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MGM Shorts


The MGM shorts were made during the 1930's, on a variety of subjects.  Notable series during this time were comedies starring The Boy Friends and humorous commentaries by Pete Smith ("A Smith named Pete").

The Boy Friends was a short-lived series of fifteen American comedy short films released between 1930 and 1932. The series spun off from the much larger and well-known Our Gang series (also known as The Little Rascals).  Like the Our Gang shorts of the time, The Boy Friends films were two-reel short subjects produced by Hal Roach through MGM. They featured teenaged actors including some, particularly Mickey Daniels and Mary Kornman who, as children, had starred in the early silent Our Gang shorts.  At least some of the films in the series took place at Elmira College, an actual school located in Roach's home town of Elmira, New York.

Pete Smith (1892-1979) headed MGM's Publicity Department from 1925 to 1930.  He's best known for producing, writing, and narrating more than 280 one-reelers from 1931 through 1954, on topics ranging from sports to animals to science.  He received 16 Academy Award short-subject nominations between 1932 and 1950, winning for Penny Wisdom (1937) and Quicker 'N a Wink (1940).  Smith received a 1953 Honorary Academy Award "for his witty and pungent observations on the American scene" in his series of Pete Smith Specialties.

The Taxi Boys, teaming Billy Gilbert and Ben Blue, created havoc with a taxi garage as a backdrop.  This series anticipated the television show Taxi by half a century.

Enjoy these full-length MGM Shorts!


The Boy Friends

Air-Tight (1931)
The gang builds a glider


Bigger and Better (1930)
The boys get jobs in a department store during summer vacation, to be near the girls


Blood and Thunder (1931)
Mickey overhears the gang rehearsing a play, and thinks it's real


Call a Cop! (1931)
The Boy Friends rush into action when the girls think there's a burglar in the house


High Gear (1931)
The gang, out for a Sunday drive, escapes the rain in an abandoned building, only to discover it's a gangster's hideout


Ladies Last (1930)
When the girls insist the boys wear tuxedos to a big dance, the boys stage a boycott


Love Fever (1931)
An actress rehearses a death scene in her apartment, and her neighbors all think it's the real thing (with Thelma Todd)


Love Pains (1932)
Mickey and Grady are left behind when a new kid comes to town, and all the girls fall for him


Too Many Women (1932)
College baseball player Mickey Daniels can't keep his mind on the game when he has an eye for the ladies


Pete Smith

Audioscopiks (1935)
An audience learns how to use 3-D glasses, and then views some 3-D presentations


Badminton (1945)
Two badminton experts demonstrate how the game is played


Crashing the Movies (1950)
Newsreel footage of people performing strange and dangerous stunts


Do Someone a Favor (1954)
This short proves the adage that "No good deed goes unpunished"


Dogs 'n Ducks (1953)
A boy's new golden retriever learns how to retrieve ducks, while a jealous dog sits on the sidelines


Donkey Baseball (1935)
Highlights the odd 1930's fad of playing baseball on donkeys (we're not making this up)


The Fall Guy (1955)
Pete pays tribute to hapless stuntman Dave O'Brien, who took several spills during the Pete Smith series


Fancy Answers (1941)
An audience is asked a series of multiple-choice questions on various subjects


Film Antics (1954)
An amusing look at human and animal babies


First Aid (1943)
Basic first aid techniques for mishaps that often occur around the house


Goofy Movies No. 1 (1933)
The Metrophony Newsreel contains actual news footage with humorous commentary


Goofy Movies No. 3 (1934)
Super-Stupid Pictures' "The Heel of a Nation" and The Wotaphony Newsreel highlights  round out this newsreel


Goofy Movies No. 6 (1934)
The "Wotaphony Newsreel" highlights events celebrating National Safety Week


Goofy Movies No. 7 (1934)
Super-Stupid Pictures chronicles "The Downfall of Thaddeus G. Blotto, Esq."


