Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison


This filmography was made in collaboration with Matthew Lydick.


full name: Ernest Fredric Morrison
nickname: Ernie
popularly known as Sunshine Sammy
born Dec. 20, 1912, in New Orleans, LA
died July 24, 1989, in Lynwood, CA, of cancer


Special note: Ernie's full name is often given as Frederic Ernest Morrison, but I'm favoring what it says on his grave marker. There's also some confusion over his birthdate, with Dec. 20, 1914, being the most common alternative, and 1913 being implied in several articles, but the preponderance of the evidence, most convincingly from the 1930 census, points to 1912.


1916

According to Ernie's official bio (circa 1922), his father Joseph had learned that a little "colored boy" was needed for a movie role, and decided to take his own son to the studio, where Ernie proved to be right for the part. His earliest known appearance was in the Bungling Bill short listed below, so perhaps this is the film in question.

Just For A Kid (role: black child)
July 2, 1916 - Vogue/Mutual - 2 reels - Bungling Bill series

1917

During this year, Ernie was under contract to Mack Sennett for a few weeks, but didn't wind up making any films for him. After this, he landed a recurring role in the Baby Marie Osborne series, a job he would keep for the next two years. An article from the Nov. 28, 1925, Baltimore Afro-American states that Ernie started out at $2 a day. It was during his stint with Baby Marie that people around the studio started calling him "Sunshine" because of his sunny disposition. His father soon added "Sammy" and he went on to be known as "Sunshine Sammy" for the rest of his life.

Captain Kiddo (undetermined role)
Aug. 5, 1917 - Lasalida/Pathé - 5 reels - Baby Marie Osborne feature
©Aug. 25, 1917, as Miss Captain Kiddo.
The Little Patriot (undetermined role)
Dec. 2, 1917 - Diando/Pathé - 5 reels - Baby Marie Osborne feature
©Dec. 8, 1917, as A Little Patriot. Not listed in IMDb, but a magazine photo from this film includes a small boy that looks like Ernie, with a caption that tells us that "the supporting cast is able, and the little colored boy a born comedian."

1918

Diando attempted this year to launch Ernie in his own series, but the distributor wasn't interested. There's a published reference to a Baby Marie film called "The Soul Of A Child." It doesn't appear in IMDb or in the Copyright Catalogue, and therefore could potentially have been a working title for one of the films listed below. IMDb does include an Em Gorman feature from 1916 with this same title, and credits Ernie for appearing in that. This seems like too much of a coincidence, so for this filmography, the Gorman film is omitted pending better evidence.

Daddy's Girl (undetermined role)
Mar. 3, 1918 - Diando/Pathé - 5 reels - Baby Marie sborne feature
Credited as Sambo. ©Mar. 4, 1918 by Gold Rooster, suggesting that perhaps Diando had an earlier name.
Dolly Does Her Bit (undetermined role)
May 22, 1918 - Diando/Pathé - 5 reels - Baby Marie Osborne feature
Credited as Sambo. ©May 22, 1918.
A Daughter Of The West (undetermined role)
May 26, 1918 - Diando/Pathé - 5 reels - Baby Marie Osborne feature
Credited as Sambo. ©May 7, 1918.
The Voice Of Destiny (undetermined role)
June 23, 1918 - Diando/Pathé - 5 reeks - Baby Marie Osborne feature
©June 21, 1918. Not credited to him in IMDb, but mentioned in a Savannah Tribune article of Jan. 19, 1922, as being one of the Baby Marie films Ernie appeared in. However, it has been said that Ernie worked in 14 of these films, and this one makes it 15, so perhaps not.
Cupid By Proxy (undetermined role)
Jul. 21, 1918 - Diando/Pathé - 5 reels - Baby Marie Osborne feature
©July 15, 1918.
Winning Grandma (role: Smiling Sammy)
Aug. 18, 1918 - Diando/Pathé - 5 reels - Baby Marie Osborne feature
Credited as Sambo. ©Aug. 10, 1918.
The Black Cupid (lead role)
unreleased - Diando - 2 reels - Sunshine Sammy series
Motion Picture News of Aug. 24th reported that a short called Black Cupid had just been completed. A second article in the same issue mentioned three films, including this one, but called it The Black Cupid. Apparently, Pathé wasn't interested and it went unreleased.
Buttons (lead role)
unreleased - Diando - Sunshine Sammy series
Motion Picture News of Aug. 24th also mentions this title.
The Lucky Horseshoe (lead role)
unreleased - Diando - Sunshine Sammy series
Motion Picture News of Aug. 24th also mentions this title.
The Sheriff (undetermined role)
Nov. 24, 1918 - Comique/Paramount - 2 reels - Fatty Arbuckle series
Considered a lost film, it was reported to have a "picaninny child" among its characters, and at least one online photo confirms Ernie's involvement in the Arbuckle series, so he was probably in this one.
Milady O' The Beanstalk (role: the janitor's son)
Dec. 1, 1918 - Diando/Pathé - 5 reels - Baby Marie Osborne feature
Credited as Sambo.
Dolly's Vacation (role: Ebenezer Eczema Abraham White)
Dec. 29, 1918 - Diando/Pathé - 5 reels - Baby Marie Osborne feature
Credited as Sambo. ©Dec. 4, 1918.

1919

Ernie left the Baby Marie series during this year and moved on to the Rolin Film Company (later Hal Roach Studios). Roach's wife, Margaret, had worked on the Baby Marie films and recommended the boy to her husband. His first work at Rolin happened during the summer, shortly before the accident of Aug. 24th that sidelined Harold Lloyd's career for a few months. Two days later, a new series of one-reelers called 'Rolin Comedies' was inaugurated, if only to keep the staff employed during Lloyd's recuperation. These comedies initially starred Snub Pollard, who was paired in the initial outings with Ernie Morrison. Advertisements for the series over the next year seemed to present the two as a comedy team. Ernie was signed to a 2-year contract on Sep. 1st (also reported to have been Aug. 26th), reportedly the first African-American to be signed to such a contract in film industry. Correspondence between Roach and Pathé executive Fred Quimby during this period reveals that Roach wanted to start a series of 'coon' pictures, no doubt starring Ernie. The head of Pathé in the US, Paul Brunet, vetoed this idea on the premise that 'kid' series were generally not successful.

