 Cinema Cavalcade Tobacco Card We see the neophyte actor cling to his mother, played by Elizabeth Allan, when taken by Jessie Ralph's Peggoty to her brother Dan's seaside home where Freddie buzzes Lionel Barrymore with questions. Master David recoils at the treatment of Basil Rathbone's Murdstone and finds his footing under the roof of Fields' Micawber before really being allowed to enjoy boyhood under the auspicies of his Aunt, played by Edna May Oliver, and Lennox Pawle's wacky Mr. Dick. Finally Copperfield is afforded a brief and awkward scene with Roland Young's creepy Uriah Heep before growing into the much less charming Frank Lawton after a passage of years. Andre Sennwald of the New York Times wrote that Copperfield's "superb caricatures of blessed memory" were "led by a manly and heartbreaking David who is drawn to the life in the person of Master Freddie Bartholomew," though like others Sennwald reserves much of his praise and the majority of article space for Fields. Fields, by this time notorious for his distaste of working with children, by all accounts found Freddie Bartholomew more pleasing to work with than other child actors. Freddie himself, by then preferring to be called Fred, confirmed the amiable relationship in a 1962 AP interview where he said, "Some of my happiest memories are those of W.C. Fields entertaining with his juggling when we made David Copperfield." Freddie Bartholomew was rewarded with immediate stardom and a sugary part as Greta Garbo's little Sergei in Anna Karenina (1935). The part was small with Freddie not even showing up until nearly halfway through Anna Karenina, but he held his own with the great Garbo, often clinging to her cheek to cheek while serving the important purpose of being the only thing strong enough to keep Garbo under Basil Rathbone's roof and out of Fredric March's arms. Greta Garbo and Freddie Bartholomew 1937 Sinclair Tobacco Card While Little Freddie fails to spoil Big Freddie's good time with Garbo, he does lure his mother back for one final heartbreaking reunion which is one of the most memorable scenes of the movie. Freddie only interacts with Fredric March once in Anna Karenina but more than holds his own with Rathbone and, surprisingly, Garbo. Basil Rathbone recounts difficulties with Freddie getting through a scene on Anna Karenina in his autobiography In and Out of Character. Hollywood's newest child star and Rathbone, thus far Freddie's own personal on-screen villain, actually got along very well and so director Clarence Brown left the problem to be sorted out by the older actor. Rathbone told Freddie that the scene was a flop advising that "You are not listening to what I am telling you, about your mother's going away for a long time. And if you are listening you are not conveying any feeling. You are just making a lot of noise and hamming it up." To get the desired reaction out of Freddie, Rathbone told him to forget about the script: "Just imagine it's me, your Uncle Basil, and I am breaking the news to you that Cissie is dead." Well, this imagined news about his beloved Aunt hit Freddie like a ton of bricks and you can see the results on screen in Anna Karenina. Freddie Bartholomew July 26 1936 M23 Supplement PhotoWith just these two MGM hits under his belt Freddie Bartholomew was given a pay bump from $100 per week to $1,250 placing him second only to Shirley Temple's $2,500/week among child stars at that time. Promotional articles of the period claimed Freddie pocketed anywhere from a nickel to a dollar a week for himself, confident that his Aunt Cissie was saving the rest of his earnings for when he came of age. Of Cissie, who was legally appointed Freddie Bartholomew's guardian October 22, 1935 by the Los Angeles Country Superior Court, Freddie would say, "She's my aunt and my uncle, my sister and my brother, my sweetheart and everything else--and she always will be too!" Aunt Cissie also received $800 per month for the trouble. And yes, the same sweet boy audiences saw on the screen in David Copperfield and Anna Karenina was presented by the press with special stress always placed on his politeness and intelligence which was said to rival that of many Hollywood adults. Freddie's final release of 1935 was Professional Solider which hit theaters just before the New Year. Based on a Damon Runyon story, Professional Soldier starred Victor McLaglen, in his first release following his Academy Award winning performance in The Informer. In this one McLaglen is a soldier of fortune given the task of kidnapping Freddie, a young European monarch. The two were said to get along famously during the production of this film, McLaglen even gifting his young co-star a horse afterwards. Bartholomew was on loan out to Twentieth Century-Fox for Professional Soldier. Frank S. Nugent of the New York Times enjoyed the film despite admitted deficiencies calling it "incongruous, it is loud, and, intermittently, it is funny." The best part of Nugent's review is it's close where he writes that it has "the claim to fame in presenting the most amazing co-starring team in film history--Victor McLaglen and little Freddie Bartholomew." By the time Nugent had reached this line his review had taken on the overall fun tone of Professional Soldier and so I can imagine he made this statement with tongue in cheek. While Professional Soldier doesn't have nearly the reach today that Freddie's first two movies have, the film he was working on towards the end of 1935 certainly does: Little Lord Fauntleroy, also for Twentieth Century-Fox. Little Lord FauntleroyFrank S. Nugent of the New York Times declared that "Master Bartholomew was a much better Lord Fauntleroy than he was a David Copperfield," and while Nugent acknowledges that as a literary property Frances Hodgson Burnett's Fauntleroy, "scarcely merits association with David Copperfield and Anna Karenina" he goes on to state that David O. Selznick has "transferred it to the screen with equal consideration and understanding." A big deal was made of the fact that Freddie's Fauntleroy