Tommy "Butch" Bond only plays a mean kid onscreen -- The "Little Rascals" child actor has grown up to be a perfectly nice man

By Ed Hulse
Updated February 10, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

”I met the kids from the new Little Rascals when we were on Good Morning America together,” recalls Tommy ”Butch” Bond, 68, the scowling, pug-nosed pugilist in 27 Our Gang shorts, ”and they were all great, just as cute as can be.”

What’s this? ”Cute as can be”? Hardly the kind of talk you’d expect from the big bully who made life miserable for Alfalfa, Spanky, and the rest of the Little Rascals — the name they were given when the Our Gang films were rereleased in the ’50s. Bond himself still marvels at the impression Butch left on generations of viewers. One memorable eye-opener: At a recent bookstore signing for his autobiography, Darn Right It’s Butch: Memories of Our Gang, ”I noticed this guy circling me with this wary look on his face,” Bond says. ”When he gave me his book, he asked me to inscribe it, ‘I’m sorry I scared you.”’

In truth, Bond grew up to be something of a sweetheart. The screen meanie, who married former Miss California Polly Ellis in 1952 (they have one son, 30-year-old Tom Jr.), quit the Gang in 1940 at age 13 and took supporting roles alongside such stars as Clark Gable (in 1949’s Any Number Can Play), Humphrey Bogart (in 1949’s Tokyo Joe), and Betty Grable (in 1951’s Call Me Mister); he even played Jimmy Olsen in a pair of Superman serials. Following his graduation from college, he worked as a prop master at Los Angeles’ KTTV, a job he held for 23 years, later moving his family to a ranch near Fresno, Calif., which he still calls home.

Recently, Bond has been putting his mug back before the cameras to promote a 12-tape The Little Rascals video collection from Cabin Fever Entertainment. But he hasn’t seen Penelope Spheeris’ The Little Rascals and says he probably won’t. ”If I didn’t like it,” he confesses, ”I’d have to tell the truth.” And if Butch really didn’t like it…hide the boxing gloves.