Kids Aren't All Right: The Many Hard, Strange Deaths of the Little Rascals
Premieres: Sun., Nov. 24, 8 p.m.
Encores: Nov. 24, 11 p.m.; Nov. 30, 8 p.m.
They should have known something was wrong when, in 1930, Pete the pup was found mysteriously poisoned. The death of the popular sidekick on the Our Gang films--known later on television as The Little Rascals--should have signaled more trouble ahead. In the coming decades, many of the adorable kids cast in the movies would grow up to know only tragedy, freakish ends, weird illness and wrecked lives.
In this classic E! True Hollywood Story: Curse of the Little Rascals, premiering November 24, you'll see how so many of the tykes, who began as Rascals, learned quickly that childhood--and the fame and innocence that came with it--didn't last.
Producer Hal Roach's vision for a show about regular kids acting like, well, regular kids hit it big. Between 1922 and 1928, Roach oversaw 88 features, and Darla, Buckwheat, Wheezer and Alfalfa became household ragamuffins. The films continued, and the characters would survive for decades on the small screen, never aging.
Behind the cameras, things weren't so rosy. The lives of the kids were anything but normal and would only get harder. Eight-year-old Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, for one, reigned terror on anyone within spitting distance, and Matthew "Stymie" Beard worked hard just to keep his 13 brothers and sisters fed.
As the rascals aged, few found peace--or anything but disappointment--in adulthood. This Story follows them to their tragic ends, starting with the first--Norman "Chubby" Chaney's strange weight-related death at the age of 18. And just this year, 87-year-old Jay R. Smith (aka Freckles) was found in the desert outside Las Vegas, stabbed to death, robbed and missing several fingers. In between? Everything from a freak mid-air collision to a truck running down a kid on his paper route would take the lives of Gang members.
Meanwhile, fellow Rascals alum Robert Blake sits in jail, accused of killing his wife. This E! True Hollywood Story uncovers the cursed adulthood that awaited America's original former child stars. But first, get a sneak peek with a gallery of photos from the gang's early heydays!