The idea for the picture came about when producer Jed Buell overheard an employee of his production company, Spectrum Pictures, bemoaning the state of the film business and remarking that "if this economy doesn't turn around, we'll have to start making pictures with midgets". Buell loved the idea and put in motion what eventually became this film. See more »
When the dwarves are playing their musical instruments, the guy playing the cello gets his bow stuck in the strings and has to fight like mad to get it out. But the music continues. See more »
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... )
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