George Spanky McFarland
George Robert Phillips “Spanky” McFarland was an American actor most famous for his appearances in the Our Gang series of short-subject comedies of the 1930s and 1940s. The Our Gang shorts were later popular after being syndicated to television as “The Little Rascals”.
McFarland was born in Dallas, Texas, at Methodist Hospital in 1928 to Robert Emmett and Virginia McFarland. He had three siblings, Thomas, Amanda, and Roderick. Prior to joining the Our Gang comedies, Buddy, as he was called by his family, modeled children’s clothing for a Dallas department store and also was seen around the Dallas area on highway billboards and in print advertisements for Wonder Bread. This established “Buddy” early on in the local public’s eye as an adorable child model and provided experience before cameras.
In January 1931, in response to a trade magazine advertisement from Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, California, requesting photographs of “cute kids,” Spanky’s Aunt Dottie sent pictures from Buddy’s portfolio. An invitation for a screen test soon arrived, which happened that spring, leading to his acting career. Portions of Spanky’s screen test are included in a 1932 Our Gang entry, aptly entitled Spanky.