Those Terrible Twins, as they appear in the opening moments of the film.
In July 1925, a new Australian-made film made its debut in Sydney. Advertisements truncated its rather unwieldy official title, Those Terrible Twins, Ginger Meggs and Bluey, and were cagey about its subject matter. Directed by the Sydney-based J.E. Ward, it received minimal publicity in Sydney and little more in Brisbane, where it appeared in August that year. After a handful of showings in regional Australia during the later 1920s, it disappeared without trace and was largely forgotten.
To coincide with an exhibition on Ginger Meggs, the Australian National Film and Sound Archives released most of the extant footage of Those Terrible Twins, the only known silent film to feature the comic strip character known as ‘Australia’s Favourite Boy’. It was news to me that anything survived of this intriguing production, let alone enough to get an idea of its storyline and approach.
We do not even have a complete list of the cast and crew for Those Terrible Twins, and much about the production remains a mystery. Who instigated the film? Who funded it? For fans of the red-headed larrikin, one question is the most obvious of all: since when did Ginger Meggs have a twin? In seeking answers to these questions, some surprising discoveries have already been made - including the fact that the ‘Ginger Meggs’ movie is not truly a Ginger Meggs movie at all.
This series of articles attempts to answer some of these questions, and make intelligent guesses about the ones that remain.