Billy ‘Froggy’ Laughlin appeared in Our Gang comedies over a four year period–1940-44. As these were the MGM produced OG’s, they weren’t in the least funny–MGM seems to have had a humor-block what with ‘Tom and Jerry’ being the best they could come up with in the cartoon department and Red Skelton being their most popular comic lead. (They also destroyed Buster Keaton’s career in the early 30s and, in spite of the success of ‘Night At The Opera’ and ‘A Day At The Races’, managed to water down the Marx Brothers anarchic spirit to the point of…well, ‘The Big Store’ anybody?) But I digress. As a kid watching Our Gang movies on TV I invariably changed the channel when the insipid theme came on announcing a non-Hal Roach OG short. The theme ended with a little reference to ‘A Hunting We Will Go’ which used to repulse me for some reason.
Enjoy (if at all possible) the above five minute mini-doc on the life and early death of ‘Froggy’, whose voice was one of the only semi-amusing features of the comedies. Actually it wasn’t really funny so much as freakishly fascinating. At least he was a welcome antidote to Baretta–er Robert Blake–er Mickey Gubitosi, who whimpered and cried through all the films he was featured in. ‘Froggy’s’ voice, always a source of speculation, turns out to have been his real voice and not a voice-artists overdub. Everything about Froggy’s life is sad and you’ll be sorry you watched the above doc but it beats reading the news.