Tale Of A Dog
Series: Our Gang
Director: Cyril Endfield
Screenplay: Hal Law, Robert A. McGowan
Photography: Charles Salerno Jr.
Editor: Leon Bourgeau
Art director: Paul Youngblood
Stars: Robert Blake, Janet Burston, Billy Laughlin, Billie Thomas, Dickie Hall, Frank Lester Ward, Cordell Hickman, Emmett Vogan, Willa Pearl Curtis
Released: 15 April 1944
Length: 1 reel (sound short)
Production No.: 2866
Filming dates: October 4-7, 1943
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Big Shot is down by the railroad depot saying goodbye to his beloved dog, whom he can no longer afford to keep. Buckwheat joins him and offers to take the dog and look after it himself, despite giving it the unfortunate name of 'Smallpox'. When the rest of the gang overhear Buckwheat and Big Shot talking about them having 'Smallpox' Froggy makes a telephone call to the health official, who declares that Buckwheat and Big Shot ought to be isolated immediately. Concern for the boys extends to Buckwheat's mother phoning Mickey's mother and her asking to send her son home if she sees him. Meanwhile Buckwheat and Big Shot hold up in a barn with the dog.
In the store, a long queue begins to form outside the phone box where Janet, Mickey and Froggy have taken it over. Before long news has spread through the newspaper, radio and general gossip that smallpox has started to spread, (no) thanks to Buckwheat and Big Shot. Panic ensues with other gang members avoiding the 'infected' boys at all costs. Eventually tempers boil over in the long queue to use the telephone when one of the men takes matters into his own hands (although telling the kids they ought to be arrested is going a bit too far!) Janet tells the impatient crowd they were potential victims of the smallpox from the two boys who then walk into the store. Everybody runs out.
Froggy returns home to his concerned mother and after he leaves his thermometer under a dripping hot tap she immediately assumes he is sick. The health official visits Janet, and then Buckwheat to investigate the sudden supposed outbreak of smallpox until he discovers the truth about the dog and its name. The boys and Janet are given a stiff talking-to by the mayor who lets them off with a warning. So the kids decide not to cause any further confusion and promptly change the dog's name to.... Spotty.
Buckwheat appears to be sick from 'smallpox' but when the health official asks why he is shaking Buckwheat replies that he is cold. Pulling back his blanket, it is revealed that he is covered in ice cubes! His mother reminds the health official that he told her to "ice-olate him"!
• Copyrighted April 13, 1944.
• This was the penultimate Our Gang film to be produced and the last to be released. It was the 219th short.