Few categories are as symptomatic of the often bewildering diversity of short-subject content during the sound era as the novelty, a designation that covered any short or short-subject series of unusual appeal. Although hardly without precedent before sound’s advent, the novelty short achieved particular utility in the 1930s for exhibitors seeking to sustain variety in their film programs. Some novelty series were thematically consistent, with a sustained focus on an unclassifiable topic (e.g., Educational’s As a Dog Thinks series, which offered “human interest stories about dogs,” or RKO’s Dumb-Bell Letters, one-reel compendia of odd letters received by American businesses). Others followed a more grab-bag approach, combining a handful of entertainment odds and ends into a single reel (e.g., Warners’ Pepper Pots, Educational’s Hodge-Podge shorts). Others still pursued a somewhat more serious-minded approach, such as MGM’s Miniatures, where the “Miniatures” designation was used as a shell category encompassing both amusing one-offs (e.g., Robert Benchley’s MGM debut, How to Sleep ) and occasional sub-series of informative interest (e.g., the Historical Mysteries miniseries [1937-1938]).