Home > Deaf History, Videos > Former ‘Little Rascals’ star was Deaf

Former ‘Little Rascals’ star was Deaf

May 12, 2008

“Darla” in the “Little Rascals” film

Written by Bug

If anyone remembers Alfalfa, Porky, Spanky, Darla and Pete the Pup from the “Little Rascals” films, did you know that former child actress Mollie Mae Gottschalck Barron as “Darla” was Deaf? She played in the “Little Rascals” films for a year while other actress Minnie Ruth as “Darla” was on sick leave. When Minnie returned to the “Little Rascals”, Mollie and she tried to play the two together as twin sister. Later Mollie became ill with chicken pox and she lost her hearing and her acting career came to an end. She suffered a broken heart courtesy of Alfalfa. She returned to Mobile, Alabama. She went to Alabama School for the Blind and Deaf in Talladega.

Mollie as “Darla” who played in the two “Little Rascals” films, including “The Haunting Ghost”, and several short films during mid 1920’s died last month on April 2, 2008. Her age was 87. Mrs. Barron, a native of Brooklyn, New York, and a former resident of Mobile, was residing in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Mollie was active in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. She loved attending and teaching at the Deaf ministry at First Baptist Church. She was active in the Woman’s Missionary Union. Her husband became one of the first Deaf men to be elected a dacon at First Baptist Church.

As a 5 year old child, she was well known in the character ” Darla” in Her favorite memory was playing Alfalfa’s girlfriend and having him sing to her in that special way of his. She said Alfalfa’s cowlick was held in place with a lot of wax so it wouldn’t droop.

Mollie and her Deaf husband T.H. Barron were married for 55 years. In 1998, her husband and daughter Ethelyn Hayes died.

Survivors include one son, Don Frederick Barron of Pascagoula, Miss; and six grandchildren. Her burial is in Mobile Memorial Gardens in Movile, Alabama.

Little Rascals

See Mollie as “Darla” in the film from 4:14-4:16 and 4:23 to 4:32 (after 4:32, not sure if it is her)

See Mollie as “Darla” in the film

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Categories: Deaf History, Videos
  1. May 12, 2008 at 5:22 am

    I didn’t even know about that. At first I thought you meant there was actual deaf character in that show but no. If she was I would definitely know that because I watched that show alot when I was a lil’ brat.

    OTF, I wonder how many of them are still alive.

    Thanks for that news.

  2. May 12, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Awesome. I have always loved watching Litle Rascals!

  3. May 12, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Little*

  4. RLM
    May 12, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Hal Roach’s “Little Rascals” or “Our Gang” serial films were the staple of the syndicated television shows in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    The elementary students including me at the WV School for the Deaf in Romney, WV, regularly watched “Little Rascals” and “Our Gang” during the early weekday mornings or mid-day. I often pretended to forget my schoolwork stuff leaving at my dormitory locker. So I could go to the dormitory to watch ‘Little Rascals” and “Our Gang” during my third-grade years.

    I was well-versed in the history of “Little Rascals” and “Our Gang” and knew all life history of every performers, but learned something new about Darla character being deaf herself. Many thanks for sharing this information with us. :) I truly appreciate it very much!

    Where did you find this related information regarding the forme child actress Mollie Mae Gottschack Barron being deaf? Very superbu piece of writing with easily-accessible video enclosure!

    Darla appeared later in the end of the first video enclosure.

    The “Sparky” replacement was Bud Farlene which appeared in the first video enclosure. The sad history of many “Little Rascals” and “Our Gang” perfomers. “Froggie” got dead in the car crash. Ja

  5. RLM
    May 12, 2008 at 9:10 am

    I accidently clicked one of the keyboard.

    I am going to complete my sayings about Jackie Cooper was the first Hollywood star to sue his own parents for embezzling his film earnings from “Little Rascals” film series and other films.
    That was known as the “Cooper Act” in the state of California to require the Hollywood studios to set up the trust funds for any child performers til the age of 21. So the greedy parents could not touch their own child’s earnings at all.

    Many “Little Rascals” and “Our Gang” performers died prematurely before reaching their 30s. Alafala was only the surviving cast member of this very popular film series of the 20s and 30s.

    Hal Roach and “Little Rascals” and “Our Gang” film series were really important for casting the interracial film cast unlike most films of their time.

