Here’s ‘Brideless Groom’, the Stooges 101st short for Columbia Pictures, released on September 11 1947. It’s one of my top five stooge shorts–nary a frame wasted–with a script that’s tight, Stooge performances that seem more crafted and specific than usual and career-defining supporting cast turns, including Christine McIntyre (‘You’re not my Cousin Basil!’) and Emil Sitka (‘hold hands you lovebirds!’). This last line is actually engraved on Sitka’s headstone, so identified was it with his on-screen persona. Apparently during the violent slapping scene between Shemp and Christine McIntyre, Shemp actually…well, here’s the story from the mouth of director Edward Bernds:

‘She was supposed to slap Shemp around. Lady that she was, McIntyre couldn’t do it right; she dabbed at him daintily, afraid of hurting him. After a couple of bad takes Shemp pleaded with her. “Honey,” he said, “if you want to do me a favor, cut loose and do it right. A lot of half-hearted slaps hurt more than one good one. Give it to me, Chris, and let’s get it over with”. She got up her courage and, on the next take, let Shemp have it. It wound up as a whole series of slaps — the timing was beautiful; they rang out like pistol shots. Shemp was knocked into a chair, bounced up, met another ringing slap, fell down again, scrambled up, trying to explain, only to get another stinging slap. Then Chris delivered a haymaker — a right that knocked Shemp through the door. When the take was over, Shemp was groggy, really groggy. His nose was broken. Chris put her arms around him and apologized tearfully. “It’s alright, honey,” Shemp said painfully. “I said you should cut loose and you did. You sure as hell did!”


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