April 24, 2002 -- Spanky and Alfalfa aren't around, but the actor who played Butch is certain fellow former Our Gang member Robert Blake isn't the "kind of guy to be a murderer."
Tommy Bond, who played the bully "Butch" in the Our Gang film series — sometimes referred to as The Little Rascals — says he's spoken to Blake since the death of Bonny Lee Bakley, who was shot to death May 4, 2001.
"He told me outright, 'I didn't do it' and he thinks the police are after him," said Bond, 75, who spoke to Blake before the former Baretta star was charged with murder in the case.
"Bobby is a mixed-up guy," said Bond. "He's very emotional and keeps things to himself but to me, he was not the kind of guy to be a murderer. If he was going to do anything at all, he'd commit suicide."
Blake: ‘They’re After Me’
Bond says he's known Blake for 60 years and believes Blake has been made a scapegoat by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Bond worked with Blake on several film shorts in the late 1930s, such as Captain Spanky's Showboat. Blake, who played Mickey in the Our Gang series, was just a 5-year-old when he started out, but Bond remembers him as "smart, very observant and serious."
As older men, Bond and Blake met up many times at Our Gang reunions, making personal appearances at antique fairs and memorabilia shows. Bond says Blake had wanted to do films with a strong moral message.
"He had a good heart," says Bond. "He loved his kids. His son and daughter from his first wife are really nice people."
Shortly after Bakley was killed, Bond took to the airwaves to defend his old friend.
He said Blake called to thank him. "Bobby called from his cell phone from New York and his words to me was, 'Tom, Honest to God, I didn't do it.' I said, 'I believe you, Bobby.' He said, 'But they're after me.' I don't know what he meant by that."Bond says it isn't easy growing up as a Hollywood actor and he's been suspicious of the police since the death of his best friend, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer in 1959.
Switzer was shot by a man who claimed the former child star attacked him with a knife. The shooting was later ruled a justifiable homicide, but Bond believes Alfalfa was framed.