Author: Craig Zablo

“Out West” (1947) starring The Three Stooges / Z-View

Out West (1947)

Director:  Edward Bernds

Writer:  Clyde Bruckman, Thomas Moore

Stars: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Shemp Howard, Christine McIntyre, Jock Mahoney, Stanley Blystone, Heinie Conklin, Vernon Dent and Blackie Whiteford.

Tagline:  The Stooges are shootin’ up the West!

The Plot…

The doctor tells Shemp that the climate out west would be good for his enlarged vein.  So he, Larry and Moe head out.  A crook overhears the boys talking about Shemp’s vein and think he has a gold mine.  The crook and his gang decide they’re going to steal the boys’ gold.  Let the hijinks begin!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Jock Mahoney who would go on to star in many television and feature films (he played Tarzan in two films) is billed as Jacques O’Mahoney.

Out West (1947) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Fright Night” (1947) starring The Three Stooges / Z-View

Fright Night (1947)

Director:  Edward Bernds

Writer:  Clyde Bruckman

Stars: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Shemp Howard, Dick Wessel, Claire Carleton, Stanley Blystone, Heinie Conklin, Sammy Stein and Evelyn Venable.

Tagline:  The Stooges are punchier than ever in a knockout of screwy joy!

The Plot…

Our guys are managers of heavyweight boxer, Chopper Kane.  When gangsters tell our boys that Chopper loses his next fight or they lose their lives, they know what they have to do.  Chopper has to take a dive, but Chopper refuses.  Let the hijinks begin.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Fright Night is Shemp Howard’s first Three Stooges’ short.  He agreed to play a Stooge until Curly regained his health.  Sadly Curly never did.  Fright Night is Shemp’s favorite Three Stooges short.

There’s a very funny extended scene when our boys are running from gangsters in a crowded warehouse.  The scene was later copied on The Abbott and Costello Show in the episode Public Enemies.  Clyde Bruckman wrote that episode as well.

Fright Night (1947) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Monkey Businessmen” (1946) starring The Three Stooges / Z-View

Monkey Businessmen (1946)

Director:  Edward Bernds

Writer:  Edward Bernds

Stars: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Wade Crosby, Kenneth MacDonald, ‘Snub’ Pollard and Jean Willes.

Tagline:  It’s shock-full of hilarious laughter!

The Plot…

After getting fired, the boys need to get away and recharge.  They decide that Mallard’s Rest Home is just what’s required.  Little do our guys know that Mallard’s is run by crooks!  What could go wrong?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Curly’s health had deteriorated from a series of strokes to the point that Moe had to teach Curly his parts line by line.  In one scene Moe calls Curly by his pet name “Baby” and this mistake was left in the short.  Moe can also be seen nudging Curly to say his line in Dr. Mallard’s office.  In another scene Moe was coaching Curly out of camera range.  Curly was supposed to yell, “Moe and Larry!” but Curly remembered this line and yelled, “I know!  Moe and Larry!” and this also stayed in.

Moe and Larry enter a room after a loud crash.  Curly is on the floor wrapped around a ladder.  Moe says, “You lame brain, why don’t you be careful when you climb up a ladder?” Curly says, “I only climbed up seven steps.” Moe responds, “The ladder has six steps.”

Monkey Businessmen (1946) rates 3 of 5 stars.

FIXIT by Joe Ide is Coming!

If you’re a fan of Joe Ide’s IQ novels, you probably know that there’s a new one dropping on May 9th.  Here’s the lowdown…

In the latest installment in Joe Ide’s “superb” series (Washington Post), the relentless, hard-bitten PI, Isaiah Quintabe, is faced with a nightmarish scenario when the love of his life is kidnapped by a maniacal hitman who bears a grudge against him.

Danger has always followed IQ, a reality he’s keenly aware of as he’s laid up in a hospital bed, recovering from injuries sustained in his last case. Isaiah cannot help himself from being the hero, and any misery he’s suffered as a result—wounds from a knife fight, gnawing paranoia—he’s suffered alone. Yet as IQ recovers, five hundred miles from East Long Beach, he’s unaware that Grace has been abducted by his sworn enemy, the professional hitman Skip Hanson. Skip is savage and psychotic, determined to punish Isaiah for sending him to prison and destroying his life. Now, Isaiah and his sometimes partner, ex-hustler Juanell Dodson, must track scant clues through L.A.’s perilous landscape as Grace’s predicament grows more uncertain.

