Information about child actors also provodes a great deal of fashion information. Both clothes these children wore as well as the costumes they wore in their films and shows provide much valuable information. These childrens often dressed very fashionably so information about them provides insights into contemprary fashions. The costumes they wore in films also provides useful information--although it must be treated more cautiously. HBC is preparing an alphabetical listing of child actors in movies, plays, and television.
Roddy McDowall was one of the major child stars of the early 1940s. His performance in films like How Green Was My Valley and Lassie Come Home were classics. He dressed as an English boy in short pants for his roles, but also wore shorts from day to day even after coming to America. This was at a time when most American boys, especially boys his age did not wear shorts. He said that he felt that there was a conspiracy to keep him a child. Fairly large sums of money were involved. His transition to teenage parts did not go well. He continued making films as an adult. He was no longer a star, but played many notable supporting roles.
George was one of the most memorable members of the "Our Gang" boys. George was born in Fort Worth, Texas on October 2, 1928. He became a Dallas celebrity when his parents enlisted him as a model for a local bakery. When the public reacted favorably to the cherubic face on the trucks and baked goods wrappers, the company signed George for an advertising film. An aunt sent a picture of George to Hal Roach who was seeking a new "fat kid" to replace maturing "Fat Joe" Cobb in the "Our Gang" screen comedies. Roach expressed an interest and the McFarlands moved to Hollywood. "Spanking" as he came to be called, caught on fast with the public. As he grew older, he became the ring leader with Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, Darla "Sweetheart" Hood, and others. For the next day, George labored incessantly in movie shorts and features. He says that "I was 8 or 9 before I realized that all kids weren't in the movies." Besides playing in the "Our Gang" two reelers, George performed in several feature films, including "O'Shaughnessy's Boy (1935) with Jackie Cooper. He was among the hillbilly offspring in the outdoor drama "trail of the Lonesome Pine" (1936) and had a titled role in "General Spanking" (1936). The latter film directed by Hal Roach was designed to transform the "Our Gang" series into feature films, but it was unsuccessful. George started off at $40 a week, but by the end of his juvenile career he was earning $1,250 a week and became every bit as independent as an adult actor. Interviewers rarely got any where with him. One reporter wrote, "He'd shake hands politely enough. But after that, he was about as garrulous as Garbo. It didn't seem to be shyness. He was just bored." When a director called him before the camera, he'd often exclaim, "Aw, nuts." When he was sure of his lines and ready for a take, he would say "Okay toots." He usually learned his lines from the director who would explain each scene. He rarely worked from a script. He apparently often failed ti deliver the sought after expression, but rarely blew his lines. The "Our Gang" children supposedly arrived at the studio at 8:00am and went home at 5:00pm. The studio claimed that they were all in bed by 8:00pm. The children attended the "Gang School House" run by the famed Mrs. Carter. George continued in the series until 1942, two years before it ended. Roach later commented on the "Our Gang" series, saying that "They were a special kind of child. Today you would have to have a contest to find one like them. They talked and acted exactly like children really do. And that's what made "Our Gang" so popular." George's last film was made when he was about 16, "Woman in the Window" (1944). After that George drifted and spent a hitch in the Army. He then had a series of jobs, including a local TV announcer when the "Our Gang" series was syndicated for television. He later became an executive for a wine company and later for Philco-Ford. After retiring he toured college campuses to reminisce about "Our Gang", sometimes with the other former cast members. He has no regrets about his childhood, "I had a ball-made a lot of money. I got lucky. I would have been nice to get residual money, but I don't. I'm still show business oriented.....It's interesting to look at yourself when you were decades younger, but I don't go into waves of ecstasy when I see an old film. I can see that I was over acting a bit in some of them, but my contracts kept coming so I must have been doing something right."