The Game's Up (undetermined role)
Jan. 20, 1919 - Bluebird/Universal - 5 reels - Ruth Clifford & Al Ray feature
©Jan. 9, 1919. The back of Ernie's 1922 trading card mentions "Game's Up" as one of his credits, and this film from 1919 is the only one that seems to match.
The Old Maid's Baby (role: George Washington Joffre Foch Pershing Johnson)
Feb. 23, 1919 - Diando/Pathé - 5 reels - Baby Marie Osborne feature
Credited as Little Sambo. ©Jan. 23, 1919.
Peggy Does Her Darndest (role: Snowball Snow)
Feb. 24, 1919 - Metro - 5 reels - May Allison feature
©Feb. 28, 1919.
The Sawdust Doll (supporting role)
Apr. 20, 1919 - Diando/Pathé - 5 reels - Baby Marie Osborne feature
Credited as Sambo. ©Apr. 12, 1919.
The Little Diplomat (role: George Washington Jones, Jr.)
Jun. 15, 1919 - Diando/Pathé - 5 reels - Baby Marie Osborne feature
Credited as Little Sambo. ©May 24, 1919.
Baby Marie's Round-Up (role: Sambo)
Sep. 7, 1919 - Diando/Pathé - 2 reels - Baby Marie Osborne series
Credited as Little Sambo. ©Aug. 23, 1919.
Daddy Number Two (undetermined role)
Oct. 12, 1919 - Diando/Pathé - 2 reels - Baby Marie Osborne series
Start Something (undetermined role)
Oct. 26, 1919 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-2 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Sep. 2 to 11, 1919. ©Nov. 1, 1919.
Call For Mr. Caveman (role: Henry Hercules)
Nov. 9, 1919 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-3 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Sep. 12 to 16, 1919. ©Nov. 1, 1919.
Giving The Bride Away (undetermined role)
Nov. 16, 1919 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-4 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Sep. 17 to 25, 1919. ©Nov. 1, 1919.
Miss Gingersnap (role: Little Rastus)
Nov. 23, 1919 - Diando/Pathé - 2 reels - Baby Marie Osborne series
How Dry I Am (undetermined role)
Dec. 7, 1919 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-7 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Oct. 11 to 18, and Oct. 27 to 29, 1919. ©Jan. 2, 1920.
Looking For Trouble (undetermined role)
Dec. 14, 1919 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-11 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for Dec. 20, 1919. Filmed Oct. 31 and Nov. 6, 1919, and probably other dates. ©Jan. 2, 1920.
Tough Luck (role: Mr. Sambe)
Dec. 21, 1919 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-10 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Oct. 30 to Nov. 4, 1919. ©Jan. 2, 1920.
The Floor Below (supporting role)
Dec. 28, 1919 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-12 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for Jan. 24, 1920. Filmed Nov. 5 to 8, 1919. ©Jan. 2, 1920.

1920

One of the magazine advertisements this year for the Rolin Comedies identifies Ernie as "Pickaninny Sammy," a name that didn't stick. On Aug. 16th, Rolin Film Company was officially renamed Hal E. Roach Studios, and the Rolin series of one-reelers that Ernie was featured in became the Hal Roach Comedies. The earliest information I have regarding Ernie's salary comes from the week ending Aug. 21st, when he was earning $75 a week. His father, Joseph, was earning $30 a week for simply making his talented child available. For the week ending Sep. 4th, Ernie's salary was raised to $100 a week, while his father continued at the same $30 rate.