    Unforunately, the Wilson presidency (Woodrow Wilson, Democrat) ended the concept of racial intergration. Wilson formally issued the orders of racial segeration upon the federal government to force people to be racially intolerant.

    Of course, “Little Rascals” and “Our Gang” film series kinda reinforce the image of “picknanny” for many urban black youths with their hair being picknannied.

    I am a Causcasin (white) myself. I always am for the importance of racial diversity and socioeconomic equality within every society. I am not a “……….” lover of any ethnicity, but embrace human diversity with compassion and respect.

    Robert L. Mason (RLM)

  6. Jacey125
    May 12, 2008 at 9:26 am

    I remember those movies… I never knew she was deaf!
    Without CC I am able to understand on what is going on with them with help from my sister.. Great laugh back then.

  7. purrry
    May 12, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Thank u for sharing that with us!!! Love that!

    RLM, Alafala got killed while in WW 2?? I remember I saw some article that he was an adult and drove the plane in the war.

    Thanks again.

  8. Just Jodi in the Netherlands
    May 12, 2008 at 9:52 am

    hmmmmmmmm being the only OLD FART in this bunch LOL I watched the shows often,, and of course like every little girl, she wanted to be DARLA. I thought she was the coolest kid I ever saw LOL
    I found this link while I was messing around dont know if any one posted it or not but here it is:

    http://www.thelittlerascals.net/main_menu.html

    Alfalfa died in a car accident in 1959 his real name was Carl Switzer..( he was in 32 episodes of Our Gang)
    Spanky died in 1992 his real name was George McFarland ( he was in 95 of Our Gang episodes)
    Darla Hood died 1979 from acute hepatitis ( she was only 47 ) she did not make very many episodes of Our Gang but she did have a 7 year contract with Hal Roach studios making $75 a week ( omg thing of Tom Cruise and how much he makes per movie YIKES )
    BUCKWHEAT aka William Thomas he died at age of 49 in 1980.. he was making a grand total of $40 a week,, good grief,, times sure have changed,, but that was a princely sum back then I guess..
    Here is another link with all sorts of questions and answers,,:

    http://www.rivalquest.com/ourgang/questions.html

    thanks for posting this,,, it was an enjoyable trip down memory lane
    Jodi

  9. purrry
    May 12, 2008 at 9:54 am

    and Spanky (?) lived till he was around 60? and died several years ago. He had a same face and he was chubby. Still cute.

  10. Just Jodi in the Netherlands
    May 12, 2008 at 10:15 am

    HMMMMMMMMMMM I TYPED a nice long long answer with cool links and info,,, where did it go ????? sniff sniff
    Jodi

  11. Just Jodi in the Netherlands
    May 12, 2008 at 10:18 am

    ALFALFA died in a car accident…not in WW2..
    Spanky died in 1992
    Darla Hood died in 1976 from acute hepatitis she was just 47

    Darn where was my cool post LOL
    Jodi

  12. May 12, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Where does your information come from? I am an expert on the Little Rascals, having been a fan since childhood. I also have the book “Our Gang: The Life and Times of the Little Rascals” and NOWHERE in that book, which I have read cover to cover, does it mention anyone named Mollie or Minnie. Furthermore, there is NO WAY that the Darla character was deaf. Darla was played by Darla Hood, from about 1935 through the early 1940s, and she was hearing. The Little Rascals have been subject to many imposters over the years, and unless this “Mollie” or “Minnie” were stand-ins for Darla, neither of them was ever Darla. Finally, if you have ever seen any of the Rascals films, you will know that Darla heard and talked. She was definitely not deaf.

  13. Billythegoat
    May 12, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Alfalfa doesn’t die in a car accident, he was shot to death at age 31.

    Robert E. Hutchins (“Wheezer”), he joined the Army Air Corps and died just short of age 20 when his plane crashed on landing during a training exercise.

    William Laughlin (“Froggy”), he killed at age 16 when his bicycle was hit from behind by a truck.

  14. purrry
    May 12, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Yea I just found out through Google.com. Alfalfa got shot in his face when fighting w other guy about $50.

  15. Kathy
    May 12, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    UMMM! Interesting information, let alone input. I did search. Also interesting. Wodner if this informaiton were well known in Mississippi and surrounding area.

    Here are the two link;
    The following link acknowledge Mollie’s role in RASCALS.

