Clothing and Costumes Worn by Child Actors: S

Figure 1.--Raymond Severn is seen here in the 1942 film, "A Yank at Eton". He was not, however, the Yank in question. It was the perpetually plucky Mickey Rooney.

Information about child actors also provodes a great deal of fashion information. Both clothes these children wore as well as the costumes they wore in their films and shows provide much valuable information. These childrens often dressed very fashionably so information about them provides insights into contemprary fashions. The costumes they wore in films also provides useful information--although it must be treated more cautiously. HBC is preparing an alphabetical listing of child actors in movies, plays, and television.

Sangster, Thomas - (Germany, 1990- )

We note Thomas Brodie Sangster in an English child actor. He played in a number of interesting film. Teo of his best kniown films are 'Love Actually' and 'Nanny McPhee'. He played Hitler as a boy in the made for TV drama 'Hitler - The Rise of Evil' (2003). as far as we know, he was the first boy I kniw of to nplay Hitker as a boy. He played a gifted 11-year old chess player in 'Entrusted'. The young boy has a phenominal memory and he can remember the bank account numbers of lots of Swiss bank accounts. These belong to Jews fleeoing the Nazis. His parents operate an escape route from Germany to Switzerland. The NAZIs begin chasing the boy because they want the accounts for themselves. The story takes place in Switzerland. Swiss Bank of course refused to turn over many of these accounts to the relatives og Holocaust survivors after the War. Another film is 'The Last Legion' (2006). Its a story about the boy emperor Romulus Augustus. This role is played by Thomas Sangster. It is a difficult role for a child actor to play. In writing a mini biography about him for my lessons on this film I discovered that he has portraid the childhood of a host of historical characters. Thomas played Herman Rosenblat an actual Holocaust survivor. The film is 'The Fence'/'Love is a Survivor' (2006). He next played Paul McCartney in the Beatles film, 'Nowhere Boy' (2009). It was a film about the teenage years of John Lennon.

Savage, Ben - (US, 1980?- )

Fred Savage's little brother. Has a recurring role on "Dear John". Appears with his brother in "Little Monsters" (1989) Got his own TV show, "Boy Meets World" (1993) in which he plays Cory Matthews, an angst-ridden 11 year old. He has quite an engaging sweet smile. The show went on for several years, I think until 1999.

Savage, Fred - (US, 1976?- )

Fine little actor playing 12-year old Kevin in "The Wonder Years" (1988-93?). He is one of the few modern child stars who occasionally appears in shorts, reflecting what boys really wear now. He started in show business doing commercials. His first big break was "The Boy Who Could Fly" (1986). Other movies followed, "The Princess Bride" (1988) and Vice Versa" (1988?). I think he will be best remembered in "The Wonder Years". It brilliantly confronts the real experiences of kids, as least as much as American TV is permitted to present and Fred expressions are beautifully done. In one scene he keeps dreaming about appearing before his class is embarrassing situations. In one he is dressed only in his underpants and they all laugh and tease him. On a 1990 episode he falls out of the boat when a girl suggests they go skinny dipping. He also appeared in a made for TV movie, ("Run Tell You Fall") with a typically ridiculous American premise. Fred did as well with his part as could be expected, even appearing in shorts. I liked how he called his screen father "daddy", unusual even for younger boys. He was also cute when he was sent to change out of his baseball uniform. "I'm a kid, kids don't smell." Then he peaked around the door when he had undressed. His latest movie is "Little Monsters" (1989) in which he appears with his brother (Ben) and sister (Kala). He had a fairly normal childhood, taking piano lessons like Kevin in "Wonder Years", until like Kevin he got nervous about recitals. He appeared on the "Johnny Carson Show" hosted by Jay Leno and admitted that in 3 years of Little League, he got only one hit. He was proud that it was off the best pitcher in the league. He just stuck the bat out and closed his eyes. He also told Leno that he uses his $7 weekly allowance to buy baseball cards. Things seemed to have changed as some of the others on the set seem to consider him a spoiled brat. The fellow playing the father decided to quit. It seems that Fred has taken to playing director, saying things like "Let's get it right this time, time is money," to the other actors when they make a mistake.

