Benny Bartlett reportedly passed away on December 26, 1999, in Redding, California. Bartlett, "Butch" of the Bowery Boys, had retired from the screen to work in the insurance business in Santa Barbara, California. He was known as Floyd "Bud" Bartlett during his later years.
In 1984, "The Films of the Bowery Boys" by David Hayes and myself was published by Citadel Press. This website is designed to amend and add information that has come to light since that book's publication. This includes obituaries of Bowery Boys / Eastside Kids /Dead End Kids players who have departed since the book's publication, filmography additions, amended solo credits and various other data of interest. -- Brent Walker I've just found out (on January 22, 2004) that Dr. Bernard Punsly, the last of the original Dead End Kids, has passed away in Torrance, California, where he long had a medical practice.Here is an obituary.
BILLY BENEDICT (1917-1999)On Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1999, the actor best known as Whitey to Bowery Boys fans (and Skinny to Eastside Kids aficionados) succumbed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood of complications after heart surgery. He was 82, and had remained very busy up until recently in commercials. His film appearances are estimated at over 150 (and likely WELL over 150), and he was also very busy in television for many decades. First appearing as a Little Tough Guy at Universal, Benedict was also familiar to fans of feature films as the quintissential newsboy and messenger boy "type" in films ranging from ROAD TO UTOPIA with Hope and Crosby to Ed Wood's BRIDE OF THE MONSTER.
HUNTZ HALL (1919-1999)Huntz Hall passed away in his North Hollywood home of heart failure on Saturday, January 30, 1999, after five weeks in the hospital. Huntz had stayed busy with film, television and dinner theater work in recent years. After years of fighting alcoholism, Huntz kicked it in 1982. His second wife Lee passed away four years ago, after which many said that he became more reclusive. However, he lived to see his son Gary become Reverend and preside at All Saints Church in Pasadena, and his grandson become a screenwriter. With his passing, only Dr. Bernard Punsly survives of the original six Dead End Kids. Fortunately, Huntz will stay alive forever on screen as the irrepressible Sach (and Glimpy, Dippy, Pig, Goofy, Crabface, etc.)
MENDIE KOENIG LIVES!David and I stand by the accuracy of 99% of the data in our book. However, there was one glaring error for which we were eternally embarrassed when the true facts came to light shortly after publication. On page 217, we reported that Mende (Mendie) Koenig, who played one of the gang in the last three Eastside Kids entries (in 1945), was deceased. Regrettably, this information was considerably erroneous, as we found out upon receiving a witty letter from Mr. Koenig himself on Tarzana Elementary School stationery greatly protesting the exaggerated reports of his death. In fact, Mendie was still alive and was none other than the principal of the above-mentioned educational institution in Tarzana, California. Unfortunately, since Citadel had printed 10,000 copies of the book (a print run that has apparently finally been exhausted), we were not able to get a correction made. However, let this serve as our humble apology for our premature literary burial of this fine actor and even more skilled educator.
OBITUARIESThough Mendie Koenig lives, several key players did leave us since 1984. These include:DAVID GORCEYLeo's younger brother, who appeared in more Eastside Kids, Little Tough Guys and Bowery Boys films than anyone except Huntz Hall, died on October 23, 1984, in Van Nuys, California, at age 63, after a 10 day diabetic coma. He had been heading a halfway house for alcoholics and drug abusers since the Bowery Boys series ended in 1958.GABRIEL DELLDell became the fourth of the original six Dead End Kids to pass away on July 3, 1988 (at age 68) in North Hollywood of leukemia. He had been very busy in theater and television up until his death, and he and Huntz had appeared together on "Robert Klein Time" not long before his death.ERNIE "SUNSHINE SAMMY" MORRISONSunshine Sammy died of cancer in Lynwood in July 1989. He was the original Our Gang kid, long before playing Scruno in the Eastside Kids.DAVID DURANDDurand, who appeared in a couple Dead End Kids films and was a six-time Eastside Kid, died on July 25, 1998, in Bridgeview, Illinois, at age 77. He had been a child actor in silent films, including Our Gang comedies.JAN GRIPPOGrippo, agent of Gorcey and Hall and original producer of the Bowery Boys, passed away in March 1988 at age 81 in Los Angeles. Grippo also had a sideline as a magician.
MR. BLACKWELL UNROBEDInfamous fashion designer Mr. Blackwell, of the "Worst Dressed" lists, has long and loudly boasted of being a former Dead End Kid. While working on the book, we were unable to ascertain whether this claim was true or not. The only Blackwell in any series film was Carlyle Blackwell Jr., a strapping, waspish leading man (son of the silent film star of the same name) who appeared in the Eastside Kids entry DOCKS OF NEW YORK (1945). He was immediately discounted due to his completely dissimilar physical profile, and we made no attempt to speculate about the accuracy of Blackwell's claims in the book.When Blackwell's sensationalized autobiography was published in the mid-90's, it was revealed that his real name was Richard Selzer. As such, he had appeared in a later road show version of the play "Dead End," and on film appeared as one of the background street kids (not a Dead End Kid/Little Tough Guy) in LITTLE TOUGH GUY (1938), the first release of the Universal sub-series. His character had only brief, background screen-time in this film, putting his claims to being a real Dead End Kid (i.e. working in tandem with any one of the six "original" kids) into the most nebulous of categories
|In 1984, "The Films of the Bowery Boys" by David Hayes and myself was published by Citadel Press. This website is designed to amend and add information that has come to light since that book's publication. This includes obituaries of Bowery Boys / Eastside Kids /Dead End Kids players who have departed since the book's publication, filmography additions, amended solo credits and various other data of interest. -- Brent Walker|