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/apr/05/ex-child-actress-barron-dies-at-87/

    The next one, according to Leonard Matlin, “possible”.

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/apr/05/ex-child-actress-barron-dies-at-87/

    Further reading indicate mixed informaiton on Mollie’s acting. Some claim she had a role, other says, allegedly. UMMM!!!!

  16. Kathy
    May 12, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Jamie;

    Bug did not say that the Darla character were deaf. Bug said Minnie’s acting ended when she became deaf due to illness.

  17. W. David Samuelsen
    May 12, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Jamie,

    you did NOT read it. Mollie became deaf as result of chickenpox and left.

    Her death is reported in many sites, including one by Associated Press.

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/apr/05/ex-child-actress-barron-dies-at-87/

    http://newsarch.rootsweb.com/th/read/MS-JACKSON-OBITS/2008-04/1207171614

    Even MSNBC.com reported.

  18. RLM
    May 12, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Jamie Berke,

    You should be more careful when reading Bug’s article on Mollie Barron. Bug clearly explained that Mollie became deaf due to the chicken pox and ceased to play in “Little Rascals” or “Our Gang”. *rolling eyes in disbelief*

    Kathy already stated her clarification.

    RLM

  19. RLM
    May 12, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks to Purry and other commentators for stating such an accurate information about Alfala and other cast members.

    I read the book on the whole history of “Little Rascals” and “Our Gang” back to last 22 years ago. My memory capability are not used to be. :)

    Thanks again!

    RLM

  20. May 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Dear Readers,

    Thank you for your interesting comments. I love learning what you learned. Thanks for sharing. I am sure most of you enjoyed the memories of your childhood when you watched the Little Rascals on T.V. You probably did wanting to play like them with your friends or in your imagination. Does it suprise you how much of memory is built around things unnoticed at the time? Did you know some of them including Robert Blake as “Mickey” are still alive?

    Robert Blake is 74. He was arrested in April 2002 for the murder of his wife; acquitted at trial in March 2005. But Robert’s real name is Michael Gubitosi (I don’t know why).

    I met George Robert McFarland as “Spanky” when I was 11 year old. He died of a heart attack at age 64.

    RLM- I happened to look for the locations of Little Rascals kids where they’re buried. One of them is buried close to my hometown. Then I saw the news of recent death notice of the actress so I researched and learned that she was Deaf.

    Jamie – If you are an expert, you missed some important informations. Little Rascals started in 1922. Darla Hood as “Darla” was not in the film until 1935. She was born in 1930. It was Mollie Mae Gottschalck Barron who played as ” Darla ” in 1920’s. I didn’t mention that Mollie was Deaf in the film. She became very sick and lost her hearing so she lost her job. I wonder if she didn’t become Deaf maybe Darla Hood would not be in the film. Did you click the videos I posted? You would notice that Mollie Barron not Darla Hood was in there.

    Purry started an “Alfalfa” thread and I thought I’d throw out this one to include all weird rascals related deaths/misfortunes (Ex. Robert Blake).

    Carl Dean Switzer “Alfalfa”- Shot to death at age 31 in a dispute over a $50 debt.

    Norman Myers Chaney “Chubby” – Died from a glandular ailment at the age of 18 (never grew past 4′7″

    Scott Beckett “Scotty” – Died at age 38, committed suicide by barbiturate overdose. Died in a Hollywood nursing home after being severely beaten two days prior to his admittance. A bottle of pills and a note were found at the scene, however the coroner never determined the exact cause of death.

    Darwood Kaye “Waldo” – Died at 72 after being injured in a hit and run accident.

    William Laughlin “Froggy” – Died at age 16 after being hit by a truck while riding a motorscooter

    Robert E. Hutchins “Wheezer” – Died at age 19 in a plane wreck. (he was flying the plane as part of air cadet training)

    “Pete” (the dog) – There were 2 dogs (Pal the Wonderdog and Peter) that played Pete…Pal died under mysterious circumstances (rumor was it injested meat laced with glass)

    Jay R. Smith “Jay” Stabbed to death in Las Vegas at age 87 by a homeless man whom he had befriended

    Robert H. Young “Bonedust”- Died in a hotel fire, which started when he fell asleep smoking in bed.

    Dorothy Dandridge “Dorothy” – Committed suicide after an investment scheme caused her to go bankrupt.

