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Ernie Morrison as Sunshine Sammy in Dogs of War (1923)
|Born||Ernest Fredric Morrison
December 20, 1912
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Died||July 24, 1989
Cause of death
|Other names||Sunshine Sammy
Ernest Fredric "Ernie" Morrison (December 20, 1912 – July 24, 1989) was an American child actor who performed under the stage name "Sunshine Sammy." Morrison was the only black member of the East Side Kids, and was also an original Our Gang kid, a sidekick to Harold Lloyd and Snub Pollard, a silent screen comedian, a vaudevillian, a dancer, and band leader.
Early life and career
Born in 1912 in New Orleans, Morrison fell into show business because a child actor being used for a film could not be persuaded to do anything but howl. One of the crew members asked Morrison's father to bring in his newborn son, and since the newest member of the Morrison clan gave the film crew what they needed, they decided to christen him "Sunshine," since he did not cry. Morrison's father added "Sammy" to his son's moniker.
Morrison ultimately appeared in two-reel silent comedies opposite both Harold Lloyd and Snub Pollard, two of the era's biggest comedians. He was the first African American actor to be signed to a long-term contract, signing with comedy producer Hal Roach in 1919. When Roach conceived his Our Gang series, featuring child actors in a natural juvenile setting, in 1921, Sammy was the first child recruited. Morrison left the series in 1924 to work in vaudeville, where his talents were featured on the same bills with such up and coming acts as Abbott and Costello and Jack Benny.
After doing some touring in Australia with partner Sleepy Williams, Morrison returned to the United States, and was chosen by Sam Katzman to be one of the East Side Kids. From the beginning, Morrison tapped into his experiences growing up on the East Side of New York to shape the character of "Scruno." He spent three years with the gang before leaving to pursue other opportunities, often doing promotional stints with Huntz Hall and Bobby Jordan. Morrison left the Kids when he was offered an opportunity to work with the Step Brothers act, a prominent black stage and film dance act. He was drafted into the army during World War II. After being discharged, he was offered a part in The Bowery Boys series that was just being launched, but he declined the offer. Morrison made mention of this in interviews, saying he, "Didn't like the setup." 
Later years and death
By the late 1960s, it was mentioned by friend Leo Gorcey in interviews, that Morrison later got into work in military defense plants. Morrison eventually left show business and ended up working for an aircraft-plant making parts for aircraft (or perhaps "missile work"), apparently doing very well financially. In later years, Morrison appeared in a guest spot on Good Times.
|1916||The Soul of a Child||Uncredited|
|1918||Dolly's Vacation||Ebenezer Eczema Abraham White||Credited as Sambo|
|1919||The Little Diplomat||George Washington Jones, Jr.||Credited as Little Sambo|
|1920||Waltz Me Around||Credited as Sunshine Sammy Morrison|
|1921||Rush Orders||Narcissus||Credited as Sunshine Sammy Morrison|
|1922||One Terrible Day||Booker T.|
|1923||No Noise||Sunshine Sammy|
|1924||Fast Company||Sunshine Sammy|
|1926||Between Meals||In Need||Credited as Sunshine Sammy Morrison|
|1940||I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby||Joe||Credited as Sammy Morrison|
|1941||Spooks Run Wild||Scruno||Credited as Sunshine Sammy Morrison|
|1942||Let's Get Tough!||Scruno||Credited as Sunshine Sammy Morrison|
|1943||Clancy Street Boys||Scruno||Credited as Sammy Morrison|
|1944||Greenwich Village||One of the Four Step Brothers||Uncredited|
|1974||Good Times||Messenger||Episode: "The TV Commercial"|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ernie Morrison.|
- Ernie Morrison at the Internet Movie Database Retrieved on 2009-05-18
- Ernie Morrison at AllRovi Retrieved on 2009-05-18
- "Ernie Morrison". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2009-05-18.