The Complete History Of The "Dogville" Comedies

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KrAzY KaT has been found
Well tomorrow is the big night for the start of "TUNER CLASSIC MOVIES" month long tribute (every tuesday night) to short subjects.For the past several weeks, I have been promoting this classic two reel comedy shorts "The Dogville Comedies" that TCM will pay tribute to the excellent series tomrrow night.Now before you see this series, I have taken the time out to explain this history of this controversial series.

The Dogville shorts has been one of my best film projects(outside covering, cartoons, muiscals, drama, short subjects, feature length films, etc, etc,) I have ever done and it's taken me over six years to track down these classic gems and discover the history on how these shorts were made.Doing such a project like this wasn't easy, I had to go through arcvies newspaper clippings checking out actual movie magazines and the people that worked on the series and it was an honor doing a project like this.As I'm paying tribute to Andy Panda, I'm doing the same for the "Dogvilles" as well.

When you see this series for the very first time, you may be doing a double take seeing the comedies, the dogs are for real and you maybe be surprised or offended on viewing this series.The best way I can describe watching a Dogville short is like watching a Warner Bros, MGM or a Tex Avery cartoon, the only difference is that this series is live action.The oriignal concept for the series dates back to the summer 1929, just when silent films were a thing of the past the "Taklie" revolution was taking over and MGM was getting into releasing their short subjects with a sound.

The creative men behind the Dogville comedies were Jules White and Zion Myers and was produced by Harry Rapf.White who had uncredited role in D.W.GIFFITH'S "The Birth Of A Nation"(1915) decided to go behind the camera and white got his niche in comedy working for the Mack Sennett Studios in the mid 20s.In 1929 when MGM was putting actual talking soundtracks to thier short subjects and contacted White Myers to come up with a series about actual talking, walking dogs dressed up as humans.Legendary Animal trainer, "Rennie Renfro was the trainer to all of the dogs in the shorts who had a ranch in Van Nuys, Calif and who have been tarining dogs since the 20s.The first entry is the DVC was "Hot Dog" released in the summer of 1929.Hot Dog (otherwise known as "All Barkies") envolves a speakeasy and a cabaret murder in which a jealous husband finds out that his wife is committing adultrey with a lavish playboy.The dogs perform as an actual ragtime band

The second DV short was "College Hounds" also was released in the fall of 1929.This is one film that you can see that the dogs look very uncomfortable in this short and you will see with amazement when the dogs actually play football by standing on their hind legs and running(with the help of wires) down the field getting tackled by the oppents.Richard Barrios who wrote the book, "A Song In The Dark" was so appalled by seeing "College Hounds", the he was quoted by saying "Seeing College Hounds, it's enough to turn the most apathtic cinephile into an animal rights activist".Barrios does have a point, when viewing the DVC shorts, the dogs look very uncomforable and the dialog is inane and the whole concept is strange and bizzare the someone must have though that procuders were sniffing paint thinner at MGM fopr coming up with such a series like this one.

In 1930, MGM producer Harry Rapf singed White and Myers to make six more shorts for MGM for 1930 & 1931 movie season and the Dogvilles finally arrived to the delight of movie audiences all across the country.The reviews for the series was very positive.Film Daily reported that "Hot Dog" was "one of the best short subjects ever made" and Motion Pictures News added that it was "ace-high entertainment".The third DVC short was "The Dogville Murder Case" aka "Who Killed Rover"(released in early 1930), this short happends to be the most strangest and most bizzare short in the entire series.In it, Rover gets kidnapped from greedy relatives and is about to be bumped of by sitting(in an upright postion) with a huge safe dangling from his head.What will happen to Rover, will the cops get there in time? and what will happend to Rover's wife during this mess, I can't give away the plot to the ending but it's one of the weirdest endings I have ever seen in a picture of anykind.

Later in 1930 once standout DVC two reeler was, "The Dogway Melody" parody of MGM'S earlier feature length musical "The Broadway Melody" relased a year earlier.This happens to be on of the most famous of the series, in the short features Queenie (in the Anita Page role) is pursued by the evil Mr.Curr.Gogway Melody is a standout for many reasons, one of which is the budget.All of the Dogville shorts, had impressive sets, costumes and props(and tiny little cars)their even a dog performer named "Al J.Olsen" who dons blackface and sings "Mammy" in this short.A theater owner in St.Petersburg, Indiana had to stop the feature to re-run "The Dogway Melody" for the movie audience. He said "This was the first time in 11 year that a comedy has stopped my show" and even a Philadelphia critic quoted by saying "The funniest comedies that has been produced sine the birth of the "Talkies".