did not appear with the usual curls and fancy dress, instead Burnett's literary property was more or less molded to the Freddie Bartholomew character formed over his two previous outings. Freddie Bartholomew 1936 MGM Studio Paper Premium PhotoUnabashedly sentimental and marred by the intermittent interruption of Mickey Rooney working with one of his worst accents (a forced Brooklynese), Fauntleroy stands out not only because we are treated to the world of Freddie's discovery as previously mentioned, but because we are also allowed to marvel at his pure goodness through the eyes of his elders. This group included characters played by Jessie Ralph, Guy Kibbee, Henry Stephenson, and most importantly, C. Aubrey Smith, who plays Freddie's grandfather, the Earl of Dorincourt. Each of their characters, hardened by life in one way or another even if it's just the simple passing of time, respond throughout Fauntleroy with their own moments of wonder in response to the young Faulteroy's absolute innocence. Time and again the elders are astounded by the boy's charity and his simple ignorance caused by not expecting anything but the best out of others. Fauntleroy begins in my favorite Freddie fashion where his cultured young Ceddie sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the rest of the rotten city. If you thought Freddie a little sugary with Garbo in Anna Karenina, well then you may have a tough time swallowing his Ceddie's relationship with his mother, Dearest, played by Dolores Costello Barrymore in Fauntleroy. When a gang of toughs harass Ceddie for a ride on his new bicycle, he winds up getting popped in the eye by one of them. His pal, the bootblack Dick (Rooney), rushes to his aid and bodies fly everywhere. Rooney and Bartholomew are well on their way to handling the entire gang of toughs before the neighborhood policeman sends the other boys scattering. That policeman is a Ceddie fan, like everyone else in the neighborhood who has had the pleasure of this pure boy's acquaintance. Before heading home to Dearest, Ceddie stops by Mr. Hobbs' (Kibbee) general store where the two ruminate over the evils of the British Lords. In Ceddie's next visit to Mr. Hobbs he is much embarrassed to admit he's just found out he's been made a Lord himself and will soon be departing to England to live whatever life it is that a Lord lives. He promises not to forget Mr. Hobbs or Dick the bootblack. C. Aubrey Smith and Freddie Bartholomew in Little Lord FauntleroyC. Aubrey Smith and Freddie Bartholomew in Little Lord Fauntleroy In heading to England Ceddie is kept ignorant of the fact that his grandfather, whom he believes is a kindly and generous old Earl, is in reality a mean-spirited old miser who will have nothing to do with Ceddie's mother. Dearest does make the trip but is placed in a home separate from Ceddie and the Earl. She refuses to tell Ceddie the real reason for their separation out of fear of alienating the boy from his grandfather. C. Aubrey Smith as the Earl is as cranky as you could imagine, blowing up at servants and terrorizing the townsfolk, but even the crusty old Earl is taken in by Ceddie's charm and softens as a relationship grows with the boy. Perhaps more than any other Freddie Bartholomew film we are meant to observe his character as much as we walk in his shoes and frankly the kid is quite likable as a thoughtful, overly polite young man, full of questions and curious as to what his own fate shall mean. Little Lord Fauntleroy would be Freddie Bartholomew's fourth consecutive hit and unlike Copperfield, in which he appeared before audiences as an unknown quantity who disappeared halfway through the film, or Anna Karenina, where he tallies maybe ten minutes total screen time, Fauntleroy is Freddie's showcase. Surrounded by wonderful character actors, including a few noted scene stealers, Freddie holds his own and there can be no doubt the project is his. He's a star. After the success of Fauntleroy Freddie was making $1,500 per week. This number was high enough to start bringing other Bartholomews across the Atlantic for a claim of their share. Legal TroublesMother Lillian Mae came first, arriving in New York in early April 1936. Lillian Mae, described by United Press as "a quiet, black-haired woman about 35 years old," told the world that Freddie and Cissie had cut off all communications back home. She claimed that "We have not had a letter from Freddie or his aunt since they left England. We have written and cabled a number of times without reply. We have tried to telephone Hollywood, but the call was refused. So at last I decided to make the trip. I would have done so before but lack of funds prevented it." Freddie Bartholomew 1939 Mars Trading CardMrs. Bartholomew crossed the Atlantic third class with her husband's blessing. Cecil, described by United Press as a "war cripple" told Lillian Mae to bring Freddie back, "but not to injure his future." Whatever that may mean. Over the years the older generation of Bartholomews put together a press packet as thick as Freddie's own and it was fantastic right from the start with headlines trumpeting that Lillian Mae had gone missing sometime after her New York arrival. The story of Lillian Mae's disappearance made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic when a frantic Cecil told the press that he believed his wife had been kidnapped as part of a plot to keep them from regaining Freddie. At Penn Station in New York a westbound train was delayed so detectives could search for Lillian Mae, but they came up empty. Upon arrival she was supposed to meet attorney Phillip A. Levy in New York, but Levy had no word from her and reported her disappearance to the Missing Persons Bureau. Back in England Cecil received a wire in which Lilian claimed to have arrived safely and to be traveling igcognito; this sent Cecil into a greater panic as he said his wife would have no idea what the term incognito would even mean. It turns out that Lillian had met a Joseph G. Hobbs, London barrister, on the ship over to the States