IMDb > 20,000 Cheers for the Chain Gang (1933)

20,000 Cheers for the Chain Gang (1933) More at IMDbPro »


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Cyrus Wood (story) and
A. Dorian Otvos (story)
View company contact information for 20,000 Cheers for the Chain Gang on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 August 1933 (USA) See more »
Four convicts escape from a chain gang. Shortly thereafter, changes are made at the prison, because... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Successful absurdist mockery of I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang See more (6 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Jerry Bergen ... Jerry
The Rollickers ... The Rollickers
Novia ... Jerry's Wife
The Pickens Sisters ... The Pickens Sisters
Helen Pickens ... One of the Pickens Sisters
Jane Pickens ... One of the Pickens Sisters
Patti Pickens ... One of the Pickens Sisters
The Vitaphone Boys and Girls ... Picnickers
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Harry Shannon ... Warden
James Baskett ... Vocalist (uncredited)

Directed by
Roy Mack 
Writing credits
Cyrus Wood (story) and
A. Dorian Otvos (story)

Cinematography by
Edwin B. DuPar  (as E.B. DuPar)
Other crew
Harry Crosley .... dances by

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Broadway Brevities (1932-1933 season) #25: 20,000 Cheers for the Chain Gang" - USA (series title)
See more »
20 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Vitaphone production reels #1535-1536.See more »
Movie Connections:
Ballin' the ChainSee more »


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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
Successful absurdist mockery of I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, 9 July 2005
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City

This is a 20-minute long spoof of I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932), directed by Roy Mack and starring Jerry Bergen. It is now available on DVD as an extra on I Am a Fugitive.

Because this is also a Warner Brothers production, Mack actually begins with a shot, under the titles, from I Am a Fugitive--of the chain gang working along a curved dirt road on a hill. It segues right away to the main character's existence in the chain gang, and spoofs the scene of James Allen's (Paul Muni) escape. Bergen's character, also named Jerry, runs through the woods with three other men. Instead of bloodhounds, the prison guards run after them with poodles and a Lassie-like collie. Eventually, state officials are scheduled to visit the chain gang facility to make sure that everything is kosher. The warden implements "a few changes". The changes are very amusing, as they turn the prison into more of a resort/country club.

20,000 Cheers for the Chain Gang is best watched immediately after I Am a Fugitive. Many of the funniest scenes work because of the changes they make to the original film. However, there is a hilarious original "soda song" (which I would suspect might have been spoofing an early theatrical commercial) that supplies our heroes with the straws they will need for hiding in the swamp, and later on, 20,000 Cheers becomes something of a vaudeville review.

At times, 20,000 Cheers plays a bit seriously--I didn't know anything about it when I first started watching it and thought it might have been just another chain gang film, and some of the musical performances are fairly serious. But the straighter moments are just as enjoyable, and they help emphasize the comedy. Quite often, the humor depends on gradually pulling serious material more and more towards absurdism.

The only downside to this short is that there's not more of it. It's good enough that a feature length spoof of I Am a Fugitive would have worked well.

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