Volume 8 1955-1959
#170 – For Crimin’ Out Loud
Volume 8 Short 12
Released: May 3, 1956
Writers: Screenplay by Felix Adler. Story by Edward Bernds.
Foils: Christine McIntyre, Ralph Dunn, Emil Sitka
Synopsis: Detectives Moe, Larry, and Shemp receive a call from a troubled councilman.
Impressions: This is a remake of 1949’s Who Done It? The opening scene is new and contains the last new Stooge footage to feature Shemp. On November 22, 1955, Shemp left a boxing match in Hollywood. On the cab ride home he lit a cigar, then slumped into the lap of his friend Al Wilson, burning him. Samuel “Shemp Howard” Horwitz died of a sudden heart attack at 60.
#171 – Rumpus in the Harem
Volume 8 Short 13
Released: June 21, 1956
Writers: Screenplay by Jack White. Story by Felix Adler.
Foils: Vernon Dent, George Lewis
Synopsis: The Stooges go out to retrieve a rare diamond from the “Emir of Shmow.”
Impressions: This is a remake of 1949’s Malice in the Palace, the first of four “Shemp era” shorts made after his death. The infamous “Fake Shemp” makes his first appearance. It’s Stooge supporting actor Joe Palma. In the new scenes, Palma wears a wig, and either covers his face or turns his back to the camera. I liked the original better.
#172 – Hot Stuff
Volume 8 Short 14
Released: September 6, 1956
Writers: Screenplay Felix Adler. Story by Elwood Ullman.
Foils: Christine McIntyre, Emil Sitka, Philip Van Zandt
Synopsis: The Stooges go undercover to guard a professor inventing rocket fuel. Larry is mistaken for him, and the Stooges are off to Anemia as prisoners.
Impressions: This is a remake of 1949’s Fuelin’ Around. There’s a new opening scene to give this a slightly different story, and a new shot or two. Even though the infamous “Fake Shemp” appears, I actually like this short. I like the new scene and the new story better than the original.
#173 – Scheming Schemers
Volume 8 Short 15
Released: October 4, 1956
Writers: Screenplay by Jack White. Story by Elwood Ullman.
Foils: Christine McIntyre, Emil Sitka, Kenneth MacDonald, Dudley Dickerson
Synopsis: While on a plumbing job, the Stooges have greater success catching art thieves.
Impressions: This is a remake of 1949’s Vagabond Loafers, which was a remake of the “Curly era” 1940 short A Plumbing We Will Go. I liked this a bit more than Vagabond, and I love a good pie fight. The scenes with Kenneth MacDonald and Emil Sitka are new while the rest come from 1947’s Half-Wits Holiday. I like the new way to tell the old story. Moe and Larry have a few new scenes that are good additions. Filming of the new footage came a mere six weeks after Shemp’s death. The “Fake Shemp” Joe Palma appears twice, and that isn’t his voice. It’s Shemp’s taken from 1949’s The Ghost Talks. How spooky is that?
#174 – Commotion on the Ocean
Volume 8 Short 16
Released: November 8, 1956
Writer: Felix Adler
Foils: Gene Roth, Emil Sitka, Harriette Tarler, Charles Wilson
Synopsis: The Stooges’ ambition to be reporters lands them locked in a ship’s hold with a foreign spy.
Impressions: This is a remake of 1949’s Dunked in the Deep. The opening scene is from 1948’s Crime on Their Hands. I hated the original and didn’t like this remake any better. The new story makes it slightly better. Joe Palma, the “Fake Shemp,” appears in one scene, or his shoulders do. The other new footage feature Moe and Larry wondering where Shemp is. The cast filmed the new scenes six weeks after Shemp’s death. This is the final short of 1956, and the final short of the “Shemp era.”
#175 – Hoofs and Goofs
Volume 8 Short 17
Released: January 31, 1957
Writer: Jack White
Foils: Benny Rubin, Harriette Tarler, Tony, the Wonder Horse
Synopsis: Moe, Larry, and Joe hear their dead sister’s voice coming from a horse. They bring it back to their apartment.
