Old Movie Teams

Weren’t they also in that other movie?

Dorothy Short & Dave O’Brien

Dorothy Short and Dave O’Brien are perhaps best known from the 1936 cult classic Reefer Madness (a film sometimes known by its original title Tell Your Children). In the film, Mr. O’Brien, as Ralph, attempts to force his affections, among other things, on Ms. Short, who plays Mary. His attempt fails and Mary is subsequently and inadvertently shot to death by her brother Jimmy, played by Warren McCollum. The entire debacle (a term that could perhaps be applied more appropriately to the entire film) is, of course, blamed on the evils of smoking marijuana. Ironically, Mr. O’Brien and Ms. Short were husband and wife (only recently married) when filming that movie. They would continue to be husband and wife until their divorce in 1954, right about the time when they made their final screen appearance together. The parts they play sometimes put them at arms length, one against the other, and sometimes put them in one another’s arms. Sometimes they find themselves in each other’s arms while struggling to be at arms length. Reefer Madness is a case in point. Other times they find themselves at arms length while struggling to be in each others arms. Spooks Run Wild (1941) and the serial Captain Midnight (1942) provide examples of that phenomenon. In all, they appear together in 11 feature-length movies, 2 serials, and at least 17 short-subject films (mostly of the Pete Smith Specialties variety).


Student Tour (1934)
She Married Her Boss (1935)
Reefer Madness (1936)
Brothers of the West (1937)
Where the Buffalo Roam (1938)
The Singing Cowgirl (1938)
Daughter of the Tong (1939)
Code of the Cactus (1939)
Phantom Rancher (1940)
Spooks Run Wild (1941)
Buzzy and the Phantom Pinto (1941)


The Mystery Pilot (1937)
Captain Midnight (1942)


Victory Vittles (1942)
Fixin’ Tricks (1943)
I Love My Husband, But! (1946)
I Love My Wife But! (1947)
I Love My Mother-in-Law But… (1948)
Let’s Cogitate (1948)
Just Suppose (1948)
Why Is It? (1948)
How Come? (1949)
A Wife’s Life (1950)
Wanted: One Egg (1950)
That’s What You Think (1951)
Bargain Madness (1951)
In Case You’re Curious (1951)
Fixin’ Fool (1951)
Sweet Memories (1952)
Things We Can Do Without (1953)

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