A LITTLE HOLLYWOOD HISTORY - Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, freckle-faced star of the old "Our Gang" or "The Little Rascals" series of the 1930s, also shows up in the 1946 Christmas season movie classic, "It's a Wonderful Life."
Some friends pointed this out to me the other night while we were watching the Jimmy Stewart-Donna Reed film by Frank Capra. Alfalfa is the teenager who presses a button that opens up the dance floor, spilling "George" and "Mary" into the swimming pool underneath.
Anyway, I wondered, what ever happened to Alfalfa?
Hollywood, not Vietnam. The question has been hanging around for years. Some have said he was killed in Vietnam, but it's been hard to track down.
Well, here's what happened: Alfalfa Switzer was shot to death January 21, 1959. It wasn't in Vietnam. It was in Hollywood.
Switzer, who made no money from "The Little Rascals" movie shorts, had become a bartender and sometimes-breeder of hunting dogs. He occasionally went bear hunting with such movie stars as Henry Fonda and Roy Rogers.
The dog reward. Anyway, when a friend of his, Moses "Bud" Stiltz, lent Switzer a hunting dog for a short period, the dog ran away. Switzer posted a $50 reward for the dog, and when the dog was returned, Switzer decided Stiltz should reimburse him for the reward. Alfalfa, now drunk, went to Stiltz's house in Mission Hills, California, and demanded the $50. Stiltz said no.
Switzer and Stiltz had a violent struggle inside the house, and Alfalfa pulled a knife on Stiltz. Stiltz grabbed a gun and fired, hitting Switzer in the stomach.
That was the end of Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer. He is buried in Hollywood Memorial Park.
Buckwheat? William "Buckwheat" Thomas died of a heart attack in 1980.