Little Diplomat (1919)

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Although child star "Baby Marie" Osborne was nominally the lead in this picture, her role was overwhelmed by the story's complicated plot. Marie (Osborne) is a little French war orphan who is adopted by Bradley West (William Welsh) and his wife (Lydia Knaught). West has only agreed to the adoption to please his spouse -- he's not fond of children, preferring to surround himself with his antiques, especially a sacred idol which was stolen from an East Indian temple. But a gang of thieves want to get their hands on the idol, and one of them, Hulda (Velma Clay), becomes Marie's new governess. They hope to get the combination to West's safe -- where the idol is kept -- from his nephew and secretary, Trent Gordon (Jack Connolly). When that is unsuccessful, their leader, Raymond Brownleigh (Murdock MacQuarrie), burglarizes the house. But they wake up little Marie, who interrupts them. Then Gordon arrives home and rounds up all the crooks. In the end West comes to the conclusion that children aren't so bad after all. Uncredited in the cast is a little African American boy who was Marie's co-star in many of her films. Although he is usually referred to as "Sambo," his real name was Earnest Morrison and he was the very first member of Hal Roach's Our Gang.