One-Horse Farmers
 
Series: Thelma Todd & Patsy Kelly Distribution: MGM  Director: Gus Meins  Cinematography: Francis Corby
Production: A-26 Type: Sound short Producer: Hal Roach  Editor: Bert Jordan
Released: 01 August 1934 Length: 2-reels Sound recording: Harry Baker

UNAVAILABLE ON DVD

The opening shot showing an open tin of sardines leads to a packed train.  Patsy (Kelly) tells Thelma (Todd) that she has an itch, but with so many passengers cramped up it is difficult for her to scratch it.  When she attempts to do so, she inadvertently ends up scratching the leg of fellow passenger Nora Cecil.  Another passenger (Billy Bletcher, with a false beard) brushes past the girls, as Patsy tries to conceal a wad of money she is carrying.
A polite passenger (James C. Morton) kindly offers Patsy his seat after seeing her money.  He pitches his idea to her: a farm called Paradise Acres, where she doesn't have to pay rent and can "gather in the eggs, milking her own cows, filling her basket with radishes, cucumbers and string beans".  And of course, raspberries.
Patsy and Thelma are next seen driving along the road in a car, towing a cow when they stop at a billboard advertising the farm (see image left).  Patsy's duck causes havoc with Thelma's hair, and Thelma's hat gets mauled by a goat they are carrying in the car.  They move on, stopping a little way down the road when they stumble upon their Paradise Acres - a small wooden shack in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by sand.
Thelma isn't happy and Patsy has to endure Thelma's prolonged sarcasm.  The girls go into the house (after Patsy stalls the car in a sand trap) only to find sand covering all of the furniture.  Patsy gets covered in more sand after opening a closet door before the clean-up operation begins.  That night, the strong winds bring a sandstorm back to the area and Patsy has to bring the animals into the house as Thelma makes herself a sandwich (!)  Patsy tries to get the fire going but the pipes are full of sand, which ends up being deposited on Thelma's lap.
Thelma takes over and tries to light the fire herself and ends up doing an even worse job of it than Patsy did.  The girls retire to bed, but only briefly... the pigs which Patsy had put underneath the bed start creating havoc and Patsy has to get out of bed to sort them out.  In doing so, she accidentally releases the bed into the wall - with Thelma still in it.  When Thelma is finally released from the bed, she decides to sleep on the couch instead.  Patsy, unable to take the hint, joins her.
Outside, a sandstorm kicks up in the night sky which causes the house to seemingly pivot on an axis, sending the girls inside across the floor in every direction.  As they make their way to the front door, the knob comes off in their hands and sends them shooting across the floor, through the bathroom and into the bath.
The slanted floor causes all sorts of comical routines, with the girls flying across the bedroom in the bathtub, followed by Patsy riding a stool through the bedroom before being dumped out of the window.  Patsy attempts to get back into the house through a side door which Thelma is trying to keep closed from the inside (see 'Favourite bit' section).
Things go from bad to worse as a neighbouring farmer and his wife, along with a couple with three children, a guy on a motorcycle and a man on a horse all enter the girls' house to take shelter from the storm.  The result is a small room cramped full of strangers - the exact scenario Thelma and Patsy were trying to escape from at the beginning of the film.
The girls make their escape from the small house up onto the roof through a hatch, only to discover the sandstorm has submerged half of the house in sand.

Favourite bit
Inside the house Thelma is trying to keep the door closed against the force of the wind.  Outside Patsy is desperately trying to get back into the house through the same door.  Neither girl realising that the other is on the other side of the door.  It's very brief, but it's the funniest scene in the film.

Facts
Production A-26 - Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly series.
Copyrighted September 1, 1934.
Filming dates
1934.
Trivia
This was the ninth film in the series to be released.
Some sources claim that Fred Holmes plays one of the train passengers, but I haven't been able to confirm this.
The first line of the film is spoken by Patsy Kelly: "Thelma, I've got an itch."
The man who pushes his way past Patsy Kelly just after James C. Morton offers her his seat is Baldwin Cooke.  He is on-screen for a mere two seconds.
When James C. Morton first mentions the farm idea to Patsy, he describes it as "heaven on earth".  The same words are seen on the billboard the girls pass in their car.
Patsy calles her duck "Caroline".
When the girls are driving along the road to find the farm, it is Thelma in the driving seat.  In the next shot (after the hat-eating incident with the goat), Patsy is driving.
How on earth did all that sand get Inside the house?
Did anyone else wonder who threw the broom out of the closet when Patsy opens the door?
Patsy uses one hand to pull down the bed with Thelma (supposedly) in it, whilst holding a pig under her arm at the same time.  Unlikely.  You notice that Thelma is not actually seen in the shot until the cut with her close-up.
The penultimate scene, with the house packed with strangers is reminicent of the opening scene with the girls in a crowded train.
What the experts say
"Pretty standard." ~ Lord Heath.

Thelma Todd
Thelma
Patsy Kelly
Patsy
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - http://www.lordheath.com/ James C. Morton
Paradise Acres promoter
Billy Bletcher
Subway passenger
Nora Cecil
Subway passenger
Charlie Hall
Subway passenger
Jack 'Tiny' Lipson
Subway passenger
Baldwin Cooke
Subway passenger
Alex Novinsky
Subway passenger
Fred Holmes
Second univited guest
Robert Callahan
Farmer
   

CREDITS POSTER & LOBBY CARDS








(Click this press sheet to view at full screen)


Acknowledgements:
Jorge Finkielman (press sheet)
Brent Seguine (identification of Alex Novinsky and Bobby Callahan)
Rick Greene (lobby card)

This page was last updated on: 08 October 2018