One of the Redford Theatre’s most popular events returns this weekend.
The Redford Theatre brings back their Three Stooges Festival on Friday and Saturday. Six two-reel shorts will be presented. All but one star the original Stooges, Larry Fine, Moe Howard, and Jerome “Curly” Howard.
First up is “Half Shot Shooters” from 1936. The boys are mistreated by their sergeant during World War I, and upon their discharge extract revenge on him. Fast forward to the 1930’s and the boys find themselves tricked into rejoining the army—with their ex-sergeant in charge. This was also the first short that starred Vernon Dent, who made more appearances than any other supporting actor, and was a frequent foil to the Stooges.
Next up the Stooges spoof the Nazis in “I’ll Never Heil Again” from 1941. Moe is Dictator Moe Hailstone of the fictional country of Moronica, Curly is Field Marshal Herring, and Larry is Minister of Propaganda Pebble. The deposed King Herman the 6⅞ and a trio of war profiteers are determined to return to power. The king’s daughter Princess Gilda (Mary Ainslee) plots to assassinate Hailstone using an explosive Number 13 pool ball strategically positioned in Hailstone’s billiard table. During filming, Moe was running late for his daughter’s birthday, so he rushed home while still in costume, which shocked his neighbors. He went through his daughter’s entire birthday dressed like Adolf Hitler, running red lights and ending up with numerous calls to the police about it.
Following is one of two spooky shorts in the program, “Spook Louder” from 1943. The Stooges are traveling salesmen trying their best to sell their “Miracle Reducing Machine”, which essentially shakes and rattles off the pounds. As luck would have it, the boys stumble on the home of inventor Mr. Graves (Ted Lorch), who assumes the Stooges are the new caretakers. Graves is on his way to Washington, D.C. to test his new death ray machine, and leaves his eerie spooky mansion in the hands of the trio.
1944’s “Gents Without Cents” features one of the Stooges’ best known routines. While rehearsing a vaudeville routine, they are interrupted by loud tapping from upstairs. The tapping is coming from three beautiful tap dancers (Lindsay Bourquin, Laverne Thompson and Betty Phares). The six decide to perform together. The Stooges perform their “Niagara Falls” act (“slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch…”) for a group of defense workers.
“If A Body Meets A Body”, made in 1945, has Curly learning his uncle has died and left him a nice inheritance. Upon arriving at the uncle’s mansion for the reading of the will, the lawyer disappears along with the will, and is then found murdered. All potential heirs, including the Stooges, are held as suspects and forced to spend the night. This was the first short made after Curly suffered a mild stroke. Unfortunately, Curly’s health began to rapidly deteriorate after this short was made.
The final short is 1947’s “Sing a Song of Six Pants”. Shemp Howard replaces Curly in this short. Here, the Stooges run a tailor shop that is about to be repossessed by the Skin and Flint Finance Corporation. When the boys hear about a big reward for fugitive bank robber Terry “Slippery Fingers” Hargan (Harold Brauer), they think that catching him might end their financial woes. By coincidence, Hargan rushes in to hide out in the shop. Will they stop battling each other to catch him?
Show times are Friday, September 25 at 8 P.M., and Saturday, September 26 at 2 P.M. and 8 P.M. Be sure to come a half hour early for an overture on the historic Barton organ. Advanced tickets may be purchased at the theater’s website.