June 24, 2014

“Grave finally arrives for Norman ‘Chubby’ Chaney”

One of the most memorable of the “Our Gang” cast, who — after his time on the series — died at the premature age of 21 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Baltimore, is getting a headstone thanks to a charitable campaign funded by fans of the old series of comedic shorts, which was later syndicated as the “Little Rascals” and ran throughout my childhood, leaving me an enormous fan (I have every episode, including all the silents, on DVD).

Baltimore Sun:

After nearly 80 years of lying in an unmarked grave, Baltimore’s Norman “Chubby” Chaney will finally get a headstone this weekend.

Fans are invited to the ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday at Baltimore Cemetery.

The round-cheeked Chaney, the son of a Baltimore electrical worker, bested nearly 2,000 boys in a national contest for the role of the fat one in the “Our Gang” film shorts, which became known as “The Little Rascals” when they were aired on television.

Chaney appeared on “Our Gang” from 1929 to 1931. In one famous episode, he has a crush on his teacher, Miss Crabtree, and asks that she call him “Chubsy-Ubsy.”

Chaney eventually grew out of the role. He returned to Baltimore, where he went to school, eventually became sickly and died at 21. He was buried in Baltimore Cemetery at the end of North Avenue. Even if people wanted to pay him respects, they had no idea where to find him.

Feeling it a “tragedy” that someone who’d given so many people so much pleasure was buried without recognition, Mikal C.G., a Michigan musician, started the online fundraising campaign. After The Baltimore Sun published an article, donations began coming in — as little as $1, as much as $100.


Both stones are etched black granite, 28 inches wide and 16 inches tall. Chaney’s will state his full name, Norman Myers Chaney. It will list the dates of his birth and death. And it will say he was known as Chubby “aka Chubsy-Ubsy.” There will be a photo of him carved into the granite, one from his prime, in which he’s wearing a suit and smiling.

In an era awash in a constant stream of depressing news, a story like this heartens me. But then I remember, as a former Marylander, just how much the government of the state spends, just how much it taxes (including rain water), and I’m left wondering why it couldn’t find the money to do something like this much earlier as part of its historical society funding.

And the only conclusion I can come up with is this: they really don’t much give a shit about some dead fat kid. I mean, he can’t vote (well, perhaps that’s debatable), and it ain’t like he’s going to pay taxes. So screw him. Instead, they’ll build monuments to government, pass non-gender-restrictive bathroom laws, and declare themselves a sanctuary state — which means that while states like Arizona can have no say in immigration policy, a state like Maryland, because it is so dark blue it’s nearly black, can evidently ignore SCOTUS rulings that only red border states are compelled to adhere to.

So now I’m depressed again.

Way to go, assholes.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:31am

Comments (3)

  1. You’re still tops in my book, Jack.

  2. A tidbit that might interest you, Jeff [and lift your spirits a bit]…

    My father’s uncle, Nick, auditioned for the Little Rascals when they were first being formed for the silents. He was chosen, but his Mother wouldn’t sign the papers and move out of New England, because she thought he would become corrupted.

    Uncle Nick went on and became a small-time bookie.

  3. Tuco. Eli Wallach gone at 98.