Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Life and Death of "Our Gang's" Alfalfa

Reactions

Buckwheat, Alfalfa, Darla & Spanky
Buckwheat, Alfalfa, Darla & Spanky

Fellow Our Gang cast members had mixed reactions to news of Carl Switzer's murder, which they would share years later through interviews with Maltin and Bann.

According to Tommy Bond (Butch), he hung out with Switzer on a regular basis for many years. 

"He had a violent temper," Bond said. "But if he liked you, he loved you, and if he disliked you, he really hated you. Alfie and I were very close. I could calm him down when he blew up." Regarding his death, however, Bond had this to say about his old friend: "I believe, like his family did, that he was unarmed. He never carried weapons. He would use his fists, because he was an old country boy, but even when we went coon hunting, I never knew him to carry a weapon."

Tommy "Butch" Bond, young
Tommy "Butch" Bond, young

George McFarland (Spanky), had little to say, but did feel that Switzer's problems were a result of his upbringing. "Alfalfa just didn't have any direction from his parents," McFarland said. "They were not educated people, and he really didn't have a strong understanding of right and wrong."

During a 1978 interview, Darla Hood said Switzer was fun to be around, but also expressed feeling a sense of uneasiness whenever in his presence. "You never knew what stunt he might pull," she said. "He was mischievous, and sometimes I was afraid of him. You couldn't control him."

George "Spanky" McFarland
George "Spanky" McFarland

Perhaps one of the more telling interviews was one given by Robert Blake (Mickey):

"One time on the set," Blake recalled, "Alfie was fooling around, and the cameraman got mad at him. 'Come on kid,' he barked, 'let's get this scene so we can go to lunch.' The guy was insensitive about it. Alfie simmered. Okay, you could see Alfie was going to fix him. During lunch he grabbed all the gum he could carry, made us chew it up, and then he wadded it into the size of a softball, opened the camera, and jammed it inside the lens, down into the sprockets and gears, just everywhere. No one worked that afternoon, except the cameraman.

Darla Hood, young
Darla Hood, young

"The next time it was an arrogant director harping on him. Alfalfa urinated on the lights. They had to open the doors of the stage and run the big fans through there the rest of the day to get the smell out. He could be a devil."

While most of Switzer's former cast members had their own mischievous stories to relate about him, none felt he deserved to die and the majority doubted he would have pulled a knife on anyone.

Categories
Advertisement