Figure 2.--Here we see Ricky Schroeder at what lloks like a Christmas party wear a red blaxer. He looks to be about 8 years old which would date the photograoh to about 1978.

Schroeder, Ricky - (US,1970- )

Sweet little blond boy who first drew everyone's attention in the remake of "The Champ" (1979). As a younger boy he was so innocent and unself conscious. His parents tried to make sure he had a normal childhood. I think they were fairly strict on him and his siblings. He appeared several times on the "Johnny Carson Show", I think Johnny was rather taken with him. Ricky would bring books or other items, almost like show and tell in grade show. Of course he was just made for "Little Lord Fauntleroy" (1980). The costumes could have been better, but it was still nice, what with lace collars, longish hair, and velvet suits. I wonder what Ricky thought about that. He appeared in just the opposite role as a spoiled brat wearing jeans in "Something So Right." He turned in a very creditable performance, although I didn't care for the part. He appeared several times on Johnny Carson, often bringing books or other props to enliven the interview and clearly was one of Johnny's favorites for his unspoiled enthusiasm. As he got older he became much more impressed with himself, especially after he began his very disappointing TV series, "Silver Spoons" (19 ). As a younger boy he was still quite nice and appeared in a few interesting costumes, Scout shorts and even a dress. At first he played with Jason Bateman, but the two apparently had a falling out after a few years. I remember the last appearance on the Carson show. He obviously upset Johnny, he tried to play a trick on him, substituting a raw egg for plastic ones he wanted Johnnie to juggle. Then he didn't want to leave when he was supposed to. His other movies include "The Earthling" (1980), "The Last Flight of Noah's Ark" (1980), "Hansel and Gretel" (1982), "Two Kinds of Love" (1983), and "Two Young the Hero" (1988). His first young adult role was "Lonesome Dove" (1989). Unfortunately nothing he ever did lived up to his performance in "Champ" I think what happens when these kids make a name for themselves is that movies are made for them that never have the quality of smaller roles in well made movies. He is trying to make the transition to adult roles, with a name change to "Rick". He has appeared in two TV roles, "Lonesome Dove" and "A Son's Promise". The later included quite a large number of brothers, but unfortunately they appeared in scruffy clothes.

Schwartz, Scott - (US, 1973?- )

"The Toy" (1982), "A Christmas Story" (1983), "Summer Switch".

Scott, Derek - (US, 1939-2003)

Derek Scott was born in Los Angeles, California (1939). He was a child actor that as far as we know was only involved in one production -- 'Life with Father' (1947). While it was only one film, it was a wondrful movie and he gave an excellnt performance, playing the youngest son -- Harlan. Harlan wears some classic period styles including kilt suits, tams, and Fauntleroy blouses. He had a relatively small role, in a film dominated by William Powell and Irenne Dunn, but he played his role charmingly. We have been unable to find any additional information. We are not sure why Derek dis no continue his acting creer. He wa very good in the film. Perhps he dud not enjouy it. But we hce been unavle to find ny additiinal backgrojund information. Some of the others in the film had more substantial careers, incliding a useful Elizabeth Taylor. Derek died in Los Angeles (2003).

Figure 3.--This is the only image we have found of Douglas Scott , it sems to have been dated 1937. He would hve been 11 years old. We are not sure, but it seems to have been how he dressed up and not a film costume.

Scott, Douglas - (US, 1925-88)

Douglas was born in Seattle, Washington (1925). He studied dancing at an early age. We don'ee much infication of this in his films, but stage mothers r he time thought it was a iseful skill to break into mo ivies. He did his first film at 4 years of age. He was in several important films during the 1930s, commonly playing the main character as a child or teenager. For that reason he is not as well known as several of the 1930s child actors, but he was in some 40 movies. We have been able to find little information about him. An early role was in 'Rango' (1931). His most important films include: 'Cavalcade' (1933), 'Lloyd's of London' playing a young Horatio Nelson (1936), 'Wee Willie Winkie' with Shirley Temple (1937), 'Wuthering Heights' (1939), and 'Intermezzo: A Love Story' (1939). He died in Concord, California (1988).