    Harold Switzer “Deadpan” or “Slim” – As was the case with his brother, Harold was also killed following a dispute with another man.

    Kendall McComas “Breezy Brisbane” – Two weeks before his 65th birthday and apparent forced retirement from the U.S. Naval Weapons Center in China Lake, California, he committed suicide.

    -Bug

  21. deafmutearthur
    May 12, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Interesting… Hmmm… Those rascals, I had seen in movie theatre… Enjoyed those flicks but… my most favorite is East side kids… It seem that it has to do with era or age… Anyway thank you for info… I hope that you will do research on Charlie Chaplin as I understand that he was taught by deaf guy on facial expression or body language and had deaf guy as supporting role of his movie…

  22. May 12, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    I guess we deaf people outlive hearings.

  23. May 12, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Deafmutearthur- here’s an article we wrote about Charlie Chaplin:

    http://fookembug.wordpress.com/2007/04/10/how-did-charlie-chaplin-become-a-star-of-silent-films/

  24. May 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    I wrote my earlier comment in a hurry during my lunch break, so if I made a mistake, that is why. However, I do feel the headline “Former little rascals star was deaf” is a bit misleading. Usually when we say an actor was deaf, we mean they were deaf WHILE they were playing the role, not after. So that is what was on my mind when I wrote my comment.

    Regardless of whether or not the girl was deaf or deafened, I still stand by my comment that no one named Mollie ever had the role of Darla. If this Mollie did, it had to be as a stand-in. There were stand-ins for all the key Rascals actors. Spanky had a stand-in; the book I mentioned earlier has a picture of Spanky with his own stand-in. I also remember the book saying something about how stand-ins would play the role for some takes, giving the real stars a break.

    In addition, Fookembug wrote in a reply comment: “It was Mollie Mae Gottschalck Barron who played as ” Darla ” in 1920’s.” That statement is incorrect. There was no Darla role in the 1920s Our Gang films. There were other little girl roles, played by Mary Kornman, Jean Darling, and Mary Ann Jackson among others (can’t remember all the girls’ names) but there was definitely no Mollie.

  25. Areumoron
    May 12, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Jamie…

    you are still wrong!! accept it and move on. Read it carefully next time, no need to give us lame excuse.

  26. Mike
    May 12, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Jamie, the headline looks fine. If she is alive today, I can write like this “Former ‘Little Rascals’ star is Deaf”. It does not mean that she was deaf in the play. Darla is dead. Bug wrote “was Deaf”. Don’t forget what he said “she lost her hearing and her acting career came to an end.” If you think Mollie was not part of the film, why did you say you can’t remember all the girls’ names beside Darla?

  27. May 12, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I didn’t know this. I found this fun trivia. I used to watch Little Rascals reruns after school with my siblings as a kid. I loved Darla and Alphalfa episodes.

    Thanks for sharing.

    ~ LaRonda

  28. May 12, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    I said I could not remember all the girls’ names because there WERE other girls in the early silents. Checking my book, one of the other girls in the early silents was Peggy Cartwright.

  29. May 12, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    One more thing! That obituary in commercialappeal.com is WRONG. It says: “Barron made two “Rascals” films, including “The Haunting Ghost,” and several short films during the mid-1920s.” I checked my book’s index of film titles, under both letters H and T, and there was never an Our Gang film titled “The Haunting Ghost.” The Gang did make a haunted house film, titled “Moan & Groan, Inc,” and an earlier film, “Spook Spoofing.”

    If there was never any Our Gang film with that title, then I have every reason to strongly doubt that this Mollie ever had the role of Darla.

  30. Jen
    May 12, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    I read Bug’s article and Jamie’s. Both of them have different opinions and facts. I strongly feel that Jamie is trying to impress that she knows more than Bug. I found many facts about Mollie. I believe in Bug more than Jamie. I believe that Jamies is not open minded about Mollie. Does Jamie’s book tell everything? I doubt. I am a librian. Not all books have all informations. I think Bug likes to share what he knows about the facts but Jamie rubbed his face. Here’s what I found on the internet. 

    Subject: [MS-JACKSON-OBITS] Mollie Mae Gottschalck Barron
    Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 20:26:54 -0100

    http://www.obryantokeefe.com

    copied

    Mollie Mae Gottschalck Barron, age 87, of Pascagoula, Jackson County, MS, died April 2, 2008. Mrs. Barron was born December 1, 1920 in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in Mobile, AL, then moved to Pascagoula after marrying Tennyson Harris Barron.

