An evil gunslinging midget comes to terrorize the good little people of Tiny Town. The townspeople organize to defeat him, and zany antics ensue
Billy Curtis ... The Hero (Buck Lawson)
Yvonne Moray ... The Girl (Nancy Preston)
'Little Billy' Rhodes ... The Villain (Bat Haines) (as Little Billy)
Billy Platt ... The Rich Uncle (Jim 'Tex' Preston) (as Bill Platt)
John T. Bambury ... The Ranch Owner (Pop Lawson) (as John Bambury)
Joseph Herbst ... The Sheriff
Charles Becker ... The Cook (Otto)
Nita Krebs ... The Vampire (Nita, the dance hall girl)
George Ministeri ... The Blacksmith (Armstrong)
Karl 'Karchy' Kosiczky ... The Barber (Sammy) (as Karl Casitzky)
Fern Formica ... Diamond Dolly (as Johnnie Fern)
William H. O'Docharty ... The Old Soak (as W.H. O'Docharty)
If you enjoy watching 1930's B Westerns – especially singing westerns – you'll enjoy watching this imaginative romp through the Wild West.
Take any standard "oater" and cast little people – with the emphasis on people – in the roles of a hero caught between two feuding cattle barons and an evil rustler trying to steal his girl - - and you'll have an idea what this film is about. All of the elements are here – from a hero falsely accused of murder and facing a lynch mob - - to the final showdown and his saving the damsel in distress from the evil villain.
Several performances were clearly outstanding and truly enjoyable to watch: Billy Curtis as the hero - Buck Lawson; Nita Krebs as the Vamp(ire) – Nita and especially Charles (Mayor of Munchkin City) Becker as the Cook – Otto - - who stole each and every scene. (His scene with the duck is priceless).
Of minor note was the fact that many of the actors and actresses in the barroom scenes appear to have had German accents – which makes some words of their songs a little difficult to understand at first – but in subsequent viewings this proved to be no problem - - especially since the delightful lyrics of the Lew Porter Song – "Mister Jack and Missus Jill" – more than compensated.
Additionally – although the director (Sam Newfield) chose to dub some songs with voices from professional singers – which proved to be a minor irritant as far as continuity is concerned – this was standard practice for 1930s oaters. (Does anyone dare to forget John Wayne in RIDERS OF DESTINY as Singin' Sandy Saunder?).
However – all-in-all - this film was truly enjoyable.
In closing – I'd like to comment on the fact that it is sad that many comments I've read reflect the fact that many folks cannot get past their bias toward little people - - - and view little people playing real roles as real people as something only to be laughed at.
Please watch this film with an open mind and you could be pleasantly surprised!!!
Well, I've been curious about this movie for years and now I've finally seen it: "The Terror of Tiny Town" (1938), a Western/musical with an all-dwarf cast! In many respects it's just a typical Western-- dashing hero attempts to save/woo gorgeous gal and fight off cattle rustlers at the same time (one such rustler tries to frame the hero for murder). The film starts with an average-sized man introducing the diminiutive stars; including the hero, "Buck Lawson" (played by Billy Curtis, who has been in several movies and even has a walk-on in "the Incredible Shrinking Man".)
"Tiny Town" is populated entirely by little people(or "midgets" as some have called them). They ride ponies instead of horses, but everything in town seems scaled for average sized people. Thus the image of cowboys sauntering UNDER half-doors into saloons! To be honest I think SOME of the "dwarf" actors were actually average-sized children. In one scene, a barbershop quartet sings and a "dwarf" in a chair sings along in a much deeper voice than you'd expect. That "dwarf" looks more like an average-sized little boy in reality.
But then more than a few of the (adult) little people in the cast look like kids (but aren't)-- not just height-wise but they also have very-young-looking faces. You almost think it's a film of kids playing adults (ever see "Bugsy Malone"?) but they are indeed dwarfs.
You get the typical elements of an "oater" (Western), from shoot-em-ups to a seductive female singer in a saloon; some very bad puns ("smallpox", "half-pint"); a hero-and-girl duet that will conjure up images of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald (all together now: "when I'm calling you-u-u-u"--though to be honest, the songs in "Tiny Town" are VERY forgettable!)...a dwarf drinking a huge beer stein, and a duel in a shack where dynamite is about to go off!
So is it great or horrible? Kind of in between; unusual enough (in that it has an all-dwarf cast) to see at least once, but cliched dialogue, weak songs, etc....still, now at least I can say I've seen The Terror of Tiny Town!
(PS--I must add that in many respects the film is the type that exploits little-person actors for their size instead of whatever other talents they may have. How many dwarf actors out there go to a casting call and immediately are told, "ah! We'll make you the leprechaun...the tiny space alien...one of Santa's elves..." etc. instead of more substantial roles... )
Of course, this film is legendary. The first, and as far as I can tell / hope the last, all-midget musical western. Anyone who is extremely p.c. will be obviously outraged by the concept and the film. And of course, many cult film fans will want to see it for being one of the most exploitive films there is. However, its really not too exciting.
The problem is that once the novelty of the film wears off it becomes quite dull. It's hilarious and jaw-dropping at first, making you wonder how the filmmakers got away with this. Midgets ride Shetland ponies and rope calves, and walk UNDER those swinging barroom doors. They sing in voices that are extremely annoying and shrill. As far as acting goes, well, you can guess the amount of skill that went into this production. With the possible exception of the legendary Billy Curtis, the "actors" seem to be sleepwalking through the whole thing reading off cue cards. Of course, no one watches these films for technical skill, but even on camp merits it isn't great. The film is fun and funny for a while, but becomes incredibly tedious by the end.
Cult / exploitation film fans may want to rent this film or buy it for their collection if only for the sheer shock value of it. However, its over-hyped in the extreme. If you are interested in 30s exploitation cinema, I'd recommend both "Maniac" and "Reefer Madness" over this one. Quite simply, it creeks really badly.
* Following this film's release, it was reported that Jed Buell planned to use the same cast in a film version of the story of Paul Bunyan (with a large gentleman playing Bunyan). It is assumed this idea never got past the pre-production phase.