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402088 02: A multimedia scrapbook showing the late child actor Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, who appeared in the "Our Gang" series from 1927 to 1942, is seen on the Hollywood Forever Cemetery website March 8, 2002. The historic Hollywood, CA cemetery, final resting place for many Hollywood stars, offers digital rememberances of the deceased which are viewable at the cemetery and over the internet at no charge. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
History - Science
As a child, the Illinois-born Carl Switzer stopped by the Hal Roach Studios while on vacation with his family in Southern California, and he soon was playing the lovable but dorky Alfalfa in the "Our Gang"/"Little Rascals" shorts. However, once he was no longer an adorable child, he had a hard time finding roles and had to work odd jobs like training dogs.
Sometime in late 1958 or early 1959, Switzer agreed to train a hunting dog for Moses Stiltz — but the dog ran off, and either Stiltz or Switzer offered a reward for the return of the lost animal. When the dog was returned to the bar where Switzer was working, Switzer paid the good Samaritan $35, plus about $15 of drinks on the house.
At some point, Switzer and his friend, Jack Piott, decided that Stiltz should pay back Switzer the $50 (about $400 in 2022 dollars), and on January 21, 1959, the two became intoxicated and went to Stiltz's home to collect the money. Stiltz wasn't interested in paying, and a fight broke out.
During the fight, Switzer allegedly assaulted Stiltz with a clock and then produced a knife — and that was when Stiltz shot Switzer, who died en route to the hospital. Later on, a coroner's jury cleared Stiltz of any wrongdoing.