A complication arises in the form of Winnie Hando, a homicide detective with something to prove. Stubborn and effective, Winnie sees Isaiah’s efforts as an obstruction to the investigation and a possible embarrassment: an unlicensed PI can’t be seen doing the department’s job better than the department. Winnie tries to stop Isaiah while pursuing the case herself, their struggles clashing and slowing their progress. As the desperate hunt winds on, Isaiah fears that even if he can bring Grace home alive, things between them will never be the same. This latest series installment is an explosive collision of drug dealers, thieves, maniacs, shotguns, vicious dogs, stampeding horses, and Ide’s signature energy, grit, and profundity.

Fixit  Hardcover

Fixit Kindle

“Uncivil War Birds” (1946) – The Three Stooges / Z-View

Uncivil War Birds (1946)

Director:  Jules White

Writer:  Clyde Buckman

Stars: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Theodore Lorch, Robert B. Williams and Blackie Whiteford.

Tagline:  None.

The Plot…

The American Civil War has started.  The boys decide to join the fight.  Larry and Moe come back in Union uniforms, while Curly has signed up with the Confederacy!  Suddenly the war is raging around them and the Union Army controls the area… but just as quickly the Confederacy wins it back.  Our guys are going crazy trying to keep up with which side has the power and to protect the boy(s) in the wrong uniform!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Clyde Buckman recycled his Buster Keaton script Mooching Through Georgia adapting it for the Stooges.  Buckman would later re-work the story for The Abbott & Costello Show.

When an officer orders the soldiers with the command, “Forward march, you fools!” Curly doesn’t move.  The officer yells, “What’s the matter with you?”  Curly responds, “I’m no fool.”  The commander is exasperated and yells, “Forward march, you idiot!” Curly answers, “That’s different” and begins marching.

The boys, in an attempt to escape dress up in blackface and try to pose as minstrel singers. While blackface is not their proudest moment, it wasn’t an uncommon occurrence during that era.

Sadly, because of strokes, Curly’s career was coming to an end.  More of the funny bits and dialogue are given to Moe and Larry.  Still, Curly makes the most of what he is given.

Uncivil War Birds (1946) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“A Gem of a Jam” (1943) starring The Three Stooges / Z-View

A Gem of a Jam (1943)

Director:  Del Lord

Writer:  Del Lord

Stars: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Dudley Dickerson and Al Thompson.

Tagline:  Crammed with rib-tickling comedy!

The Plot…

The boys are night shift janitors working their way through a floor of offices.  They’re about to clean a doctor’s workspace when crooks on the run from the law bust in.  One of the gang members has been shot.  Thinking our boys are doctors, the crooks say if they don’t fix up their pal, it’s lights out for Larry, Curly and Moe.  What could go wrong?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Curl was injured when the gurney gag tilted too far and he busted his head requiring several stitches.

The boys accidentally drop the wounded crook out of the office building window.  Curly gets under the blanket and the boys act as if they are about to operate.  One of the thugs threatens that if any harm comes to their friend, he’ll shoot them.  Moe responds, “Don’t worry, when we get through with him he’ll be a different man.”

As the boys are running for their lives they hide in a dark storage room filled with creepy stuff.  Curly trips into a trough filled with plaster.  He’s covered from head to toe and looks scary.  Curly playing like a statue and his interactions with the night watchman (Dickerson), Larry & Moe and the crooks are classic!

A Gem of a Jam (1943) rates 5 of 5 stars.

Rambo by Tim Shinn!

Tim Shinn is a freelance artist. He’s known for his storyboarding, advertising and comic work. Tim’s done art for Hasbro, Disney, Dark Horse and Fun Publications. Tim takes commissions and regularly posts art for sale. When I saw this sketch of Sly Stallone as Rambo,  I didn’t hesitate. Hopefully there will be more Tim Shinn art in my future.  You can see more of Tim Shinn’s art on his Instagram page and his Twitter feed.

“I Can Hardly Wait” (1943) starring The Three Stooges / Z-View

“I Can Hardly Wait” (1943)

Director:  Jules White

Writer:  Clyde Buckman

Stars: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Bud Jamison, Adel Mara and Al Thompson.

Tagline:  None.

The Plot…

The boys decide on a midnight snack before night-night.  While Larry and Moe share a single slice of ham and an egg, Curly gets the whole ham bone and the whole egg shell.  Sadly Curly breaks a tooth eating his meal. Now it’s up to Larry and Moe to fix Curly’s broken tooth.  What could go wrong?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

A classic Stooge sight gag that leads to slapstick appears in “I Can Hardly Wait” – the boys sleep in triple bunk beds with Curly on the top!

