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Tommy Bond, 79, was Butch on "Our Gang"

Discussion in 'In Memoriam...' started by eminovitz, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. eminovitz

    eminovitz Research Guru / Moderator Emeritus

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    Thomas Ross "Tommy" Bond, who portrayed Butch the bully in the Our Gang comedy shorts -- and who starred as "Owl Jolson" in the 1936 Merrie Melodie I Love To Singa -- has died at 79.

    Bond died Saturday afternoon at Northridge Hospital, near Los Angeles, from complications of heart disease, manager Frank Marks said.

    Born on September 16, 1926 in Dallas, Bond had several voice roles in mid-1930s Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, all directed by Fred "Tex" Avery. He also played cub photographer Jimmy Olsen in the 1948 movie serial Superman, also known as The Adventures of Superman.

    He was a voice actor in the 1935 Looney Tune Gold Diggers of '49, Avery's first cartoon for Warner Bros.

    Bond voiced Abner, the Hicksville hotel bellhop, in the 1936 Art Deco Merrie Melodie Page Miss Glory. He was in the voice cast of the Valentine's Day-themed Don't Look Now(1936) and A Sunbonnet Blue(1937).

    He appeared in 27 Our Gang shorts, starting with Spanky (1932) and ending with Bubbling Troubles, produced by MGM.

    Bond's movie debut came at age 5, when he was leaving a movie house with his mother and a Hal Roach studios talent scout approached him. The scout "asked him if he'd be interested in acting, (said) he had a great face, and he could set up an appointment with Hal Roach in L.A.," Marks said.

    He was driven to Los Angeles by his grandmother: "It was all dirt roads from Dallas to L.A," Marks said.

    At first signed to play an Our Gang member named Tommy, he appeared in several shorts but was dropped from the cast after a year. Later, he returned as Butch, the nemesis of Alfalfa (Carl Switzer), before becoming too old.

    He portrayed Joey Pepper in several movies in the "Five Little Peppers" series in 1939 and 1940.

    In 1947, Bond and Switzer reunited in a pair of movies, Gas House Kids Go West and Gas House Kids in Hollywood. Bond played "Chimp," while Switzer was still known as "Alfalfa."

    In 1950, Bond reprised his Jimmy Olsen role in Atom Man vs. Superman, a serial which was a sequel to 1948's Superman. However, he turned down the role when the TV series Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves, was launched in 1952.

    During the Second World War, he served stateside as a Navy pilot. After an uncredited role as a student in 1951's Bedtime for Bonzo (he really did attend college), he left the movies.

    Bond became a TV director and producer. He was an assistant director at Channel 11 in Los Angeles. He moved to the San Joaquin Valley with his family in 1972 to escape pollution and traffic. He worked in production at Channel 30 in Fresno until his retirement in 1991.

    Bond and Ron Genini wrote Darn Right It's Butch, published by Morgin Press in 1994.

    His wife since 1953, the former Pauline Francis Goebel, was a former Miss California. She turned down the role of Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke.

    His son, Thomas R. Bond, is a producer and owner of the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. He hosted the home video The Rascals -- The Silent Years, made by American Mutoscope and Biograph in 2001.

    Tommy Bond is survived by his wife, his son and a grandson. Services were pending.


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