Sammy McKim was born in Seattle, Washington during 1920 according to one source and 1924 according to another source. He appeared in several "B" Western movies during the late 1930s. Some of his films included:
"The Three Mesquiteers--Gunsmoke Ranch" (1937), "Heart of the Rokies" (1937) or "The Trigger Trio" (1937), "The Painted Stallion" (1937),
"Call of the Mesquiteers" (1938), "New Frontier" (1939), "Frontier Horizon" (1939), and "Rocky Mountain Rangers" (1940). Several were made with Ray "Crash" Corrigan. These movies were made at Republic Studios which was a low budget studio known for it's low budget, quick-shoot westerns and movie serials. Republic normally churned out one movie per week. Interestingly John Wayne was in several of these Westerns, including "New Frontier," one of the The Three Mesquiteers series. Sammy was also in the movie serial "Flying G-mem" (19??). Serials were another Republic specialty. Sammy had a few adult roles, but became an an animator at the Disney Studios. He had four brothers
and sisters (David, Lydia, Harry, and Peggy) who also during the 1930s and 40s appeared in many films--usually small roles.
Born March 24, 1930 in Slater, Missouri. His full name was Terrence Steven McQueen. He never played in child parts. But he did have an interesting childhood. He was abandoned as a baby, by his father, a Navy flier. He spent part of his childhood in Boys Republic, a reform school in Chino, California.
Ralph is best known for his perormance in "Karate Kid I" and "II", "Crossroads", "Teachers", and the "Outsiders". He looked much younger than he actually was.
Charming curly-haired boy who played the protagonist in "My Body Guard." He had a particularly engaging smile.
Charming little boy that worked for Disney. I saw him in "Pete's Dragon" (1977) when he was about 10. I don't know what other roles he had, but he was very sweet in this film. I'm not sure about any other flms he may have made.
Jerry played the Beaver in "Leave It to Beaver"(1957-63). He began as a little chap about 7 or so and continued into his early teens. The clothing shon was a good representation of what American boys wore at the time. Clothing was not normally worked into the plot lines. There was one episode in particular where his aunt takes care of him for a while and makes him wear a shorts pants suit and the other children tease him. He grew into an adult that lookd nothing like the boy on television.
Billy and Bobby Mauch were identical twins born in Peoria, Illinois (1924). It was virtually impossible to tell the difference. The one noticeable difference was that one was left habded and the other right handed. Their father was a ticket agent for the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway. Their mother started teaching the boys to dance when they were 3 years old. By age 7 they were singing and acting on the radio.
Their mother took them to Hollywood (1935). She claimed to be able to tell them apart--to a degree. She told Time magazine, which ran their faces side by side on its cover in November 1937 that this was only possible when: 1) the boys were awake, 2) Billy was wearing his glasses, or 3) when observing Bobby who was right-handed and Billy who wa left-handed. Billy was cast in "Anthony Adverse" (1936). This was not because they were twins. Rather because they resembled a young Fredric March who played the adult star in "Anthony Adverse" (1936). Billy Mauch played a rather revealing role in the film. He is raised in a convent. He get's stripped by poor boys on the street and runs into the house where he is to be aprenticed without any clothes at all. Bobby was to be his stand-in for minor scenes. Apparently Bobby didn't like the idea and the boys agreed among themselves to share the role. After the film was completed, the boys told director Mervyn LeRoy that that had taken turns playing the lead role throughout the movie, positive that no one would notice. The Mauch brothers debut as twins and their best known film is the Mark Twain classic, The Prince and the Pauper (1937). This is probably the film they are most famous for, because of the need for twins ton act the two different parts and Errol Flynn's starring role. They played in some of the Penrod series films. They were in “Penrod and His Twin Brother” and “Penrod’s Double Trouble.” They would sometimes flip a coin to decide who got what role.
They both served in the Pacific during World war II. Bobby served in the Phillipines Islands. He was stationed in Samara for a while. Billy occasionally appeared as an adult in films (early 50s). Bobby began a second career as a film editor. Bobby married Georgia Shattuck (1971) They first met in high school, at the Mar-Ken School for professional children in Hollywood.