and it appears that Hobbs had convinced her to book a flight to Washington to bring her case directly to the government's attention. Inclement weather caused Lillian to cancel the Washington flight. Two days of kidnapping headlines came to an end when Lillian Mae arrived in California where she checked in with the British consulate and a local attorney who branded the nationwide search for her as publicity. Meanwhile Freddie was kept ignorant of all this with Millicent's attorney stating that the boy star would not be told "unless it was absolutely necessary." Upon settling in Los Angeles and taking some time in seclusion Lillian would file petition with the courts attempting to reverse the previous ruling which had appointed Millicent as Freddie's legal guardian. Cecil dropped a bomb on the case from overseas when he sent a wire stating "The deponent has complete confidence in Millicent Bartholomew, and feels that the interests of the minor will be best served by leaving his control in the said Millicent Bartholomew's hands, subject to the co-operation with the deponent." In other words Cecil had withdrawn his support from his wife and thrown it in favor of his sister, Freddie's Aunt Cissie. Lillian claimed that Cecil had made an agreement with Millicent whereby one third of Freddie's earnings would go to them, a third to Millicent, and a third into a trust fund for Freddie. The first battle came to a seemingly peaceful end before April 1936 was out when it was arranged for Lillian to meet with her son, Freddie, for the first time since he had departed England. Freddie's grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Robert Bartholomew, who made the trip over to give Millicent backing over Lilian Mae, would also be present at that meeting. Judging by their mention in later reporting this elder generation of Bartholomews apparently stayed on in America in a home financed by their grandson. The Devil Is a SissyBack at work Freddie's home studio, MGM, would give him top bill in a fun project teaming him with their two other top child stars, Mickey Rooney and Jackie Cooper. Rooney, who had just appeared with Freddie in Fauntleroy, was clearly on the rise, while Cooper, who had grown a little large for his age had already left his most famous days behind him. Mickey Rooney, Freddie Bartholomew and Jackie Cooper in The Devil Is a Sissy The film, The Devil Is a Sissy, was an exciting romp which saw Freddie leave his high class mother's custody to spend the summer on the skids with his bohemian father, played by Ian Hunter. Freddie, a kind-hearted little dandy, does his best to win the approval of a gang of kids led by Buck Murphy (Cooper) and Gig Stevens (Rooney), a boy whose criminal father was just electrocuted in the electric chair. Spreading the spectrum from comedy to drama with a touch of romance, a musical number thrown in out of the blue after Peggy Conklin turns a cartwheel that lands her at her piano bench, and a climax hinging on a brief gangster plot, The Devil is a Sissy is all over the place but remains great fun at a break neck pace. Freddie is at his best here trying to overcome his high fallutin' accent and the upper class ways that come packaged with it to get down and dirty with the other boys, a group also including Bugs--who eats bugs--and Six Toes--who has six toes, "By Jove, I say now, this is something!" Following Sissy Freddie was again loaned out to Twentieth Century-Fox to play young Jonathan Blake in the first quarter or so of Lloyd's of London, a historical drama which would see Freddie grow up to become ... Tyrone Power! Perhaps the most amazing thing about Lloyds is Power, in an early role, more of less stepping right into the Blake personality established earlier in the movie by Freddie. Freddie's Blake was his most rough and tumble character to date. For instance, he was considered the bad influence over his boyhood chum, who incidentally grows up to become Lord Nelson. As in Copperfield we see Freddie take a long hike that leaves him in bedraggled clothing, though in Lloyd's this was a voluntary journey which would wind up taking him out of poverty and placing him in Lloyd's coffee house. There his entrepreneurial spirit is immediately stirred by the excitement of business. After Lloyd's Freddie returned to MGM to appear in what would become his most important role, little Harvey in Captains Courageous which would win Spencer Tracy his first of two back to back Academy Awards and receive three other Oscar nominations as well. Captains CourageousKipling's original Harvey was 19 in the story, but in order to cast Freddie the character was changed to a 12 year old. Captains Courageous gave Freddie his first opportunity at playing a spoiled brat. Harvey gains his comeuppance at the hands of Tracy's proud Manuel, a second generation fisherman who creates songs out of thin air and reels his fishing line in and out by hand. Spencer Tracy Lionel Barrymore Freddie Bartholomew tobacco card The son of a super-wealthy Melvyn Douglas, not a bad guy himself, Freddie's Harvey tortures his schoolmates with his inherited power but steps too far and eventually finds himself expelled. Harvey accompanies his father on a cruise which is supposed to offer them a chance at bonding with the hope that Harvey somehow manages to absorb his father's better qualities. Harvey continues his power trip on board the ship where he forces a soda stand to open and insists upon drinking several milkshakes in order to impress a couple of kids who he has met on board. How else is a 12 year old to prove their power? Sick as a dog after accomplishing his feat, Harvey tumbles overboard into the sea where, unconscious, he is picked up by Manuel who dubs him his "Little Fish." Harvey tries to assert his power on board the schooner, We're Here, but after humoring him for a few moments the Captain, Disko Troop (Lionel Barrymore), gives it to him straight: he's trapped on board, the livelihoods of too many men are at stake to turn back based on what is probably a made up story about