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The Terror of Tiny Town (1938)

3.5
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Ratings: 3.5/10 from 1,161 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 23 critic

An evil gunslinging midget comes to terrorize the good little people of Tiny Town. The townspeople organize to defeat him, and zany antics ensue

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(original screenplay), (added dialogue)
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Title: The Terror of Tiny Town (1938)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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)
...
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)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jed Buell's Midgets
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Storyline

An evil gunslinging midget comes to terrorize the good little people of Tiny Town. The townspeople organize to defeat him, and zany antics ensue Written by Lleij Schwartz <lleijs@hopper.unh.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

LIttle guys with big guns!

Genres:

Musical | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 December 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

De schrik van Lilliputstad  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

When Buck Lawson stops the stage coach and then drives it away, he leaves his horse behind. See more »

Quotes

The Sheriff: I'm warnin' you, Tex. Don't start no trouble in town.
The Rich Uncle (Jim 'Tex' Preston): I don't want trouble. But I won't run away from it, either!
See more »

Connections

Edited into Speak of the Devil (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Mister Jack and Missus Jill
Written by Lew Porter
See more »

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User Reviews

Typical oater with an all-dwarf cast
28 April 2001 | by (Beverly, MA) – See all my reviews

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... )


16 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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