On this day, Jan. 21, in 1959, Carl Dean Switzer, the actor who played Alfalfa in the "Our Gang" series, was killed during a fight over $50 and a hunting dog.
The show, featuring Alfalfa, Spanky, Buckwheat and Darla, was groundbreaking in the 1930s in that it featured white and black child actors interacting equally.
As Switzer grew older, he took odd jobs as a bartender, shoeshiner and bear hunting guide. After a night of drinking, Switzer, 31, and a friend went to collect $50 from dog owner Bud Stiltz. Switzer pounded on the front door of Stiltz's house in Mission Hills, Calif., and they forced their way into Stiltz's house.
Stiltz fired his gun, fatally striking the actor in the stomach.
The shooting was judged to be self-defense and the death was ruled justifiable.
- Scott McCabe