Goofy Movies No. 8 (1934)
The "Wotaphony Newsreel" highlights events of the past, including 1913 swimsuit models


The Grand Bounce (1937)
A man writes a $1,000 check to cover a gambling debt, but his account comes up short


Have You Ever Wondered? (1947)
Finding answers to the questions that have plagued mankind


Heroes at Leisure (1939)
See what lifeguards do in the off-season


Hollywood Scout (1945)
Pete assistant auditions animal acts for his short subjects


Ice Aces (1948)
A look at the 1949 Ice Capades Show in Los Angeles


The Jonker Diamond (1936)
A reenactment of how the 726 carat Jonker Diamond was discovered in South Africa in 1905


Killer-Dog (1936)
A dog accused of murdering sheep is brought to trial


Let's Dance (1936)
Tap dancing demonstration, an adagio, and Russian sword dancers


Let's Talk Turkey (1939)
How to carve a turkey properly—and how not to, especially when the family comes over for dinner


Lions on the Loose (1941)
Lion cubs escape from a zoo and wreak havoc in a home's nursery full of toys


Penny Wisdom (1937)
When the family cook quits, Prudence Penny is brought in to prepare dinner for an important client


Pest Control (1950)
How to proceed when confronted with a variety of (human) pests!


The Story of Doctor Carver (1938)
A look at Doctor George Washington Carver, the nineteenth century educator and horticulturist


Swing High (1932)
The Flying Codonas practice and perform amazing trapeze feats


Wanted - A Master (1936)
A stray dog needs to find himself a master


Water Bugs (1941)
A group called the Water Bugs devises new ways to experience thrills on California's lakes


Water Sports (1935)
Water sports enthusiasts race sailboats and ride surfboards


Weather Wizards (1939)
The weather man helps California orchard growers stave off ruin in the face of a severe frost


Wild and Woolly (1931)
Rodeo highlights, including bronco busting, bull riding, and bull-dogging steers


The Taxi Boys

Bring 'Em Back a Wife (1933)
When Billy must prove he's married in order to keep his job, Ben goes drag to play his wife


Call Her Sausage (1933)
Ben proves to be the undoing when Billy opens a new deli


Hot Spot (1932)
Good News:  there's a half-naked woman in their cab
Bad News:  the jealous husband shows up



A Day of Rest (1939)
A family man tries to spend a quiet Sunday at home, but his wife and children have other ideas (with Robert Benchley)


A Gun in His Hand (1945)
A policeman uses a knowledge of police procedures in committing several warehouse robberies


A Night at the Movies (1937)
A man and his wife have a tough time at the show (with Robert Benchley)


A Strauss Fantasy (1954)
Johnny Green leads the MGM Symphony Orchestra in a medley of Strauss music


A Thrill for Thelma (1935)
A young girl, wanting a life of luxury, takes the "easy" way, and winds up in jail


A Way in the Wilderness (1940)
Dr. Joseph Goldberger proves that a healthy diet is the cure for pellagra, a disease that killed thousands of people


Alibi Racket (1935)
How police interrogation cracks the "airtight" alibi of a criminal


American Spoken Here (1940)
A look at American slang, and how a number of familiar expressions were originated


Annie Laurie (1936)
18th Century Scottish lovebirds deal with their clans' fighting on opposite sides of a civil war (with Ann Rutherford)


Bars and Stripes (1937)
Musical short showcases bandleader Dick Winslow and singer Veola Vonn, in a plot similar to O'Henry's The Cop and the Anthem.


