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DATE 4/23/02

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Daily Probe Special Report:

Little Rascals Become Repeat Offenders



This week's arrest of actor Robert Blake was not the first time a former
cast member of TV's beloved "Little Rascals" show has been the news.
Unfortunately, assorted tragedies and legal problems have been a sad
refrain for the little urchins. Here are a few of the lowlights:



Some of the problems occurred while the series was still in production, such as the time Cal "Alfalfa" Switzer's new lemonade trading company, Lemron, collapsed when newcomer Arthur "Spike" Andersen convinced the gang to shred the lemons instead of crushing them.
Tommy Bond (born Brenda Tommi), known to series fans as "Butch," labored for years under the unfair prejudices of Hayes-administration Hollywood. She ran afoul of law enforcement officials in the Oakland Bay area craft fair circuit when she began unlicensed vending of hand-rolled tampons. She died in 1987 in a bizarre accident involving her vibrator's kick-starter.
Joe Cobb, a notorious binge-eater, eventually had to have a special bed made for him when he became too large to walk. His friends and relatives tried to make surroundings as comfortable as possible, providing him with creature comforts such as a washcloth on a stick and a special scratching device.
Darla Hood, the femme fatale of the gang, continued her career in showbiz, first starring in cheap "nudie" films such as Darla does Des Moines. She eventually tried her hand at exotic dancing, and went on to invent that standard of the contemporary topless bar scene, the pole dance.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas was a drifter throughout most of his adult life, roaming from town to town and committing a string of petty crimes, although he did manage to avoid serving any time in prison. He turned things around in the early '80s and even managed to land a recurring cameo on the Saturday Night Live television series.
Pete the Pup became famous in Hollywood circles for his on-set rampages, ostensibly a form of protest against the lack of depth afforded his character. Neutering the dog didn't seem to help much. After biting several crew members and causing an infection which eventually resulted in a production assistant's leg being amputated, Pete was put to sleep.
George "Spanky" McFarland, the leader of the gang of tyke thugs, lived up to his nickname with his repeated arrests for "spanking the monkey" in public. Upon his 27th conviction, the court ordered that he, too, be neutered. After his parole, he spent the remainder of his days vainly pursuing a life as a beat poet.


(Reported by Chris White, Jeff Rabinowitz and Martin Bredeck)





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