Of course everything Larry and Moe try to help ease the pain of Curly’s broken tooth fails.  Moe suddenly says, “I’ve got it!”  Curly replies, “Every time you got it, I get it.”

“I Can Hardly Wait” (1943) rates 5 of 5 stars.

“Hidari” – The Stop-Motion Samurai Film Teaser is Here!

Hidari is a short stop-motion proof of concept video designed to get funding to create a feature film.  The trailer is mesmerizing.  I’d love to see a Hidari feature film.

After being betrayed by his peers and lost both his father and his right arm, legendary craftsman “Jingoro Hidari” is on a journey of revenge with his partner “Sleeping Cat” and his mechanical prosthetic arm. Finally, Jingoro faces one of his adversaries “Inumaru” in a fight to the death…

This is a pilot version of the stop-motion samurai film that tells the story of “Jingoro Hidari,” a legendary Edo-era craftsman. All the characters are made by wood and animated frame by frame, just like how Jingoro’s wooden sculptures came to life in his many anecdotes. We hope you enjoy this film, which mixes dynamic actions as seen in Japanimation, and the rich analog expressions of stop-motion animation.

Our intention is to use this pilot film as a starting point to create a full length feature film. We have started activities to raise the necessary partners and funding to achieve this goal.
Please contact us here for any inquiries:

Source: Check This Out: Stop-Motion Samurai Project ‘Hidari’ in Development at FirstShowing,net

“Back from the Front” (1943) starring The Three Stooges / Z-View

Back from the Front (1943)

Director:  Jules White

Writer:  Jack White, Ewart Adamson

Stars: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Stanley Blystone, Heinie Conklin, Vernon Dent, Bud Jamison and Adele Mara.

Tagline:  Any resemblance between the characters in this picture and other human beings is a dirty shame.

The Plot…

Larry, Curly and Moe are merchant marines during World War II.  After some misadventures they end up on a German war ship!  What could go wrong?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Moe disguises himself as Adolph Hitler (as he did in 1940’s You Nazty Spy and 1941’s I’ll Never Heil Again – I never get tired of this) and tells the German officers, “Use your heads and shoot out your brains.”  The commandant replies, “But mein Führer, we’re Nazis. We have no brains.”

The Nazi warship our guys sneak aboard is the the SS Schicklgruber.  “Schicklgruber” is Adolph Hitler’s father’s real last name.  He changed it to Hitler later in life.  The British often referred to Hitler as Schicklgruber for propaganda purposes and it is the only name the Stooges would use when referring to him.  “Schicklgruber” pops up in other Stooges shorts.

There’s a dog named Terry on the ship. This dog also played Toto in The Wizard Of Oz.

When the boys sneak aboard the Nazi warship, Moe says, “If we’re discovered, we’re lost.”  Curly responds, “You’re crazy. If we’re discovered, we’re found.”  NYUK-NYUK-NYUK.

Back from the Front (1943) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“What’s the Matador?” (1942) starring The Three Stooges / Z-View

What’s the Matador? (1942)

Director:  Jules White

Writer:  Jules White, Saul Ward

Stars: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Suzanne Kaaren and Al Thompson.

Tagline: World’s Champion Bull Throwers!

The Plot…

Larry, Curly and Moe are comedians headed to Mexico.  After a few chance encounters with a beautiful woman, and her very jealous husband, our boys are in for it.  Then when suitcases get mixed up, our guys decide to sneak into the woman’s house to get theirs.  What could go wrong?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

There’s a scene with Moe, Curly and Larry trying to get directions from a Mexican citizen that’s not typical Stooges’ humor, but is funny.

What’s the Matador? (1942) rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Nutty But Nice” (1940) starring The Three Stooges / Z-View

Nutty But Nice (1940)

Director:  Jules White

Writer:  Clyde BruckmanFelix Adler

Stars: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Vernon Dent, Lynton Brent,  Charles Dorety, Ned Glass, Ethelreda Leopold and Harry Wilson.

Tagline:  Calling all laugh lovers!

The Plot…

Larry, Curly and Moe are bumbling waiters.  Their antics amuse two doctors having a meal.  The docs think that our boys might be able to bring a little girl out of her depression.  The girl’s father was kidnapped while delivering a huge sum of money.  When our guys are unable to change the girl’s mood, they vow to find her father.  After a few false starts our boys find her father.  To free him they will have to go against a rough group of gangsters.  What could go wrong?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The boys perform an extended scene in drag.  It didn’t bring the girls out of her depression, but it almost put me in one.  Our guys do NOT make good looking dames.

Saved by the Belle (1939) rates 3 of 5 stars.