Searle, Jackie - (US, 1920- )

Child actor in Hollywood fins during the 1930s after a radio career beginning when he was 3 years old. He often played bratty kids. One of his first movie roles was in 'Tom Sawyer' (1930), of course as Tom's bratty kid brother Sid. He appeared again as Sid in 'Huckleberry Finn' (1931). Often he had only small roles, such as 'Strictly Dynamite' (1934) in which he played an obnoxious child actor goaded on my his mother, unfortunately in long pants suit. Some of the more memorable fins he appeared in included 'Skippy' (1931), 'High Gear' (1933), 'Peck's Bad Boy' (1934), 'Great Expectations' (1934), and 'Little Lord Fauntleroy' (1936). In the 1940s he had some supporting roles and later appeared in TV character parts.

Figure 4.--Malcolm Sebastian was known as "Big Boy" or "Big Boy Sebastian" after his most successful films. There was a series of these Big Boy films. He was a popular boy actor in the silent films of the 1920s.

Sebastian, Malcomb - (US, 192?- )

Malcolm Sebastian is not well known today because he appeared in silent films which are not commonly run today. He was known as "Big Boy" or "Big Boy Sebastian" after the role in his most successful films. There was a series of these Big Boy films. He was a popular boy actor in the silent films of the 1920s. His films included: "Baby Be Good" (1925) (as Big Boy), "Bear Cats" (1926) (as Big Boy), "Sea Scamps" (1926) (as 'Big Boy' Sebastian), "Excess Baggage" (1926) (as Big Boy), "Angel Eyes" (1927), "Atta Baby" (1927), "Grandpa's Boy" (1927) (as Big Boy), "Funny Face" (1927) (as Big Boy), "Chilly Days" (1928), "The Gloom Chaser" (1928) (as Big Boy), "Big Boy, No Fare" (1928) and "Shivering Shakespeare" (1930). Unfortunately I know nothing about these films.

Severn, Raymond - (US, 1932-94)

Raymond Severn was born October 13, 1932. He died November 3, 1994, at Granada Hills, California. We habe not been able to find much information about Raymond's movie career. He played child roles in severla films, but never had any major parts. Many of his performances were uncredited. All of his films were made during World War II in the late-1930s and early-40s. Some of his films include: inidentified child (The) Story of Dr. Jenner (1939) (uncredited), Gerald Newcome We Are Not Alone (1939), bit part Foreign Correspondent (1940) (uncredited), Baby Weems voice (The) Reluctant Dragon (1941), Behind the Scenes at Walt Disney Studio (1941), (A) Day at Disneys (1941), Weeld 'Inky' (A) Yank at Eton (1942), an English boy named Cyril (A) Guy Named Joe (1943) (uncredited), (The) Man from Down Under (1943) (uncredited), unidentified boy (The) Lodger (1944) (uncredited), Merridew a pageboy The Suspect (1944), Jim as a boy (The) Hour Before the Dawn (1944) (uncredited). Ray never made the transition to adult or even teenage roles.

Sheets, Chad - (US)

Appeared in "The Dirt Bike Kid" (1985) and "The Lone Star Kid". I thought his appearance as a little boy running for mayor in "The Lone Star Kid" was rather impressive.

Figure 5.--Here we see Johnny Sheffield. He looks to be about 5-6 years old. I'm not sure if the sailor suit he is wearing is a film costume or an outfit that he actually wore.

Sheffield, Johnny - (US, 1931-2010)