his father, a man supposedly rich enough to own the big ship Harvey fell from. If Harvey wants to eat he had better learn how to work. Disko provides an exclamation point in the form of a backhand across the obnoxious Harvey's face, which judging from Bartholomew's expert expression of hurt and shock marks the first time in his life that little Harvey didn't get his way. Harvey sulks at first but eventually accepts his fate through his bonding with Manuel which goes through it's ups and downs but winds up cementing itself as what will undoubtedly be the most important relationship of Harvey's entire life. Mickey Rooney, Freddie Bartholomew and Lionel BarrymoreStill photo pictures Mickey Rooney, Freddie Bartholomew and Lionel Barrymore in Captains Courageous Nugent of the Times admitted "Young Master Bartholomew, who, frankly, has never been one of this corner's favorites, plays Harvey faultlessly," and draws a comparison to one of Freddie's previous co-stars calling his Harvey, "as reptilian a lad as a miniature Basil Rathbone might have managed," before softening him through his relationship with Tracy's Manuel. Upon winning the Academy Award for Best Actor Spencer Tracy said, "It was really Freddie Bartholomew who should have won that trophy. I'm not trying to be modest or heroic but actually my 'Manuel' wouldn't have been so much without him. There is one marvelous kid. He can give lessons in acting to anybody in this town." Captains Courageous still holds up and remains the classic in which the casual film fan is most likely to encounter Freddie Bartholomew. Money TroublesIt was while Captains Courageous was in production that a bodyguard would have to go to work for Freddie Bartholomew after Aunt Cissie received a kidnapping note demanding $50,000 and further threatening "If the police are told it will be just too bad for Freddie." The threat came from an ex-convict named David Harris Weazend who also sent out a similar note to Jane Withers. "I was hungry and I figured it was a way to make easy money," Weazend said. He'd be sentenced to 25 years in prison for his appalling gamble. Little could the would-be kidnapper guess that Freddie needed more money himself. With four years remaining on his traditional seven year contract at MGM Aunt Cissie declared that Freddie was broke and needed a raise. Bartholomew's demands were well-timed, just a month and a half after the release of the hit Captains Courageous, but the battle would keep Freddie Bartholomew off the screen for nearly a year and it is no surprise to see that upon his return he would never again act in films the quality of his first few major screen appearances. The career span of a child star isn't long so I can understand the Bartholomews pressing for as much as they could get while Freddie was a hot property. But I have no doubt that the studio struck back with lesser projects, and even those Freddie would soon grow out of. The contract battle would play out in the courts and the newspapers with Cissie taking the stance that they were going to break contract with MGM for greener pastures because of the shady circumstances under which Freddie was originally signed by the studio for David Copperfield. Cissie said that she was told in England by a Mrs. Bollio, an agent for MGM, that "it will be necessary for him to go to Hollywood to make the picture; to take him there is illegal and in violation of the child labour laws of England; we must therefore not discuss the matter with anyone." Cissie went on to say that since they were too broke to afford the trip overseas on their own MGM paid for everything leaving her under pressure to sign: "I didn't want to sign, but I didn't know what else to do ... I was in a strange country, without funds except those MGM provided ... I finally signed Freddie's contract, but it was against my will." The courts sided with the studio and blocked Freddie from working for anyone other than MGM while on his suspension which had begun July 15. Freddie Bartholomew and Mickey RooneyLord Jeff still pictures Freddie with Mickey Rooney. Press photo with press markings. While admitting Bartholomew was a mega-star who made them a ton of money it looked good for MGM that they had given him voluntary pay raises after his early successes. The battle was settled in mid-October when MGM raised his salary to $2,500 per week. In the meantime Freddie had lost the lead in Thoroughbreds Don't Cry to New Zealand's 14-year-old Ronald Sinclair who managed a fine Freddie Bartholomew impersonation opposite Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. Perhaps the most humorous story to come in the wake of Freddie's raise was the report of "More Bartholomews" from the October 21 edition of The Daily Mirror in which Freddie's dad, Cecil, announced he'd be bringing his daughters Eileen and Hilda to Hollywood to set them to work. I don't see any evidence of him having followed up on this dollar induced dream. Freddie's legal woes continued through the close of 1937 when a Superior Court Judge ruled against Cecil and Lillian Mae's latest attempts to wrest custody from Cissie. Freddie himself testified, "I would not care to go to my parents, for, you see, they are practically perfect strangers to me. I am very happy with my aunt. I love her very much. She is like a mother to me. In. fact, she has been my mother since I was three years old." Cissie meanwhile was trying to take away control of Freddie's financial affairs from a trust company who had been granted guardianship over his earnings. On another front his former agents at The Selznick Company filed a breach of contract suit attempting to recover $39,500 in fees from a broken contract. The Selznick Company was headed by Myron Selznick, brother of producer David O. Selznick who had made himself into one of Hollywood's top agents. Freddie's filmography is notably absent of any Selznick productions following Little Lord Fauntleroy, so this likely turned ugly. Soon enough all of Freddie Bartholomew's financial troubles would be laid out in black and