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The Three Stooges  




Columbia, 1938.  Directed by Charley Chase.  Camera:  Allen G. Siegler.  With Curly Howard, Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Bess Flowers, Lane Chandler, Vernon Dent, Bud Jamison, Cy Schindell.

Before heading on vacation with wife and child, a man takes his dog to be washed.  Cut to a sign reading "K-9 Dog Laundry.  Dogs Washed While U  50 cents Clipping Curling Simonizing $1.00."  The Stooges operate the automated washer, with a conveyor belt and six hands, which not only soap up the dog but flip him over and scrub his belly.  Sporting raincoat and umbrella, Curly supplies the water, pedaling a bike to produce the rinse.

The boys wind up finding a baby on a doorstep (the mother, the wife of the dog owner, is locked out and leaves the tot on the doorstep while she runs to open the back door).  They decide to take the kid to a police station but first sneak it into their rooming house, which does not allow children.  Naturally, the headlines declare the kid has been kidnapped.

Curly dresses in drag—his hilariously skinny legs require Moe and Larry to stuff his stockings with sponges.  Suddenly, he's Mrs. Dennis O'Toole from Ireland.  Introduced to an Irish cop who calls the kid "a fine brat of a lad," the cop asks if he's on the bottle yet.  "I should say not, he don't drink, smoke, or chew," says his sponge-legged mom.  curly gets soaked with a hose, and his legs swell, giving away his disguise.

Then the chase is on.  Moe and Larry disguise themselves as Chinese laundrymen, wheeling Curly and the kid in a laundry cart.  Once the baby's recovered, the mother realizes what happened and the boys are cleared.  But the kid's filthy, and he's taken to the automated washing center.  Curly pulls an extra handle, and the six scrubbing hands begin spanking the tot..

The Three Stooges
An Illustrated History,
by Michael Fleming
Broadway Books 1999