Johnny was born April 11, 1931, in Pasadena, California. His father was a Hollywood-based actor who had played the title role in the 1923 production of "David Copperfield" and who became a stock character player. Johnny was a sickly child, but his father insisted on exercise, especially swimming, and the boy conquered his health problems. Quite naturally he gravitated toward acting and films. In 1938, Johnny played the grandson in the original cast of the Broadway play, "On Borrowed Time." As the character Pud, which he played in short pants, Sheffield became a Broadway celebrity at the age of seven. Back at M.M., the studio was looking for child actor to play a son for Tarzan. Once that decision was made, the next step was to find an athletic child actor. The M.M. Tarzan movies were grueling exercises and encompassed months of shooting time. Even the normally healthy co-stars were exhausted by the shooting schedule. Sheffield's acting experience and athletic ability gave him an advantage over scores of other contenders. After approval from Weissmuler, Johnny joined the series in California where all the footage was shot. So in 1939, Maureen O'Sullivan, in a skimpy costume and teased hair, looked over the jungle sector of the M.M. backlot and exclaimed for the grinding cameras, "The King has a son!" Boy was the first major child star to swing from vines, cavort with apes, dodge rhinoceros - and probably the last. With moppet hair and loincloth, he was instantly popular. The situation was boldly presented to the public in 1939 with "Tarzan Find a Son." So began the cinematic film career of Johnny Sheffield, who would frolic through the African jungles before out growing one Boy, for another--Bomba. Despite these occasional roles which he played fully dressed, it was in his loincloth that he was to be the envy of every boy from Pasadena to Rome for more than a decade. His next Tarzan adventure was released in 1941. He had become accepted as part of the jungle landscape, every bit as important as Chitta in "Tarzan's Secret Adventure". He rejoined Tarzan in 1942 for "Tarzan's New York Adventure" where he, Tarzan, and Jane confront the rigors of civilization. M.M. then sold the Tarzan series to RKO. Johnny began to mature the series did not. The RKO movies lacked the glorious savagery of the M.M. movies. Sheffield's last performance as boy was "Tarzan and the Huntress" in 1947. Sheffield turned to a new series, featuring Bomba the jungle boy, a low-budget Allied Artist production which began in 1949. Originally conceived for the saturday afternoon double features, the Bomba series proved popular and continued until 1955 with "Lord of the Jungle". Sheffield eventually left his boyhood film career, entered college, and has become a quite beefy real-estate executive. He passed away (2010).

Simms, Larry - (US, 1934- )

Larry Simms was born in Los Angeles. We have almost no biographical details. We do have some information on his film career. Larry is best known for playing Baby Dumpling (Alexander) in the Blondie movie series beginning in 1938 and lasting until 1950. He was still playing Alexander up to the age of 15/16. Larry's film career was essentially connected with the Baby Dumpling/Alexander role. He did play in other movies, but most of his roles were in the Blondie films. Although the Bumsteads were a middkle-class family, Larry as Baby Dumpling was notable for wearing rather stylish outfits. His forst film was an uncredited role in "The Last Gangster" (1937). He was Peter Bailey, one of Jimmy Stewart's kids in the Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life!" (1941). Or was he playing his little brother in the flashback? I'm not real sure. He also had a role in "Madame Bovary" (1949) playing Justin.

Spellman, Martin - (US, 19??- )

We do not have a great del of information on Marty. We do know he was briefly active in Holywood as a boy actor. Marty made more than 10 films during 1938-41. We do not yet have a complete list of hose films. Marty met several actors including some big stars while working as a newsboy at MGM. One of the actors he met was none other than Clark Cable--the bigest star in Holywood at the time. Clark apparently liked Marty and as a Christmas present, Gable arranged for Marty to work for a few days as an extra in his film "Test Pilot". Shortly afterward, Myrna Loy was photographed buying a paper from Marty. At the time, MGM was casting forv "Boys' Town" and a MGM studio executive saw the photograph and hought Marty would be a nice addition to the cast. Thus Marty's carrer was started.

Stafford, Tim - (US, 1957?-??)

I have very limited information on Tim Stafford at this time. He was born about 1952 and went to Columbus Junior High School (class of 1970). He looks very familiar and thought at first he appeared in several films, but only know of a few films he actually made. I don't have a complete list of his films at this time. The best known film he was in was the John Wayne film, "Donnovan's Reef" (1963). He played Luki Dedham and looks to be about 6-7 years old. His costuming included a wide-brimmed hat, Fauntleroy suit, and white stockings which he did not like. He preferred his baseball cap. Other films included "Hot Rods to Hell" (1967) in which he played Jamie Phillips and "aka 52 Miles to Terror" (1967). He also appeared in several major TV programs during the 1960s. I know nothing about his subsequent career.

