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Film / Wrong Way Butch

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Wrong Way Butch is a 1950 short film (ten minutes) directed by Dave O'Brien (credited as David Barclay), produced by Pete Smith.

It's one of the many "Pete Smith Special" short films that Smith turned out for MGM for over 20 years. In this one, produced in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Smith demonstrates unsafe workplace practices. A factory worker named Butch (Dave O'Brien, credited under his real name), bumbles around a factory floor, with various unfortunate consequences. Get distracted by a hot babe in a tight sweater, and you might whack your fingers with a hammer. Leave an acetylene torch out on the floor, and you might give yourself a hotfoot. Get careless around a mechanical ram, and that ram might just give you a whack in the skull. The climax comes when Butch operates a vertical saw, his vulnerable fingers creeping ever closer to the blade.


  • Agony of the Feet: Butch narrowly avoids lopping off a toe with a chisel, but he does give himself a hotfoot when he steps on an acetylene torch.
  • Anti-Role Model: Poor Butch is a living illustration of what can happen to a worker on a factory floor who doesn't take elementary safety precautions. Don't lose focus around a mechanical saw!
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Butch gawks at a gorgeous young woman who walks by, and as a result, pounds his own finger with a hammer.
  • Extra Digits: One gag has Butch drive a chisel through the toe of his shoe. The shoe being nailed to the floor, he pulls his foot out, and confirms that his toes are unharmed. All six of them.
  • Fainting: Ends with Butch fainting after realizing how close he came to slicing off his finger with a saw.
  • Fingore: Butch hits his finger with a hammer. Later, he nearly slices a finger off with a mechanical saw, then faints dead away when he realizes how close he came.
  • "I Can't Look!" Gesture: The verbal equivalent. As Butch's fingers creep ever closer to the band saw, Pete Smith's narration ends. Instead a graphic appears on the screen saying "My friends, this I can't watch, so I'll give it to you in titles."
  • Instructional Film: A humorous "what not to do" take on workplace safety.
  • Narrator: As usual with a Pete Smith film, no dialogue, but instead Pete Smith's droll narration.
  • Shout-Out: The film ends with Butch fainting from terror, and a sign flashing on screen that says "Call Dr. Kildare."
  • Squashed Flat: Parodied. Careless Butch, reaching to the floor, balances by putting his hand on a mechanical press. Butch accidentally presses the foot pedal and the press slams down. Cut to a shot of Butch's glove, squashed flat on the press—but Butch's hand is no longer in it as he took the glove off.