Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sunday Morning Vault: Darla Hood--My Quiet Village (1959)

     Those of a certain age remember "The Little Rascals". When I was a kid of the late 60's and early 70's they were a staple of my Saturday morning television along with "The Three Stooges". Back when they were made from 1922 to 1942, it was known as the "Our Gang" series. Most casual fans of the show are mostly familiar with the cast from the shows dated 1936-39 with Alfalfa, Spanky, Porky, Buckwheat and Darla Hood.
     Darla Jean Hood was born in Leedey, Oklahoma in 1931. Her mother, a music teacher taught her dancing and singing at an early age. In fact, at the age of 3 the family traveled to New York City for a screen test with Joe Rivkin who was a scout for Hal Roach Studios. She did well and the family moved to Culver City, California to appear in the "Our Gang" series, where she made her debut at the age of four in 1935. She was to stay with the group until 1941. Most of the time I remember her as the love interest of Alfalfa. Here is an early clip....

         After she left the group, other than an occasional movie role, she was your normal teenager at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. After her graduation she made a number of television appearances and began a long and successful career as a night club singer in LA (at the Coconut Grove), in New York (at the Copacabana) and in Las Vegas (at the Sahara). During the late 50's and early 60's she attempted to translated this into record sales.
     The song your going to hear today is from 1959 and was done first by Martin Denny the pianist who popularized the "exotica" style of music in the late 50's. She has a great voice (she also did a number of sides for Acama Records as well), but this one was truly a record of it's time. Darla performed and did a great number of "Our Gang" reunions up to her death from diabetes at the age of 47 in 1979.


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