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Who Killed Doc Robbin?
Curley and His Gang in the Haunted Mansion / Sinister House

USA 1948
produced by
Robert F. McGowan, Hal Roach jr (executive) for Hal Roach Studios/United Artists
directed by Bernard Carr
starring Larry Olsen, Eilene Janssen, Gerald Perreau (= Peter Miles), Ardda Lynwood, Dale Belding, Rene Beard, Donald King, Virginia Grey, Don Castle, Whitford Kane, George Zucco, Paul Hurst, Wilton Graff, Claire Du Brey, Grant Mitchell, James Conaty, Brick Sullivan, William Ruhl, Marshall Ruth, and as gorilla Charles Gemora
story by Robert F.McGowan, screenplay by Maurice Geraghty, Dorothy Davenport, musical director: Heinz Roemheld

Curley and His Gang

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Creepy Doctor Robbin (George Zucco) was killed when his creepy house went up in an explosion, and his assistant Ann Loring (Virginia Grey) is about to be convicted for it - when a bunch of kids (Larry Olsen, Eilene Janssen, Peter Miles, Ardda Lynwood, Dale Belding, Rene Beard, Donald King) storm the courtroom, make a whole mess out of everything, and before they know it, they have seen to it that their best friend Fix-it Dan (Whitford Kane) is arrested for the murder, simply because he was developing an atom bomb with Doc Robbin, but while Robbins wanted to use it for evil, Fix-it wanted to use it for good, only. Of course, noone in court believes anything of the espionage story Fix-it tells them - noone but the kids who figure to relieve Fix-it of all suspicions, they have to break into Doc Robbin's house - which is in amazingly good shape considering it has been blown up at the beginning of the film - and retrieve Fix-it's firing chamber, which for some reason is the key to the whole case. Thing is, Doc Robbin's house is really spooky, the firing chamber is highly explosive (or at least the kids think so), and a chimp and a gorilla (Charles Gemora) are on the loose in the house. After the usual to and fro though that also involves Ann Loring for some reason and her lawyer (Don Castle), Fix-it, who has escaped police custody, arrives at the scene with the police close behind, reveals the gorilla to actually be Doc Robbin in disguise, has him arrested for espionage, has Ann's name cleared (she was actually gathering evidence against Doc Robbin), and everything ends happily.

 

Curley from 1947 and this film were attempts by Hal Roach Studios to bring a team of kids, Curley and His Gang,  along the lines of Our Gang to the big screen, an attempt that ultimately failed, and this film gives able proof why: The jokes and slapstick scenes this film is built on are tired at best, and so sloppily executed one wonders if anyone even cared, the film's story is bad even considering it's little more than a hanger for the kids' jokes and setpieces, and worst of all, the kids are not all that special, not particularly cute, not particularly talented, just your average kids you can probably only be really be into if your love for kids exceeds your common sense. Unsurprisingly, Curley and His Gang were not called back for a third feature.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD