Grandad Rudd

Grandad Rudd is a 1935 comedy featuring the Dad and Dave characters created by Steele Rudd and based on a play by Rudd. It was a sequel to On Our Selection, and was later followed by Dad and Dave Come to Town and Dad Rudd, MP.

Grandad Rudd
Directed byKen G. Hall
Produced byKen G. Hall
Written byVic Roberts
George D. Parker
Based onplay by Steele Rudd
stories Grandpa's Selection and Our New Selection by Steele Rudd
StarringBert Bailey
Fred MacDonald
CinematographyFrank Hurley
George Heath
Edited byWilliam Shepherd
Release date
February 1935
Running time
90 minutes
Budget£8,000[1][2] or £15,000[3]
Box office£18,000[2] or £20,000[4]


The movie's plot is similar to that of the play: Dad Rudd (Bert Bailey) has become a successful father but is very tight with his money and oppresses his sons Dave (Fred MacDonald), Joe (William McGowan) and Dan (George Lloyd). The sons eventually stand up to their father and manage to persuade him to give them a wage increase – but he increases their rent by an equal amount.

As in the play, there is a serious subplot about Dad's grandchild Betty (Elaine Hamill) who becomes engaged to a corrupt neighbour, Henry Cook (John D’Arcy), despite the true love of another farmer, Tom Dalley (John Cameron). The climax involves a comic cricket game involving the Rudds.


  • Bert Bailey as Dad Rudd
  • Fred MacDonald as Dave Rudd
  • George Lloyd as Dan
  • William McGowan as Joe
  • Kathleen Hamilton as Madge
  • Lilias Adeson as Lil
  • Les Warton as Regan
  • Elaine Hamill as Betty
  • John Cameron as Tom
  • John D'Arcy as Henry Cook
  • Molly Raynor as Amelia Banks
  • Bill Stewart as Banks
  • Marie D'Alton as Mrs. Banks
  • Marguerite Adele as Shirley Sanderson
  • George Blackwood as School-Master
  • Ambrose Foster as Young Dave
  • Peggy Yeoman as Mum Rudd

Original play

Gran'dad Rudd
Written bySteele Rudd
Date premiered22 September 1917
Original languageEnglish

The play Gran'dad Rudd was first produced in 1917, being based on the stories Grandpa's Selection and Our New Selection.


The story is set twenty years after the events of the 1912 play, On Our Selection: Dad has become a prosperous farmer and member of Parliament, while Dave has married Lily and become a father. Dad tries to bully Dave and his other son Joe (who has also married), but their wives encourage them to rebel against their father.

There were subplots involving a love triangle between Dad's granddaughter Nell, handsome Tom Dalley, who has invented a potato harvester, and unscrupulous produce agent Henry Cook; the return of a prodigal son, Dan Rudd, keen to claim Dad's estate, and his romance with Amelia Banks; and their neighbours, Mrs Regan and the Banks family.[5]

Original Production

The original production was presented by Bert Bailey and Julius Grant, and saw Bert Bailey and Fred MacDonald repeat their stage roles as Dad and Dave respectively. Making its debut on 22 September 1917, it ran for seven weeks in that city, only ending because the theatre had to vacate for another production. It then toured around the country over the next few years, although it was never as successful as On Our Selection.[6]



The box office success of On Our Selection (1932) saw Cinesound announce plans to make Gran'dad Rudd as a follow up almost immediately, but Steele Rudd issued a statement claiming that since he wrote the play, no movie could be made without his permission.[7] For a time there was talk the second Dad Rudd film would be Rudd's New Selection, but this did not eventuate.[8]

It was originally reported that Bert Bailey and Ken G. Hall would write the script, as they had done for On Our Selection,[9] but eventually the job of adaptation went to Vic Roberts and George D. Parker.

Although Grandad Rudd's production had been planned prior to making Strike Me Lucky (1934), its importance to Cinesound grew when that earlier film failed at the box office and the new studio needed a hit.


Shooting took place over five weeks.[10] On this and the other two Dad Rudd sequels, Cinesound paid Bert Bailey £150 a week plus 25% of the profits.[2]


Ken G Hall later said the film was successful "but it was not in the On Our Selection class as a money-spinner".[11] According to Bert Bailey's obituary, the star thought this drop was caused in part by him playing the role with a clean shaven top lip. "The slight change took him out of character."[2]

The film was released in England under the title of Ruling the Roost.[12]

Cinesound originally intended to follow this movie with a version of Robbery Under Arms but decided not to proceed because of uncertainty arising from a ban the NSW government had on films about bushrangers.[13] The company ended up ceasing production for several months in 1935 to enable Hall to travel to Hollywood and research production methods.


  1. "Counting the Cash in Australian Films"', Everyones 12 December 1934 p 19-20
  2. "Bert Bailey Started In Melodrama And Made A Fortune From A Beard". The Sunday Herald. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 5 April 1953. p. 12. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  3. Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 169.
  4. The Home : an Australian quarterly, Art in Australia, 1920, retrieved 29 March 2019
  5. '"GRAN'DAD RUDD." A HUMOROUS AUSTRALIAN PLAY', The Advertiser (Adelaide), Monday 6 May 1918 p 7
  6. '"GRANDAD RUDD"', The Register (Adelaide), Saturday 27 April 1918 p 10
  7. 'NEW AUSTRALIAN FILM. Statement by Steele Rudd', The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 14 December 1932 p 6
  8. "AUSTRALIAN FILMS." The West Australian (Perth) 20 Feb 1933: 8 accessed 7 December 2011
  9. '"GRANDAD RUDD" Cinesound's New Pictures', The Courier-Mail (Brisbane), Thursday 11 October 1934 p 3
  10. '"GRANDAD RUDD" New Australian Film', Examiner (Launceston) Tuesday 15 January 1935 Edition: DAILY p 4
  11. Ken G. Hall, Directed by Ken G. Hall, Lansdowne Press, 1977 p94
  12. "PICTURES AND PERSONALITIES". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 28 September 1935. p. 5. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  13. "BONUSES FOR FILMS". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 20 October 1934. p. 20. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
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