When 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.
Every 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.