Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rant #274: A Rascal Passes

It is amazing that a movie series that started nearly 100 years ago would still be remembered so fondly by Baby Boomers and other movie lovers, but the Our Gang comedies still resonate with those looking for something to laugh at.

Most of the Our Gang (or to Baby Boomers, Little Rascals) stars are gone, and have not been around for years. There are some, like Jackie Cooper, Dickie Moore, and Robert Blake, who will probably outlive us all.

Most of the girls are gone, and one more was added to the list the other day.

You won't find much about her, and there were scant obituary mentions of her death, but Dorothy DeBorba passed away on June 2. She was 85 and had been in ill health recently.

DeBorba was one of the early talkies leading ladies, and while she was featured in 24 films in the Our Gang Series, I don't think too many people remember her.

But for those that do, that spunky little girl is perhaps best remembered in "Pups Is Pups" from 1930. She played Jackie Cooper's kid sister, and you might remember her as the girl, who in a running gag in the film, keeps on jumping into mud puddles.

You might also remember her in "Love Business," (1931) where she delivered lines to Chubby Chaney that were absolutely hilarious. She mimicked Chaney's love lines to the point where she became known as "Echo."

Her curls and hair ribbons were her trademarks.

After appearing in the series, she worked at Republic Pictures and also worked as a clerk at the University of California-Berkeley.

A lifetime smoker, she continued to smoke even when she was attached to an oxygen tank, and this compulsion led to her demise.

I have been a huge fan of the Our Gang comedies seemingly from childbirth. They are so innocent, depict a different time, and are as funny today as they were when they first came out.

Although a relatively minor player in the series, DeBorba's work stands out.

And as one of the last surviving female stars of the series, the announcement of her death was a bad bit of news to hear about.

Here's some video of her with Chubby. It's not all about DeBorba, but it is all I could find.

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