Haunted House? (First Division, 1925?)
In the middle 1920s, toy projects began being sold commercially. Most ran standard 35mm film on 25, 50, 75, 100, or occasionally 200 foot reels (if you don’t know how long those run, one foot of 35mm equals around one second of screen time). Some film was specially printed for toy projector use, but usually you’ll find it’s just a random clip taken from whatever they had lying around. There are a lot of brief fragments of otherwise lost films that survive on toy projector reels.
This clip is titled Haunted House and says it stars the “Komedy Gang”. What the original title of the film it was taken from is, I have no idea, but I can tell you it’s from the Hey Fellas! series and was made around 1925.
In the wake of Our Gang’s success, a huge number of Rascals rip-offs hit the screen, some more original than others. Hey Fellas! was pretty much identical to Our Gang. It was so similar that when Our Gang ran on TV in the 1960s, they created several new episodes by splicing together Our Gang and Hey Fellas! footage. (About a third of Our Gang’s Operation Tonsils, for example, was taken from Hey Fellas!’s Rival Clinic).
It’s a dark and stormy night and the kids are in a barn. They think it’s haunted and are quite frightened by a cow mooing and the sudden appearance of a goat. Two mice climb into a pair of discarded shoes and somehow make it look like an invisible person is walking in them (neat effect – nice puppeteering).
That’s it. It’s only a 50 foot clip. Hardly enough to base any kind of review on, but it looks like it might have been fun.