Despite the title, Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison has nothing to be ashamed about in The Pickaninny
Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison has gone down in history as the very first African-American performer to get a long-term Hollywood contract, at Hal Roach Studios when he was only 7. He previously had worked with Roach's wife Margaret on the Baby Marie Osborne films for Pathe-the distributor of Hal's productions at the time. It was said that Ernie had accidentally become involved in films when the person he replaced cried too much times on set. Be that as it may, after appearing in various comedians' shorts-including superstar Harold Lloyd's-Roach decided to try Morrison in his own series starting with this one. This short did not take off well enough for further entries but when Hal then created the Rascals/Our Gang series, Sunshine Sammy was the first one he cast in it and he delighted audiences at the time for a few years there. Anyway, this short, despite the title, has Little Casino-Ernie's character-working for the local grocer where he gets distracted by a pretty girl of his race (possibly his sister Dorothy as he recounted to Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann in their book "The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang") and helps gets worms by having the backyard chicken pick them up! He also gets some fish of his own with the help of a baby and also gets tangled with bears-both real and someone in costume! By the way, despite many blacks being portrayed in a stereotypical way at the time, there's nothing too humiliating concerning him or others of his race here. So on that note, The Pickaninny is something that's still quite funny to this day.
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