Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WWATN: The Little Rascals Grew Up...

In 1994 I convinced my mother to take me to the movies to see the big screen adaptation of a classic television series about a He-Man Womun Hater's Club and the rosy-cheeked members who founded it. I admit that I mostly wanted to see it because I heard the Olsen twins were going to have a cameo (and they did), but I was enraptured nonetheless. The Little Rascals was funny, heartwarming, and it was all done with kids younger than me. Sure some of them delivered choppy lines, and others couldn't help but look at the camera, but all of those things made the film even more endearing, in my opinion. Now, a decade and a half later, I can't help but wonder whatever happened to the stars of that film.

The Little Rascals featured an ensemble cast of ne'er-before-seen toothless faces, as if the casting director had just pulled up to a random San Fernando Valley elementary school and knocked on the door of a second grade classroom with a "surprise" project on which for them to embark. Since the kids hadn't grown up in Gerber or Pampers commercials, there was a very "real" quality to the film, but few thought any of them would work again.

One of the stars who caught the acting bug, so to speak, after filming his lead role as the knobby-kneed, cowlick-afflicted Alfalfa Switzer was Bug Hall, though. Hall acted in about one or two projects a year since his '94 debut, becoming known for being one of The Stupids' kids in the feature film of the same name in 1996, but puberty hit him hard and transformed him into a young man quickly. He began making the rounds on CBS crime scene dramas starting a decade later to prove he had the chops to make it as a serious, adult actor and was barely recognizable when he was featured in an episode of Cold Case back in 2005. Now he is promoting the upcoming boot camp flick Camouflage.

Travis Tedford, Alfalfa's BFF Spanky, on the other hand, went the way of voice-overs after his first acting role shot him to literal overnight child star status. He is credited on A Bug's Life, as well as the hit Saturday morning cartoon Recess. Though he appeared on a few episodes of Nickelodeon's The Amanda Show, Tedford's credits seemed to come to a grinding halt in 2002, presumably so he could attend high school in peace. 2009 must be the year for these kids to come back, though, because he also has a project coming out by the end of the year, The Final, about a group of outcasts getting revenge on the students that tormented them. It is not clear, though, if Tedford plays one of the outcasts or if he goes the way of Butch and/or Woim and portrays one of the bullies.

Brittany Ashton Holmes, the girl who came between two best friends in The Little Rascals, appeared in a couple of television shows (you can literally count how many on one hand) after her breakout role as Darla. She appears to be one of those kids who can look back on her childhood job as "that thing I did that one time," though, rather than a career. These days it appears she is just your typical California teenager, dividing her time between the beach, the mall, MySpace, Flixster, Facebook, and probably even Twitter.

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