Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Shooting of Alfalfa

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of actor Carl Switzer. Switzer is primarily known for playing the role of Alfalfa in the Our Gang series of films (AKA: The Little Rascals). The former child actor continued in the profession as an adult, but most of his work was mostly in low-budget productions that didn't pay him well. He supplemented his income by breeding hunting dogs and guiding hunting trips for celebrities such as Jimmy Stewart.

On the evening of January 21, 1959, Switzer and his friend Jack Piott arrived at the home of Moses "Bud" Stiltz. Switzer and Piott are said to have been drinking prior to paying Stiltz a visit. Switzer was angry over $50 he felt Stiltz owed him. Switzer had lost one of Stiltz's dogs that he'd borrowed. Switzer paid a $35 reward to the man who returned the dog as well as buying the man $15 in drinks at a bar. Despite the dog's loss having been the fault of Carl Switzer, he felt that Moses Stiltz should have to reimburse him for the money. There was apparently a scuffle and Switzer was shot in the groin by Stiltz. Switzer bled to death at the scene.

Also present at the scene of the shooting was Stiltz's wife, Stiltz's stepdaughters and stepson, Thomas Corrigan. Corrigan, Piott and Stiltz all gave differing accounts of the incident. One thing that both Piott and Corrigan's statements about the incident agreed upon was that Stiltz murdered Switzer with little provocation. Corrigan was never called upon to testify in court however, and Stiltz was found not guilty of murder for reason of self-defense. A closed penknife had been found under the body of Switzer by investigators at the scene of the shooting.

Switzer is one of two Little Rascals buried at Hollywood Forever cemetery in Los Angeles.

Pay a visit to the cemetery to find out the identity of the other Little Rascal buried there.

-Tom G

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