Remembering the Past Australia

The Kid Stakes 1927

Written and Directed by Tal Ordell (1880-1948)


The Kid Stakes is a 1927 Australian silent black and white comedy film written and directed by Tal Ordell. The film is a fast-moving tale of the lives of typically Australian children, based on the adventures of “Fatty Finn”, who was known throughout the Commonwealth through the comic strip of Syd. Nicholls, the “Sunday News” cartoonist.

The majority of the shooting locations for The Kid Stakes were in Woolloomooloo and Potts Point in Sydney; however, the film’s finale, the goat race, was filmed in Rockhampton, Queensland, because goat racing was illegal in New South Wales.

The plot hinges around the designs of Bruiser Murphy to prevent Fatty’s champion goat, “Hector”, from competing against “Stonker”, the private property of Bruiser himself. How Fatty and his beloved “Hector” travel to the track in an aeroplane, right a “gone-wrong” love affair, and eventually win the big race, are some of the great scenes of “The Kid Stakes” which can be recommended as a riot of mirth.”

The role of Fatty Finn was played by Tal Ordell’s six-year-old son Robin, known as ‘Pop’ Ordell. Robin Ordell went on to become a star of Sydney radio in the 1930s. He then joined the Royal Australian Air Force and won a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). He was killed in the Netherlands in 1945 at about the age of 24.

The cast also included: Charles Roberts, Eileen Alexander, Ray Simon, Leonard Durell, Frank Boyd, Billy Ireland, Eileen Alexander, Jimmy Taylor, Tad Ordell, Syd Nicholls (as himself), and David Nettheim.

The film premiered at the Wintergarden Theatre in Brisbane on 9 June 1927. The movie was thought lost until rediscovered in 1952.

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