October 1, 1958
Patterns was the first major breakthrough of Rod Serling when the live television drama received critical acclaim as the January 12, 1955 installment of the anthology series Kraft Television Theatre.
Most famous for his appearances in the Our Gang series of short-subject comedies of the 1930s and 1940s. The Our Gang shorts were later popular after being syndicated to television as The Little Rascals. In 1952, at age 24, McFarland joined the U.S. Air Force. Upon his return to civilian life, indelibly typecast in the public's mind as "Spanky" from Our Gang, he found himself unable to find work in show business.
He took less glamorous jobs, including work at a soft drink plant, a hamburger stand, popsicle factory, selling wine, operating a restaurant and night club, and selling appliances, electronics and furniture. In the late 1950s, when the Our Gang comedies were sweeping the nation on TV, McFarland hosted an afternoon children's show, "Spanky's Clubhouse," on KOTV television in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The show included a studio audience and appearances by other celebrities such as James Arness, and it ran Little Rascals shorts.
McFarland continued to do personal appearances and cameo roles in films and television, including an appearance on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.
His final television performance was in 1993 in an introductory vignette at the beginning of the Cheers episode "Woody Gets An Election".
McFarland died suddenly of a heart attack on June 30, 1993, at age 64. His remains were cremated shortly thereafter. In January 1994, “Spanky” joined fellow alumnus Jackie Cooper to become one of only two Our Gang members to receive a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.