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  • In the 16th episode of Hal Roach's Spat Family series, Frank Butler, Laura Roessing and her brother, Sidney D'Albrook, order a fire engine from a mail catalogue. I'm not sure why, because I saw a seven-minute cut-down of the two-reel comedy. Probably they meant to order something else and the fire engine came and they decided to keep it, like a large dog that had followed them home. In any case, they spend the time on screen using the machine to destroy the neighborhood and then discover their own house is on fire.

    Hal Roach's studio was the home many great comedy series. It was there that Harold Lloyd learned to take a fall, where Our Gang got together and where Laurel met Hardy. Other fine comics worked there, like Charley Chase and Max Davidson and Thelma Todd. The Spat Family was a good idea that didn't work out, like the Dippy-Do-Dads, and like that series, Roach gave it a couple of years and then moved on to more promising ideas.