Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Free Wheeling


The prop department at Hal Roach and MGM always outdid themselves in these little two-reelers. Here they create a donkey-powered taxi, a typical Rube Goldberg machine with ingenious linkages, cobbled together out of scraps and covered with misspelled words. The plot: A rich kid with a hypochondriac mother who is convinced he is sickly just wants to go out and play with Stymie and the gang. It is one of the few times I’ve ever seen that Stymie’s race is mentioned. To the mother he is “that little colored boy.”