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Derby Day (I) (1923)

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After the gang goes to the horse races, they decide to have a derby of their own.



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Title: Derby Day (1923)

Derby Day (1923) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Credited cast:
Joe Cobb ...
Joe (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Jackie Condon ...
Jackie (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Mickie (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Jack Davis ...
Jack (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Allen 'Farina' Hoskins ...
Farina (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Mary Kornman ...
Mary (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Ernest Morrison ...
Ernie 'Sammy' (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Sonny Loy ...
Sing Joy (as Hal Roach's Rascals)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lassie Lou Ahern ...
Girl Applauding Band
Charles A. Bachman ...
Richard Daniels ...
William Gillespie ...
Mary's father (the horse owner)
Wallace Howe ...
Gate attendant
Billy Lord ...
Kid With Camera (unconfirmed)
Gabe Saienz ...


With a little bit of capital (specifically fifty cents) the gang is able to set up a lemonade stand and an adjoining hot dog stand near a race track. Mary stops by for some lemonade, while nearly charming the boys out of their socks. As the daughter of a horse owner, she manages to sneak them inside the track to watch the race. The whole thing is terribly exciting; and it gives Mickey an idea. The gang quickly abandons the idea of selling food and drink. Instead, they create their own race track. Of course, their own derby day is not quite like the adult version. Instead of horses, one boy has a cow, another a mule; a third rides in cart driven by a goat and a fourth in a dog-driven cart. Farina, whose vehicle is a tricycle, spikes the water of some of the animals beforehand. Before the race is through, the animals will be too drunk, lazy or overworked to finish. The horse race becomes a foot race. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

race track | horse race | derby | boy | mule | See more »


Short | Comedy | Family | Sport




Release Date:

18 November 1923 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Little Jockeys  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Mickey: The lemonade is great! Nobody'll ever know the pup fell in it ~
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User Reviews

A sweet, engaging comedy from the silent-era Our Gang kids
16 March 2002 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

Baby Boomers who grew up watching the "Little Rascals" on TV will remember the gang as Spanky, Darla, Buckwheat, Pete the Pup with the ring painted around his eye, and of course Alfalfa, with his dorky hair and off-key singing. Some of those viewers might be surprised to learn that the Hal Roach Studios had been producing Our Gang comedies (as they were originally called) for some 15 or so years by the time that particular group of kids was in place. In fact, dozens of silent Our Gang films were made before Spanky, Alfalfa et al. had even been born. The series entries of the early 1920s bear a family resemblance to the later shorts, but are markedly different in other ways. DERBY DAY is one of the earliest and best of the Our Gang films which features the original silent-era kids, and is well worth seeking out.

Perhaps the biggest difference in the silent comedies is the general looseness of the proceedings. Where the Alfalfa/Darla talkies of the late '30s are tightly plotted sitcoms, often with a moralistic bent, the silent two-reelers are more spontaneous, even haphazard-- and the kids themselves are refreshingly scruffy; several of them don't look at all like well-scrubbed, cutesy child actors. It's also a plus that they don't have to memorize and recite dialog like the later kids. The gang is racially mixed, which occasionally leads to some stereotypical sight gags and dialog titles in thick dialect, but, at least in the entries I've seen, the atmosphere tends to be pretty good natured. There are two African-American child actors present in DERBY DAY, Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison and Farina Hoskins (still a toddler at this point), and they're as much a part of the gang as the others. This film also features a Chinese boy who appeared in two or three other Our Gang comedies of the period, and although we might wince when the title card tells us he's popular with the gang because they can all beat him up, in the scenes that follow he's treated in a friendly enough fashion. For the Hollywood of 1923, that's about as progressive as it gets where race relations are concerned.

DERBY DAY follows a simple two-part structure: in the first half the kids witness an actual horse race, and in the second half they stage one of their own, with tricycles and neighborhood pets pulling wagons. The climactic race is quite enjoyable to watch, although animal-lovers might get a little uncomfortable with the rugged handling some of the pets seem to be getting --still, it appears that no one, child or beast, got hurt. In fact, they all look like they're having a pretty good time.

Maybe the best thing about the silent Our Gang comedies is that you don't have to listen to Alfalfa sing. I'm one Baby Boomer who never found that kid funny.

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