    As a young girl, Mrs. Barron played the role of “Darla” in the “Little Rascals” movies before losing her hearing at the age of eight years old. She was an active member of the First Baptist Church in Pascagoula, MS where she and Mr. Barron were instrumental in establishing the Deaf Ministry. Throughout Mrs. Barron’s life, she was dedicated to improving the lives of those in the deaf/hard of hearing community.

    Mrs. Barron was preceded in death by her parents, Fred and Ethel Gottschalck; her loving husband of 55 years, T. H. Barron; two daughters, Patricia Ann Barron and Ethelyn Mae Barron Hays.

    Interment will be at Mobile Memorial Gardens in Mobile, Al.

  31. dog food
    May 12, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    sucks that she lost her career when she turned deaf.

  32. May 13, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I am at work right now so what I have to say comes direct from my memories. I am not trying to prove that I know more than Bug; I am trying to prove that the information from the obituaries found on the internet is wrong. False!

    I am not disputing the fact that she lost her hearing and became deaf. Accepted fact. I *AM* disputing the fact that she was “Darla” in the Our Gang films.

    Ok, Mollie was born in 1920. She lost her hearing at eight, and stopped acting. That’s from the obituary. That would mean she was in Our Gang films up to 1928, as “Darla.”

    Just one problem with that. Darla did not appear in the Our Gang films until her first film, “Our Gang Follies of 1936!” The story as I recall it from my book: Darla, then named Dorla Hood, was with her teacher in a hotel. She was allowed to lead the hotel band, and she was just four years old. A scout for Hal Roach studios was in the audience, and gave her a screen test. Impressed, they whisked Dorla – who became Darla after someone at Hal Roach studios misspelled her name – off to Hollywood. At the time, “Our Gang Follies of 1936″ was in the middle of filming, so Darla was quickly written into the script and given a role. That role was the little girl who stepped onto the stage and sang “I’ll never say never again again.”

    As for the picture above that shows Mollie with Spanky et al? It means nothing. As I said before, she could have been a “stand-in.” Or she could have been a “try-out” child, as the Hal Roach studios gave many children try-outs to see if they “clicked” with Our Gang. My browser will not display the picture here at work so I can’t do a full analysis, but what I remember is that picture shows a young Spanky with Scotty Beckett, and there is no Alfalfa. That means this picture was taken between 1934 and 1935. Alfalfa did not debut until 1934 with his brother Harold, in the film “The Lucky Corner.” Darla, as already explained above, came along later.

    Readers have a choice here. They can choose to believe the “facts” in an internet obituary that got printed in multiple places, or they can choose to believe the facts as they are printed in the book Our Gang: The Life and Times of the Little Rascals (it was republished later as The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang). It is not a matter of believing Bug or me. It is a matter of trusting the facts as they are.

  33. May 13, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Rascals biographer Leonard Maltin has been tracking this for more than 30 years. He said the only Darla in the films was played by Darla Hood.

    But he said some of the people who claim to have been “Little Rascals” or “Our Gang” actors appeared in knockoff versions of those shows and, as they got older, began to refer to them generically as “Little Rascals” or “Our Gang” films.

    Leonard said it’s possible Mollie Barron was one of those people or perhaps an uncredited background player in the real ones.

    Bug

  34. RLM
    May 13, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    We could get to the bottom of this ongoing dispute between Bug and Jamie Berke, but that would be not likely possible.

    FYI, Jamie Berke, many hard publications still have the factual errors anyway. How true about too many children worked with Hal Roach’s “Little Rascals” and “Our Gang” which resulted in many factual errors about whose performers, etc. Who knows?

    Many of us including me have the faith in Bug’s impressive preparation of this blog. Please do not spoil our enjoyment with this blog. Nobody is perfect!

    Don’t anyone want to be the nitpicker or naysayer all the time, Jamie?

    Bug done an impressive work of assembling several video enclosures and pictures on his blog. I envy his technical ability of doing those things. Life is too short for us to whine, nitpick and demand.

    Jamie, Have you noticed how many conflicted information on the local TV newsreports while channel-surfing (switching) on very same topic. For example, the transcript from the 911 calls being reported on the television news were pretty different on various channels. Ever the weather forecasts were differently varied on very same evening or morning or daytime just minutes apart!