Joseph is sometimes credited as Joe. He hasd had an incredible impressive career as a child star, appearing in both blockbusters like "Jurasic Park" (1993) and more sensitive films like "Shawdowlands" (1993) in the same year. He was especially impressive in ""Radio Flyer" (1992). We do not know a lot about Joseph's film career. One reader tells us that he was noe of the best child actors from the 1990s. He played with Sean Mummy in "Three Wishes" starring Kevin Costner. A film set in the mid-1950s with a
surprising ending. Joseph gave an incredible performance
alongside Elijah Wood in "Radio Flyer". Joseph was about 8 years old at the time. In the film, his single mother's boyfriend physically abused him. A very heavy role for an 8-year old! A very unusual ending too. You might remember him as the chatty kid in "Jurassic Park". Another great film he starred in was "Simon Birch". The
setting being in the mid-50s has good examples of period clothing.
Judson Melford was a popular child actor in the earliest days of Hollywood. I have been able to find little information about him, but have managed to piece together a few details. Several film studios in the late 1900s began to move west to California which because of the weather afforded more outdoors shooting time. One of those companies was Kalem. Judson got into films because his father, George Melford was an accomplished stage actor working in Cincinatti Ogio. He often played haevies and character parts. He decided to try films and proved very successful. He soon succeeded Kenean Buel as director at the Kalem Glendale studio, Buel going to Florida for Kalem. Melford directed for Kalem from about 1911-14. George eventually directed one of the most famous silent films ever made, The Sheik (1922) starring Rudolph Valentino. - distributed by Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount.
Director: George Melford; CaGeorge Judson brought his wife and young son Judson when he arrived in California in December 1910 with other Kalem actors. They immediately started making movies. Many of George Judson's films were with the silent star Alice Joyce. Judson also appeared in one silent films with her--On the Warpath (Kalem, 1911).
Mike is one of the comedians from "Saturday Night Live" who stared in the inane movie "Wayne's World." On an interview show he described his childhood. His father was British, but he was raised in Canada. He had two older brothers who apparently delighted in tormenting him. One of the things they loved to do was to grab him and strip him naked. They lived in an apartment building and would throw him out into the hall naked. He would have to wait for mom to come home before he could get back inside. He had an Indian neighbor who would take pity on him. He would crouch down by the door trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. She would say to him, "What have those devils done to you know." She would take him into her apartment and give him one of her saris to wear. (They were about the same size, so he must not have been a real young boy.) He remembers sitting in her apartment dressed in the sari, under some statue of a many-handed Hindu god, eating Indian food, and listening to Ravi Shankar.
Peter Miles has a rather interesting background. He was born Gerald Richard Perreau-Saussine in of all places Tokyo, Japan on April 1, 1938. I'm not sure what the family was doing in Japan in 1938, but they may have bee escaping Hitler's Europe. Unfortunately, I havent's been able to find much information about him. We see him here with his little sister. Gerald Perreau is the older brother of Gigi Perreau, Janine Perreau, and Laurie Perreau. His early movie credits were under the name of Gerald Perreau. He changed his name in 1948 to Peter Miles for professional purposes, He is best remembered as Peter. As an adult, he was an
award winning author who used the pen name, Richard Miles. He is again known today as Gerald Perreau, and is presently living in southern California. Some of his films include Possessed (1937), Family Honnetmoon (1948), "The Red Pony" (1949), "Trigger Jr." (1950), "Who Killed Cock Robin", "The Good Humor Man", and several others. We see Peter wearing a beanie and a Captain Marvel sweatshirt "The Good Humor Man".
Born in London to john Mills the novelist and playwright. She made her debut at 12 in her father's vehicle, "Tiger Bay" (1959). She portrayed a frightened little witness. The film was quite a sensitive film told from the child's point of view. She followed this up after being scooped up by Disney in another super performance in Disney's "Pollyanna" (1960). She won a special Oscar for her performance, but the film was a stock, but well done Disney film. She proceeded to play a series of sweet innocent child/adolescent roles for Disney. She finally shattered her wholesome image when she appeared in a provocative scene in "The Family Way" (1967).
