The Three Stooges had a busy May as you know if you read May Part 1 and 2 Short Takes installments. Here we will present the rest of the May film shorts that range 1936 to 1941. Just for fun, we’re presenting these in a different order: From 1941 and working backward to 1936. Just a bit of the Stooge approach: Doing things in a different manner than usual. Which is a running theme throughout their body of work: Taking a path to get the desired result that no one else but The Three Stooges would think of!
The remaining May shorts have The Boys working their slapstick magic as waiters, firemen, prospectors, dentists, window washers, plumbers and even as members of the nouveau riche thanks to winning a contest. They’re even disguised as children and ‘expert witnesses’.
So let’s begin.
All The World’s A Stooge (Released May 16, 1941)
“I can pull it blindfolded.”
Cast & Crew: Starring Larry, Moe & Curly. Credited cast: Lelah Tyler & Emory Parnell. The uncredited cast included Richard Fiske, John Tyrell, Bud Jamison, Olaf Hytten, Simona Boniface, Gwen Seager, Poppie Wilde & Ethelreda Leopold. Produced by Del Lord & Hugh McCollum. Directed by Del Lord. Story and Screenplay by John Grey.
Short Take: The Boys are window washers who, in ‘A coincidence’ as voiced by Curly, act as dentists for a very distressed patient. Somehow the results end up just fine, even though The Boys pull the wrong tooth, cement the patient’s mouth shut and even use dynamite as a dental tool!
They then morph into children as Mrs. Bullion – Lelah Tyler – wants to adopt refugee children. Her husband happens to be the hapless dental patient!
- This was the only appearance in a short for both Lelah Tyler and Emory Parnell, as Mr. & Mrs. Bullion.
- All the World’s A Stooge title is a parody of a line from Shakespeare’s As You Like It: “All the world’s a stage.’ There is even a verbal reference to ballet legend Vaslav Nijinsky.
Yes, We Have No Bonanza (Released May 19, 1939)
“Oh boy, I can see it now. Me coming home from a hard day’s work. I whistle for the dog and my wife comes out.”
Cast & Crew: Larry, Moe & Curly. Credited cast: Dick Curtis & Lynton Brent. Uncredited cast: Vernon Dent, Suzanne Kaaren, Jean Carmen & Lola Jensen. Associate Producer: Jules White. Director: Del Lord. Original Screenplay by Elwood Ullman & Searle Kramer.
Short Take: This short contains a large mix of successful Stooge bits, gags, and setups: The damsel in distress, animals, tools, dynamite, treasure, singing & dancing and a wild chase scene, all in a Western setting. Of course, it is the talents of Larry, Moe & Curly that makes this all work.
The Boys are looking for treasure – gold – so they can rescue three lady co-workers from their crooked boss. Along the way we get an elevation of the hardness of Curly’s head with a close up of the dented pickax. We also get The Boys using dynamite – always an intriguing and, dare we say, an explosive comedic element. Yes…we dared! Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!
There is also the great piece of dialog as The Boys think their burro was killed by the dynamite blast as Moe laments: ‘Poor Yorick. I knew him well’. This is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
- Just in case you didn’t make the connection, the burro’s name was Yorick.
- Notice the credit for Jules White. He was already receiving Director credits but was listed as an Associate Producer. This would change in January 1940 with the release of You Nazty Spy! with the change to Producer in the credits.
- Did You Know: Suzanne Kaaren is probably best remembered for her role as the tap dancing Gail Tempest in The Three Stooges short Disorder In The Court. Jules White saw her dancing and said ‘with those legs you’ve gotta do it (play Gail Tempest)’. ‘Those legs’ were once insured for $1,000,000. One of the original Rockettes, she was on stage for the opening night of Radio City Music Hall in 1932.
Healthy, Wealthy And Dumb (Released May 20, 1938)
“Why didn’t you bring me a softer board.”
Cast & Crew: Larry, Moe & Curly. All the rest of the cast was uncredited: Lucille Lund, Jean Carmen, Erlene Heath, James C. Morton, Bud Jamison & Robert Burns. Associate Producer: Jules White. Directed by Del Lord. Story and Screenplay by: Searle Kramer.
Short Take: This short can be summed up as easy come, easy go as The Boys become part of the nouveau riche with $50,000 in winnings from a radio contest.
We hear the name ‘Curly Howard’ on the radio in Healthy, Wealthy And Dumb. He wins $50,000 from a radio show so The Boys are off to the Hotel Costa Plente to celebrate. They rent the penthouse, don tuxedoes, smoke expensive cigars and drink champagne. Thanks to the hotel bill, the schemes of three gold diggers and then the IRS, they’re left with $4.85!
We get the first collapsing bunk bed and liquid poured out of a Stooge ear in this short. The dialog includes this gem: Moe telling Larry – after Moe smashes a priceless vase with a board – “You should have given me a softer board.”
- The short’s title is a play on words of Ben Franklin’s ‘Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.’ Also: Franklin’s phrase was contained in one of the books he wrote: Early Rising. Or, according to some sources, it first appeared in an edition of his Almanacs. Franklin’s quotation is actually a rework of an Old English aphorism from at least 1496. Then again, that can be traced back to a saying by Aristotle. That would be back in the 4th century BC. Besides laughter and entertainment, you can actually learn cool historical and cultural stuff by paying attention to The Three Stooges! Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk
Disorder In The Court (Released May 30, 1936)
“Take off your hat!”
Cast & Crew: Larry, Moe & Curly. The supporting cast was one of the larger ones for a short. While all uncredited, the cast included many stalwarts including Susan Kaaren, Bud Jamison, Harry Semels, James C. Morton, Al Thompson and Eddie Laughton. Associate Producer: Jules White. Directed by Preston Black. Story and Screenplay by Felix Adler.
Short Take: Disorder In The Court is one of the most popular of all of The Three Stooges shorts. It contains many terrific scenes, bits, and gags, one following the other. These include Curly’s classic ‘Take Off Your Hat’ routine. Gail Tempest’s (played by Susan Kaaren) dance scene. Moe swallowing the harmonica and Larry & Curly ‘playing’ him like an instrument. Larry’s Tarzan yell. The parrot and of course, the exploding water hose.
Some of the dialog is phenomenal, like this exchange between Bud Jamison and Curly: Jamison: ‘Skip the vernacular’ Curly, pointing at his hat: That’s a doiby!’
- When the camera pans to a shot of the courtroom audience, Sol Horwitz is in the shot. He, of course, is Moe, Curly and Shemp’s father. Also, director Preston Black was actually Jack White brother of Jules White who used both names Preston Black and Jack White professionally.
- This short also changed the spelling to Curly from Curley in the credits.
Like every other month, May gave us a lot of laughs in the shorts from The Three Stooges – The Masters of Mirth, Merriment & Mayhem. We’ll see more when we present June’s Short Takes. In case you can’t find a calendar, that would be next month!
You can watch Disorder in the Court in its entirety on The Three Stooges YouTube Channel. Be sure and subscribe while you’re there!
Be sure and check out Part 1 May Short Takes and Part 2 May Short Takes!