    What’s happened with many hard publications and other mediums of media still have factual errors or misinformation. Ever same thing happened with many history books which they do have too many historical errors! Many school textbooks for the American history are still riddled with factual errors!

    History is not perfect at all! Historians will tell you the same thing, Jamie!

    Many thanks to other commentators for pointing out any possibility within this blog.

    Robert L. Mason (RLM)

  35. Little Rascals Fan
    May 15, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Wow! I did not know that. Great work, Bug!

  36. Ray
    May 16, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Hello, I would like to point out about Mollie Barron who used to play Darla in the Gangs movies. I know her personally because she was a very good friend with my mother. I grew up with her and I personally know the story Mollie shared with me. Even thou, she showed me some pictures she was with the gangs. Jamie Berke, that why you never found her name in the books cuz it never mentioned. She played for brief time until she got chicken pox. that why it never credit to her.

  37. May 18, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Ray,

    Thank you for your comment. We really appreciate that you came forward to let us know that you personally knew Mollie Barron. It’s with a real mixture of pride and sadness that Mrs. Barron was part of Little Racals but not everyone knows the fact. I thank you for documenting it a little bit because this is something that we’ve been talking about and researching for a while; but it takes on a whole different level of credibiility for others to recognize that Mollie Barron was an actress in the Little Racals before she became Deaf.

    I would love to talk and ask you more about Mollie. Will you please email me? That would be great, thanks.

    Regards,
    Bug

  38. flbigmouth
    May 19, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I had always wondered about those kids back then when I was little watching their short shows after every Sunday Service. My goodness! I had no idea what had happened to all of them. Thanks for sharing!

  39. Sabrina
    July 15, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    Well I love The Little Rascals. I am only 19. And I will keep on watching them for the rest of my life, thanks to my mom. I just have to say that I love Scotty and Wheezer, they are the cutest and the best. Hope to have little rascals like them of my own.

    Always and Forever ” Our Gang”

  40. July 17, 2008 at 2:55 am

    I feel the same, Sabrina. When I was about 8 I wanted to marry one of these little sweethearts….now I am old enough to marry but they must be in 90’s….I think I better change my mind :) Of course, they are still beautiful people if they are alive today. -Bug

  41. Seth
    January 19, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    The Darla that has passed away (Mollie Barron) is not the Darla that’s posted in these video clips. It’s Darla Hood. As far as I know I have never seen another actress other than Ms. Hood. If you search for Darla played by Barron, you will not find a single photo. I think it’s BS and Alfalfa did not die in a car wreck either. He died of a gunshot wound.

  42. Dave
    January 29, 2009 at 7:24 pm
  43. Doug Rivera
    February 25, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Isn’t it possible that Mollie played in a few of the silent Our Gang films in the 1920’s, but under a different character name? I mean, throughout the history of the series, character names were never used twice – i.e. there were never 2 “Spankys”, 2 “Chubbys”, etc.

  44. Doug Rivera
    March 5, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Going back and thoroughly reading all the entries, I think maybe Mollie may have been in one of the knock-offs of the Our Gang films that were around at the time. I’m a big fan of the series, too, and like to think that I know something about the films and the cast as well.

    Leonard Maltin has said that he had access to the files of all the “Gang members” to get his facts for his book. If Mollie was in the Rascals, even if for only a couple of episodes, wouldn’t he have found a file on her?

  45. Doug Rivera
    March 11, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Entry #42 above (from Dave): The website address he gave is for the BAPTIST PRESS, the church Mollie belonged to. The article – dated 10/6/1999 – quotes Mollie as saying that she played Darla for a year in 1926 while Minnie Ruth, the other actress who played Darla, was on sick leave. Darla Hood, the only actress to play Darla, was a member from 1935-1940. She never appeared in the silent Little Rascals films.
    So, I again think that maybe Mollie was in a rival series.

  46. Cynthia
    May 29, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Umm…..Nobody played ‘Darla’ other than ‘Darla Hood’! Where on earth are you getting this fraudulent information form??? Darla Hood died at the age of 49, and she was NOT deaf!

    This story is absolute Bull!!!

  47. Cynthia
    May 29, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Also, she talks about being “Alfalfa’s girlfriend’ in the films of the mid 1920’s.