white for public consumption. Freddie Bartholomew was finally back to work in early 1938, initially on loan-out once more to Twentieth Century-Fox for their production of Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, and then back on the home lot paired again with Mickey Rooney for Lord Jeff. After that, Freddie found himself opposite Judy Garland for the only time in his career in the disappointing Listen, Darling, best remembered for Garland's performing "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart," but little else. It's a tough watch for the Freddie fan. Freddie Bartholomew R96 card promoting Listen Darling Early in 1938 Freddie Bartholomew petitioned the courts for permission to discontinue payments of 20% of his salary to his father, an amount awarded in one of the previous Bartholomew court sessions. In doing so Freddie's assets and debts were disclosed to the public record with the latter far outweighing the former. With just $1,800 in his bank account Freddie had debts amounting to $56,800. And somehow the itemized tally totals far more that that. He owed $67,000 in income tax, $15,000 in attorney's fees, $5,000 in agent's fees, $44,300 in past agent's fees thanks largely to The Selznick Company suit named earlier, plus $3,800 in living expenses. The courts allowed payments to his parents and attorneys to be set aside and also made Freddie a financial ward of the Superior Court. This removed responsibility from the bank that his Aunt had previously battled for custodianship. That bank had depleted his savings from $30,000 to $400. Now with his finances in the court's control even Cissie couldn't spend a dime of Freddie's money without court approval. The result of these actions led to Freddie finally banking some money in 1939 which was made public record in January 1940. At that time Cissie reported to the courts that his savings account had swelled to $75,000, his checking account to $14,000, and that he owned $37,909 worth of U.S. savings bonds, increasing his estate overall by $94,324 since January 1 of that previous year. Jackie Cooper and Freddie Bartholomew 1939 A and M Wix Tobacco Card1939 wasn't entirely smooth sailing for Freddie's finances however as in June of that year his parents sued him for $1 million naming Cissie in the case and claiming a conspiracy to cost them Freddie's affection and companionship (value: $200,000), lost earnings ($300,000), and general punitive damages of half a million. A settlement was reached which tided things over until Cecil and Lillian Mae decided it wasn't enough. They managed to get the high court to reopen the case in 1942 after Freddie had turned 18. On the screen Freddie was still credited with fine acting though he had lost appeal with audiences after shooting up to nearly 6 feet tall--Lord Fauntleroy was not so little anymore. In 1939 he appeared in a pair of films on loan out to Universal, Spirit of Culver and Two Bright Boys. With his $100,000 MGM contract set to expire in October 1939, Freddie arrived at the studio one day in July to find his dressing room locked and his belongings packed up in a storeroom. "I don't mind," Freddie told reporter Sheilah Graham, "But it's the wear and tear on poor Aunt Cis that gets me down." But his name still had value and he soon found work on another literary classic in Swiss Family Robinson with Thomas Mitchell and Edna Best heading the family Robinson. Freddie and Terry Kilburn, child star who's face you'll immediately recognize from Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), garnered the most publicity from the film with the press even trying to set up a rivalry based upon Kilburn out Bartholomewing Freddie. Swiss Family Robinson was the first of only three films produced by The Play's the Thing Productions, Inc. Freddie would also appear in The Play's the Thing's second film, Tom Brown's School Days, but he wouldn't be a part of their final effort, Little Men (1940). Jimmy Lydon actually had the lead role in Tom Brown's School Days, but Freddie was still one of the top three billed stars in the film along with Sir Cedric Hardwicke, who played the headmaster of Rugby, Dr. Thomas Arnold. The movie opens with Freddie's character, East, apologizing to Lydon's Tom Brown over a memorial to the since deceased Dr. Arnold. Then we're taken back in time and treated to the entire rise and fall of their friendship with Lydon's Tom Brown of the title the focus of the movie. Freddie Bartholomew with Jimmy LydonFreddie Bartholomew with Jimmy Lydon in Tom Brown's School Days Freddie played the cocksure young man who welcomed Brown to the new school at first seeming only to have ideas on Brown's pocketbook but soon earning a respect for the way Tom carried himself. While the boys hold an uprising against bullying they must do so without tattling on their tormentors because the greatest crime of the school is telling tales out of turn. Tom Brown eventually discovers that doing so leads to total ostracism. Freddie's East has the unenviable task of cutting himself off from Brown and circumstances cause him to hold out longer than any of the other boys in severing what was once a close friendship. While Freddie's East does come off as a little stubborn he's still a likable chap and on the whole a much more realistic character than Brown himself, who can be, like some of Freddie's own earlier characters, a little too sugary. The film was a poverty row knock-off of the classic Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), but with it's own literary legacy and a fine cast that also included Josephine Hutchinson, Polly Moran and Gale Storm in her film debut. It's easily enough seen today as a public domain offering, but unfortunately the quality of the available prints is poor. Freddie's career slowed down after being cast off by MGM. He only appeared in one film in each 1941 and 1942, Naval Academy and Cadets on Parade both for Columbia. Finally MGM welcomed him back for 1942's A Yank at Eton where in a reversal of previous fortune he offered support to the star, Mickey Rooney. Mickey Rooney Freddie Bartholomew Peter LawfordFreddie, in the middle, towers over Mickey Rooney in A Yank at Eton. Peter Lawford at the right. 