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Thread: Darla Hood

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    Talking Darla Hood



    Darla Jean Hood (November 8, 1931 – June 13, 1979) was an American child actress, best known for her lead roles in Our Gang (Little Rascals) shorts during the late 1930s and early 1940s. She was born in Leedey, Oklahoma, the only child of James Claude Hood and Elizabeth Davner. Her father worked in a bank and her mother was a music teacher.

    Darla's mother started her in singing and dancing at an early age, taking her to lessons in Oklahoma City. Just after her third birthday, she was taken to New York City, where she was seen by Joe Rivkin, a casting director for Hal Roach Studios, who arranged a screen test. She was then taken to Culver City, California, to appear in the Our Gang movies.

    Hood made her debut in The Bohemian Girl with Laurel and Hardy. From 1935 to 1941, she played Darla in Our Gang, debuting in the 1935 film Our Gang Follies of 1936. Her coquettish character typically was the love interest of Alfalfa, Butch, or (usually) Waldo. One of her most memorable moments was singing a romantic song entitled "I'm in the Mood for Love" in The Pinch Singer.

    When she outgrew her role in Our Gang, Hood appeared in a couple of other movies and attended school in Los Angeles. While at Fairfax High School, she organized a vocal group called the Enchanters with four boys. Shortly after graduation, the quartet was booked by producer and star Ken Murray for his famous "Blackouts", a stage variety show. The group remained with Murray's Blackouts during its long run in New York and Hollywood.

    Hood then went out on her own with singing engagements in nightclubs and guest appearances on TV. She was a regular on The Ken Murray Show from 1950 to 1951. In 1955, she was a leading lady in the act of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. She had a hit record in 1957, "I Just Wanna Be Free", and appeared in the movie Calypso Heat Wave (1957) singing a duet with Johnny Desmond. She also recorded two songs with the Ray Whitaker Orchestra, "Only Yours" and "Silent Island", for RayNote Records.

    In January 1959, Hood released a new record, Quiet Village. Joe Rivkin, who discovered her as a child, saw the cover and cast her in her final film role, which was also her first adult role in a movie. She played a secretary in the suspense drama The Bat with Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead.

    Hood was a guest on such TV shows of the early 1960s as Tell It to Groucho starring Groucho Marx and The Jack Benny Show, where she appeared on 30 October 1962 as "Darla" in a spoof of the old Our Gang shows with Jack Benny (who appeared as Alfalfa). She did singing and voice-over on TV commercials, which included Campbell Soup and Chicken of the Sea tuna. She appeared in her own nightclub act at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles, the Copacabana in New York, and the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    During the 1960s and 1970s, Hood went to many Our Gang/Little Rascals festivals and conventions, meeting and greeting the various generations of fans.

    Hood was busy organizing a 1980 Little Rascals reunion for the Los Angeles Chapter of The Sons of the Desert when she underwent minor surgery at a North Hollywood hospital. Following the procedure, Hood contracted acute hepatitis and died suddenly on June 13, 1979. She was 47.

    The Our Gang community was stunned at Hood's unexpected passing. Fellow Our Gang member Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas said, "I hate to hear it. It's a shock. She was an awfully nice person, a fine woman. We got along real good as kids." A little over a year later, Thomas died as well.

    Darla Hood is interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood.

    Hood had two marriages, insurance salesman Robert W. Decker (1955 to 1957) and record company head Jose Granson (married 1957). She and Granson had three children. Tommy "Butch" Bond mentioned that her marriage to Granson was difficult as he was confined to a wheelchair due to a stroke. As a result, pursuing her career was not easy.

  2. #2
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    That's so sad. It sounds like she had a pretty good life up until the surgery, though. RIP Darla.

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    great thread.
    thanks
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    She was a part of my childhood. Grew up watching The little Rascals. Sad that she died so young.

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    Any pics of her as an adult?

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    That was a great bio. Thanks! My friend and I walked up and down what seemed like a billion hallways in the mausoleums at HF to find her. Interestingly enough she's on like the top row of 6 or 7 high. I found that odd for a star to be not at eye level.

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    I loved the shorts when I was a kid. Them and the 3 stooges were classic. Petey the dog was cute. I think most of the original Our Gang if not all of them are gone today.

