Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sunday Matinee At Niles Salutes Dorothy "Echo" DeBorba and Our Gang

Nice composite shot of various Our Gangsters.

The mere mention of Hal Roach Studio comedy stars Our Gang (A.K.A. Little Rascals), Harold Lloyd, Charley Chase, Laurel & Hardy, etc. brings to mind the line from John Ford's 1958 film The Last Hurrah, "how can you thank someone for a million laughs?"

One way for San Francisco Bay Area classic comedy fans to do just that - and have some fun in the bargain - would be to attend the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum's Tribute To Dorothy DeBorba, the winsome and hilarious Our Gangster who passed away at 85 on June 2.

Dorothy, towards the end of her memorable stretch in the formidable early 1930's Our Gang lineup, with Stymie Beard, Dickie Moore, Spanky McFarland and Tommy Bond (before his later Our Gang incarnation as uber-bully Butch Rafferty).

Among the Our Gang alumni who dodged the "child star curse" chronicled on Neatorama at length recently as The Curse Of The Little Rascals, Dorothy, thankfully for Bay Area classic film fans, made frequent appearances at screenings and was as fun as the Hal Roach's Rascals comedy short subjects that lightened the load of Americans during the height of the Great Depression. Leonard Maltin's tribute on the Movie Crazy website says it all regarding Dorothy's affable, good-natured personality.

I have no doubt that the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum staff, the Sons Of The Desert's Midnight Patrol tent and S.F. Bay Area film historian Paul J. Mular have put together what will be an exceptionally entertaining Sunday matinee for the occasion. Of course, the penultimate vehicles for Dorothy's comic talent, Love Business and Dogs Is Dogs, will be on the bill.

We needed laughs and fellowship then and need 'em now, and the 20-30 minute gems produced by the Hal Roach Studio in the 1920's and 1930's still deliver the goods.

When: Sunday, July 11, 2010 at 4:00 p.m.

Where: Edison Theatre, Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, 37417 Niles Boulevard, Fremont, CA 94536-2949

Admission: $5

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