18 year old Freddie, tall and gangly, must have still retained some of his old appeal as Columbia, where he had made the two films prior to Yank, signed him to a contract. First reported by Louella Parsons in April 1942 as a two picture deal with terms undisclosed, in July the Associated Press reported that Superior Court had approved what was a one-year contract with Columbia at $2,250 per week. Freddie appeared in just one movie under the Columbia deal, Junior Army, in which he headed a cast reuniting him with Tom Brown co-star Billy Halop along with Halop's fellow Dead End Kid chums Huntz Hall and Bobby Jordan. Showing us another side of Freddie as he recalled him in a 1974 interview Halop said, "Freddie Bartholomew used to play sissy types in pictures, but he wasn't like that at all. We used to cruise up and down in a Cadillac and pick up broads." WarJust prior to the one year anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor 18-year-old Freddie Bartholomew enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. "America gave me an opportunity and I am glad for a chance to serve her," he said. Time Magazine pointed out that after taking out his first citizenship papers in March 1942, Freddie would automatically be awarded U.S. citizenship upon completion of three months of service. Freddie was sworn in to the Army January 13, 1943 and served as a student-mechanic at the airfield in Amarillo, Texas. He was discharged a year later, January 12, 1944 due to a back injury. This injury is often reported as having taken place during his service time but I found it referenced as having been suffered in 1939 at the hands of someone pulling a chair out from under him as a practical joke. Perhaps the injury was reaggravated during service. At the time of his discharge Freddie said, "I'm going to try to get well and get back in the Army. If I can't make it I may go back to pictures." Charles Coburn, Freddie Bartholomew and Mickey RooneyCharles Coburn, Freddie Bartholomew and Mickey Rooney in Lord Jeff on this 1938 Still Photo Back in Hollywood, Freddie was no longer a child star and appears to have had a hard time finding work appearing only in the Roth-Greene-Rouse production The Town Went Wild in 1944. This one reunited him with Tom Brown's School Days co-star Jimmy Lydon. The Town Went Wild would be Freddie's last film appearance for seven years and unfortunately that later effort would not be the beginning of a comeback, but a pretty concrete good-bye. 1944 also saw Freddie involved in an auto accident which must have weighed on him. Freddie was driving his midget automobile between 25 and 30 miles per hour on November 4 when he crossed a West Los Angeles intersection and collided with another midget auto driven by Betty Lee Cast, 22. "A sudden blur of lights," was all that Freddie could remember according to his account before the Municipal Judge in January 1945. Riding with Freddie was his grandfather, Frederick Bartholomew, 85. Neither they nor Miss Case were injured. However, Miss Case's two passengers were Mary and Katherine Brown, daughters of Hollywood star Joe E. Brown. Mary was unconscious for 16 days after the crash with injuries including a triple skull fracture, a broken leg and internal injuries. Katherine was not badly hurt. Mary Brown was still unable to walk under her own power as many as 11 months later when she appeared in the papers walking with the aid of steel braces. After Freddie testified all charges were dismissed against Miss Case. Despite his barren postwar filmography Freddie was somehow considered for a comeback part in 1945's Adventure which starred Greer Garson with Clark Gable, who was making his return performance after serving in World War II. Adventure was most definitely an A level production making Freddie's consideration all the more interesting. There was also talk of Freddie going to England to appear in Gabriel Pascal's L'Aiglon, but the project never came to be. PostwarThe fact that Freddie Bartholomew was off the screen didn't mean that he was without work altogether. Or for that matter without representation. On April 25 of 1946 22-year-old Freddie married his press agent, the former Maely Daniele, whom he had met during a Little Theater production of "Candida" on the West Coast. Freddie Bartholomew with first wife, Maely DanieleFreddie Bartholomew with first wife, Maely Daniele Back when "Candida" opened in October the previous year Freddie had been linked to actresses Carol Thurston and Ann Miller. He was excited about the work saying "It's the first chance I've had since I got out of the Army to do a role comparable to my age."Maely was 6 years older than Freddie and already had two marriages behind her. This was much to the consternation of Aunt Cissy who was quoted in papers as saying "Isn't it dreadful? This is the worst thing that has happened in the 12 years we've been in Hollywood." Cissy continued, "He told me she had been married four times (actually Freddie was Maely's third husband, though there'd be two more after him). It's all so sordid." The papers also asked grandfather Frederick what he thought and the old-timer plainly told them, "I'd like to wring his neck." Maely's divorce had gone through just the month before her marriage to Freddie Bartholomew. Aunt Cissy had previously put a stop to Freddie and Maely's first attempt at getting married earlier that April and it appears as though his going through with the surprise elopement a few weeks later drove a wedge between them that soon drove Millicent Bartholomew back to England. She remained overseas until her death in 1970. Freddie Bartholomew 1948Freddie Bartholomew, 1948 Whether Freddie and his Aunt ever truly reconciled I do not know, but he did honor her legacy by naming his first daughter Kathleen Millicent in 1956 and spoke fondly of her in the interviews I've seen after his marriage