The Redford Theatre brings back their semi-annual Three Stooges Festival Friday and Saturday. Six two reel shorts from 1942 and 1943 will be featured with the original trio of Larry Fine, Jerome “Curly” Howard, and Moe Howard.
The shorts are:
- “Matri-Phony” (1942) The stooges live in “Ancient Erysipelas,” (a parody of Ancient Rome) where they run a pottery shop. The powerful Emperor Octopus Grabus (Vernon Dent) is in search for a new wife again, with his sights set on redheads. Diana (Marjorie Deanne), who has kindled Grabus’ interest, hides out in the Stooges’ shop. Several soldiers find Diana’s hiding place and they are all brought to the palace where the stooges manage to escape and try to pass off Curly as Diana, having broken the emperor’s glasses. Will the scheme work?
- Three Smart Saps” (1942) The stooges are engaged to the three daughters of a prison warden (John Tyrrell). When some crooks have taken over the prison and their prospective father-in-law has been locked up, the boys go undercover to rescue him. After swiping some formal attire, they attend a party thrown by the crooks, and manage to get candid camera evidence to expose the crooked goings-on.
- “Even as IOU” (1942) The Stooges are con men who are selling phony racing forms. After evading the police when one man exposes their racket, they help a destitute mother and her daughter by utilizing the money from the child’s piggy bank, and end up winning on a long shot. But then the boys come across two swindlers who trick them into buying a retired race horse, Seabasket (a play on Seabiscuit). How will they be able to help the mother and child?
- “Three Little Twirps” (1943) The Stooges get a job putting up posters for a circus, only to find out that instead of money, their pay is tickets to the show. When Curly finds a huge roll of tickets, the trio starts scalping them at discount price. After being caught by the circus owner (Stanley Blystone) and the local sheriff (Bud Jamison), Herman decides to hire the Stooges as human targets for the spear-throwing “Sultan of Abudaba” (Duke York).
This was the second and last Stooge film directed by Harry Edwards. Plagued with alcoholism, Edwards developed a reputation at Columbia Pictures as the studio’s worst director. He also directed “Matri-Phony”, which took over three weeks to complete (the regular shooting schedule was 3-4 consecutive days). After this short, the Stooges decided they had had enough and requested never to work with him again.
- “Higher Than a Kite” (1943) The stooges are in England, where they are auto mechanics working for the Royal Air Force. After wrecking the Colonel’s car with their slapstick antics, the boys flee and hide in what they think is a sewer pipe–but it’s actually a bomb meant for the Nazis. Finding themselves behind enemy lines, Moe and Curly disguise as German officers and Larry dresses as a seductive fräulein named Moronica. Marshalls Bommel (Dick Curtis) and Boring (Vernon Dent) (parodies of German generals Erwin Rommel and Hermann Goering) are instantly smitten with Moronica. The Stooges eventually steal enemy secrets from under the nose of the Nazi officers, knock them cold, and escape.
This is the only Stooge film in which supporting actor Duke York does not portray a grotesque monster, ape man, or other scary goon-like characters.
- “I Can Hardly Wait” (1943) The stooges are doing their bit for the war effort on the homefront as defense workers at the Heedlock Airplane Corp., a pun on the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. One night they have trouble getting to sleep when Curly gets a toothache. Moe and Larry try various ways to remove the offending tooth, as Curly is deathly afraid of dentists, but nothing works so they take Curly to see Dr. Tug (Lew Davis), who admits to being a butcher as a previous profession. While Moe gets in the chair to show Curly that the process will not be as bad as he thinks, the dentist enters and pulls Moe’s tooth by mistake. Chaos quickly follows…
This was one of the first shorts to feature the signature triple bunk beds for Moe, Larry, and Curly. There are also numerous references to World War II, including the Stooges working at a defense plant and Moe explaining to Dr. Tug why Curly’s tooth needs to be pulled. “Listen, doc, we’re defense workers. If you wanna cut down on absenteeism, yank this guy’s tooth! He won’t let us sleep; he’s sabotaging the war effort!”
Show times are Friday, April 15 at 8 P.M., and Saturday, April 16 at 2 and 8 P.M. Be sure to come a half-hour early for a musical overture on the historic Barton organ. Hot dogs will also be available at all three shows. Advanced tickets may be purchased here.