Red Hot Hottentots (undetermined role)
Jan. 4, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-13 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Nov. 10 to 14, 1919. ©Jan. 2, 1920.
Why Go Home? (undetermined role)
Jan. 11, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-14 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Nov. 15 to 22, 1919. ©Jan. 31, 1920.
Slippery Slickers (role: boy)
Jan. 18, 1920 - Rolin-Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-15 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Nov. 24 to Dec. 2, 1919. ©Jan. 31, 1920.
The Dippy Dentist (supporting role: messenger boy)
Jan. 25, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-16 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Dec. 2 to 13, 1919. ©Jan. 31, 1920.
All Lit Up (role: the kid)
Feb. 1, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-17 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Dec. 13, 1919. ©Jan. 31, 1920.
Getting His Goat (undetermined role)
Feb. 8, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-9 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for Feb. 12, 1920. Filmed Oct. 20 to 24, 1919. ©Feb. 24, 1920.
Waltz Me Around (role: boy)
Feb. 15, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-18 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for Feb. 21, 1920. Filmed Dec. 22 to 27, 1919. ©Feb. 24, 1920.
Find The Girl (undetermined role)
Feb. 29, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-20 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for Apr. 3, 1920. Filmed Jan. 2 to 10, 1920. ©Feb. 24, 1920.
Haunted Spooks (supporting role: little boy)
Mar. 14, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. L-5 - Harold Lloyd series
Also listed for Mar. 31, 1920. Sources vary regarding initial filming from Aug. 9 to 23, 1919, which seems to fit prod. L-4 instead. However, it's clear that some scenes show Lloyd before his hand was injured. Resumed filming started on Jan. 5, 1920, and continued until either Jan. 17 or 25, 1920, with possibly more filming on Feb. 9, 1920. ©Mar. 8, 1920.
Flat Broke (undetermined role)
Mar. 14, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-21 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Jan. 2 to 10, 1920. ©Mar. 11, 1920.
Cut The Cards (undetermined role)
Mar. 21, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-23 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for June 12, 1920. Filmed Jan. 29 to Feb. 5, 1920. ©Mar. 11, 1920.
The Dinner Hour (role: Sunshine Sammy)
Mar. 28, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-25 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Feb. 16 to 20, 1920. ©Apr. 6, 1920.
Speed To Spare (undetermined role)
Apr. 4, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-26 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Also listed as Apr. 17, 1920. Filmed Feb. 25 to Mar. 3, 1920. ©Apr. 6, 1920.
Shoot On Sight (undetermined role)
Apr. 11, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-27 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for Apr. 18, 1920. Filmed Mar. 4 to 9, and Mar. 13, 1920. ©Apr. 13, 1920.
Don't Weaken (undetermined role)
Apr. 18, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-28 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Mar. 10 to 15, 1920. ©June 15, 1920.
Cracked Wedding Bells (undetermined role)
Apr. 25, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-24 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for Apr. 4, 1920. Filmed Feb. 6 to 15, Feb. 22 to 24, and Feb. 28, 1920. ©Apr. 6, 1920.
Drink Hearty (role: George Washington Tarfoot Lee)
May 2, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-29 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for May 15, 1920. Filmed Mar. 16 to 24, 1920. ©June 15, 1920.
Trotting Through Turkey (supporting role: the dandy assistant)
May 9, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-30 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Mar. 25 to 28, 1920. ©June 15, 1920.
All Dressed Up (supporting role: Snub's sidekick)
May 23, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-31 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Mar. 29 to Apr. 3, 1920. ©June 23, 1920.
Grab The Ghost (supporting role: servant's child)
May 30, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-32 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Apr. 5 to 10, 1920. ©June 23, 1920.
You're Pinched (role: kid on tricycle)
June 6, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-33 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for July 10, 1920. Filmed Apr. 12 to 18, 1920.
All In A Day (undetermined role)
June 20, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-34 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Apr. 19 to 24, 1920. ©June 23, 1920.
Any Old Port (role: steward)
June 27, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-35 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Apr. 26 to May 2, 1920. ©June 23, 1920.
Don't Rock The Boat (role: little sailor boy)
July 4, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-36 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed May 3 to 10, 1920. ©June 23, 1920.
The Home Stretch (undetermined role)
July 18, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-37 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed May 17 to 22, 1920. ©Aug. 28, 1920.
Call A Taxi (role: boy servant)
July 25, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-38 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed May 24 to 26, 1920. ©Aug. 28, 1920.
Live And Learn (role: Sunshine Sammy)
Aug. 1, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-39 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed May 27 to June 4, 1920. ©Aug. 28, 1920.
Run 'Em Ragged (role: boy in trash can)
Aug. 15, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-40 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for Aug. 1, 1920. Filmed June 5 to 12, 1920, and also the week of June 19, 1920. ©Oct. 2, 1920.
Money To Burn (undetermined role)
Aug. 29, 1920 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-42 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed the week of June 10, 1920, and also June 28 to July 3, 1920. ©Aug. 28, 1920.
Go As You Please (undetermined role)
Sep. 12, 1920 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-44 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed July 23 to 30, 1920. ©Aug. 28, 1920.
Rock-A-Bye Baby aka Rock-A-By Baby (undetermined role)
Sep. 19, 1920 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-43 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed the week of June 10, 1920, and also July 12 to 22, 1920. ©Aug. 28, 1920.
Get Out And Get Under (small part: curious boy)
Sep. 26, 1920 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. L-8 - Harold Lloyd series
Premiered Sep. 12, 1920. Filmed May 5 to 20, June 1 to 8, July 29, and Aug. 3 to 11, 1920. ©Aug. 28, 1920.
Doing Time (role: boy convict)
Sep. 26, 1920 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-45 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Aug. 4 to 7, and Sep. 13, 1920. ©Oct. 2, 1920.
Fellow Citizens (undetermined role)
Oct. 10, 1920 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-46 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for Oct. 9, 1920. Filmed Aug. 9 to 14, 1920. ©Oct. 2, 1920.
When The Wind Blows (undetermined role)
Oct. 24, 1920 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-47 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Aug. 19 to 27, 1920. ©Dec. 22, 1920.
Insulting The Sultan (undetermined role)
Nov. 7, 1920 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-48 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Sep. 4 to 18, 1920. ©Feb. 12, 1921. Ernie's sister Florence made $5 working on this production on Wed. the 8th.
The Dear Departed (undetermined role)
Nov. 21, 1920 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-49 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Sep. 20 to 25, 1920. ©Dec. 2, 1920. Ernie's sister Florence made $5 working on this production on Mon., the 13th.
Cash Customers (supporting role: store assistant)
Dec. 5, 1920 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-50 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for Dec. 6, 1920. Filmed Sep. 27, and Oct. 1 to 9, 1920. ©Jan. 28, 1921.
Park Your Car (undetermined role)
Dec. 19, 1920 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-51 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Oct. 11 to 27, 1920. ©Feb. 12, 1921.
Number, Please? (role: little boy)
Dec. 26, 1920 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. L-9 - Harold Lloyd series
Filmed June 29 to July 28, Aug. 9 to 19, Aug. 27, Sep. 8 to 25, and Oct. 18 to 19, 1920. ©Dec. 2, 1920.

1921

In the Jan. 21, 1921, issue of the Baltimore Afro-American, black children voted Sunshine Sammy as their "favorite movie star." Ernie signed a new two-year contract on February 28th. He now earned $120 a week, while his father was raised to $40 a week. There's a gap in the information after Mar. 26th, but by the week ending Sep. 10th (when the source info resumes), they had received raises again, Ernie now earning $150 a week, while his father earned $50 a week. On September 20th, Roach signed a contract with Pathé for the release of a Sunshine Sammy 2-reeler that failed to achieve series status. During parts of October and November, Ernie was loaned out to Marshall Neilan for the feature film, "Penrod." By the end of the year, the idea for a Sunshine Sammy series was modified to become Hal Roach's Rascals, a series that would begin filming the following January, but which entered pre-production in late 1921. Since Ernie had already been under long-term contract for the last two years, he inevitably became the first choice to be among the kids who would star in this series.

