The Our Gang series, known later as the Little Rascals, provided much needed entertainment to a nation in need, and George McFarland, born in Dallas, was a big part of making those features special.
At an early age, George 'Buddy' McFarland was making waves. Appearing on billboards for Wonder Bread, Buddy was thought of highly as a poster child (literally). Seeing an ad for attractive kids to try out for Hal Roach, he was off on his way. He was so popular in the role of Spanky, the leader of the Little Rascals, that he was one of the few rehired by MGM when they took over the franchise.
As so many in Hollywood have discovered, popularity at an early age can prevent future work. It was difficult for someone so identified with 'Spanky' to be anything else on screen. But in real life he had a lot going on. He joined the Air Force and worked regular jobs after leaving the service. He had a family, friends and even reemerged for awhile to host a popular show in Oklahoma that played older features, including the Little Rascals.
He continued active for years, lending his name and activity to many charitable organizations raising awareness and money for worthwhile causes. While many child stars of the modern era have proven to have problems giving back to the community, he is truly an exeption. He is remembered for his great generosity of spirit.
The year of his death he had one final appearance on television. It was a short appearance in an episode of Cheers. Somehow, it seems appropriate that he had one last chance to say goodbye.
While he had a big heart and helped many, it was his heart that one day suddenly gave out.
Though he never achieved as great success professionally in later life as an actor, his work will continue to be appreciated by audiences and new generations for years to come. And his success in helping charities and supporting the community makes us proud to call him a Texan. He will be missed.
Frederick Bean Avery, better known as Tex, was born in Tyler, Texas, but destined for greatness. Generations have enjoyed his creations, though most would not have recognized him if he had walked in the door. His medium? Cartoons.
Tex Avery is known for his work at MGM and Warner Brothers, coming out with an array of characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Droopy, as well as many many more. Likewise, working with his contemporaries at the time, he revamped, reinvigorated and simply improved the work of all those around him.
His work was astounding by its sheer volume as well as through its quality. This is made all the more amazing considering that he had been blinded in one eye due to an office accident through horseplay.
His timeless characters and situations were all during an era before computer generated graphics and the standards they were held to by the censors were much more stringent than today. His work was done cell by cell and painstaking. To do what they did back then would be seemingly impossible today without the aid of technology generated since then.
The man has created generations of people that repeat his words, love his characters and appreciate him, though he was unseen. He makes you proud to be a Texan...for like he found out, there's nothing you can't accomplish. He will be missed.