Series: Our Gang

Director: Robert A. McGowan, Charles Oelze
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: H.M. Walker
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Richard C. Currier

Stars: Joe Cobb, Allen Hoskins, Jackie Condon, Jay R. Smith, Bobby Young, Jannie Hoskins, Elmer Lowry, Jean Darling
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 22 May 1927
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: K-18
Filming dates: January 18 - February 3, 1927
Rating: 2/10

Tired Business Men

Joe is riding in the back of a car with his pet cat and dog who get into a fight with each other, with poor Joe in the middle of them. Meanwhile in a barn which has been dubbed the 'Manhattan Club', the rest of the gang are tending to some animals, with Farina being the only licensed goat-elevator operator in the world. Scooter shoots some pool with eggs which hatch upon impact with the table-cushion. Johnny and Bonedust playing bowling where two chickens stand on the 'fowl line' and a dog yanks the strings holding up the skittles so that Bonedust cannot knock any of them down. He then gets his fingers stuck in a ball and needs the rest of the gang to come and separate him from the ball. Enter Jackie, the Grand Exhauster Ruler of the club who brings in his new electric hootnanny to initiate new members into the club.
Joe finds his father's police whistle and begins to blow it, drawing officers to him as a result. He then wanders into the barn where the kids decide to initiate him into their club through a series of contraptions designed to hurt him. But it's all a bit too much for poor Joe, who after too many knocks from the kids, decides to quit. Still not content with their bullying of Joe, the gang then construct a letter to him designed to "scare his fat off" and post it through his window attached to the cat. As the kids stand outside Joe's window to mock and intimidate him, Joe quickly dresses in his father's police uniform and from somewhere manages to grab a moustache and put it on his face. He stands at the window and faces the gang, who actually believe that they are looking at an adult!
The gang quickly retreat leaving Farina behind long enough for him to see Joe 'thanking' his father for giving him his police whistle which he aims to use to get the gang into trouble in the future. Knowing he has the upper hand Joe visits the gang in their barn and threatens them with the whistle. Jackie is keen to make friends with Joe but Joe is having none of it. Joe assaults Jackie and then Farina and when they dare to retaliate he puts the whistle to his lips and threatens them with "what are you going to do about it?" Joe continues to enjoy his new-found superiority over the gang by lining them all up in a row and smacking them from behind, despite some protests. Joe even smashes eggs over Bonedust and Scooter just for good measure.
Joe continues his over-the-top overreaction by spinning Farina around in a suspended chair at a hundred miles per hour, and painting tar onto the faces of all the boys, who are powerless to stop him from doing it. He then threatens to cut Farina's hair and paint his face red. Whilst Joe has Farina pinned to the ground a goat releases a sack of grain from above which pours down over Joe and causes him to lose his whistle. The boys sieze the opportunity to find it before Joe can. Outside a robber being chased by the police sneaks into the barn to hide. Jannie finds the whistle and uses it to raise the alarm. The boys think the police are coming for them and so they bombard them with eggs as soon as the cops enter the barn. The cops fight off the attack and Joe's dad makes the arrest of the villain. The boys are rewarded with ice-cream, except for poor Jannie who is left dangling from the roof after she catches her dress on a tile whilst sliding down it.

Favourite bit
Not sure it's such a good idea to spin a fat kid around in a chair at 100mph....

Copyrighted April 11, 1927.
Also listed for May 15, 1927.
It was the 60th film in the series to be released.
Joe's cat is named Tunney after Gene Tunney, the boxer (that's why it has boxing gloves on its paws). Tunney fought Jack Dempsey in Sept. 1926 for the heavyweight championship; they fought a rematch a year later (the famous "long count" match parodied in L&H's "The Battle of the Century"). The cat is put under a box of 20 Mule Team Borax Soap Chips.
The moving truck has 2 different license plates: both California registry for 1927. One is 171-158, the other is 236-444.
"Tired Business Man" was a frequently used phrase in ads at the time. Probably described McGowan right around then too. All kinds of medicines, vacations, clothes, drinks etc. were marketed to appeal to the man exhausted by the pace needed to maintain 1920s prosperity. This film tries to satirize this concept.
Robert F. McGowan took a long 9 week or so holiday from the studio between Feb. and April 1927, which may have been partly motivated by need for a rest cure. He embarked on the SS Manchuria around 8 Feb. 1927, traveled through the Panama Canal and the Caribbean, to New York, where he arrived 23 Feb. I haven't seen all the documentation but it seems he may have met with some of the Pathe representatives while there. He left New York 18 March and made the homeward journey on board SS Mongolia, arriving at San Pedro 2 April. Both these ships were operated by the Panama Pacific Line on the NY-California coastwise route carrying passengers and freight. Turning over direction of this short (except for 1 day) to his nephew probably reflected his level of exhaustion at the time.
My opinion
Awful. Just awful.

Joe Cobb
Allen Hoskins
Jackie Condon
Jay R. Smith
Clifton Young
Jannie Hoskins
Elmer Lowry
Jean Darling
Bobby Mallon
Johnny Aber
Kid who bowls with Bonedust
Andy Shuford
Boy who retrieves bowling balls
Peggy Eames
Chester Bachman
Officer O'Farrell (Joe's dad)
Ruth Robinson
Joe's mother
Silas D. Wilcox
Harry Tenbrook
'Blow 'Em Up Baker'


CREDITS (click image to enlarge) INTERTITLES (click image to enlarge)

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The Little Rascals: The Life And Times Of Our Gang by Leonard Maltin & Richard W. Bann (book) (Robert Demoss/The Lucky Corner)
Robert Winslow (trivia notes)
Matthew Lydick (identification of Ruth Robinson)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Harry Tenbrook)
Christopher Cianciotta (still)

This page was last updated on: 15 April 2022