Volume 1 1934-1936
#12 – Ants in the Pantry
Volume 1 Short 12
Released: February 6, 1936
Writer: Al Giebler
Foil: Clara Kimball Young
Synopsis: Exterminators Moe, Larry, and Curly are in danger of losing their jobs and need to drum up business. If they can’t find any customers, they’ll have to make some.
Impressions: Another short where The Stooges make mischief at a high society party. Nothing special or spectacular here. This is the first time Moe pokes Larry in the eyes and Larry says, “I can’t see. I can’t see.” Moe and Curly ask him what’s wrong he responds, “I had my eyes closed.”
#13 – Movie Maniacs
Volume 1 Short 13
Released: February 20, 1936
Writer: Felix Adler
Foils: Bud Jamison, Mildred Harris, Kenneth Harkan, Harry Semels
Synopsis: The Stooges go to Hollywood in hoping to become movie actors. Instead, they get mistaken for movie executives and given control of a studio.
Impressions: Another less than stellar short. Though I think it might be a step above the previous effort. Nothing memorable or noteworthy.
#14 – Half-Shot Shooters
Volume 1 Short 14
Released: April 30, 1936
Writer: Clyde Bruckman
Foils: Stanley Blystone, Vernon Dent
Synopsis: Discharged at the end of WWI, soldiers Moe, Larry, and Curly get revenge on their sergeant. The following years aren’t kind to the trio. After a failed attempt at stealing a meal, they get tricked into joining the army where they run into a familiar face.
Impressions: I’ve seen this short several times. Not that this is bad, it just isn’t a good one. The quality is slightly above the previous effort. We see the first appearance of Vernon Dent, and the final appearance of the Columbia Pictures “torch lady.” Dent appeared in more Stooge shorts than any other actor. This short also contains a rare ending.
#15 – Disorder in the Court
Volume 1 Short 15
Released: May 30, 1936
Writer: Felix Adler
Synopsis: A nightclub dancer is on trial for murder, and The Stooges are the key witnesses in her defense. In their attempts to get set her free, Moe, Larry, and Curly disrupt the proceedings in every way possible.
Impressions: Curly gives a brilliant performance and steals this short with several memorable bits. There’s even a musical sequence where The Stooges play along while the pretty nightclub dancer does her thing in a reenactment of the events. This is easy to watch as it has a nice flow and doesn’t drag. This is another one to add to my favorites list, and will make the “Best of” the volume. While lacking a true foil, Bud Jamison is in the cast. This time he’s the defense lawyer working with The Stooges to free the dancer.
#16 – A Pain in the Pullman
Volume 1 Short 16
Released: June 27, 1936
Writer: Preston Black
Foils: James C. Morton, Bud Jamison
Synopsis: The Stooges get an acting gig and told to arrive at the train station. Once there they learn they’ll share the ride with fellow actor Paul Pain, who they and their monkey have already angered with their antics.
Impressions: Not a top rated short, but still pretty good. The scene where the boys eat a crab, or try to, is the best. This is the first short where the boys are The Three Stooges in a short. You’d think a monkey would add to the comedy, yet it doesn’t.
#17 – False Alarms
Volume 1 Short 17
Released: August 16, 1936
Writer: John Grey
Foil: Stanley Blystone
Synopsis: The Stooges are fire fighters who fight each other more than fight fires. Told they’re fired if they miss another fire, the boys try to stay on their best behavior. When Curly sneaks off on a date, the only way he can get Me and Larry dates is to pull the fire alarm. Unfortunately, they’re locked in a closet.
Impressions: “The arrow points half-way. I don’t know if it’s half empty, or half full.” This line is the best part of the short. Curly takes the first pastry to the face when he falls into a cake. A below average short with this one. Nothing special as the boys create havoc on their fire chief and his brand new car.
#18 – Whoops, I’m an Indian!
Volume 1 Short 18
Released: September 11, 1936
Writer: Story by Searle Kramer and Herman Boxer. Screenplay by Clyde Bruckman.
Foil: Bud Jamison
Synopsis: The Stooges have a bounty on them for fixing games of chance. To escape they disguise themselves.
Impressions: Not the best short, very far from it. An uninspired effort in this bad short. There isn’t much to say about this or add to make it bearable. The funniest part of this short is Curly wearing a skunk skin hat.
#19 – Slippery Silks
Volume 1 Short 19
Released: December 27, 1936
Writer: Ewart Adamson
Foil: Vernon Dent
Synopsis: The Stooges are furniture makers until they destroy an ancient Chinese cabinet. On the run they discover they’ve inherited a swanky boutique. All goes well until they give a fashion show of their new designs.
Impressions: We get our first pastry/pie fight in this short. Moe recounted they used over 150 though the main ammunition was cream puffs. I enjoy this short from start to finish. It has a nice flow to it. This is one I’ll have a tough time rating, but I think I’ll give it a top score.
Two discs down, 18 more to go. What did we get? While this disc had a few less shorts than the previous disc, the quality was also not of the same caliber. There are a few gems sprinkled in sparingly. The quality of these shorts is all or nothing. The good old average short is absent here. This is the first disc with more than a single one-rated short. The fall in quality actually surprised me. Still, I don’t think Volume 1 as a whole was all that bad, but we’ll get the final verdict in the recap. Of these eight shorts, which one is your favorite?
Copyright © Drew Martin 2016