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The Kid Stakes

The Kid Stakes
The Kid Stakes title screen.
Directed by Tal Ordell
Produced by Tal Ordell
Virgil Coyle
Written by Tal Ordell
Based on comic strip characters created by Syd Nicholls
Starring Robin 'Pop' Ordell
Eileen Alexander
Frank Boyd
Leonard Durell
Syd Nicholls
Tad Ordell
Cinematography Arthur Higgins
Ordell-Coyle Productions
Release date
  • 9 June 1927 (1927-06-09)[1]
Running time
76 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget ₤4,000[2]

The Kid Stakes is a 1927 Australian silent black and white comedy film written and directed by Tal Ordell.[3]

The screenplay is based on characters created by Syd Nicholls[3] in his comic strip, Fatty Finn.


Plot summaryEdit

Fatty Finn (Robin 'Pop' Ordell) is the six-year-old leader of a gang of kids in Woolloomooloo. They enter Fatty's pet goat Hector in the annual goat derby, but his rival Bruiser Murphy (Frank Boyd) lets the goat loose before the race. After a series of adventures, Fatty finds the runaway goat and persuades a friendly aviator to fly him to the race-track in time for the main event.[4]


  • Robin 'Pop' Ordell as Fatty Finn
  • Charles Roberts as Tiny King
  • Eileen Alexander as Madeline Twirt[5]
  • Ray Salmon as Jimmy Kelly
  • Leonard Durell as Constable Claffey
  • Frank Boyd as Bruiser Murphy
  • Billy Ireland as Seasy
  • Eileen Alexander as Madeline Twirt
  • Jimmy Taylor as Horatio John Wart
  • Tad Ordell as Radio race-caller
  • Syd Nicholls as self
  • David Nettheim as Baby In Pram [6]


The majority of the shooting locations for The Kid Stakes were in Woolloomooloo and Potts Point in Sydney.

The film's finale, the goat race, however was filmed in Rockhampton, Queensland, because goat racing was illegal in New South Wales.[7][8]

The role of Fatty Finn was played by Tal Ordell's six-year-old son Robin, known as 'Pop' Ordell.[2]


The film premiered at the Wintergarden Theatre in Brisbane on 9 June 1927.[9] The now defunct weekly magazine, Pix, in its review states "Kid Stakes brings back the Sydney of the 1920s. They were all on parade; the ragged urchins, the brawling and the free-fisted characters of the waterfront."[10]

Ordell sold the remake rights to England and had discussions to make a talking version in 1930. However this did not eventuate and Ordell never directed another feature.[11]

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 over the Netherlands in 1945 at about the age of 24.

The movie was thought lost until rediscovered in 1952.[12] It was re-released two years later.[13]

The Kid Stakes was remade as Fatty Finn in 1980.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "WINTERGARDEN THEATRE". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 9 June 1927. p. 22. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 135.
  3. ^ a b "The Kid Stakes – Principal Credits". Australian Screen. National Film & Sound Archive. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  4. ^ ""THE KID STAKES."". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 10 April 1928. p. 14. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  5. ^ ""FATTY FINN" FILM STAR IS NOW SYDNEY HOUSEWIFE". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 16 September 1954. p. 7 Section: Women's Section. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ ""THE KID STAKES."". The Morning Bulletin. Rockhampton, Qld.: National Library of Australia. 5 February 1927. p. 8. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  8. ^ ""THE KID STAKES."". The Morning Bulletin. Rockhampton, Qld.: National Library of Australia. 4 February 1927. p. 8. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  9. ^ "The Kid Stakes – Clip 3". Australian Screen. National Film & Sound Archive. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  10. ^ Morris, Frank. "Film Greats: Fatty Finn arises as comic character zooms into film world". Grand Pacific Tours. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "THE PLAYHOUSE". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 13 February 1930. p. 11. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "For Six People, The Past Came Back". The Sunday Herald. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 7 December 1952. p. 14. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Old Film Comedy Is Sydney Satire". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 13 September 1954. p. 2. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  • Murray, Scott, ed. (1994). Australian Cinema. St.Leonards, NSW.: Allen & Unwin/AFC. p. 264. ISBN 1-86373-311-6. 

External linksEdit