Jerome H. Schatz (1925-2016) was a child actor of both film and radio during the 1930s and 1940s. Schatz, performing under the name Jerry Tucker, became the youngest actor ever placed under contract to Paramount Studios. His most prominent roles were in the Our Gang comedy shorts from 1931-1938. Feature films included Babes in Toyland (1934), San Francisco (1936), Captain January (1936), and Boys Town (1938). Schatz left show business in 1942 to join the Navy and worked as an electrical engineer with RCA after World War II.
This collection documents Schatz' career as an actor with materials from 1931-1943, including scripts, correspondence, scrapbook, magazine articles, and a child's baseball uniform.
This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections Reading Room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection
Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.
Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.
Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.
4.00 Linear Feet
2 Videocassettes : VHS
The Papers of Jerry Schatz spans the years 1931 to 1987, with the bulk of the material dating from 1931 to 1943. The collection contains scripts, photographs, a scrapbook, a magazine article, two videotapes and a 1930s baseball uniform.
Jerome H. Schatz (1925-2016), child actor of both film and radio during the 1930s and 1940s, was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 1, 1925. When Paramount executive Albert Kaufman spotted young Jerry reciting poetry at the boxing club managed by his father, Leonard Schatz, he suggested that Jerry might have a career in show business. Based on this suggestion, the Schatz family moved to Hollywood. When Paramount executives deemed the German-Jewish name Schatz "too ethnic", Jerry Schatz adopted the stage name of Jerry Tucker. This reflected the common practice of name changing among Jewish Americans in the entertainment industry and more broadly to combat antisemitism. In 1929, at the age of four, Jerry became the youngest actor ever placed under contract to Paramount studios. As a result of his red hair, blue eyes and pale skin, he became known as the "Red, White and Blue Kid" and was famous for his ability to recite passages from memory. Jerry appeared in many films and radio programs but is best remembered for his work in the Our Gang comedies, later known as The Little Rascals.
Jerry (Tucker) Schatz appeared in films such as Sidewalks of New York (1931) with Buster Keaton, No Man of Her Own (1932) with Carole Lombard, Babes in Toyland (1934) with Laurel and Hardy, San Francisco (1936) with Jeannete MacDonald, "Captain January"(1936) with Shirley Temple and Boys Town (1938) with Spencer Tracy. His most prominent role, however, was as the spoiled rich kid in the Our Gang comedies. His Our Gang debut was a minor role in Shiver My Timbers (1931). From that minor role, he went on to work in 18 Our Gang comedies including, Hi'-Neighbor (1934) in which he played the rich kid with the slick fire engine, Mama's Little Pirate (1934), Anniversary Troubles (1935) and Teacher's Beau (1935).
Leonard Schatz unexpectedly died in 1932 and in 1939 Ruth Schatz and her son relocated to New York City. In New York, Jerry worked in several radio programs including King Arthur Jr. (1940-1941) and Twenty Grand Salutes Your Birthday (1941).
In 1942 Jerry Schatz left show business and joined the Navy. He suffered injuries when a kamikaze hit the destroyer USS Sigsbee (00502) on which he served. In 1944 Schatz married Myra Heino and they had two daughters, Karen and Renee. Jerry Schatz did not return to showbusiness after the war. Instead he studied electrical engineering at the State University of New York, Stony Brook and Empire Colleges, and worked as an engineer for RCA Global Communications until his retirement in 1981. He died in New York at the age of 91 in 2016.
The collection is organized as three series.
Jerome H. Schatz donated his papers to the Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland Libraries in 1998.