Though he joined Hal Roach's "Our Gang" comedies 10 years into the series' two-decade run, three-year-old Spanky McFarland grew up to become the face of The Little Rascals, a gaggle of New Deal tearaways chasing fun and dredging up trouble in an idealized American hometown. Pudgy-cheeked and precocious in such early outings as "Free Eats" (1932) and "Spanky" (1932), McFarland matured into a stocky, authoritative youth, making him the born leader of co-stars George "Alfalfa" Switzer, Darla Hood, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, and Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas. Though he branched out to features - most memorably as an irksome Boy Scout who plagues passion killer Edward G. Robinson in Fritz Lang's "Woman in the Window" (1944) - McFarland was washed up by age 20. After a stint in the military and a failed bid to host a TV variety show for kids, he worked as a salesman for the Ford-Philco Corporation and eventually found his way to the fan convention circuit. Avoiding the late-life problems that plagued his pint-sized co-stars in their adult years, McFarland remained a cheerful public presence up until his death in 1993 at age 64. Immortalized in nearly 100 Hal Roach and MGM two-reelers that helped Americans laugh their way out of the Great Depression, Spanky McFarland carved for himself a unique niche in Hollywood, where he stood toe to toe if not quite eye to eye with such beloved movie funnymen as Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers.