28 June 2019

Published June 26, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Click the Frog and Hop Along

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

GROWING PAIN

After a day of enduring Alfalfa’s foul temper and pranks, such as sticking chewing gum in a movie camera, the frustrated “Our Gang” director pulled him aside. “Kid, I swear, the day you turn 21, I’m going to find you and beat the shit out of you.”

            By 1940 the thirteen-year-old was a has-been. Although he landed some small roles in a few pictures, he found it necessary to supplement his income by bartending or training dogs.

            A bullet ended his downward spiral in a heated dispute over $50. On January 21, 1959, Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer took his final bow.  

***

95 comments on “28 June 2019

  • Dear Ms Wisoff,

    McArthy, Stone, and Wilberforce, acting on behalf of our client, the Director of Our Gang, are issuing you with this cease and desist notice with regard to this and any allegations, suggestions or otherwise intimations that our client was in any way involved with the death of Alfafa Switzer

    Liked by 6 people

  • Being a child star is often a poisoned chalice. Too much money and fame at young age, coupled with the suddenly loving relatives and new friends have destroyed many young stars’ life. Macaulay Culkin comes to my mind immediately. Excellent tale, per usual, Rochelle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Varad,

      Poison chalice is a great way to put it. So many child stars come to mind. Patty Duke for one and too many others to count. I smile when I think of Ron Howard. 😀 One success story out of so many tragedies. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I remember well Alfalfa in the Our Gang movies. I also remember hearing he died in a barroom fight. I graduated from high school that year. So many child stars are finished when they outgrow their cuteness. My daughter told me if she’d been working at a young age she wouldn’t want to do it now. She’s a working actress in Chicago and loves it. A good story, Rochelle, based on an actual event. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  • He died young. It was for a trivial amount..
    Real story too. Happens in real life.
    Fight over ‘money’ can turn terrible and take lives. I often wonder- value of a human life is so less?

    Liked by 1 person

  • So interesting, and very sad. You reminded me that not only was he a character in “Our Gang”, Alfalfa was a name (and description) often used in everyday conversation. I know it’s sentimental but I always feel sad when I realise a name or phrase, along with the memories, has just subtly faded away. Thank you for the reminder of someone who was once a “household word.”

    Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve always loved the stories of Our Gang, even this tragic one (so like that of Sal Mineo, much later). I met Spanky once at a Little Rascals retrospective. He told me that Hal Roach would put naughty kids into a box he kept on set. He was super funny about it. Great story about a tragic character.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    As we have come to expect from you, an excellent story about a real person. Not all child stars are brats and not many of them make it once they reach adulthood. It is a difficult business to be in when you are a fully-developed adult, how the heck are children equipped to handle it?

    Well done, my friend!

    Shalom and lotsa love,

    Dale

    Liked by 1 person

  • Another sad end to a young star who entertained millions (and generated millions for his handlers.) I’m sure the studio could have bought 100 cameras with the money that was pulled in by this little cutie.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Great little piece about the realities of child-actors, who all too often are pushed too hard too soon with too few boundaries and with a whole lot of exploitative adults clambering about to squeeze the most out of their ‘cute years’ before abandoning them to their own devices once the ‘cute’ runs out or another cute-de-jour’ comes into fashion.
    Not that some of them can’t have their less-than-cute behaviors or personalities, but the circumstances certainly do not lend themselves to helping shape them toward the best persons they can be, as adults are charged to help children do …
    Thank you for this bit of history!

    Have added my little contribution – of someone who I hope will not suffer the ills of your story – to the froggy. Copying the link here, just because I like redundancy …
    😉
    https://naamayehuda.com/2019/06/26/future-gig/
    Na’ama

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Zelda Rubinstein W(T)F,

    I never was a big fan of Alfalfa, what I want to know is what happened to Darla. I never knew what she saw in that loser. Hopefully, she found a handsome leading man (like me) and lived a long life filled with bliss.

    Autographs $15,
    Clark Fable

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Clark Fable aka Spanky,

      Alfalfa had that endearing cowlick that was hard for girls to resist. 😉 Sounds like he needed to be stuffed into an invisible box. As for Darla, she died young. 😦 But that could be another story. I’d like one of your autographs…put it on my tab.

      Shalom,

      Zelda Rubinstein W(T)F

      Like

  • I remember reading about the death of this well-known character from “Our Gang.” So sad. I was 12, and by that time was no longer interested in “Our Gang,” but it still made me drop a couple of tears to think that someone I’d watched nearly every afternoon was gone forever.

    Liked by 2 people

  • You paint a clear portrait of an unfortunate young man. It sounds like he was always on a course to self-destruct. Those who were responsible for raising him and looking after him while he worked have a lot to answer for.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I don’t often get the references to characters who were celebrities in the States, but Alfalfa was one I remember vividly, and I didn’t know he met his end in that manner. Seems being a child star is not the wonderful thing I imagined it was, as a kid. Thanks for bringing that fact home to me in your usual eloquent style.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sandra,

      Being a star, I’m told, is a two-edged sword. Even more so for the child star who outgrows his or her cuteness. Alfalfa’s is probably among the most tragic of those stories. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I think sometimes of how many of the “kids” I grew up with were beset by tragedy, mistreatment and abuse of every kind. No matter how many articles, books and stories are written, I’m not at all sure it’s any better today. Maybe worse, given the even more dangerous methods of coping available to the damaged rich.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Genia,

      Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears come to mind as two of those glaringly tragic and recent stories. I think you’re right about not much changing. Thank you for coming by. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Francine,

      It’s one of those stories that leaves one shaking her head and wondering who’s to blame. Carl was spoiled and at the same time went through life without much direction. Definitely disposable. 😦 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I haven’t thought about Our Gang, and Alfalfa for so long, although in my family we still call a bit of sticking up hair an alfalfa. Such a sad story, particularly as it’s a true one. Thanks for telling it so skilfully, Rochelle.

    Liked by 1 person

  • How sad to be a has-been at the “ripe old age” of thirteen! Child stars never have it easy, no matter which decade/century we’re in. Thank you for sharing this bit of history with us, Rochelle.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve heard and read about Our Gang, and Alfalfa. Too much fame at a young age and then having had it taken away can be hard to handle. They were easily discarded by the studios after their use by date. A sad and sorry ending to the once bright star.

    Liked by 1 person

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