to Maely.Freddie didn't fare well in The Billboard reviewing his Vaudeville act as it stopped at Loew's State Theater in New York, December 1946. The Billboard gave Freddie and A for effort but said that he failed to get his act over with the audience. "He gabs a little, chants a little, tells dialect stories, does a whiff of Shakespeare and closes with mimicry, but nothing really clicks solid." That same month Freddie appeared as himself in Herald Pictures Sepia Cinderella (1947), a musical with an otherwise all-black cast that was released to segregated theaters. By New Year's 1948 an Amsterdam, NY paper seemed pretty excited by its headline of "Noted Actor to Appear in City At Junior High." Yes, our man Freddie is the noted actor and he had the lead in a performance of "The Hasty Heart" being put on at the Junior High by The Amsterdam Business and Professional Women's Club. Freddie Bartholomew 1948Freddie performing, 1948 Freddie continued the push towards a comeback on the American vaudeville circuit before departing for a gig at the Celebrity Club in Australia in November 1948. His wife, Maely, did not accompany him overseas.Freddie received a salary of approximately $2,093 with round-trip airfare and hotels all taken care of by the Club. Jerry Rosen, who booked the tour from the U.S., planned on acts staying in Australia for months, touring theaters and appearing on radio after finishing up at the Celebrity Club. Most of Freddie's biographical information credits him with owning a club during his time in Australia, but there is no record of that. During this tour Freddie made numerous appearances in Australian newspapers. His act was said to consist of singing plus some patter with audiences all accompanied by his playing on the piano. Basically the same act that The Billboard had previously panned. Australian papers were more polite. While the more in-depth coverage of Freddie's Australian engagements always made a point to talk about how happily married he was they also pointed out that Maely remained home in America during Freddie's stay in Australia. Freddie Bartholomew and Miss Australia contestantsFreddie pictured with Miss Australia contestants, 1948 Maely was an interesting figure who I've seen listed as being born in places as varied as Paris, Russia and Czechoslovakia. During the time of her marriage to Freddie, Maely would become a lifelong friend and by some reports business manager of the legendary Billie Holliday. It appears that through Holliday she met her next husband, William Dufty, ghostwriter of Holliday's Lady Sings the Blues, and himself a future husband of Gloria Swanson. Maely's involvement in Civil Rights activities is always mentioned in her later clippings, usually planting her in Harlem rallying for one cause or another. She married once more and died Maely Dufty Lewis in 1984. A New CareerAfter returning from Australia Freddie Bartholomew settled down with Maely in New York where he became involved with television. While he has a handful of early TV credits on the IMDb, acting wouldn't be Freddie's primary occupation. Instead he had become the WPIX TV director in 1949, a profession which would lead to some of my favorite Freddie Bartholomew stories courtesy of Guy LeBow who gives over an entire chapter to the story of Freddie's life at this time in his entertainingly titled Watch Your Cleavage, Check Your Zipper! LeBow writes that Freddie "was immediately and eagerly accepted by the Channel 11 staff. And loved by most everyone. As he settled in among his new colleagues, his own defenses slowly gave way and he returned love and loyalty in heaping amounts, to say nothing of laughter." It seems Freddie had grown into a practical joker and LeBow recounts one of his more daring exploits: One late evening while Freddie was in charge of station operations, a staff film projectionist privately showed him a five-minute clip of explicit sexual action. What led Freddie to his next move we innocent but interested bystanders will never know. At 12:30 a.m. the station signed off and played the National Anthem. At 12:34 a.m. Freddie had the fornication film put on the air. And so appeared television's first pornographic show. Several viewers wrote enthusiastic letters. But until this day, Channel 11 executives think it never happened (250). LeBow tells another story of a time WPIX was going to air a show investigating local Communist activities. This was right in the middle of the Red Scare and the heights of McCarthyism. Freddie somehow got his hands on an official Communist Party membership card and flashed it to one of their co-workers on the side. Freddie scared the kid to death when he told him, "I'm a charter member and I've been told to contact you because you're the new recruit. Welcome." He strung the kid along for a bit before letting him off the hook. LeBow wrote that Freddie wouldn't discuss his Hollywood career at all and that he was shocked to see the hard times his one time favorite child star had fallen on. He describes Bartholomew as "experiencing hell. His fortune has been spirited away. He has outgrown his screen image. His good looks have been disarrayed by nature and problems. A bad marriage. And he is broke" (248). Freddie earned his own chapter in LeBow's book because of the impact he had on the author's own life: "This decent person who lived with grace and dignity among the famous and infamous was a lesson in human strength and humanness at its best." In August 1950 The Billboard announced that Freddie had signed a contract with Admiral Records, not to record the live routine he had been performing the past few years, but to record fairy tales for a series of children's recordings. But LeBow's coverage was really the last up close and personal look I was able to find of Freddie Bartholomew. Certainly we wouldn't learn much from Freddie's final feature film, St. Benny the Dip, released in 1951. Freddie Bartholomew in St Benny the DipFreddie at the far left with Roland Young, Dick Gordon and William A. Lee in St. Benny the Dip