Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Three Stooges--Three Little Pigskins

Three Little Pigskins is the final Stooge short filmed in their inaugural year at Columbia Pictures.  The stooges later declared it was the most difficult short for them to film because each got hurt.  Curly fractured his leg doing the dumbwaiter stunt.  Larry lost a tooth on a mistimed punch.  Both accidents make it on screen.  Moe got off relatively easy with a few bruises.  The trio take some serious lumps here from thugs, the thugs girlfriends, and a professional football team.

The Stooges are vagrants who get hired by a local college to promote their football team in full uniform.  After doing a good deed for an attractive woman, they are mistaken for the Three Horsemen, a parody of the famous Notre dame Four Horsemen.  She brings them back to her home as a solution to her boyfriend’s  a professional football team owner,  need to replace three of his players injured in a drunken car accident.  Trouble ensues when the Stooges are caught flirting with the three girls.  They claim to be the Three horsemen to avoid being beaten up by the boyfriend and his cohorts even though they know nothing about playing football--and it shows. 

Three Little Pigskins features a very young and naturally blonde Lucille Ball.  Larry is flirting with her.  Ball winds up squirted in the face with a water bottle for her trouble. 

As mentioned above, this short is particularly injury filled.  Curly an Larry are clearly injured onscreen.  Presumably, Moe is, too.  Bruises are less obvious than landing awkwardly on one’s leg or taking an actual punch in the face.   But the stooges were not the only ones to suffer injury.  They refused to do a stunt in which the opposing team, played by the real Loyola Marymount University football team, would dog pile on the stooges as they posed for a photo.   Stunt doubles had to be used because the Stooges refused to risk it.  Good thing, too.  Only Curly’s stunt double escaped injury because of all the padding used to make him appear to be the same size as the rotund Curly.

Everyone might have taken some undue lumps, but the finished product is one hilarious short.  The antics on the football field are great, but the highlight is the dumbwaiter gag.  Sure, it was painful for Curly, but watching the three of them fall down the shaft separately is still hilarious nearly eighty years later.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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