Behind the Scenes at MGM (1930)
The people and departments behind the scenes that made MGM's movie magic in the 1920's and 1930's


Benny From Panama (1934)
Jeanette and Eddie get married, but their wedding night is a fiasco


The Big Dog House (1930)
In this Dogville spoof, an employee is framed for murder by his boss, who wants the girl for himself but gets what he deserves in the end


Billy Rose's Casa Manana Review (1938)
A struggling nightclub's fortunes are revived with an elaborate musical number


The Boss Didn't Say Good Morning (1937)
A man thinks he's getting fired when his boss doesn't speak to him upon arrival at work


Capriccio Italien (1953)
Johnny Green conducts the MGM Symphony Orchestra in a performance of the title work


Carnival in Paris (1937)
The janitor of a museum's Egyptology department agrees to help a girl hide from the police (with Ann Rutherford)


The City of Little Men (1938)
The story of Boys Town, founded in 1917 as a haven for wayward, homeless, and neglected boys


Clues to Adventure (1949)
Different historical events led to the adoption of the U.S. Bill of Rights


Convention of the Century (1934)
A behind-the-scenes look at MGM's Chicago convention, to preview the films for the '34-'35 season


Copy (1929)
The city editor of a newspaper wants to run a series of stories on a ship owner's disregard for safety measures on his vessels (with Roscoe Karns)


Crazy House (1930)
Benny Rubin takes a tour of the "Lame Brain Sanitarium" and meets some of its strange patients (in color)


Dancing on the Ceiling (1937)
Singing and dancing on all points of the compass


Dark Shadows (1944)
The field of Psychiatry plays a role in solving a crime


The Dogway Melody (1930)
In this Dogville spoof of The Broadway Melody, a canine producer puts on a show and yearns for the leading lady


Don't Talk (1942)
A short about loose lips sinking ships during wartime


Dreams (1940)
A look at the meaning of dreams, including one by Abraham Lincoln which foretold his death


Easy Life (1944)
A young man drops out of school to join a gang, but finds out a life of crime isn't for him


Every Sunday (1936)
Edna's grandfather is a conductor of a small orchestra that gives concerts in the park every sunday (with Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin)


Eyes of the Navy (1940)
Naval aviators undergo basic training in Pensacola, Florida and advanced training at San Diego, California


La Fiesta de Santa Barbara (1935)
Hollywood stars participate in a Mexican-themed revue and festival in Santa Barbara


The Flag (1927)
The story of Betsy Ross and the first U.S. flag (in color, with Francis X. Bushman)


For the Common Defense (1942)
This Crime Does Not Pay short shows how cooperation among all the nations of the Americas helps the war effort


Forbidden Passage (1941)
Desperate immigrants, tired of waiting for legal entry, pay exorbitant fees and risk a grisly death to enter by illegal means


Further Prophecies of Nostradamus (1942)
Nostradamus' prophecies are applied to the events of Worle War II


The Great American Pie Company (1935)
Corn-pone humour against a pie backdrop


Harnessed Rhythm (1936)
A look at the life of Dixie Dan, a harness racehorse, from birth through age three


Heart to Heart (1949)
Bad diets, lack of exercise, and stress contribute to heart disease


Heavenly Music (1943)
Deceased classical composers in Heaven critique bandleader Ted Barry's music


Hollywood, Style Center of the World (1940)
An examination of how movies often create a demand for the styles seen in them


The Horse With the Human Mind (1946)
Bess, the smartest horse in the movies, is put through her paces by her trainer


Hot Dog (All Barkie) (1930)
A married dog is out on the town with her lover boyfriend, which has everybody gossiping


How to Sleep (1935)
A humorous look at the problems people have trying to sleep (with Robert Benchley)


How to Train a Dog (1936)
A new dog owner decides which dog to buy at the pet store and soon learns what not to do (with Robert Benchley)


How to Vote (1936)
A candidate has laryngitis, so his assistant makes the speech—confusing both the speaker and his audience (with Robert Benchley)


Inflation (1942)
The Devil receives a telephone call from Adolph Hitler, who asks for the Devil's help in the war effort (with Edward Arnold)


It's in the Stars (1938)
Fraternity and sorority kids reluctantly agree to stop dating each other, so they can devote more time to studying


Jimmie Fidler's Personality Parade (1938)
Brief glimpses of over 60 actors and actresses, all of whom started in silent films


Love on Tap (1939)
Tommy wants to marry Penny, manager of the Merriel Abbott Dancers, but problems keep delaying their marriage