The Morning After (undetermined role)
Jan. 9, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-53 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for Jan. 16, 1921. Filmed Nov. 8 to 22, 1920. ©Feb. 12, 1921.
Whirl Of The West aka Whirl O' The West (role: Sammy)
Jan. 23, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-54 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Nov. 23 to Dec. 4, 1920. ©June 3, 1921.
Pinning It On (undetermined role)
Jan. 30, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-10 - Vanity Fair Girls series with Eddie Boland
Filmed Nov. 22 to 27, 1920. ©Mar. 9, 1921. If Ernie actually appeared in this short (as per IMDb), then the payroll ledger doesn't reflect it.
Open Another Bottle (undetermined role)
Feb. 13, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-52 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Oct. 28 to Nov. 4, 1920, and Jan. 6, 7, and 12, 1921. ©June 3, 1921.
His Best Girl (undetermined role)
Feb. 27, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-55 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Dec. 8 to 20, 1920. ©Mar. 9, 1921. Ernie's sister Florence made $5 on this production on Sat., the 11th, and then made $7.50 a day for six days in a row during the second week.
Make It Snappy (undetermined role)
Mar. 13, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-56 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Dec. 21 to 28, and Dec. 30, 1920. ©Mar. 9, 1921. Ernie's sister Florence was paid $7.50 a day for working on this production on Dec. 23rd and 24th.
Fellow Romans (undetermined role)
Mar. 27, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-57 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Dec. 29, and Dec. 31, 1920, to Jan. 6, 1921. ©May 13, 1921. If Ernie appeared in this film (as per IMDb), then the payroll ledger doesn't reflect it.
Rush Orders (role: Narcissus)
Apr. 10, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-58 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Jan. 8 to 13, 1921. ©May 4, 1921.
Bubbling Over (undetermined role)
Apr. 24, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-59 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Jan. 15 to 19, and Jan. 25, 1921. ©May 13, 1921.
No Children (undetermined role)
May 8, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-60 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Jan. 20 to 24, 1921. ©May 13, 1921.
Big Game (undetermined role)
May 22, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-61 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Jan. 26 to 28, 1921. ©May 14, 1921.
Save Your Money (undetermined role)
May 29, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-67 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Mar. 8 to 11, 1921. ©May 14, 1921.
The Killjoys aka Blue Sunday (role: boy)
June 5, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-62 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, 1921. ©June 2, 1921.
Where's The Fire (role: kid in burning house)
June 12, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-64 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Feb. 11 to 12, 1921. ©June 2, 1921.
Own Your Home aka Own Your Own Home (undetermined role)
June 19, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-63 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Feb. 4 to 10, 1921. ©June 3, 1921.
The High Rollers (role: porter at skating rink)
June 26, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-65 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Feb. 21 to 26, 1921. ©June 3, 1921.
You're Next (undetermined role)
July 3, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-66 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Feb. 28 to Mar. 5, 1921. ©June 3, 1921.
The Bike Bug (role: boy on horse)
July 10, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-68 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Mar. 15 to 22, 1921. ©June 7, 1921.
At The Ring Side (supporting role: the lookout)
July 17, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-70 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
©June 7, 1921.
What A Whopper (role: the bellboy)
July 31, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-73 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
©Aug. 30, 1921.
Teaching The Teacher (undetermined role)
Aug. 7, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-74 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
©July 29, 1921.
Name The Day (role: Goofy)
Aug. 21, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-69 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Mar. 23 to 26, 1921. ©July 29, 1921.
Late Lodgers (role: the hotel bellhop)
Sep. 18, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-72 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
©Sep. 7, 1921.
The Chink (role: the kid)
Sep. 25, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-20 - Eddie Boland series
Filmed Feb. 22 to 28, and Mar. 9, 1921. ©Sep. 28, 1921.
Sweet Bye And Bye aka Sweet By And By (supporting role)
Oct. 9, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-26 - Eddie Boland series
Filmed mid-1921. ©Sep. 28, 1921.
The Pickaninny (lead role: Little Casino)
Dec. 4, 1921 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. E-1 - Sunshine Sammy Morrison series
Filmed mid-1921. ©Dec. 6, 1921.

1922

In January, the first film starring Hal Roach's Rascals was shot and titled "Our Gang," a name that soon became an alternate title for the series. Roach and Pathé signed into a distribution deal for the series on January 19th. The June 24th issue of Boys' Cinema included a "Sunshine Sammy" trading card (no. 17 in the series of Boys' Cinema Famous Heroes), which gave some biographical information on the back, though the publishers seem to be unaware of the Our Gang series, which hadn't yet gone into general release. One of the films credited to Ernie on the back of the card is something called "Don't Do It," but I've yet to come across any information at all on this film. For the week ending Sep. 2nd, Ernie's salary was raised to $200 a week. His father remained at $50 a week.

Try, Try Again (supporting role: boy servant)
Jan. 1, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-32 - Hal Roach series with Paul Parrott
Filmed Sep. 14 to 22, 1921. ©Dec. 10, 1921.
Loose Change (supporting role: the thieves' lieutenant)
Jan. 15, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-34 - Hal Roach series with Paul Parrott
Filmed Oct. 8 to 18, 1921. ©Dec. 31, 1921.
Rich Man, Poor Man (role: Sunshine Sammy)
Feb. 19, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-39 - Hal Roach series with Paul Parrott
Filmed Nov. 26 to Dec. 1, 1921. ©Feb. 8, 1922.
Penrod (supporting role: Herman)
Feb. 20, 1922 - Neilan/First National - 8 reels - Wesley Barry feature
Filmed Oct. 1922. ©Jan. 30, 1922. Ernie's sister Florence was also featured in this film, as "Verman."
High Tide (supporting role: The Pickaninny)
Mar. 19, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-29 - Hal Roach series with George Rowe
Initial filming ended Aug. 26, 1921, with retakes Dec. 5, 17 and 30, 1921. ©Mar. 25, 1922. Ernie was given onscreen credit as "Sunshine Sammy."
Stand Pat (supporting role: Sunshine Sammy)
Apr. 16, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-40 - Hal Roach series with Paul Parrott
Filmed Dec. 6 to 15, 1921. ©Apr. 27, 1922.
Full O' Pep (role: Sunshine Sammy)
Apr. 23, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-102 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Dec. 16 to 24, 1921, and Jan. 5, 1922. ©Apr. 27, 1922.
Light Showers (undetermined role)
May 14, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-105 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Jan. 14 to 24, 1922. ©Apr. 27, 1922.
Screen Snapshots Series 3, No. 1 (appearance)
June 4, 1922 - C. B. C. Film Sales Corp. - 1 reel - Screen Snapshots series
©May 17, 1922.
The Non Skid Kid (role: young boy)
June 11, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-18 - Eddie Boland series
Filmed Feb. 1 to 10, and Mar. 22, 1921, as a Vanity Fair Girls film. ©May 29, 1922.
All In A Day (undetermined role)
June 20, 1920 - Rolin/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-34 - Rolin series with Snub Pollard
Filmed Apr. 19 to 24, 1920. ©June 23, 1920.
Many Happy Returns (undetermined role)
June 25, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-27 - Eddie Boland series
Filmed mid-1921. ©June 26, 1922.
The Sleuth (supporting role: Inkhpad)
July 16, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-36 - Hal Roach series with Paul Parrott
Filmed Oct. 27 to Nov. 3, 1921, with retakes Dec. 2 and 3, 1921. ©July 20, 1922.
4. One Terrible Day (featured role: Booker T. Bacon)
Sep. 10, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-4 - Our Gang series
Filmed May 22 to June 10, 1922. ©Oct. 9, 1922.
2. Fire Fighters (lead role: Booker T. Bacon)
Oct. 8, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-2 - Our Gang series
Filmed Feb. 27 to Apr. 1, 1922. ©Oct. 9, 1922.
1. Our Gang (featured role: Booker T. Bacon)
Nov. 5, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-1 - Our Gang series
Filmed Jan. 3 to 17, 1922, with retakes Jan. 18 to 19, and Feb. 2 to 17, 1922. ©Oct. 11, 1922.
3. Young Sherlocks (lead role: Ernie)
Nov. 26, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-3 - Our Gang series
Filmed Apr. 3 to 8, and Apr. 24 to May 20, 1922. ©Nov. 11, 1922.
6. Saturday Morning (featured role: Sorghum)
Dec. 3, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-6 - Our Gang series
Filmed July 8 to 25, 1922. ©Nov. 11, 1922.
5. A Quiet Street (featured role)
Dec. 31, 1922 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-5 - Our Gang series
Filmed June 13 to July 1, and July 26 to 27, 1922. ©Nov. 11, 1922.
Screen Snapshots Series 3, No. 16 (presumed appearance)
Dec. 31, 1922 - C. B. C. Film Sales Corp. - 1 reel - Screen Snapshots series
©Dec. 8, 1922. Director Robert F. McGowan and the Our Gang cast are listed for this film, but cast members are not specified.