Roger Mobley (born January 16, 1949, in Evansville, Indiana) was a populat TV child star in the 1960s. His best known role was Gallegher. This was the copyboy/junior sleuth for a big city newspaper editor, played by Edmond O' Brien. Occasionally, a few other young people in period costume played minor roles. Roger had played Homer "Packy" Lambert, Joey's (played by Bobby Diamond) young pal on the Saturday morning staple, "Fury" (1957-60). Although born in Indiana, Roger grew up in west Texas and spoke with a drawl, unlike his fellow cast members. The director of "Fury" didn't want Roger for the part. He wanted Jay North, who went on to play, of course, "Dennis the Menace". The producer of "Fury", a wonderful and kind man, Leon Fromkess, overrode his dirctor and hired Roger. Roger mobley was a popular child start in the 1960s. If you watched television during the sixties you couldn't miss Roger Mobley; he was one of the most ubiquitious juvenile actors of the era. My own memories of Mobley begin with the series Fury, in which he played Packy Lambert, the young neighbor of Joey Newton and his black stallion Fury--Packy owned a pony named Lucky and was always in some sort of trouble that Fury helped him out of. He also appeared on induibidual episodes of a number of series such as "National Velvet" and "Dragnet". For some reason, in contrast to his Gallegher role, he was often cast as juvenile delinquent. While he mostly was a TV actor, he also appeared in movies such as "Emil and the Detectives". He was also in "For the Love of Willadean" (1964), and "The Treasure of San Bosco Reef" (1968). Roger stopped acting in the 1970s. Jectried a variety of things. He served as a paratrooper in Vietnam andn then became first a paramedic and then a policeman. Finally he entered the ministry. As an adult he has done a few bit parts for the Disney studios.
Born in Los Angeles on September 12, 1925 and made his first film 11-months later, "The Beloved Rogue" (1927) and played another baby role in "Object Alimony" (1928). He became a regular actor about 4 years of age. He began to become well known when he joined "Our Gang" in 1932. Looking back he says he disliked the whole school experience at Hal Roach studios, he says that he never really felt "part of the gang." He says that the one he felt closest to was Stymie (the Black boy) and his family. He only did "Our Gang" films until 1933. One of the unusual child stars of the 1930s that was cast in a variety of roles, from "Oliver Twist" (1933) to "The Member of the Wedding" (1952), and Marlene Dritich's son in "Blond Venus (1932)." He appeared in a Cecil B. DeMille film ("The Sqaw Man") in 1931. He didn't like DeMille, said he was insensitive to people and even hit the 5-year old Dickie. Dickie recalls, I didn't care for him at all. I thought he was egomaniacal, completely insensitive to other people and their feelings. He hit me. ... I was a 5-year old kid and he hit me." He was one of the cutter child stars and frequently wore shorts. His major lead was Oliver in a 1933 production of "Oliver Twist", but the impact was limited as it was produced by the shoe-string Monogram studios. He worked with Shirley Temple in 1940 ("Blue Bird") and liked her, saying she was fun and unpretentious and gave her first film kiss in "Miss Annie Rooney" (1942). He said later that "It was frightening" because of the big to do over it and because he was so sexually naive. By this point, Dickie was becoming weary of just being cute on the screen. He must have objected to his role in Heaven Can Wait (1943) in which he plays a pampered teenager kept in short pants. He complains to the new French maid that his parents have a conspiracy against him to keep him in shorts pants. The feeling was understandable as he was nearing 20 years old. He says it used to bother him when any one mentioned his dimples, but not any more. He recalls, "I knew what was expected of me and I knew how to do it, but I resented those qualities very much and simply couldn't bring myself to do it any more. He tried to do films as an adolescent and adults, but without the great success of his childhood films. He stayed in the business and now is a popular producer of industrial films.
The star of the British TV series "The Saint" and several Bond films was born in Stockwell, a London suburb. He would later refer to it as Saint Ockwell. He was the only child of George Moore, a policeman, and Lillian "Lily" Pope, a housewife. His father was quite a large, commanding man. Roger was rather sickly as a child. His parents kept him from going out for several years. Like most British boys at the timer he wore short trousers. A reader writes, "I saw one picture of him as a youngish age, about 6 years old, in rather sissy shorts." We are not sure what he meant by that. Another picture showed him in apparently cord shorts and knee socks at about 12 or 13. That was common at the time. He began his secondary education at Battersea Grammar School, but was evacuated to Holsworthy, Devon during the World War II Blitz. He then attended Dr Challoner's Grammar School. He entered the Venerable Bede at the University of Durham but never graduated. After the War, when Moore turned 18 yeaers did his military service and that time began pursuing show business. After his National Service, parts were difficult to get. He worked as a male model (early 1950s). He appeared in print advertisements for knitwear, earning him the amusing nickname "The Big Knit".
