Series: Our Gang

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

Stars: Allen Hoskins, Joe Cobb, Bobby Hutchins, Mary Ann Jackson, Harry Spear, Jean Darling, Jimmy Farren
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 20 October 1928
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: G-12
Filming dates: May 7-26 & August 16, 1928
Rating: 5/10

The Ol' Gray Hoss

Available on DVD:

An old grey horse in its stable is wondering why the fire chief is still in bed one morning, so it kicks at a lever which rings a bell and wakes him up. The horse then lets himself out of its stable where the kids make a fuss of it. A short time later Farina, Mary Ann and Joe go in to see the chief. He sits Mary Ann on his lap and tells the kids that he and his horse have taken their last ride because of the new taxicab service is going to be stealing his route. The kids vow to help the chief out as Mary Ann makes breakfast for him, despite spilling a packet of popcorn into the frying pan. The chief's food keeps exploding every time he goes to take a bite out of whatever it is that is on his plate! The boys are out in the barn cleaning the horse with Wheezer wanting something to do. Joe tells him to go sit on an egg - so he finds a crate of eggs and sits on them.
Farina is washing the horse's back legs when he gets kicked head-first into the bucket of suds, resulting in him being in whiteface (is that a thing?) Joe also gets kicked into a bucket by the horse. Wheezer, who has fallen sleep momentarily awakens to find that all the eggs he was sitting on have now hatched into small chicks. Farina and Joe get into the chief's cab with him and head off into town, whilst a rival cab driver sees - and destroys signs advertising the chief's services. The cheif discards what's left of his breakfast to the side of the road which is then picked up by the dog. The chief stops his town off a dust track and is confronted by the angry driver of the rival cab firm who threatens him. The chief's horse kicks mud from a puddle all over the side of the rival's cab as the kids start attacking the driver. When Wheezer complains that he wants to do something, Jean instructs him to go sit on a tack, which of course he does.
The creditor to whom the chief owes money shows up and demands payment from him but the chief doesn't have it and so he tells the horse he will ask their friend Mulligan to help them out. Wheezer is still frustrated and looking for something to do. So this time he is advised to go soak his head. Wheezer finds a bucket nearby and, well.... you can guess. After the kids attach a "free rides" sign on the back of the rival's cab a small group of people all jump in for the ride and are driven away. When they get out and are asked for the fare they point out the "free ride" sign and walk off laughing. The rival returns to base and confronts the kids. Wheezer, who is still bored tells them he wants something else to do, so he is told to go roll a peanut. The boys rig a wire around a high voltage pole and wrap it onto the rival's cab so that when a couple of passengers go to open the door it gives them a shock. When the cabbie once again goes to challenge the kids he is attacked by their dog.
Jimmy rigs a pipe into the rival's cab so that when two new passegers get in they are covered in soot from the engine. They quickly jump into the chief's cab instead. After another altercation the two cabbies are met by a cop, who pays the chief's debt to the creditor. But the boys think this is a plan for them to take the horse so they quickly set off into town (the back lot) to evade them. As they do so they are pursued by the chief and the cop. Both cabs mount the sidewalk and catapult lots of food into the air and into the faces of pedestrians along the way. Several other pedestrians take cover (three of them jump into a puddle), and a cameraman who for some reason has set up his equipment right in the middle of the road all get wrecked. Eventually the kids are brought to a stop by the chief. Wheezer, who is still bored, is told to go jump in a lake so he jumps off a bridge. Three of the boys jump in after him but land in the mud instead. Wheezer is last seen hanging by his suspenders underneath the bridge.

Favourite bit
Honestly, this film is so lacking in great scenes that it was hard to pick anything worthy of remembering! So I'll go with this scene where the kids drive by so quickly that it causes two guys to jump head first into the puddle/ditch.

Copyrighted October 20, 1928; renewed December 7, 1955.
The 78th film in the series to be released.
The horse's name is Duke.
Ah, those days when a grown man could sit a young girl on his lap without anybody reading something into it. Screenshot. But what is more worrying is the fact that he starts telling the kids of his troubles and playing for their sympathy and making them all feel bad for him!
This might sound a bit odd but I am wondering if Mary Ann Jackson even had teeth? In the scene where she is cooking breakfast and the popcorn is exploding in the pan she has a couple of close-up shots and opens her mouth, but at no point could I see any teeth!
The rival taxi company is called the Black And Blue Taxi Company.
What an amazing coincidence that every one of the people who get into the rival's cab for their "free ride" were all going to the exact same destination. How about that!
There is a scene where Joe and Farina stop their cab opposite the Eureka Glue Factory.
My opinion
Richard Cummings is a sweetheart as the fire chief who contemplates throwing in the tail when a rival cab driver threatens to put him out of business. It's an okay story I guess, which probably could have worked as a one-reeler but I dunno, I think something is lacking.

Joe Cobb
Jean Darling
Allen Hoskins
Bobby Hutchins
Mary Ann Jackson
Mary Ann
Harry Spear
Jimmy Farren
Richard Cummings
Chief Cummings
C.L. Sherwood
Rival cabbie
Charles Bachman
Officer Mulligan
Mary Gordon
First taxi customer
Lyle Tayo
Woman with soot on face
Tenen Holtz
Man with soot on face
Charlie King
Man who gets free ride
Charles Millsfield
Bearded man
Hayes Robertson
Paint victim
Ellinor Vanderveer
Charles Lloyd
Sammy Brooks
Short pedestrian
Clara Guiol
Pedestrian hit by food
Grace Woods
Pedestrian hit by food
Jack O'Brien
Man hoisting piano
Ham Kinsey
Man hoisting piano
Ed Brandenburg


INTERTITLES (click image to enlarge)

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Chris Bungo's "Then & Now" video presentation

The Little Rascals: The Life And Times Of Our Gang by Leonard Maltin & Richard W. Bann (book)
Tommie Hicks (help)
Jesse Brisson (identification of CL Sherwood, Ed Brandenburg, Grace Woods*, Ham Kinsey) [*I am not 100% sure on this]

This page was last updated on: 15 June 2020