No – It’s Not “O-Taaay!”


Remember Buckwheat? William Thomas was the young actor who played the character in “The Little Rascals. ” He was famous for a few years – and then took a dive into oblivion.  What happened to him?

ABC’s respected investigative reporting show, 20/20,  decided to find out. In October, 1990, the show claimed it had tracked down Buckwheat to Tempe, Arizona where, sadly, he worked as a grocery bagger. In the televised interview, ‘Buckwheat’ told his sad tale and many viewers felt sorry for him. Some sent money.

It was a great ‘riches-to-rags’ story except for one thing: the real Buckwheat, William Thomas, died over 10-years before the 20/20 show. His IMPOSTOR, Bill English, pretended to be Buckwheat for over 30-years! Uh, oh.

Within a week, a red-faced ABC admitted its mistake, fired the producer of the piece – and was sued by the child star’s son.

William Thomas wouldn’t have liked any of this. He was a quiet, modest man, who worked for many years in Hollywood as a film lab technician. And he never could understand the nostalgia that was making famous, once again, the ‘Rascals” series which made him a fleeting star.

Nonetheless, in 1980, Mr. Thomas reluctantly accepted an invitation to a ‘Nostalgia TV’ convention. He doubted many people would even remember the show – much less what he considered his minor contribution. He was wrong. Even before his introduction was finished, the audience burst into a spontaneous, loud and long, standing ovation which moved him to tears. It was Buckwheat’s last shining moment. Just three months later, Mr. William Thomas dropped dead of a heart attack. He was 49.

Buckwheat clips:  https://www.youtube.com/

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