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Has all the silent shorts of Our Gang ever been compiled for DVD?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by masswriter, Jun 27, 2017.

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  1. masswriter

    masswriter Minister At Large Thread Starter

    New England
    I have been seeking/hoping for such a set for years. If not, any knowledge what the hold up might be?

    By this I mean, professionally released, not DVD-Rs with shoddy packaging.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  2. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Senior Member

    Not to the best of my knowledge, no.
  3. MarkTheShark

    MarkTheShark Forum Resident

    There are a number of issues. First, some of the Our Gang silents are still lost, and some of the extant ones are incomplete. A good chunk of them (though not all) are public domain, but a lot of the later ones (mostly those released through M-G-M) are still under copyright. A company called Laughsmith (whose product was distributed by Macinac Media) was planning to put out an extensive collection of the Our Gang silent shorts, but before the project could be completed, there was some kind of dispute between the producing company and t6he distributing company which evidently ended up in court, with the result that Laughsmith signed off on the project and all the materials ended up in the hands of Macinac Media. Various films were in various states of restoration, some considered "finished," others not. As far as I know, no set ever came out, but Macinac did license the shorts to TCM and some of them have been shown there, so at least that's something. The guy who was producing the Laughsmith project explained some of this on some forum a few years back (I don't remember where).
  4. JMGuerr

    JMGuerr Forum Resident

    new mexico
    That's going to be tough collection to compile. Several of the silent shorts are thought "lost", with no copies known, others have survived but in edited form, others survive only in foreign editions with no English intertitles known to exist.
  5. Dave Garrett

    Dave Garrett Forum Resident

    Houston, TX
    The Laughsmith guy you're thinking of is Paul Gierucki. Perhaps this was the thread in question?

    Our Gang Silents on TCM - SilentComedyMafia.com
    ricks likes this.
  6. SmallDarkCloud

    SmallDarkCloud Forum Resident

    When Genius Entertainment released all of the Hal Roach produced sound shorts in one DVD box set, several of the silent shorts (later silents from the MGM distribution era) were included on a bonus disc. That's the only official release of any of them that I know, at least in the US (not counting the never-released Laughsmith set or the unofficial ReelClassicDVD sets on DVD-R).
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
  7. MarkTheShark

    MarkTheShark Forum Resident

    Three silent shorts are on the Genius set:

    Dog Heaven
    Spook Spoofing
    Barnum & Ringling, Inc.

    In the 1990s, Cabin Fever released 21 VHS volumes of the Hal Roach talkie shorts. Four more silents were included there:

    Dogs Of War
    Derby Day
    Baby Brother
    Cat, Dog And Company

    There also was a VHS series in the 1990s called Laurel And Hardy And Friends released by a company variously known as "The Nostalgia Archive" and "Hal Roach Studios." (This is different from the later single-volume DVD from the same company also called Laurel And Hardy And Friends.) They released many of the Laurel & Hardy silent shorts, one short to a tape (as The Lost Films Of Laurel And Hardy). Later, they came up with the "And Friends" series which ran for several volumes, usually with a "pre-teaming" film in which both Laurel and Hardy appear (though not necessarily together) and other stuff -- silent Charley Chase shorts, Harry Langdon and Leon Errol talkies from R-K-O, and a few Our Gang silents, some of which didn't make it to DVD (or VHS otherwise). One title I specifically remember being on there was "Good Cheer." They are in storage, maybe later I can try and dig them out and see what exactly is on them.

    One silent Our Gang short is included as an extra on the UK 21-DVD Laurel & Hardy box set because Oliver Hardy appears in it -- the name is escaping me. And IIRC Kinowelt in Germany released some sort of Our Gang silents set on DVD. Not sure how complete it is.

    Kinowelt releasing Our Gang silents 1927-29 - SilentComedyMafia.com
    ricks likes this.
  8. masswriter

    masswriter Minister At Large Thread Starter

    New England
    It's too bad, there seems to be viable audience for them ...
    longdist01 likes this.
  9. MarkTheShark

    MarkTheShark Forum Resident

  10. Michelle66

    Michelle66 Forum Resident

    As mentioned above, there is a German DVD release of all the extant* Hal Roach/MGM silent Our Gang films. (* previously-lost-but-not-freely-available films like "The Old Wallop" and "Fair & Muddy" are not included.)

    You get these films:

    Disc 1:
    01 Dog Heaven
    02 Spook-Spoofing
    03 Rainy Days
    04 Barnum & Ringling, Inc.
    05 Crazy House
    06 The Ol' Gray Hoss
    07 The Spanking Age

    Disc 2:
    08 Election Day
    09 Noisy Noises
    10 Wiggle Your Ears
    11 Fast Freight
    12 Little Mother
    13 Cat, Dog & Co.
    14 Saturday Lesson

    The set can be ordered for cheap money from Amazon.de:

    Die kleinen Strolche: 1927-1929 (Stummfilme) [2 DVDs]
    Die kleinen Strolche: 1927-1929 (Stummfilme) [2 DVDs]: Amazon.de: Hal Roach: DVD & Blu-ray

    The listing shows this set to be Region 2 and PAL. This wasn't a problem for me, but YRMV.

    I have the set and the picture quality is quite good. Most of the intertitles don't seem to be original. (The text seems to have been shifted upwards so they could fit the German subtitles below the English-language intertitle cards.) The German subtitles cannot be turned off.

    A few of the later episodes include the original MGM disc-based scores.

    Quite honestly, the low price point and rarity of the Roach/MGM silents makes this collection a must buy.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
    ricks likes this.
  11. MarkTheShark

    MarkTheShark Forum Resident

    I still have never picked this up. I probably should. By the way, back in the 1950s, the original Little Rascals TV package included 10 Roach-M-G-M era silent shorts along with the talkies. I used to have a list of them; essentially they were the ten M-G-M silents not lost or missing at the time. I was at a Sons meeting once where "Barnum And Ringling" was shown from a 16mm Interstate TV print with the original Victor score.
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