Martin Block's Musical Merry-Go-Round (1948)
A mock radio broadcast, with some musical numbers thrown in


The Miracle of Sound (1940)
MGM sound engineer Douglas Shearer shows us how the sound portion of a talking picture is created


More About Nostradamus (1941)
Highlights of some of Nostradamus' prophecies that came true in his own day


Mr. Blabbermouth (1942)
This film, made during WWII, cautions moviegoers not to spread rumors, which are often initiated by enemy infiltrators to create fear and dissension


Music in Your Hair (1934)
Two German dialect comics go out on the town (with Billy Gilbert and Billy Bletcher)


Musical Masterpieces (1946)
Carlos Ramirez and Lucille Norman sing up a storm


New Shoes (1936)
Arthur Lake and a team of singing shoes make up this "Tabloid Musical"


No News is Good News (1943)
Robert Benchley answers questions sent in by people


Of Pups and Puzzles (1941)
Psychological employment testing circa 1941 - Yikes!


Once Over Lightly (1938)
In this college spoof, Clipton Barber College and Beardsley meet in an intercollegiate hirsute face-off


Pacific Paradise (1937)
This MGM Miniature Musical features Cliff Edwards, and Harry Owens and His Royal Hawaiian Orchestra


Party Fever (1938)
Alfalfa, Butch and Waldo compete for Mayor For a Day, with the winner to take Darla to the Strawberry Festival


The Perfect Tribute (1935)
A dramatic story plays out after Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address


Phantoms, Inc. (1945)
A mother, worried about her missing son, promises all her savings to a con man to assure that her son is all right, but she's unable to pay


Plan for Destruction (1943)
Germany's defeat in WWI sowed the seeds of its quest for world domination in WWII


Portrait of a Genius (1943)
Leonardo Da Vinci developed the precursors to many of our modern military inventions


Prophet Without Honor (1939)
An American Naval officer develops the first maps that chart the oceans' winds and currents


The Rainbow Pass (1937)
A wife challenges her husband's murderer to combat


Return From Nowhere (1944)
A man recovers his lost memories when he is forced to relive events in his dreams


Rhapsody in Brew (1933)
The Schmaltz Brothers are tricked into buying a beer garden (with Billy Gilbert)


Roast-Beef and Movies (1934)
A trio of amateur filmmakers tries to persuade studio executives to exhibit their new movie (with Curly Howard)


Sea Spiders (1930)
Braving great peril, Tahitian boatmen paddle out in their sea spiders to harvest valuable pearl oysters


Shoe Shine Boy (1943)
A young boy must earn money for a bugle, because he's going into the army the next day


So Quiet on the Canine Front (1931)
A Dogville parody of All Quiet on the Western Front


Stop Look and Listen (1967)
This stop-action film examines safe versus hazardous driving techniques with no autos involved


The Story of Alfred Nobel (1939)
We see why Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, founded the prizes named after him


Sunday Night at the Trocadero (1937)
Nightclub host Reginald Denny introduces singing and dancing acts


That Mothers Might Live (1938)
The story of Dr. Semmelweis, a physician who found that the deaths of new mothers could be reduced if doctors just wash their hands before treatment


The Tell-Tale Heart (1941)
Poe's classic tale of murder, guilt, and torment (with Joseph Schildkraut)


That Inferior Feeling (1940)
A man is unable to cope with personal emergencies or those in a position of authority (with Robert Benchley)


Whispers (1941)
Opponents of a businessman who wants to tear down slums for low-cost public housing distort a small bit of truth to turn public opinion against him


Wild People (1932)
The Globe Broadcasting Company does a radio broadcast from Dutch New Guinea, with aborigines as performers


Willie and the Mouse (1941)
Studies with mice have important ramifications for human beings


Women in Hiding (1940)
Unwed mothers who feel they can't confide in anyone, go to clinics run by people more interested in profit than proper medical care


Your New Producer (1935)
While waiting for David O. Selznick to arrive at a dinner, Robert Benchley shows excerpts from many of Selznick's films