1923

On Feb. 28th of this year, Ernie's salary was raised to $250 a week, while his father remained at $50 a week.

Dig Up (undetermined role)
Jan. 7, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. B-7 - Snub Pollard series
Filmed July 25 to Aug. 7, 1922, with retakes Aug. 21, 1922. ©Dec. 14, 1922. Ernie appears in a promotional slide for this film. His salary wasn't charged to this production, so perhaps an image from an earlier film was used.
9. The Champeen! (lead role: Sammy)
Jan. 28, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-9 - Our Gang series
Filmed late August/September 1922. ©Dec. 16, 1922.
8. The Cobbler (featured role)
Feb. 18, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-8 - Our Gang series
Filmed late August, and perhaps September, 1922. ©Feb. 26, 1923.
7. The Big Show! (featured role: Booker T.)
Feb. 25, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-7 - Our Gang series
Filmed July 28 to Aug. 15, 1922, with added scenes Sep. 11 to 16, and Sep. 20 to 28, 1922, and retakes Jan. 10 to 11, 1923. ©Feb. 26, 1923.
11. A Pleasant Journey (featured role: Ernie)
Mar. 18, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-11 - Our Gang series
Also listed for Mar. 25, 1923. Filmed Oct. 22 to 27, and Nov. 2 to 16, 1922. ©Feb. 26, 1923.
10. Boys To Board (featured role)
Apr. 8, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-10 - Our Gang series
Filmed Oct. 2 to Nov. 2, 1922. ©Mar. 30, 1923.
12. Giants Vs. Yanks (featured role: Ernie)
May 13, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-12 - Our Gang series
Filmed Nov. 20 to Dec. 19, 1922, and Feb. 15, 1923. ©Apr. 27, 1923.
13. Back Stage (supporting role: Ernie)
June 3, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-13 - Our Gang series
Filmed Dec. 15, 1922, to Jan. 9, 1923. ©June 6, 1923.
14. Dogs Of War! (supporting role)
July 1, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-14 - Our Gang series
Premiered June 10, 1923. Filmed Jan. 12 to Feb. 10, 1923, with retakes Feb. 20 to 23, and Apr. 11, 1923. ©July 19, 1923.
15. Lodge Night (featured role: Ernie)
July 29, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-15 - Our Gang series
Filmed Feb. 12 to Mar. 3, 1923. ©Aug. 2, 1923.
18. July Days (supporting role: Ernie)
Aug. 26, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-18 - Our Gang series
Filmed Mar. 11, Apr. 12 to May 2, and May 31, 1923. ©Aug. 2, 1923.
20. No Noise (supporting role: Ernie)
Sep. 23, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-20 - Our Gang series
Filmed June 1 to 20, 1923. ©Sep. 24, 1923.
17. Stage Fright (supporting role)
Oct. 21, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-17 - Our Gang series
Filmed Mar. 17 to Apr. 11, 1923, with retakes June 21 to July 2, 1923. ©Nov. 9, 1923.
21. Derby Day (supporting role: Ernie aka Sammy)
Nov. 18, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-21 - Our Gang series
Filmed July 18 to Aug. 13, 1923. ©Nov. 9, 1923. The inter-titles refer to him as Ernie, while the board showing the jockeys with their accompanying animals lists him as Sammy.
19. Sunday Calm (supporting role: Ernie)
Dec. 16, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-19 - Our Gang series
Filmed May 4 to 29, 1923, with retakes July 2 to 14, and Oct. 2, 1923. ©Dec. 24, 1923.

1924

Ernie departed Hal Roach Studios and the Our Gang series in the spring of this year, but he did return for one week in June to finish off "Fast Company," which had lain dormant for over a year. His father Joseph launched Ernie into a vaudeville career, signing a 3-year contract as part of the Sunshine Sammy Revue. Early publicity photos reveal that an additional boy and girl were also part of this act.

