Great Villain Blogathon: Butch & The Woim

butch 1This is Forgotten Films’ second entry in the Great Villain Blogathon. Be sure to visit Speakeasy, Silver Screenings and Shadows and Satin to check out the other entries in the series.

butch 2When we think of the Little Rascals (or Our Gang as they were originally known) certain classic characters always come to mind. Kids like Spanky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Porky, Darla and Stymie are just a few that became famous over the gang’s long history. In the early years, the gang often was up against grumpy adults, but in the later years the gang ended up with a nemesis their own age. What would a blogathon about movie villains be without a look at the ultimate bully, Butch, and his freckle-faced lackey, the Woim.

Butch was played by a young man named Tommy Bond, who had actually been a part of the Our Gang group for many years. Known simply as “Tommy” in the early years, he was full-fledged part of the gang. With classic appearances in films like Mike Fright and Mush & Milk, he was pals with Spanky, Stymie and the others. He left the gang for a short period of time, during which he had a number of other roles including providing the speaking voice for Owl Jolson in the classic cartoon I Love to Singa. But in 1937, Hal Roach needed a villain for his latest Our Gang comedy, Glove Taps, and Tommy was cast as the scowling bully Butch.

Tommy was perfectly built for being the bully of the Our Gang series. His size was downright gigantic compared to gang members like Spanky, Porky, and Buckwheat. Though Alfalfa matched him in the height department, Butch had a much more intimidating frame. The two would often battle over the affections of Darla. Butch had an undeniable fire burning behind his eyes, a sinister grin, and a voice that could make a kids’ skin crawl.

butch 3Every bully needs a sidekick, though, and for Butch that was the Woim, played by Sidney Kibrick. Sidney was the brother of Leonard Kibrick, himself an early bully of sorts in the Our Gang series, and just like Butch he had been an accepted member of the gang in earlier films. Somewhere along the line he turned to the dark side. The Woim was as loyal as a St. Bernard, quick to spring into action whenever Butch bellowed, “Come on Woim!” Don’t be fooled by his red hair and freckles…Pippi Longstocking he ain’t. He was a man of few words who let his fists do the talking. Though Butch may have been the one feared most by the gang, the Woim was a sinister a sidekick as you’ll ever find.

Pretty much every kid has had to deal with playground bullies at some time. If you didn’t, guess what, then you were probably the bully. So we all have a certain sort of connection with Butch and the Woim. We all understand the fear that Spanky, Alfalfa and the gang experience when these two come on the scene…and it makes it all the more sweeter when the gang manages to turn the tables on them.


7 thoughts on “Great Villain Blogathon: Butch & The Woim

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  1. Great post!
    As best as I can recall from watching countless Little Rascals reruns when I was a kid, Tommy Bond was one of the few cast members to change character – going from sidekick Tommy to recurring villain Butch. Can anyone think of others?

  2. Ha! You win the prize for most creative choice! He was the ancestor of the hi-larious Scut Farkus in “A Christmas Story”, I’m sure. What great memories…thanks for the reminder! I’ll be needing to hunt these down again.

  3. I enjoyed your write-up, and your unique villain selection! I’ve never seen Butch or The Woim — but now I have a hankering to see them both in action! Good stuff!

  4. What an entertaining and informative blog! You’re obviously very knowledgeable about movies that are often treated as superficial “fluff” despite providing a window into American culture during the early decades of the 20th century.

    I have a particular interest in the phenomenon of the schoolyard bully and his sidekick. The relationship between Butch and Woim is a great depiction of such pairs, as long as we accept that at time realism has to be sacrificed in favor of humor. After all, these were the Our Gang COMEDIES- not docudramas.

    What I’m especially anxious to find is an instance in which the boss-bully asserts his dominance over his sidekick by cutting him down to size. I have in mind a scene in which Butch says something like “ Shut up, Woim!” to his over-zealous enforcer! Is there such an instance, or am I thinking of another movie duo such as The Dead End Kids/Bowery Boy’s?

    Let me know if you’ve come across such a scene in one of the Rascals/ Our Gang pics.

    Many thanks. And again congrats on putting together a really good blog.

    Armond Aserinsky, Ph.D.
    Clinical Psychologist (Retired)
    Palm Harbor, Florida

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