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1930s & Earlier / Donald Haines - Our Gang War Casualty
Donald Haines was a supporting character in the Our Gang comedies just after the transition from silent movies to sound. Haines's tenure began during the early talkies up through the "Miss Crabtree episodes," when he would leave for feature films at Paramount only to return a few months later. His tenure continued through 1933. Haines's first short was Shivering Shakespeare, which featured the youngster giggling his way through his lines. On the next short The First Seven Years, he was a main character, playing opposite Jackie Cooper. After that, he was a recurring character with a few small speaking roles until 1931. At that time he was offered a contract with Paramount, which would begin with a role in a feature called Skippy. Jackie Cooper also was offered a role on that feature and a contract. Cooper would remain at Paramount. Haines, on the other hand, would quickly leave Paramount to return to Hal Roach Studios just in time for the 1931-1932 season. At that point, several major characters had left the series because they were perceived as too old. This left a depleted Our Gang of only three regulars and a few recurring characters. Haines would resume his role as a recurring character with an occasional speaking role for the next two seasons. Shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, Haines joined the Army Air Force and rose to the rank of lieutenant. He was listed as missing in action in February 1943. His body was never found.