22. Tire Trouble (supporting role)
Jan. 13, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-22 - Our Gang series
Filmed Aug. 14 to Sep. 4, 1923. ©Dec. 24, 1923.
23. Big Business (supporting role: Sunshine Sammy)
Feb. 10, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-23 - Our Gang series
Filmed Sep. 11 to 21, 1923. ©Jan. 26, 1924.
24. The Buccaneers (featured role: Ernie)
Mar. 9, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-24 - Our Gang series
Filmed Sep. 28 to Oct. 24, and Oct. 28, 1923. ©Feb. 20, 1924.
The Fraidy Cat (small part as one of the neighborhood boys)
Mar. 30, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. D-45 - Hal Roach series with Charley Chase
Premiered Mar. 10, 1924. Filmed Dec. 4 to 9, 1923. ©Mar. 20, 1924.
25. Seein' Things (supporting role)
Apr. 6, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-25 - Our Gang series
Filmed Oct. 25 to Nov. 7, and Dec. 19, 1923, and Jan. 7, 1924. ©May 12, 1924.
26. Commencement Day (supporting role)
May 4, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-26 - Our Gang series
Filmed Nov. 9 to Dec. 6, 1923, Jan. 7 to 11, and Jan. 26, 1924. ©May 12, 1924.
Going To Congress (undetermined role)
May 25, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. R-11 - Will Rogers series
Filmed Jan. 19 to 30, 1924. ©May 12, 1924.
28. Cradle Robbers (supporting role)
June 1, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-28 - Our Gang series
Filmed Jan. 28 to Feb. 9, 1924. ©May 12, 1924.
Rupert Of Hee Haw (bit part: one of the great throng)
June 8, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. L-11 - Stan Laurel series
Also listed for June 24, 1924. Filmed Dec. 20 to 26, 1923, and Jan. 2 to 12, 1924. ©May 12, 1924.
Hoss And Hoss (undetermined role)
unreleased - Roach - 2 reels - prod. E-1 - Arthur Stone series
Filmed Feb. 11 to 23, 1924. Not copyrighted. Probably unfinished. Also listed as an All Star comedy.
27. It's A Bear (supporting role: Ernie)
July 27, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-27 - Our Gang series
Filmed Dec. 10 to 26, 1923, Jan. 2 to 7, Jan. 12, and Mar. 7 to 12, 1924. ©June 30, 1924.
The Battling Orioles (small part as one of the neighborhood boys)
Aug. 24, 1924 - Roach/Associated/Pathé - 5 reels - prod. T-2 - Glenn Tryon feature
Also listed for Oct. 6, 1924. Filmed Feb. 18 to May 20, 1924, with retakes June 16 to 20, 1924. There was also an unspecified Glenn Tryon feature for which retakes were shot from May 22 to June 17, 1924, but it isn't clear whether it was this one or "The White Sheep" or some other film. ©Sep. 25, 1924.
16. Fast Company (supporting role: Ernie)
Nov. 16, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-16 - Our Gang series
Filmed Mar. 5 to 15, 1923, with retakes June 13 to 21, 1924. ©Oct. 2, 1924.

1925

An article from the November 28th Baltimore Afro-American describes a parade of 7000 children that Ernie was involved with in Providence. Many of his performances were carried out at schools for the benefit of the local children.


1926

Contrary to what it looks like, Ernie had not returned to the Roach studio in late 1925. All of the films released during the early part of 1926 were previously unreleased productions from 1921/22. However, Ernie did return to the studio in late September to shoot a "trailer" for some unknown purpose.

Between Meals (role: In Need)
Jan. 10, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-30 - Hal Roach series with Paul Parrott
Also listed as Jan. 3, 1926. Filmed Aug. 29 to Sep. 3, 1921. ©Dec. 16, 1922.
Don't Butt In (small part)
Jan. 17, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-31 - Hal Roach series with Paul Parrott
Filmed Sep. 7 to 18, 1921. Previewed Nov. 1921 under the title The Roustabout, but listed as a Snub Pollard film. ©Dec. 16, 1922 under preview title.
Soft Pedal (supporting role: Wary)
Jan. 31, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-33 - Hal Roach series with Paul Parrott
Also listed as Jan. 30, 1926. Filmed Sep. 23 to Oct. 8, 1921. ©Dec. 16, 1922, under the title Leave It To Me. Dec. 17, 1922, has also been listed as the release date, with the original title. Ernie was given onscreen credit.
The Only Son (undetermined role)
Feb. 28, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-37 - Hal Roach series with Paul Parrott
Filmed Nov. 4 to 12, 1921, with retakes Nov. 19, 1921. ©Dec. 16, 1922.
Do Your Duty (undetermined role)
Mar. 7, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. H-103 - Hal Roach series with Snub Pollard
Also listed for Mar. 28, 1926. Filmed Dec. 27, 1921, to Jan. 6, 1922. ©Feb. 6, 1926.
Hired And Fired (undetermined role)
Mar. 14, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 1 reel - prod. C-38 - Hal Roach series with Paul Parrott
Premiered Mar. 2, 1926. Filmed Nov. 12 to 25, 1921, and Aug. 26 and 28, 1922. ©Dec. 16, 1922, and Feb. 6, 1926.
unspecified title (producer)
unreleased - Roach - Ernie Morrison trailer
Filmed Sep. 29 to 30, 1926.

1927

An article in The Chillicothe Daily Tribune of Apr. 4th of this year relates Ernie's visit to that Missouri city during his vaudeville tour. It also describes a fan letter which reads: "I always delight in your amusing antics on the screen, but why do they always have you made up as a negro boy? Please send me one of your photographs without the makeup. I want to see how you look without it."


1928

An ad from Apr. 22nd of this year reads: "Joseph Morrison presents The Diminutive Star of "Our Gang" Comedies "Sunshine Sammy" with his brother Charlie. This new act probably originated in 1927 after the end of Ernie's 3-year contract. Charlie was actually Charles Witty (Ernie having no actual brothers). By June of 1928, Little Joey Harris was added to the act. In August, Edward Duncan joined the act for a month's engagement. After this, they were back to being the trio of Sunshine Sammy, Little Joey & Charlie among other variations on the name.


1929

By March of this year, Joey Shields had joined Ernie's act, replacing Joey Harris and assuming his "Little Joey" moniker. In July, they played the Fox Theatre in Brooklyn, where Ernie's two sidekicks were billed as "Brothers Charlie and Little Joe." In August, the act was modified to include Joey Shields, Edward Duncan, and Shields' two sisters. By the end of the month, Morrison, Shields and Duncan had resumed touring as a trio, now calling themselves Sunshine Sammy and His Gang.