    She always had a thing for alfalfa

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    Quote Originally Posted by King Tut View Post
    Any pics of her as an adult?

    i remember that first role on the bohemian girl with stan and ollie, so cute lol what memories she must have had!
    pull the string!

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    Great thread, Vlad!
    Wow, that was some huge-open-mouthed-but-totally-straight-bromance greeting. (爆)~RaRa

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    Quote Originally Posted by herekittykitty View Post
    Great thread, Vlad!
    Thank you herekittykitty and johnny

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    I loved The Little Rascals. Nice thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hell0kitty View Post
    i remember that first role on the bohemian girl with stan and ollie, so cute lol what memories she must have had!

    Thanks for delivering the merchandise! Wow she looks exactly the same.

    Then again her Rascals status was her meal ticket later in life so it would've behooved her to stay in character.

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    Very interesting thread Vladpyre. I loved the Little Rascals. Thank you for posting this.
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    Nice thread... so strange to see these child actors/actresses in adult life... many of them are quite recognizable (sp?).. maybe it did pay of to stay in character. Horrible way to die and so young... it must have been a very serious case of hepatitis for her to die so quick.... sounds odd..
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    i loved the little rascals too. i like the new movie they have now as well.

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    I don't know why, but Darla Hood sounds like a porn star

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    She looks the same young/old... very interesting, I didn't know she died at 47.

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    Hal Roach was really on to something with these kids. The Little Rascals were as great or better then the three stooges. I love both rascals and 3 stooges.

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    Great Post, Loved Darla and the Rascals
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    Great bio. I had no idea she had died so young. Very sad. Love her in LR.

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    Darla was a precious child star, along with Margaret O'Brien and Shirley Temple. I remember when she died in 1979. They did a lot of reporting on the Little Rascals locally, since Spanky lived in the Fort Worth area. I think Robert Blake is one of the few Little Rascals still around.
    In memory of a wonderful actor who left us way too soon - William Holden 1918-1981.

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    Great post! I read somewhere the Bill Cosby bought the rights to the "Our Gang,Little rascals" series he took them off the air due to how he felt they portrayed the young black actors in the series such as "Buckwheat"!

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    Bill Cosby and the Little Rascals....

    I remember hearing that myself. I always wondered if there was any truth to that, or if it was just a rumor.

    He certainly has the money and clout to do it.




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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMysterian View Post
    Great post! I read somewhere the Bill Cosby bought the rights to the "Our Gang,Little rascals" series he took them off the air due to how he felt they portrayed the young black actors in the series such as "Buckwheat"!
    It's not true, Cosby has never owned any right to the series.

    http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/rascals.asp

  25. #25
    Wow I didn't realize that she died so young.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMysterian View Post
    Great post! I read somewhere the Bill Cosby bought the rights to the "Our Gang,Little rascals" series he took them off the air due to how he felt they portrayed the young black actors in the series such as "Buckwheat"!
    I guess not all of the episodes:
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_d?...r+gang&x=0&y=0
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    Love her. I remember as a lad, when Alfalfa and Spanky and the boys formed the "He Man Women Haters Club" or HMWHC, and Alfalfa was still messin' with Darla!


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    wow - her name was really darla. kinda funny.

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    It's not true.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kman0072 View Post
    I remember hearing that myself. I always wondered if there was any truth to that, or if it was just a rumor.

    He certainly has the money and clout to do it.




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    I bought the complete cd set of all the old stuff.

    The films from the late twenties are hard to get ahold of.

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    I remember when they used to flap their hands under their chins...I did that in my childhood and drove my mother crazy.
    In memory of a wonderful actor who left us way too soon - William Holden 1918-1981.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crazedfemale View Post
    I remember when they used to flap their hands under their chins...I did that in my childhood and drove my mother crazy.
    Wasn't that the sign for the Heman Woman Haters club?

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    Her story is sad I remember years ago seeing Darla Hood
    on a rerun of the Jack Benny show.
    A person who dies in their 40s is still very young.

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    Another one who died too young. I remember reading about the Curse of the Little Rascals

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    I believe that was the symbol for the hater's club. How cool you remembered!
    In memory of a wonderful actor who left us way too soon - William Holden 1918-1981.

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    Darla was in the 1959 movie "The Bat " starring Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead [best remembered as Endora on Bewitched] Darla's character is murdered in the movie.

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