The episode: “Gunslinger,” ep. 511
The riff: Realized by Joel as a horse rider is silhouetted in the extreme background of the shot, looking very small indeed.
The explanation: Well, here’s a weird one. “The Terror of Tiny Town” was a 1938 musical western, notable for being the only film of its kind of ever star…an entire cast of midget/dwarf/little people actors. That’s right, this exploitation western had nothing but actors with the medical condition of dwarfism. Many of them were members of the “Singer Midgets” troupe, which would appear the following year as the Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz.” So basically, if you gave the Munchkins their own movie and set it in the American Wild West, this is that film.
Novelty factor: I am blown away by this one. It’s unbelievable how callous and tone-deaf the Hollywood of this period could be. On the other hand, I’m sure these actors were glad for the work at the time. But watching this makes me feel dirty. The entire film is available on YouTube, if you’re curious.