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Jerry Schatz RIP
Sad news for classic comedy fans...Jerry Schatz, one of the last remaining prominent Our Gang kids passed away on Wednesday, November 23rd. Jerry had just turned 91 on November 1st. Jerry’s stage name was Jerry Tucker, and is probably best remembered as the supposed “rich kid” with the firetruck who challenges the gang to a race down a very steep hill in “HI’- NEIGHBOR!” which is considered one of the best in the 220-plus Little Rascals film output!
“He was a child actor, a disabled World War II veteran, a Mason, a Shriner, an Odd Fellow, but most of all he was our dad,” Wolf said.
He earned his ticket to Hollywood at age 5 when his father took him to a boxing match and had him enter the ring and recite “Gunga Din.” The head of Paramount Pictures was in the audience and was taken with the youngster. Schatz, who was born in Chicago and acted under the screen name Jerry Tucker, always downplayed his screen accomplishments.
Schatz’s screen debut — on loan to MGM — was in the Buster Keaton comedy “Sidewalks of New York” (1931), which was followed by his first “Our Gang” comedy, “Shiver My Timbers.” With his carrot-topped locks and freckled complexion, Schatz fit in perfectly with the rest of the gang and appeared in 14 shorts in the series, which was known as “The Little Rascals” when shown later on television. In his favorite episode, “Hi’-Neighbor!” (1934), he played a rich snob who uses his fancy fire engine to win the affections of a pretty blond girl.
Schatz also appeared in some of the biggest movies of the 1930s including “Babes in Toyland” (1934) with Laurel and Hardy, “San Francisco” (1936), “Captain January” (1936) with Temple and “Boys Town” (1938).
Still, Schatz was never enchanted with Hollywood, and in 1942 he joined the Navy as part of the demolition team aboard the destroyer USS Sigsbee.
He was awarded the Purple Heart after suffering a permanent leg injury when a piece of shrapnel was caught in his leg during an attack on his ship during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.
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