St. Benny the Dip is pretty good for a poverty row production and I would imagine especially enjoyable for fans of Lionel Stander or Roland Young, but it is a very depressing screen finale for Freddie Bartholomew fans. Fifth billed in the Edgar G. Ulmer directed tale of redemption behind Dick Haymes, Nina Foch and the aforementioned Stander and Young, Freddie, as Reverend Wilbur, is the more or less invisible sidekick to the elder Reverend Miles, played by Dick Gordon. Armed with dialogue consisting of oohs, ahhs and various other exclamations, Freddie's Wilbur follows Miles around like a puppy dog as the elder Reverend oversees the reformation of Haymes, Young and Stander, three petty crooks who soak in the atmosphere of the religious garb they stole from the Reverend's church while escaping the police. Released by United Artists I can only imagine St. Benny the Dip was Freddie's last gasp at resurrecting his film career simply because Danziger Productions, who made the film, was local to him and the filming was done in New York. Or perhaps he owed someone a favor, in either case the film certainly didn't do him any good turns. Freddie Bartholomew in St Benny the DipFreddie Bartholomew with Dick Gordon in St. Benny the Dip Freddie popped up on the air again for WPIX in New York as emcee of Fashion Review, which was called "pretty bad" by journalist John Lester . Lester did find novelty in Freddie occasionally modeling some of his own items from time to time, "masculine items, of course." A few months later in May 1952 Freddie popped up in the same TV column as Lester introduced viewers to PIX's "Melody Scrapbook," a music clip program directed by Freddie that aired at sporadic times following day games of the New York baseball Giants. After his divorce from Maely and while he was still working at the television station, Freddie would meet his second wife, Aileen Paul. At that time Paul was a television personality herself who Freddie directed in her WPIX program "New York Cooks." Freddie and Aileen were married in Yonkers Unitarian Church, December 12, 1953 and would remain married for approximately 23 years. Daughter Kathleen Millicent was born in March 1956 and son, Frederick, Jr. came two years later. While Freddie would receive a rash of publicity in the early 1960's for his success as an advertising executive with Benton & Bowles Agency, for whom he went to work in 1952, most of the later press would go to Aileen who authored a series of books teaching children how to cook. While his film career was firmly behind him, Freddie did continue to associate with the celebrity set. He's reported to have been at a Hollywood party at Chuck Conners' home in 1962 while in town on business. The Bartholomews settled in Leonia, New Jersey where many other celebrities also called home. Neighbors included young Alan Alda, writer Robert Ludlum, comedian Buddy Hackett, and singers Pat Boone and Sammy Davis, Jr. Freddie's job would also keep him in touch with celebrity, but from behind the camera where for Benton & Bowles he produced television shows such as "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Many Happy Returns" for B&B's General Foods account. The former Little Lord Fauntleroy was living the life of Mad Men in his 40's! Freddie Bartholomew then and nowAmerica was astounded to see this well circulated shot of Freddie Bartholomew, then and now, in 1964 newspapers Freddie and Aileen separated sometime in late 1976, possibly early 1977, with the couple still together as late as September 30, 1976. Santa Fe, New Mexico newspapers announced Aileen's moving permanently to the area by February 1977. By September 1977 Aileen is now referred to in the press as Aileen Paul Phillips, having remarried. She continued to be a very active writer and remained Mrs. Steven Phillips until her death in 1997 just past her eightieth birthday. Freddie Bartholomew continued working and often appeared in the Soap Opera notes in the early 1980's when he was executive producer of soaps such as As the World Turns and Search for Tomorrow. The final reference I can find to Freddie's career came in 1983, but from that time until the end of his life in 1992 it is a bit of a mystery. Just prior to his death Freddie finally sat down to discuss his career in the still popular 1992 documentary MGM: When the Lion Roars. Of old MGM boss Louis B. Mayer Freddie said, "He loved us so much he would do anything for us except, of course, pay us what we were worth." Special attention is called to Freddie's contributions in many of the reviews which appeared when the special first aired. By the time it aired Freddie was gone. According the his New York Times obituary he married a third time to a woman named Elizabeth who survived him. I wasn't able to track down Elizabeth's maiden name, nor any reference to her at any time except in the Freddie Bartholomew obituaries. Freddie Bartholomew died of emphysema, January 23, 1992 in Sarasota, Florida, where I assume he relocated upon his retirement. One of the greatest child actors in the history of cinema, Freddie Bartholomew will always be remembered as Little Lord Fauntleroy and David Copperfield and we can only hope more of his films return to print sometime in the future (especially a decent copy of Swiss Family Robinson!). Blessed with one of the greatest speaking voices the screen has ever seen, Freddie suffered through numerous legal battles with his family throughout the peak of his career and possibly wasted the opportunity of carving out an even greater screen legacy through money battles with M.G.M. that cost him a prime chunk of his film career during his youthful peak. Freddie's career was already headed south when he enlisted at age 18 and saw World War II cause another interruption to whatever momentum he may have had on screen at that time. Who knows, perhaps the press covering Freddie's service time made everyone realize that yes, he really was all grown up. Country/Region of Manufacture: United States

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