Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pendleton grade school welcomes film star

An East Oregonian reporter on March 18, 1943, stirred up the town when a story announced that Mickey McGuire, star of “Our Gang,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Boys Town,” was attending the second grade at Hawthorne School.

But you can’t believe everything you read.

Mickey Ross McGuire was indeed a child actor and singer who inherited his musical talent from his grandfather, an accomplished stage musician. But his most notable roles included “Danny Boy,” “For the Love of Rusty” and “The Return of Rusty,” all of which were released after he spent time in Pendleton. According to the EO story, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.A. McGuire, moved to Pendleton where Mr. McGuire was employed with Union Pacific Railroad.

The Mickey McGuire associated with “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Boys Town” was in fact Mickey Rooney (born John Yule Jr.), who at age 23 in 1943 was much too old to attend the second grade. And “Mickey McGuire” was a character played by Rooney in a rival series of short films to the “Our Gang” series in the 1930s.

Young Mr. McGuire did put on a public appearance in his new home, for the Girls’ League date dance at Pendleton High School, accompanied by Darcia Skiff.

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