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So You Want to Build a House (1948)

Joe McDoakes decides to build his own home. As the project progresses, he sees his dream house turn into a nightmare.


(as Richard Bare)


(as Richard Bare)


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Complete credited cast:
Joe McDoakes
Narrator (voice)


Joe and Alice McDoakes have twenty-six days until they are evicted from their apartment, with no alternative housing yet in sight. Alice convinces a skeptical and penniless Joe that with current financing, he can build a house for them for next to nothing. From the home designer to the loan officer to the completion bond broker to the lot appraiser to the building inspector, Joe finds that the process isn't as straight forward as Alice implied, while he signs his life away at every turn. But a little advice from someone in the know may make the process easier and the end product come to fruition... or not. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Short





Release Date:

15 May 1948 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Vitaphone Production Reel #1606-A. See more »


Followed by So You Want to Be in Politics (1948) See more »


I Know That You Know
Music by Vincent Youmans
Played during the opening credits and at the end
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User Reviews

Home Ownership; Once Just A Dream For Depression Era Kids.....
8 February 2016 | by See all my reviews

ALTHOUGH THEY AREN'T specifically mentioned, it is our G.I.'s who are both the prime sales target and the moving force behind it. The desire for home ownership, once only a sort of unrealistic 'pipedream', now had become a commonplace reality. The Congress had provided the financial mechanism via affordable mortgage provisions in various G.I. Bills.

THE SHORT OPENS up in usual manner. Joe and Alice Mc Doakes (George O'Hanlon & Harker respectively) are engaged in a kitchenette debate about moving from rented apartment to a home of their own. An advertisement in the morning newspaper brings them to Andy Mc Goon (Donald Kerr) the Irishman who is the building contractor. *

THEN WE FIND a chain reaction of Joe having to go to legal representation, the financial in$titution and, finally, the local building inspection department.

AS IS THE case in many gags that we see in a comedy like these, so much of the material is obvious. The conclusion finds Joe and Alice in their new., pre-fabricated, do-it-yourself cottage. As we who know Joe so well might well have expected, the "pre-fab" parts are less than perfect in their meshing together.

SO IT IS that Writer-Director Richard L.Bare and collaborator, Writer/Actor George O'Hanlon, once again prove themselves to be the champions of that venerable relic from the Silent Screen, the Sight Gag. This Mc DOAKES installment proves this to be true, with a great Super-Sight Gag ending.

NOTE: * We must protest! Why are building contractors always portrayed as shady, shanty Irishmen? This is much in the same tradition as calling the Police Patrol Transport vehicles "Paddy Wagons!" (Please folks, we're just kidding! Please send no nasty complaint letters!)

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