    Alfalfa did not appear in the series until 1935.

    Imdb could find no listing for this alleged actress under any variation of he given name, nor is there a listing for a film improbably entitled ‘A Haunting Ghost’.

    It sounds as if all we had here was an old woman who told some tall tales to impress people who didn’t know any better, and a blogspot writer who reported all of this as fact without checking his/her facts, which I ended up doing in about 5 minutes time.

  48. May 31, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Done with your homework, Cynthia? No, you did not! It is more likely that my research upsets you a little bit since I found a few facts, I suggest you to read my comment at number thirty-three. Not everyone would remember exact date of their special moments and it is unnecessay for you to throw your anger in here when you don’t really have a proof of better words -Eric

  49. tired
    July 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    This is all nonsense… Rascals never made a film called “Haunting Ghost” Alfalfa didn’t appear till 1936. ( 8 years after Mollie SUPPOSEDLY went deaf and left)

  50. Elaine
    July 24, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Tired , did you read the article correctly? maybe you need glasses or if you alreayd have glasses you need new ones.

    Bug didnt say the little rascals made a film ” Haunting Ghost ” he said Mollie Mae herself was in a film called that…

  51. Netle
    July 26, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Elaine is right. Tired doesn’t make a sense because he is tired.

  52. Elaine
    July 30, 2009 at 4:00 am

    LOL Netle yeah no wonder they put their name as “tired”

  53. sd
    October 10, 2009 at 7:04 am

    She could not have been in with Alfalfa; Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer got his first role in 1935 in the our gand series short; “Beginner’s Luck”
    So I don’t see the connection with Mollie since she did not star in any after the 1920’s..

    I believe in what Maltin says about: “perhaps an uncredited background player in the real ones.”

    I have been in entertainment business all my life and I can tell you I have seen many one hit wonders and/or less, since, but continue to live on this sort of fantasy throughout their life in order to be a success in their own minds, excepted as their once billing..
    They eventually start to believe in all this themselves as this was their 15 minutes of fame and want to continue it through exaggeration, fantasy in our order, as mentioned, continue to live this lie of disbelieve..
    Sad but true, yet they mean no harm, just want to their brass ring of which they were denied.

    This is why there are so many suicides in this business, non exceptance of their work, not being successful, etc. is as if you are cutting of their life line, due to fact that entertainers, are in need of constancy supply of praise due to their insecurities.

    Sorry only one Darla, if anything else, she (Mollie) might have been a bit player, and latter in life made others believe that she was Darla in order to be excepted otherwise.
    SD

  54. Laura
    November 21, 2009 at 7:37 am

    There is no way this girl played Darla. I agree with Jamie et al. I think its funny that the only information I can find on this lady are “claims” that she played Darla. There are no pictures from that time for her (the picture you have posted is Darla Jean Hood, who passed in 1979) and the YouTube video that is still available is also Darla Jean Hood. I also own a copy of the Leonard Maltin book- he doesn’t mention her, and many other sources regarding the Our Gang/Little Rascals do not mention her either. There was only one Darla- as stated by previous posters, and Mollie Mae and Minnie Ruth were most assuredly not that Darla.

    Sorry, she may have been a nice lady and all, but her claims are unfounded and untrue.

  55. Molly Weasley
    April 5, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    I must stated that this whole article is completely false. I adore Our Gang. I have read just about every RELIABLE source about them. The role of Darla was played by a girl named Darla Hood, starting in 1935. There was no Darla in the 1920’s. Darla was never deaf. There was never an Our Gang episode called “The Haunting Ghost.” The real Darla was actually scared of Carl “Alfalfa” Swtizer. There is a long history of imposters posing as Our Gang characters. I invite you to check out the site littlerascals.net and learn the truth.

  56. Anonymous
    April 25, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I’ve been in the industry for decades and associated with this brand for a long time and Mollie Mae Gottschalck Barron was not, I repeat was not Darla…ever. Background character in an uncredited role…maybe. But never a lead.

  57. Insider
    April 25, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I’ve been in the industry for decades and associated with this brand for a long time and Mollie Mae Gottschalck Barron was not, I repeat was not Darla…ever. Background character in an uncredited role…maybe. But never a lead.

  58. August 3, 2010 at 8:35 am

    This is un-true. Darla was played by Darla Hood. Mollie Barron was in a couple knockoff films for our gang.

