Chaney was born on October 18, 1914 (though Richard Bann and Leonard Maltin's book "The Little Rascals: Life & Times of Our Gang stated he was born in 1918) in Cambridge, Maryland, and became a member of Our Gang at the dawn of the sound era. He relied on an affable personality, a flair for funny dialogue, and a priceless frown of frustration that seemed to swallow up his whole moon face. In fall 1928, Our Gang producer Hal Roach and director Robert F. McGowan began to look for an overweight child actor to replace Joe Cobb in the popular film series. Cobb was twelve years old, and the series was about to transition to sound. Roach and McGowan held a nationwide contest to find a replacement for Cobb. Chaney won this contest in early 1929 and was offered a two-year contract. "He adapted gracefully, and we all liked him, he was a nice fellow," said McGowan of Chaney. His stay with the series was brief, but he made a memorable impression on generations of fans. He was taught the expression of the "slow burn" by the comedian Edgar Kennedy.
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