During this time, L.A. humane commissioner, Bill Hershfield was brought in to check up on animal crulety and much to his surprise, he found out that the dogs were taken very good care of, even having their own dressing rooms with air conditioing, hot water and a 50 foot doggie run. Renfro has said about training dogs was this"A dog that has been beaten into tricks can't be depended upon," he also said, no doubt from experience "The only trained that counts is the one that has been so handled that he gets a big kick out opf working...Dogs get to be very proud when they learn to do something and they love to showw off. Thety know, too, when they have failed.When Buster does a good scene well, he jumps into my arms for a kiss. If he has been a flop, he sneaks off to a dark corner.Renfor also insisted that the dogs were trained to walk upright using a large rubber ball, and when seeing some of the shorts, the dogs are attached to wires to make them walking and running look realistically.

In 1930 a poll taken among nation wide theater owners, voted the "Dogville's" as the best short subject comedies over other such famous comedy series, "Our Gang" "Laurel & Hardy" Vitaphone musicals", "Mack Sennett comedies".Later that same year MGM released such entires as "The Big Dog House" taken from the MGM drama "The Big House", All Quiet On The Canine
Front" aka "All Quiet On The Western Front".Making a DVC was no easy task, first the the film was shot silent and then it was off to the editing room to provide the voices(White And Myers provided most of the voices) and the timming had to be right to match the dog's moving mouth to add the dialog and match the dog's mouth at the right time and what an accomplishment with the voices in sync.Then the other tough task was getting the dog into costumes in which some of the dog wouldn't sit still but at the end all work out well.

In 1931(the last season of the series) a few more DVC was released into theaters such as, "Love Tails Of Morocco", Two Barks Brothers" and Trader Hound" a take-off of MGM's feature "Trader Horn, this was the very last DVC produced in the series.White at this time went to directed Buster Keaton in "Sidewalk's Of New York" and Myers went to direct feature films, while White went to Columbia Pictures do direct many of the "Three Stooges" shorts for over 15 years.

View today, "The Dogville Comedies" can be viewed in to different ways. the first step, you'll laugh you *ss off when seeing the DVC, or you can get offened by these classic gems.The DVC contains very adult themes, racial stereotypes, cartoon like violence and so much more.In recent years a bunch a animal right activists had tried to have the series banned from being seen by the public, but those attempts have failed.TUNER CLASSIC MOVIES will present all nine DVC shorts tomorrow night and here is a run down on some of the shorts to get an idea on seeing these shorts for the very first time.

HOT DOG(1929):The series first entry, a funny look at what goes on at a speakeasy with murder. partons getting drunk, and a playboy who has an affair with a married woman.A funny moment is were a bunch of very druken dogs start to sing, with their voices all out a sync and annyoing the rest of the customers.

COLLEGE HOUNDS(1929):This is a great short about a big college football game, our hero Buster starts the day off shaving(you got to see how that's done, very funny) and is kiddnapped not to start the big game cause of some gamblers trying to fix the game.Watch how the dogs actually play the game, it is very interesting, while some of the dog has wires attached to their jeresys and watch them throw and run and tackle, it amazing how they pulled the segement off.

THE DOGVILLE MURDER CASE(1930):One of the most twisted, bizzare out of all nine DVC shorts.The plot of the one-reeler has Rover being kiddnapped by greedy relatives and it's up to decetive Fido Vance hired by Rover's nervous bride to protect her married husband.I can give away the ending of this picture, but will Rover who is tied in a chair with a huge safe dangling from his head, live or get bumped off?You'll just have to see for yourself.The funniest moment in this picture is the police lineup.In the lineup, who have a chinaman when questioned can't seem to keep his mouth shout, bulldog that looks like lengendary actress MARIE DRESSLER and a Gay dog who claims he was "Strolling In The Park".My personal favorite Dogville short :D

ALL QUIET OF THE CANINE FRONT(1931):Taken from the academy award winning film'"ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT" pits the dog in an all out war againist the german's.Great special effects in this short and see a tobbaco spitting dog blow out a candle with his spit and an unforgetable voice performance by BILLY BLETCHER(famous for the voice of Disney's BIG BAD WOLF, Warner's HENREY BEAR)and the battle scenea are the highlight of this short.

TRADER HOUND(1931):This was the last produced DVC for MGM...This is the only censored & banned short which conatins dogs painted in blackface with southern like dialog accents and a wild funny fight between a gorilla and a lion is one of the main funny moments in this short and TCM will be showing this film tomorrow night.

So get your blank videos and VCR's ready and watch with enjoyment when seeing the "Dogville comedies" and you won't be disapointed.I do have in the works a web-site about the DV coming real soon.

It all starts at late Tues/Early Wed at 12:30am to 3am, so enjoy all nine shorts and add to your video collection, since their are currently no plans to release the DVC on video.

If you have any questions for comments about the series, just e-mail me at my hotmail account or send me a private message!

Jerry Beck

"That sounds logical!"
Wonderful write-up on DOGVILLE COMEDIES, Nelson!

I highly recommend to all of you to watch the documentary ADDED ATTRACTIONS (which TCM is premiering this month) and if possible record all the shorts they are running. They will rarely run this stuff again!

