Note from webmaster: I remember seeing a few of the East Side Kids movies on television when I was a child. I really didn't remember much about them, but a couple of years ago, I purchased several East Side Kids movies on VHS videos. It was then that I rediscovered "Scruno," played by Sunshine Sammy Morrison. I became very fond of the character and Scruno became my favorite member of the gang. Episodes of the East Side Kids without Scruno just aren't the same. Ernie Morrison added just what the gang needed to be complete. This website is dedicated in memory of Frederick Ernest Morrison, better known as Sunshine Sammy, or Scruno, to whom I owe so many, many hours of laughter and good entertainment. Thank you, Scruno, for adding something so special to my life. May you be with The Lord to eternity.
Gary Arnold, Webmaster
A Short Biography
Frederick Ernest Morrison was born on December 20, 1912, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Little Ernie moved with his family to Beverly Hills, California, when his father was hired by a wealthy and influencial family.
Mr. Morrison was asked if "Sammy" could take the place of another child actor who wasn't working out, so they gave it a try. At the age of five, Sunshine Sammy's career had begun. Ernie was nicknamed "Sunshine Sammy" because of his big, wide smile.
In 1921 Hal Roach gave Sunshine Sammy his own comedy series, but only one show was produced. Trying to find the right spot for Sammy, Hal Roach came up with OUR GANG, later called THE LITTLE RASCALS. Sunshine Sammy was one of the first members of the OUR GANG team. He left the team in 1924 when he spent the next 16 years in vaudeville acts.
In 1940, when the East Side Kids films were being cast, producer Sam Katzman remembered Sammy from the days when Katzman was a theatrical producer and Sammy had worked for him, and hired him for the cast, where Sunshine Sammy played the character SCRUNO. Ernie left the series when he was drafted during WWII. After serving his military time, he declined an offer for his old job back. After a few more film roles, Sammy left show business entirely, took a job in an aircraft assembly plant and spent the next 30 years in the aircraft industry.
It is difficult to find much information on Sunshine Sammy, but everything I find indicates he had a full and happy life. He was once quoted as saying, "I was the first black movie personality to be featured in fan magazines and the first black to be a millionaire because of the movies. My family is close and very loving with each other. I have good health and I drive a Continental Mark IV. I fall asleep every night of my life counting my many, many blessings."
Sunshine Sammy left us on July 24, 1989, at the age of 76.