Trevor is a fine young actor. He wore short pants for his parts in
Barneys Great Adventure, The Sixth Sense, Jurassic Park III, and the The Glass House. He also wears the usual jeans and slacks common 1990s and 2000s kis.
Steven was a German Jewish boy. He and his family managed to get out of Germany just days before the War began. The Immigraion Offucer on Ellis Island advised Steven's father that the "two little dits" are not used in Ammerica and that Sefan was Steven in English. Thus the family named were changed. Once in America, their father opened a candy store, but this had to be given up after Pearl Harbor when sugar was ratined. Money was tight. The boy's sold magazines. Once screen writer heard Steven's English accent and thought he would be good for the part of a midshioman in a Horatio Hornblower film. Steven was recruited to make movies. He was in seven Hollywood movies, several of which are quite well known and featured major Hollywood stars. . In his first film he was the younger David in "Adam Had Four Sons" (1941) with Ingrid Bergman. He was one of the boys in "How Green Was My Valley" (1941). I'm not sure which boy he played. He was also in "The Tuttles of Tahiti" (194?). Steven had a major role in "The Boy from Stalingrad" (1943) with Skotty Beckett, but unfortunately the film was never released. He played Gerhand in "White Cliffs of Dover" (1944). He played Hellwig in "The Seventh Cross" (1944) which starred. He also played in "Above Suspision" with Joan Crawford. Besides Hollywood film, Steven was in radio prorams like "The Hollywwod Smarty Party" and radio dramas such as Orson Wells and John Houseman's
"Mercury Theater of the Air".
Danny Mummert was born in Dallas, Texas during 1934. He played Baby Dumplings's friend and pesky neighbor kid Alvin Fuddle. He looks older than Baby Dumpling, but was acr]tually about the same age. Danny's career as a child actor is largely associated with the Blondie series. He was in most, but not all of the films in the series. He appeared even before Baby Dumpling in the first film--"Blondie" (1938). Like Larry Simms (Baby Dumpling), Danny also grew up before the public in the Blondie series. Like Larry he was also in the final Blondie film--"Beware of Blondie" (1950). He appeared in some other films as well, including some well known films. He was Donna Reed's younger brother in Frank Capra's Christmas classic--"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). When the Blondie series ended, Danny was a teenager. He got a few minor teenage roles. His last major film was another classic-- "Member of the Wedding" (1952).
Personable little guy best known for his role in the 1960s TV series, "Lost in Space".Charles William Mumy, Jr., was born to Charles and Muriel Mumy in San Gabriel, California on February 1, 1954. Billy's acting career began at the age of 5 years in 1959. He has worked on an amazing number of television shows (over 400), 16 motion pictures, various commercials, and scores of voice overs. He is probably best known as "Will Robinson" in the classic 1960's series"Lost in Space". Most Americans if the day will rember the refrain "Danger Will Robinson". One of his earliest films was the awful Palm Springs Weekend (1963). He was about 7/8 and played a charmingly boyish brat--the only redeeming aspect of the film. Other films have included: The Wizard of Bagdad (1960), Tammy Tell Me True (1961), Sammy The Way Out Seal (1962--Petey), Palm Springs Weekend (1962), A Child Is Waiting (1963), A Ticklesh Affair (1963), Dear Brigitte (1965--Erasmus Leaf), Rascal (1969--Sterling North), and Bless The Beasts And The Children (1971--Teft). As a adult his most importanr role has been Lennier the alien Ambassadorial aide in the award winning science fiction series Bablyon 5.
Billy Mummy's son Seth appeared in a movie that I believe was called "Three Wishes" (US, 1995) starring Kevin Costner. An excellent film set in the mid-1950s with a surprising ending. Seth wears a Davey Crockett outfit in one scene and a yellow shorts set with a self belt at a community picnic. One reader reports, "He played beside one of the truly great child actors of the 90s--Joseph Mazzello."
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