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The Three Stooges





Columbia, 1934.  Directed by Ray McCarey.  Camera:  Henry Freulich.  With Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Lucille Ball, Gertie Green, Phyllis Crane, Harry Bowen, Lynton Brent, Bobby Burns, Charles Dorety, Milt Douglas, Oscar "Dutch" Hendrian, William Irving, Johnny Kascier, Jack "Tiny" Lipson, Walter Long, Roger Moore, Jimmy Phillips.

Opens with a headline:  "Joe Slack's Tigers to Meet Cubs in Professional Football Classic."  Joe, a tough-guy gangster, has $50,000 on the game, but his "three backs got plastered and wound up in a ditch."  A young Lucille Ball, who appears to be blond, suggests he head to Boulder Dam College to sign up the horsemen.  Cut to the boys.

In what is to become a common entry to many shorts, they are begging, to no avail.  Curly finally holds up a guy by using a finger in his jacket pocket, only to hear, "I haven't got a dime, it's the Depression."  Curly replies, "You're talking depression, and me here with a gun without bullets."  Curly winds up with a fist to the face, sprawled on the sidewalk.  Larry tries his luck getting a job playing violin in a bar.

Asked for his credentials, Larry says to the barkeep, "Did you ever hear 'Snow, Snow, Beautiful Snow'?"  "Did you write it?" he is asked.  "No, I shoveled it," Fine replies.  Soon enough, the trio, lured to the hotel room of Slack's three molls, is dressed in drag trying to woo the women.  Slack and his two gun-toting pals chase them, leading to a hilarious fall down a dumbwaiter shaft.  They're mistaken for the horsemen and are soon in football uniforms.  Curly's number is ?, Larry , and Moe H2O2.  Their incompetence on the gridiron quickly becomes evident, and the short ends with Slack shooting at the fleeing Stooges.  Interestingly, the original script concluded with a scene in which the Stooges recounted the story for their children, three pint-sized Stooge look-alikes, who engage in their own battle at the short's close.  If filmed, that footage remained on the cutting room floor.

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