The Curse Of The Little Rascals

By Mike Devlin on Thursday, September 12, 2013
rascals
“I’ll come up and see ya sometime!” —Spanky

In A Nutshell

The Little Rascals comedy shorts were incredibly popular in the early years of film, but the crew could easily be described as cursed— many of the cast members died under horrifying circumstances, not limited to murder, plane crashes, suicide, and motorcycle accidents.

The Whole Bushel

Beginning in 1922, a series of live-action comedy shorts starring a group of children called Our Gang hit the silver screen. The shorts were a hit, and over decades, a constantly evolving cast of “Little Rascals” entertained audiences, new kids joining up as older ones grew into their teens. While many cast members lived full, normal lives following their stint on the program, a chilling number went on to perish in most terrible fashion.

Bobby Hutchins (20) and Donald Haines (23) both died while serving in World War II. Billy “Froggy” Laughlin died at just 16 when his motor scooter was struck by a car. Norman “Chubby” Chaney died of a glandular ailment at 21. Kendall McComas (64) and Scott Beckett (38) committed suicide. Darla Hood, who frequently figured in as the show’s love interest, died of a heart attack at 47 after contracting hepatitis from a blood transfusion.

In 2002, Jay R. Smith, who lived to 87 years old, was stabbed to death by a homeless man he had befriended. His corpse was found in the desert north of Las Vegas, Nevada. Robert Blake, who successfully made the transition from child to adult actor, found himself in the crosshairs of a murder investigation when his second wife, Bonnie Lee Bakly, was killed in 2001. Blake was acquitted of the charges, but was found liable for her death in a subsequent civil trial.

Perhaps the most famous rascal of all was Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer, the freckled, cowlicked boy who yearned for the affections of his beloved Darla. Switzer left the show in 1940 at the age of 12, and though he had a few bit parts afterward, including roles in such classics as It’s a Wonderful Life and The Ten Commandments, his acting career was pretty much over. Switzer did a series of odd jobs afterward; he had a talent in particular for training hunting dogs. On January 21, 1959, Switzer got into an argument with another man concerning a dog and a debt of $50. He was shot in the groin and bled to death. He was 31. Sixteen years later, Carl’s brother Harold (who also appeared on the series) killed a man in a dispute, then committed suicide at the age of 42.

Show Me The Proof

What happened to the Our Gang Cast?
Las Vegas Man Sentenced for Murder of Former Little Rascal
Who Murdered Bonny Lee Bakley?
The Life and Death of “Our Gang’s” Alfalfa

  • phat

    Ohhh those rascals, always getting into all sorts of trouble.

  • MRlC

    most of these sound like pretty normal ways to die.

    • Phil_42

      Really? which of these in particular seem normal to you?

      • g.g.palin

        Shot to groin is fairly common I think that’s what happened to tu-pac.

        • MRlC

          being shot is pretty normal. being shot in the groin is only more interesting if you like to snicker at dick jokes. I like dick jokes by the way, dont get me wrong.

          • g.g.palin

            Well I don’t know any dick jokes but tu pac was shot in the groin twice.

          • rick

            lol. no he wasn’t he was shot 8 times in the chest and head. remember, he was riding in an SUV

          • g.g.palin

            He was shot two diffrent times and I’m pretty sure one ofthose times was Iin the groin

      • genaphur

        Car accident, war, suicide, heart attack…

        • MRlC

          yea those basically.

      • Bama

        In this country? Getting shot.

      • rick

        car accidents and cancer sound pretty normal.

  • diablo135

    Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer was a in dozens of movies after the Our Gang stuff. Sure, he wasn’t an “A” lister but he was working steadily. Funny tidbit: His picture did a cameo in White Christmas as “Freckle-Faced Haynes”. That scene still makes me laugh.

  • Mom424

    Follow any group of people to their ultimate end……and the outcome will look much like this list. Human beings suffer all sorts of failings; this is a pretty representative group for people born in the 20’s and 30’s. Once you got to old age, it wasn’t so bad—getting there was a little more difficult than it is today. This curse thing is a myth.

  • The Ou7law

    ooooottttaaaayyyyy now that was some good knowledge to learn

  • Valkyrie

    No Mention of Petey, the American staffy.. whilst he lived out his life in relative luxury with his owner, all his follow ons were pit bulls..The pit bull has now changed from being one of the most wanted pet in America to the most ostracised …

  • Tim Hodge

    Spanky McFarland, meanwhile, had a long and successful career in real estate development in Dallas. And Jackie Cooper had a long and successful acting career, including the ongoing role of Perry White in the Christopher Reeve Superman films.

  • special.ED

    Yeah, its pretty normal to get stabbed by a bum. Happens to everyone.,and 16 years olds get run over by cars while on their mopeds, a dozen a day in my neighborhood, and if I had a dollar for every guy I knew who had his junk shot off in an argument about a dog!

  • pronto

    I thought I read someplace what is a chilling story about LR star Tommy ‘Butch’ Bond. While in the service he was assigned to Flight 19 but due to some reason or other ended not going out with it.Flight 19 is the famous event where 5 US military planes went out from their base in Florida & mysteriously vanished. A couple planes sent out to search for them also disappeared too. Tommy,fortunately lived to a ripe age.