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Wrong Way Butch (1950)

Approved | | Short, Comedy | 2 September 1950 (USA)
Ingenious humankind has built numerous safeguards into tools and machinery used in modern industry, big and small, but those devices cannot protect one from one's own carelessness, as ... See full summary »


Dave O'Brien (as David Barclay)


Julian Harmon (original story), Dave O'Brien (original story) (as David Barclay) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Pete Smith ... Narrator (voice) (as a Smith named Pete)
Dave O'Brien ... Butch


Ingenious humankind has built numerous safeguards into tools and machinery used in modern industry, big and small, but those devices cannot protect one from one's own carelessness, as demonstrated by this movie's everyman, Wrong Way Butch, working in a machine shop. Butch is easily distracted or just isn't watching what he is doing when he should be focused on the use of the tool in hand. He chooses the wrong tool for the job, and wears inappropriate clothing. Even with those safety devices such as a lathe guard, he does not use them to protect himself. Without authorization, he uses machines which he has no idea how to operate and knows nothing of their working condition. He will take short cuts through restricted areas of the shop where hazards unknown to him exist. And he doesn't tidy up his work area leaving potential hazards for himself and others. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy



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Having six fingers or six toes is called Hexadactyly. Having six fingers or toes is one of the most common congenital malformations. See more »

Crazy Credits

[Intro] "American industry has developed amazing devices to go with its amazing tools. Machines can do practically everything for us -- except safeguard us from our own carelessness. Too many of us are like Wrong Way Butch in this picture. He lived -- but never learned. From his experience, we can still learn to live -- in safety." Eric Johnston, President, Motion Picture Association of America See more »


References Calling Dr. Kildare (1939) See more »

User Reviews

Hilarious demonstration of how not to perform shop work...
28 August 2008 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

The Department of Labor was behind this amusing short wherein actor/writer DAVE O'BRIEN plays a bumbling steel plant worker who makes one careless mistake after another while handling dangerous tools.

Played strictly for laughs, it also served as a public safety announcement and was rightfully Oscar nominated in the best short film category. Like all of these Pete Smith specialties, it's well scripted and fun to watch.

A hammering distraction has him hurting his nail when a pretty blonde walks by; his tie gets caught in machinery at the machine shop while wearing loose clothing; he hits the pedal on several machines, activating them before he can get out of the way; gets struck by flying pieces of hot metal at the welding shop; and takes a short cut through a plating room with disastrous results.

Through it all, O'Brien does physical comedy as well as anyone in the business and is delightful as "wrong way Butch."

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Release Date:

2 September 1950 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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