Stallone, Stage - (US, 1977?- )

Son of Sylvester Stallone, darkly handsome Sage made his film debut in "Rocky V" (1990) as Rocky's son.

O'Sullivan, Richard - (UK, 1944?- )

Richard O'Sullivan played the principal 'saboteur' in 'Carry On, Teacher' (1959). This was one of the first of the British Carry On film series. Richard was about 15 years old at the time. He and the other teen actors in the film did not wear a school uniform, even though the school, based on the exterior scenes had one. He was uncredited in the role of Audrey Hepburn's younger brother in the film, "The Nun's Story", which was filmed the same year as 'Carry On, Teacher'. The 'Nun's Story' was a major film. Richard had quite a few roles in British films and TV shows during the 1950s-60s.

Figure 6.--This curly haired chap is Dean Stockwell. I'm not sure, however, what film this still is from.

Stockwell, Dean - (US, 1936- )

Born March 5, 1936, in North Hollywood, California. He was the curly-haired, twinkle eyed child star of the 1940s, but had trouble bridging the gap to adult parts. He was the son of Broadway performers. He made his stage debut at age seven in the Theater Guild production of "The Innocent Voyage", alongside his younger brother Guy. Two years later he charmed movie viewers in the musical, "Anchors Away" (1945). Some of his best parts were "The Green Years" (1946), "The Boy With Green Hair" (1948), "Kim" (1950), and several other M.M. films. His last film as a child was "Cattle Drive" (1951). I think his performance in each was rather impressive, especially the first two. He grew up as a sensitive, intense, but infrequently employed leading man.

Swaze??, Patrick - (US, 19??- )

U.S. actor who was teased as a boy for studying ballet.

Switzer, Carl "Alfalfa" - (US,1927- )

Carl was born August 8, 1927, in Paris, Illinois. Next to George Spanking McFarlane, Carl was the leading "Our Gang" member. He was famous for his legendary cowlick, freckles, and a singing voice that defied description (actually he had a good voice) and became one of the most popular of the 1930 child stars. During a trip to visit their grandparents in Santa Ana, Carl's parents took him and his brother to auditions. Rather shameless about their effort, the parents had the boys do an impromptu" buck 'n wing routine in the Hal Roach commissary and had a contract before they finished their deserts. He became an instant sensation in "Our Gang" (1935-40). Carl and Harold's first film was "Beginner's Luck" (1935). Harold was soon dropped, but Carl became a standout regular. Carl was immediately recognized for his plastered hair, dandy clothes, and putrid renditions of "Oh, Susanna" and "I'm in the Mood for Love." Besides the Our Gang series he appeared in several movies. He was in "General Spanking" (1936) a Civil war vehicle for Our Gang antics, and "Wild and Wooley" (1937). Darla "Sweetheart" Hood was one of Carl's off-camera friends. She reports they used to have lot's of fun. Once they sneaked on a "Tarzan" set and hid in the bushes. During a torrid love scene they came whooping out, ruining the scene. "Kiddie Cure" (1940) was his last Our Gang entry. Carl was becoming a gangly teenager and relegated to bumbling teenage roles. He had the lead in "Barnyard Follies" (1942) dealing with a farm county's 4-H projects. But his major roles quickly declined. He appdeared with a very young and unknown Elizabeth Taylor in "There's One Born Every Minute" (1942) wearing an Eton collar and knickers. He had only a minor role in the Henry Aldrich series "Henry and Dizzy" (1942) and was almost lost in "The Human Comedy" (1943) Mickey Rooney and Butch Jenkins. His roles declined to bit parts. When he outgrew his child roles, his squeaky voiced shadow plagued his path and prevented him from winning adult roles. He became almost a freak. When he applied for jobs, producers would say, "Hey, Alfalfa, sing off key for us," Darla Hood recalls. "It used to drive him crazy." He turned to big game hunting and tending bar. He was killed in a bar room brawl in 1959.


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Created: October 19, 2000
Last updated: 9:50 PM 4/6/2015