Popular Child Actor DEAD

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Dean James AMERICA’S FREEDOM FIGHTERS –

Leonard Landy, the former “Our Gang” and “Little Rascals” child star, died Wednesday at 84, according to Variety.

The freckled-face Landy acted in 21 of the original “Our Gang” comedy shorts, in 1938 through 1941.

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“Our Gang” started as a series of film comedy shorts that followed a group of poor neighborhood children, which was shown in movie theaters beginning in 1922. Sound was added to the movie shorts in 1929, Newsweek reports.

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Landy, who stood out because of his big ears and occasional one-liners, premiered in the episode “Feed ‘Em and Weep” in 1938.

The “Our Gang” series was repackaged for syndicated television in the 1950s and re-titled “The Little Rascals,” which is how many remember the child stars from that series today. Some 41 children participated in the series and about five are still living today.

Landy participated in an “Our Gang” reunion in 1980, which was sponsored by The Sons of the Desert, a fan club that celebrates the careers of the slapstick comedy duo of Laurel and Hardy, whose careers ran from the late 1920s through the mid-1940s.

Landy continued to make appearances related to the “Our Gang” series sponsored by the Sons of the Desert Los Angeles chapter until 2014 with a few of the other surviving members of the show.

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Arguably the most famous of the “Our Gang” former stars is Robert Blake, 83, who went on star in the 1970s television detective series “Baretta,” said the New York Post. Blake was acquitted of murder in 2005 for the California murder of his second wife in May 2001, the Post wrote.

David Bonner at Opposing Views has some interesting information:

A 2015 book, “Our Gang: A Racial History of The Little Rascals,” explores the historical significance of the series, as noted by the University of Minnesota Press. Written by Julia Lee, a professor at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, the book “shows us how much this series, from the first silent shorts in 1922 to its television revival in the 1950s, reveals about black and white American culture — on either side of the silver screen,” as plugged by the book’s publisher.

As Lee notes, the series began at the height of Jim Crow. “You have the Ku Klux Klan undergoing a period of resurgence,” she explained in an interview with NPR. “You have lynchings going around across the country. And so race relations were at an incredible low, and yet you have this series that’s so popular that shows black and white children playing together as if there’s no such thing as race at all.”

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Although the series did contain plenty of racial stereotypes that made it controversial in later years, it was also racially progressive. Lee continues: “The gang also made fun of the Ku Klux Klan in one short called ‘Lodge Night,’ and that created some pushback from some theater owners in regions where the Ku Klux Klan was very strong.” The name of the Little Rascals’ club was “Cluck Cluck Klams,” notes The Atlantic.

Regarding the African-American kids in “Our Gang,” Lee explains that they were “absolute stars” at the time among black audiences.  “They were considered saviors in many ways. In the early or mid-1920s, they were actually the most popular black stars in the United States.”

 

Variety said other former “Our Gang” members still living include Lassie Lou Ahern, Margaret Kerry, Sidney Kibrick and Mildred Kornman.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

Rest in peace and thanks for the memories!

God Bless. Source- AFF

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