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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

     
                     

Miscellaneous

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