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Ovation: Little Rascal Norman “Chubby” Chaney Finally Gets A Headstone.

11/12/2012

As a kid, one of the favorite treats my family enjoyed was a trip to Shakey’s Pizza Parlor.  It was a wonderful restaurant with long, picnic-style tables where they served cola by the pitcher.  The kitchen and pizza oven were separated from the dining area by glass walls so that diners could watch the action as their food was prepared.  Shakey’s focused on entertaining customers while they waited for their pizzas to bake featuring singalongs with words to old standards shown on a screen so that everyone in the restaurant , young and old, could sing along.  (Stone-age karaoke? … Perhaps.)  Plus, for variety, they would periodically project short films and cartoons onto the same screen.  I remember enjoying Bugs Bunny cartoons and the slapstick humor of  The Three Stooges, but my favorite movies (they weren’t called “videos” back then) were the Our Gang and Little Rascals shorts.

Those kids always made me smile.  The featurettes were short enough to hold a child’s attention span yet interesting enough to be truly entertaining.  There were quite a few children involved and some of them went on to further fame and stardom while others didn’t.  One of the less fortunate Rascals was Norman “Chubby” Chaney.

Fans of the Rascals met in Baltimore this weekend to place a headstone on the grave of one of the child stars, Norman “Chubby” Chaney, whose grave had been unmarked since his death at twenty-one, seventy-six years ago.

While working as a child actor, Chaney was paid a weekly salary when he appeared in the films between 1929 and 1931, but he never received royalties or residual payment.  He struggled with his weight as a teen and, upon his death, his mother was unable to afford a headstone for his grave.

Finally, fans have marked his grave and now his contribution to The Little Rascals will never be forgotten.

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5 Comments
  1. We had Shakey’s in Wpg. too! I worked in one in my early 20’s just after I bought my house & felt overwhelmed by the debt. They called their dishwashers “scullery mules.” I have fond memories of Shakey’s from the late teens when we all used to congregate there. Our Shakey’s didn’t have the film shorts though, just a piano & piano player.

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  2. Shakey’s! I forgot about those places. They were probably the biggest employer of banjo players, ever.

    Chubby was so stereotyped, I don’t remember them using him in anything but fat jokes. That had to be embarrassing

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  3. I remember Chubby…nice story.

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