Sunshine Sammy And His Brothers In Steppin' Along (lead role: Sunshine Sammy)
Mar. 30, 1929 - MGM - 1 reel - Movietone Revue
©Feb. 4, 1929. I've also come across Nov. 14, 1928, as a release date. This release was accompanied by an MGM Synchro-Disc. Ernie and his "brothers" appeared in Scene #1.

1930

Both Edward Duncan and Joey Shields left Ernie's act by June of this year. A news item from July 4th describes Morrison being detained by the police in Marshalltown while he and his chauffeur were travelling from New York to Los Angeles. They had struck a pedestrian with their car, but were released without charges. It's not clear whether Ernie's tapdancing display for the officers had any influence.


1930s

Information is spotty, but Ernie basically spent the bulk of this decade as a stage performer. Various items give clues as to his activities:
A poster for a performance (presumably aired since NBC was involved) by Hank Keene and his Radio Gang. The added attraction is Sunshine Sammy, who's billed as "Warner Bros. Colored Boy Picture Star." The starting date is Sun., July 19th, which fits both 1931 and 1936. Keene had a radio program in both of those years, so at the moment, I can't narrow it down any further. I also haven't found any other reference to Ernie working for Warner Bros.
An item from Jan. 8, 1934, that gives a list of Our Gang members that would be attending a 10th anniversary party for Hal Roach, and included Ermie Morrison. In this case, I think I either mistyped the number, or the source item got it wrong, since it was the 20th anniversary of Hal Roach Studios in 1934.
A press release from Hal Roach Studios dated July 11, 1934, concerning the whereabouts of former Our Gang members that states that Ernie was currently living in New York doing stage work.
A 1935 newspaper advertisement that mentions Sunshine Sammy and Band, with Mabel Scott, playing at the Apollo beginning June 28.
A 1936 newspaper advertisement that finds Sunshine Sammy and The Sensational Hardy Bros. Swing Band playing at the Apollo for one week beginning July 17th.
A 1936 press release from Hal Roach Studios concerning the whereabouts of former Our Gang kids that states that Ernie was conducting an orchestra back east.
A July 19, 1936 article in the Los Angeles Examiner which talks about the same thing.
A 1937 press release from Hal Roach Studios concerning the current activities of former Our Gang kids, which states that Ernie was "seen at the local Paramount theater several months ago in his musical and dance turn."
A Feb. 14, 1938 advertisement in Flash Weekly Newspicture Magazine for Sunshine Sammy and Sleepy Williams.


1939

Sunshine Sammy and Sleepy Williams spent part of the year touring Australia, as mentioned by press items in the Sydney Morning Herald of Aug. 21st and Aug. 26th, the latter of which describes them as comedians.


1940

By the early part of this year, Ernie had resumed his film career after many years, and it didn't take long for him to land the role of "Scruno" in the East Side Kids series made by Banner Productions. He would remain with the series for three years, sometimes doing promotional stints with Huntz Hall and Bobby Jordan. There is at least one source that indicates that Ernie ran into a bit of legal trouble in New York and moved back to Los Angeles for that reason.

Gang War (role: gang member)
Mar. 29, 1940 - Million Dollar Productions - 6 reels - Ralph Cooper feature
Reissued as Crime Street
I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby (small part: Joe)
May 1940 - Universal - 6 reels - Broderick Crawford feature
©May 20, 1940.
Boys Of The City (supporting role: Scruno)
Jul. 15, 1940 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - The East Side Kids feature
©July 19, 1940. Also known as The Ghost Creeps. Credited as Sunshine Sammy.
That Gang of Mine (supporting role: Scruno)
Sep. 23, 1940 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - The East Side Kids feature
©Sep. 24, 1940. Credited as Sunshine Sammy.
Fugitive From A Prison Camp (role: Chuckles)
Oct. 5, 1940 - Larry Darmour/Columbia - 6 reels - Jack Holt feature
©June 24, 1940.

1941

Pride Of The Bowery (supporting role: Scruno)
Jan. 31, 1941 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - The East Side Kids feature
©Dec. 15, 1940, which is also the date usually given for its release. Credited as Sunshine Sammy Morrison.
Flying Wild (supporting role: Scruno)
Mar. 1941 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - The East Side Kids feature
©Mar. 10, 1941, which is also the date usually given for its release. Credited as Sunshine Sammy Morrison.
Bowery Blitzkrieg (supporting role: Scruno)
Sep. 8, 1941 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - The East Side Kids feature
©Aug. 1, 1941, which is also the date usually given for its release. Credited as Sunshine Sammy Morrison.
Spooks Run Wild (supporting role: Scruno)
Oct. 1941 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - The East Side Kids feature
©Oct. 24, 1941, which is also the date usually given for its release. Credited as Sunshine Sammy Morrison. Also starring Bela Lugosi.

1942

Mr. Wise Guy (supporting role: Scruno)
Feb. 1942 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - Eastside Kids feature
©Feb. 20, 1942, which is also the date usually given for its release. Ernie is uncredited in this one.
In This Our Life (bit role: man in jail)
May 16, 1942 - Warner Bros. - 10 reels - Bette Davis & Olivia de Havilland feature
According to IMDB. ©May 16, 1942.
Let's Get Tough! (supporting role: Scruno)
May 29, 1942 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - The Eastside Kids feature
©May 22, 1942. Credited as Sunshine Sammy Morrisson (sic).
Smart Alecks (supporting role: Scruno)
Aug. 7, 1942 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - The East Side Kids feature
©July 3, 1942. Credited as Sunshine Sammy.
'Neath Brooklyn Bridge (supporting role: Scruno)
Nov. 20, 1942 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - The Eastside Kids feature
©Oct. 16, 1942. Credited as Sunshine Sammy Morrison.

1943

By the middle of this year, Ernie had left the East Side Kids, and become a member of The Four Step Brothers, a team of acrobatic dancers that had been around since the 1920s.

