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Derby Day (1923) Online

Derby Day (1923) Online
Original Title :
Derby Day
Genre :
Movie / Short / Comedy / Family / Sport
Year :
Directror :
Robert F. McGowan
Cast :
Joe Cobb,Jackie Condon,Mickey Daniels
Writer :
Hal Roach,H.M. Walker
Type :
Time :
Rating :
Derby Day (1923) Online

With a little bit of capital (specifically fifty cents) the gang is able to set up a lemonade stand and an adjoining hot dog stand near a race track. Mary stops by for some lemonade, while nearly charming the boys out of their socks. As the daughter of a horse owner, she manages to sneak them inside the track to watch the race. The whole thing is terribly exciting; and it gives Mickey an idea. The gang quickly abandons the idea of selling food and drink. Instead, they create their own race track. Of course, their own derby day is not quite like the adult version. Instead of horses, one boy has a cow, another a mule; a third rides in cart driven by a goat and a fourth in a dog-driven cart. Farina, whose vehicle is a tricycle, spikes the water of some of the animals beforehand. Before the race is through, the animals will be too drunk, lazy or overworked to finish. The horse race becomes a foot race.
Credited cast:
Joe Cobb Joe Cobb - Joe (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Jackie Condon Jackie Condon - Jackie (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Mickey Daniels Mickey Daniels - Mickie (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Jack Davis Jack Davis - Jack (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Allen 'Farina' Hoskins Allen 'Farina' Hoskins - Farina (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Mary Kornman Mary Kornman - Mary (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Ernest Morrison Ernest Morrison - Ernie 'Sammy' (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Sonny Loy Sonny Loy - Sing Joy (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lassie Lou Ahern Lassie Lou Ahern - Girl Applauding Band
Chester A. Bachman Chester A. Bachman - Trumpeter
Richard Daniels Richard Daniels - Trainer
William Gillespie William Gillespie - Mary's father (the horse owner)
Wallace Howe Wallace Howe - Gate attendant
Billy Lord Billy Lord - Kid With Camera (unconfirmed)
Gabe Saienz Gabe Saienz - Dugan

User reviews



Baby Boomers who grew up watching the "Little Rascals" on TV will remember the line-up as Spanky, Darla, Buckwheat, Pete the Pup with the ring painted around his eye, and of course Alfalfa, with his dorky hair and off-key singing. Some of those viewers might be surprised to learn that the Hal Roach Studios had been producing Our Gang comedies (as they were originally called) for over a dozen years by the time that particular group of kids was in place. In fact, plenty of silent Our Gang films were made before Spanky or Alfalfa had even been born. The series entries of the early 1920s bear a family resemblance to the later shorts, but are markedly different in some respects. Derby Day is one of the earliest and most enjoyable of the Our Gang films which feature the original silent era kids, and is well worth seeking out.

Perhaps the biggest difference in the silent comedies is the general looseness of the proceedings. Where the Alfalfa/Darla talkies of the late '30s are tightly plotted sitcoms, sometimes with a moralistic bent (especially after the series moved to MGM in 1938), the silent shorts are more spontaneous, even haphazard. The kids themselves are refreshingly scruffy, and generally don't look like well-scrubbed, cutesy child actors. And of course, they don't have to memorize and recite dialog like the kids of the talkie era. The gang is racially mixed, which occasionally leads to some stereotypical sight gags and dialog titles in thick dialect, but, at least in most of the entries I've seen, the atmosphere tends to be pretty good natured. There are two African-American child actors present in Derby Day, Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison and Farina Hoskins (still a toddler at this point), and they're very much accepted as members of the gang. This film also features a Chinese boy who appeared in two or three other Our Gang comedies of the period, and although we might wince when the title card tells us he's popular with the gang because they can all beat him up, in the scenes that follow he's treated in a friendly enough fashion. For the Hollywood of 1923, that's about as progressive as we can expect where race relations are concerned.

Derby Day follows a simple two-part structure: in the first half the kids witness an actual horse race, and in the second half they stage one of their own, with tricycles and neighborhood pets pulling wagons. The climactic race is quite enjoyable to watch, although animal-lovers might get a little uncomfortable with the rugged handling inflicted on some of the pets. Still, it appears that no one, child or beast, got hurt. In fact, they all look like they're having a pretty good time.

Maybe the best thing about the silent Our Gang comedies is that you don't have to hear Alfalfa sing. I'm one Baby Boomer who feels they ran that routine into the ground.


I treasure the Our Gang silents. They were not usually gut-busting knee-slappers that made you howl and guffaw, but tended to be pleasant, likable, enjoyable comedies that made you smile as well as laugh. Great viewing after a hard day at work or school. Derby Day fits that category.

The above poster did a good job summarizing this film, but one really pleasant scene that I liked was where Mary Kornman, as the rich girl, attempts to sneak her poor friends of the gang into the horse race. Despite the differences in race and social class among the kids, one senses an "all for one and one for all" attitude among the kids that is quite endearing today. Oh yeah, the Gang's race is a real hoot! This film appears on most public-domain DVD sets of rascal films-GET IT and enjoy.


This Hal Roach comedy short, Derby Day, is the twenty-first in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" series. Mickey, Jack, Jackie, and Joe are selling hot dogs and lemonade for 5 cents each near the horse race track across the street. One of their customers is a new gang member of Asian descent named Sing Joy. Two more potential customers, Ernie (a.k.a. "Sunshine Sammy") and Farina, are broke so Mickey asks what's in the box that Ernie has. It's a jockey uniform of his dad's who is in the race. When Mary comes by, she invites them to come in free. The adult usher won't allow it but Mary keeps talking to him as she signals the gang inside. After the race ends, Mickey tells his friends his idea to form his own race...This was a pretty amusing "Our Gang" entry with some familiar gags like Farina managing to eat two hot dogs on a stove without anyone looking-especially not Pete the Pup who runs around in circles looking for the toddler, lemon for the lemonade that-when squeezed-hits both Joe and Mickey in the faces, during the kiddie race-after a horse and cow drink a water bucket laced with alcohol that Farina poured in-the horse keeps going the wrong way frustrating Jack and the cow eventually lies down leaving poor Joe stuck, and-after the titles reveal that in the audience during the real horse race, Sing Joy says something in Chinese, Ernie-also via inter-title-replies, "Speak 'Inglish, I don't understand Chop Suey." That last one might be considered offensive today but considering the kids ages, I'd let that one slide. Anyway, while not hilarious, Derby Day does amuse enough for me to bring a big smile on my face. P.S. Mickey's father, Richard Daniels, appears as a trainer here.


With make-shift contraptions passing barely as moving vehicles, the original Our Gang puts on the saddle in this silent short. I have seen very few of the early films because as a child, I only had access to the talkies. Many of them perhaps do not exist anymore, so the ones which do are absolute treasures. This one features a cast that I was not familiar with other than their brief returns later on. Mickey Daniels and Farina are perhaps the few that I had any familiarity with. Sammy Morison would later find fame as a part of the East Side Kids in the early 1940's. This one has amusing moments even if it is short on plot.