  59. Allison
    August 12, 2010 at 3:31 am

    This woman was obviously lying there was ONE Darla and only one: Darla Jean Hood who died in 1979 at the age of 47! There was no “Darla character” nor an Alfalfa one. We had a crazy old bat who lied and then we have the morons here who accept this garbage.

  60. Allison
    August 12, 2010 at 3:33 am

    And fookembug, you have got to be one the most gullible, stupid idiots on the internet.

    Loved Baby Allison form ‘Our Gang’ LOL!

  61. theskeptic
    October 11, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Having read this column and the posters’ remarks, and then doing further internet research, it has become apparent that Darla J. Hood was *the* “Darla” and was the only one, and met an early death from hepatitis in 1979.

    The “Our Gang” / “Little Rascals” legacy has left us with some deliberate, documented impostors.

    While the dates indicated raise many questions about Ms. Baron’s claims as “Darla”, there was one man who apparently made the rounds claiming to have been “Freckles”, and we all know about ABC-TV’s “20/20″ report on a man claiming to be “Buckwheat” in a 1990 interview — but William Thomas, who played that role, had died in 1980.

    As has been noted on several occasions, there were a series of imitator comedy shorts series, some which are completely lost to and in history.

    It’s also not unlikely that Mr. Roach used unknown kids as uncredited extras on certain occasions — so when someone says “my grandma was in the Our Gang comedies”, it might not be an outright lie – but a confusion with another obscure and now-unknown set of films, or exaggeration of the role one played.

    Several notes of correction. Way back when, in 2008, in post #5, RLM speaks of Jackie Cooper, and of his parents taking his money, and legislation bearing his name (the “Cooper” act) was passed to protect child actors’ earnings. Also, that Alfalfa was one of the few to survive through to adulthood.

    The act was not the “Cooper Act”, it was better known as the “COOGAN Law”. RLM is confusing Jackie Cooper with Jackie COOGAN. Coogan was a child actor who made millions, and his parents took most of the money. Coogan was NEVER in Our Gang comedies; he appeared in major features with Charlie Chaplin. Coogan worked in various TV and movie projects through the years, usually as a character actor in minor roles. He became famous again as “Uncle Fester” in the ABC-TV show “The Addams Family”.

    At least two “Our Gang” members are still living – one of them the aforementioned Jackie COOPER. Cooper did not make a significant amount of money as a child actor (unlike Coogan) but later found modest success as an adult actor. Both Coogan and Cooper managed to have reasonably successful acting careers. The most famous, and arguably most successful was Mickey Gubitosi, who later became known as Robert Blake. And who played the role of Perry Smith in “In Cold Blood”, as well as “Baretta” on television.

    Last but not least, there was a comment about “Woodrow Wilson (Democrat)” passing orders ending “intergation” (sic). I don’t know what bearing this has on the Our Gang comedies. The gang was integrated. All “Gang” comedies were produced **after** Wilson left office in 1921.

    I’m rather confused about Wilson having somehow affecting “Our Gang”, which the comment seems to imply.

  62. dann
    February 15, 2011 at 3:58 am

    I’m surprised this article hasn’t been corrected yet

  63. Cynthia Levin
    August 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Fookembug probably believes anything he’s told! What research and facts you silly ass? LOL! There was only one Darla and this old deaf dingbat wasn’t her!

    Am I angry? Yes when idiots like you post this false nonsense!

  64. V.E.G.
    March 31, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Darla Hood is the cousin of the name sake of Fort Hood, John Bell Hood!

  65. V.E.G.
    April 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Darla Hood was once remembered as a actress, but as a singer, people were not enthused about it. Darla sang and her records are not your ordinary records. It is very hard to find.

  66. V.E.G.
    May 30, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Kendall McComas was the distant cousin of TV repairman from Colorado, Theodore Martin Floyd!

  67. Anonymous
    May 30, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    I believe the “other Darla” is called Dorothy.

  68. Anonymous
    June 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Dorothy DeBorba was a well known leading lady of Little Rascals comedies from 1930 to 1933. In 1931 Dorothy became the leading lady after Mary Ann Jackson left the series.

  69. The other Spanky
    July 21, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Darla Hood was the only actress to play the character ‘Darla’ in the Our Gang short films.

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