Impressions: We’ve officially entered the “Joe Besser era.” Goodie. Have I mentioned yet how much I hate this incarnation of the Stooges? If I haven’t, I will. A lot. There’s five more on this disc to watch, and the entire third disc. The trio gets a slightly new intro, and this isn’t a remake. I guess Harriette Tarler is taking Christine McIntyre’s place as the beautiful blonde. The short is awful, and the story very stupid. Can I give negative ratings? Oh, and they used a male horse, doing a good job of covering it up except for one shot.
#176 – Muscle Up A Little Closer
Volume 8 Short 18
Released: February 28, 1957
Writer: Felix Adler
Foils: Maxine Gates, Harriette Tarler, Ruth Godfrey, Matt Murphy
Synopsis: When Joe’s fiancé has a precious ring stolen, the Stooges suspect co-worker Elmo Drake.
Impressions: This is a bit better than the previous short which isn’t saying much. Moe and Larry have slicked back hair at Joe Besser’s suggestion. Moe looks really old and has big bags under his eyes.
#177 – A Merry Mix-Up
Volume 8 Short 19
Released: March 28, 1957
Writer: Felix Adler
Synopsis: Three sets of triplets live in the same town and have no idea as they lost contact during the war.
Impressions: I could have said this after the first Joe Besser short, but the Stooges “jumped the shark.” This is another awful short with a stupid story. This is a remake of Laurel and Hardy’s 1936 feature Our Relations. Felix Adler wrote both screenplays. The final scene took careful planning, and each Stooge had to stand on a marker. Jules White thought Larry made a mistake at one point. Larry fought it, was right, and saved several thousand dollars.
#178 – Space Ship Sappy
Volume 8 Short 20
Released: April 18, 1957
Writer: Jack White
Foils: Doreen Woodbury, Benny Rubin, Marilyn Hanold, Lorraine Crawford, Harriette Tarler, Emil Sitka
Synopsis: The Stooges answer a help wanted ad for sailors on a cruise. It turns out to be a flight into space.
Impressions: The Three Stooges enter the Twilight Zone. Joe Besser suffered a mild heart attack within a short time of filming at 49. Moe and Larry once again have their hair slicked, and more mature. This could be the best of the “Joe Besser era.” It was dumb, but enjoyable camp.
#179 – Guns A Poppin!
Volume 8 Short 21
Released: June 13, 1957
Writer: Screenplay by Jack White. Story by Jack White and Elwood Ullman.
Foils: Frank Scully, Joe Palma, Vernon Dent
Synopsis: Moe needs a rest as he’s plagued by a bad case of nerves.
Impressions: This is a remake of 1945’s Idiots Deluxe. That’s why our old friend Vernon Dent is here in stock footage. The majority of this is new footage, and in a way it had to be as the original was a “Curly era” short. I didn’t care for the original, and I fell asleep during this.
#180 – Horsing Around
Volume 8 Short 22
Released: September 12, 1957
Writer: Felix Adler
Foils: Tony, the Wonder Horse, Emil Sitka, Harriette Tarler
Synopsis: The Stooges are off the rescue Schnapps, the lost love of Birdie.
Impressions: This is the sequel to Hoofs and Goofs. I didn’t know it needed a sequel. This is beyond stupid. The title and word “Stooges” is in the dialogue. Harriette Tarler does the voice of Birdie and appears in human form. Moe and Larry again have slicked hair, abandoning their classic cuts.
Sixteen discs down, four more to go. What did we get? The end of the “Shemp era” and beginning of the “Joe Besser era.” These Joe Besser shorts are awful, just awful. Besser isn’t bad as a cartoon voice, but he doesn’t fit the role of the third Stooge. He’s too, I believe the “PC” word is effeminate. It’s not a good fit. The stories are beyond dumb. I have a full disc of Joe Besser left and it’ll be a miracle if I can get through it. The final Shemp short was horrible, and it hasn’t gotten much better. Of these 11 shorts, which one is your favorite?
Copyright © Drew Martin 2016