My recommendations are the JOE McDOKES comedies which will air on Feb. 19th starring George (George Jetson) O'Hanlon - and the Technicolor Shorts (I think airing the same day), especially if you want to see Vernon Dent in Technicolor, singing!,3598,65|63|9288|9328,00.html


KrAzY KaT has been found
Well, Thanks Jerry and it means a lot to me that you liked iy very much :) :) :) This one series that I hope that all of my TTTP family will watch and enjoy very much.These Dogville shorts are the rarest pieces of film that you'll ever see and these shorts may not be shown for a very long time, so I urge everyone to tape the DVC tomorrow night and everything else for the month long tribute to short subjects!


KrAzY KaT has been found
The one "Dogville" short that is a must to record is the 1931 MGM release is "TRADER HOUND"...This is the only censored DVC short to feature racial stereotypes throughout the entire picture and is rarely shown on TCM.I think that the last time this two-reeler has aired on TCM, was over two and a half years ago and will defintely be shown during the DVC marathon, so this a must tape for your video library :bosko:


In the late '80's-early '90's, TNT used to show shorts early in the morning if there was time to fill after a movie. "Hot Dog" and "Two Barks Brothers" were played over and over again, but none of the others were shown. I'm looking forward to seeing these...... if my friend comes through and tapes them for me tonight!


KrAzY KaT has been found
Enjoy show tonight fellas! :)

You'll be seeing wonderful and RARE classsic gems they hardly get any air play on tv or video.I hope thay everyone tapes the "Dogville Comedies" marathon and please enjoy these treasures for your video library!


And let me know what everybody thought of the films

12:30am(et) 9:30pm(pt)
Originally posted by Nelson
Enjoy show tonight fellas! :)
I will try to check out some of these shorts.

I noticed TCM has some shorts to watch online, including a "Dogville Comedy" on their website (click on "Video Playlist").

They also have two MGM cartoons available to view: "Bottles" and "The Cat Concerto".



KrAzY KaT has been found
I certainly hope that everyone was able to watch (or tape) "The Dogville Comedies" last night on TCM and was treated to the rare and uncensored PIC shorts.I wanna know everyone's thoughts that have managed to see the classic shorts. and I hope that you liked the comedies. :)


Flute Player
I watched two of the Dogville Comedies shorts last night, All Quiet on the Canine Front and the one where that one dog's boss frames him of murder and he is sent to prison. They were both pretty good. I also noticed that the music that played at the beginning of "Canine Front" was the same music that played at the end title of The Blitz Wolf.

Greg Method

Square Dance Caller
I found them to be bizarrely fascinating, like watching an obscure bad late night movie.

It was very cool hearing the Billy Bletcher voices, although my ears did a sort of double-take when that one dog in "Dogville Murder Case" started talking and sounded very much like Mel Blanc! (I listened closely afterward, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't him) :)

I can't wait to see what else TCM is going to have up their sleeves. Who else wouldn't want a night of George O'Hanlon's "So You Want to..." "educational" shorts?


KrAzY KaT has been found
What is very interesting about the way the dog's mouth movements in the shorts was that the film makers(White & Myers) would put peanut butter in the dog's mouths and that's how the dogs would talk.Another note:The "Dogville" shorts were MGM's most expensive shorts to be made during the late 20s and early 30s.
I haven't watched them yet, but I did get the last hour or so of "Dogville Comedies" on tape. It looks like I managed to record "Trader Hound" (it was the last short shown in the block). I will have to sit down and watch 'em later this weekend. :)

I also enjoyed some of those Robert Benchley shorts they aired earlier in the evening.



KrAzY KaT has been found
What I'll do for the rest of the month, I will post (on Mondays) tuesday's line up of shorts, so that way if there is a certain block of shorts that you wan't to see just check my post for the schedule.


KrAzY KaT has been found
During last night's telecast, I have noticed some very bizzarre things in the "Dogville" shorts...such as

THE DOGWAY MELODY(1930) When Mr. Curr doesn't get a kiss from Queenie, he starts to choke her..

THE DOG HOUSE(1930) Really cool scene in where the dogs are actually driving cars with no strings attached.

TWO BARKS BROTHERS(1931) The scene where one of the dogs actually has a lit cigarette in his mouth and blowing smoke.

Now keep in mind, that prior before the marathon started, I have only viewed six DV shorts and now I have all nine shorts.The bad part is that TCM rarely show's these films and I do hope that everyone taped these classic gems.

Did anyone else find anything weird in some of the shorts???


- - - - - - -
Ah poo. I remembered to record it, but I made the mistake of using a video that only had about a half hour left on it! :(


KrAzY KaT has been found
I have all nine "Dogville" shorts (uncut & uncensored) on video, so if anybody wants copies, e-mail me here or sedn a private message.

Renee Renfro

New Member
This was my grandpa! I never knew him but my dad barely remembers him. He had that natural instinct on animals and it runs in the family! My dad is an animal trainer and so was my great uncle Ray who did the birds.


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