Series: The Spat Family

Director: Scott Pembroke
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Nicholas T. Barrows

Stars: Frank Butler, Laura Roessing, Sidney D'Albrook
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 16 September 1923
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: F-2
Filming dates: June 2-21, 1923; retakes July 6, 1923
Rating: -/10

Let's Build
Mr. & Mrs. Tewkesbury Spat are newlyweds. Ambrose is Mrs. Spat's brother. The three of them are outside reading a newspaper when they spot an advertisement on how to build a home in 48 hours. One week later, and having found a perfect hillside lot, the three of them begin work on the construction of their new home. Ambrose parks the car in a garage which they have built directly under where the house will be. As they erect foundation posts from above they push them through holes in the floorboards and onto what they think is the ground below, not realising the posts have come to rest on the bumper of the car in the garage beneath them. Then comes the interior work. Ambrose fixes the wallpaper whilst Tewkesbury works on the roof before coming back down to fix the chimney... which is placed directly underneath Ambrose's bed.
As Mrs. Spat pours some gasoline on the stove downstairs to ignite the cooker the flames shoot up and burn Ambrose's bed causing him to leap up and put his head through the flimsy roof. He then steps out of his bedroom door and plummets 15 feet to the ground (see favourite bit). To add to the misery Tewkesbury drains the bath water from upstairs only to find that it falls down onto the breakfast table. He decides to go out for a drive, but as he moves the car it dislodges the beams holding up the entire house.... you can guess the next bit. Ambrose pushes Tewkesbury down a hill where his wife joins him and they hug one another on the ground. The End.

Favourite bit
Certainly one of the stand-out scenes in the film is when Ambrose's character (it's hard to see if it is actually Sidney D'Albrook on account of it being a long shot) steps out of his upstairs door and falls fifteen feet to the ground. It doesn't appear to be a dummy and looks like a real stunt. Not easy to do.

Copyrighted November 9, 1923.
This was the first film in the series.
Approximately 6 and a half minutes of footage of the film was available for review from Harpodeon.
My opinion
The first film in any new series really ought to ensure there is enough of an interest in viewers wanting to pay to see the next installment. It is very borderline here to suggest there is enough material to entertain or excite potential fans to care about the three characters (the only ones we see throughout the entire film), who quite frankly are annoying. Even the leading lady doesn't stimulate interest neither in beauty or acting ability.

Frank Butler
The Hon. J. Tewkesbury Spat
Laura Roessing
Mrs. Spat
Sidney D'Albrook
Brother Ambrose

CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

W. Dustin Alligood (

This page was last updated on: 04 April 2018