Kid Dynamite (supporting role: Scruno)
Feb. 5, 1943 - Banner/Monogram - 8 reels - The East Side Kids feature
©Jan. 8, 1943. Also listed as a Feb. 12th release. Credited as Sunshine Sammy.
The Ape Man (bit role: copyboy)
Mar. 5, 1943 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - Bela Lugosi feature
©Feb. 5, 1943.
Hit Parade Of 1943 (bit role: Heaven Air pilot)
Mar. 26, 1943 - Republic - 9 reels - John Carroll and Susan Hayward feature
©Mar. 16, 1943.
Clancy Street Boys (supporting role: Scruno)
Apr. 23, 1943 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - The East Side Kids feature
©Feb. 24, 1943. Credited as Sammy Morrison.
Ghosts On The Loose (supporting role: Scruno)
Jul. 30, 1943 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - The East Side Kids feature
©June 8, 1943. Credited as Sammy Morrison. Also starring Bela Lugosi and Ava Gardner.

1944

It appears that Ernie's stint with the Step Brothers ended during this year. He was drafted into the Army during World War II, and given his prior film activity, this likely happened at about this point in time. He apparently was able to perform as a USO entertainer, but a jeep accident in Hawaii left him with a permanent limp, no doubt signaling the end of his dancing career.

Shine On Harvest Room (small part: one of the Step Brothers)
Apr 8, 1944 - Warner Bros. - 11 reels - Ann Sheridan, Dennis Morgan, Jack Carson & Irene Manning feature
©Apr. 8, 1944.
Follow The Leader (small role: Scruno)
June 3, 1944 - Banner/Monogram - 7 reels - The East Side Kids feature
©Apr,. 29, 1944. Morrison appears uncredited in a deleted scene from "Smart Alecks" (1942).
Greenwich Village (small part: one of the Step Brothers)
Sep. 27, 1944 - 20th Century-Fox - 8 reels - Carmen Miranda, Don Ameche & William Bendix feature
©Aug. 3, 1944. Filmed in Technicolor.

1945

After the war ended, Ernie headed his own band, Sunshine Sammy and His Hollywood Syncopators. At some point during this period, he was offered a spot in The Bowery Boys series of features, which was a revamped version of the East Side Kids, but he declined because he "didn't like the setup." He left show business soon after that and worked as a quality control inspector in the aerospace industry for the next couple of decades.


1974

Ernie's public life resumed to a limited extent during this period, as he made occasional TV appearances and made himself more visible to fans of Our Gang and the East Side Kids.

Good Times episode: The TV Commercial (bit part: the messenger)
Apr. 26, 1974 - Tandem/CBS - 30 min. - TV episode

1979

The Jeffersons episode: A Short Story (extra)
Sep. 30, 1979 - TAT/CBS - 30 min. - TV episode
Also appearing in this episode was Stymie Beard.

1980

During this year, Ernie took part in the largest Our Gang reunion ever held, which was organized by the Sons Of The Desert. For the rest of his life, he frequently made appearances at conventions held by this Laurel & Hardy appreciation society. Other verified Sons events that Ernie attended happened in 1985, 1987 and 1988.


1981

During this year, Marla Gibbs of "The Jeffersons" was spun off into her own short-lived sitcom, called Checking In. Reportedly, Ernie appeared in the pilot for this series.


1984

The 56th Annual Academy Awards (appearance)
Apr. 9, 1984 - AMPAS/ABC - TV special
Morrison appears in the audience as Hal Roach receives a special Oscar.
Our Gang: Inside The Clubhouse (appearance)
1984 - Bob Lang/Camellia City Telecasters - 93 min. - TV documentary
Includes footage from "The Champeen!" and "The Big Show."

1986

Passion And Memory (appearance)
May 11, 1986 - 60 min. - TV documentary
Narrated by Robert Guillaume.
Horrible Horror (archival)
1986 - Bergman-Harris/Movietime/GoodTimes - 110 min. - video compilation
Includes footage from "Spooks Run Wild" and "The Ape Man."
Classic Comedy Teams (archival)
1986 - Bergamn-Harris/Movietime/GoodTimes - 108 min. - video documentary
Includes footage from The East Side Kids series.

1987

Ernie took part in another Sons of the Desert reunion of Our Gang kids during this year.


1988

Twin Cities: Live With Bob Bruce (appearance)
1988 - KSTP-TV - 60 min. - TV talk show

1989

American Masters episode: Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius (appearance)
Nov. 17, 1989 - Thames/WNET-TV - 105 min. - TV documentary
Ernie appears in an interview, as well as archival footage from "Get Out And Get Under" and "Dogs Of War!"

1994

The Our Gang Story (archival)
1994 - Film Shows/GoodTimes - 120 min. - video documentary
Includes footage from "Fire Fighters," "The Champeen!" "Giants Vs. Yanks," "Dogs Of War!" and "Ghosts On The Loose."

2002

E! True Hollywood Story episode: Curse Of The Little Rascals (archival)
Nov. 24, 2002 - E! Entertainment Television - 60 min. - TV documentary

2014

Hollywoods Spaßfabrik - Als die Bilder Lachen lernten (archival)
May 29, 2014 - Exit Film-und Fernsehproduktion-ZDF/ARTE - 90 min. - TV documentary

Ernie Morrison's payroll history

The following is a list of most of Ernie's history at the Roach studio, with the amounts he was making from week to week. Part of Ernie's contractual agreement was that his father, Joseph, would also be paid a weekly salary for making his little boy available to the studio, so his name also appears here. The dates given are Saturdays, the last day of each week at the studio. The only exceptions would be Saturdays that were also holidays, in which case the Friday date is used for those weeks. The earliest information I have in my files from the payroll ledgers comes from Aug. 1920.

Special note: Production A9 (The Champeen!) is missing from this list. It appears that one of the earlier productions, A7 and/or A8, was divided into more than one film, resulting in A9.

After this, there's a large gap in the payroll history that spans about 5 and a half months.

After this, Ernie was away from the studio for three months prior to his final appearance in the Our Gang series.

It would be another two years before Ernie's name turned up in the ledgers again. For the week ending Oct. 2, 1926, a portion of cameraman J. B. Roach's salary was charged to the "trailer" Ernie made at that time. Ernie himself is listed in the "stage" section of the ledger.


© Robert Demoss and Matthew Lydick.


Our thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Drina Mohacsi (for identifying Ernie in "Just For A Kid")


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