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The son of a Naval officer, American actor Johnny Downs was hired as one of Hal Roach's "Our Gang" kids in 1923. Alternately playing heroes and bullies, Downs stayed with the short-subject series until 1927, appearing in twenty-four two-reelers. He honed his dancing and singing skills on the vaudeville stage, working prominently on Broadway until returning to Hollywood in 1934. Downs became a fixture of the "college musical" movie cycle of the late '30s, usually cast as a team captain or a cheerleader. He returned briefly to Hal Roach to star in a 45-minute "streamlined" feature, All American Co-Ed (1941), shortly before his movie career began to decline. Working in vaudeville, summer stock, and one solid Broadway hit (Are You With It), Downs made a short-lived movie comeback in supporting roles and bit parts in the early '50s. Johnny Downs' biggest break in these years came via television, where he launched a long-running career as a San Diego TV host and kiddie show star.

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