SATURDAY MORNING STOOGE-FEST: ‘PARDON MY BACKFIRE’

At the peak (or perhaps the depths) of the 1950s 3-D craze, The Three Stooges made two 3-D shorts. One, ‘Spooks’, took place in a haunted house. The other, ‘Pardon My Backfire’, takes place in a garage. Now, a haunted house movie in 3-D makes perfect (if somewhat predictable) sense. The Stooges were hardly the first or last to cash in on that particular bag of effects. Put what does a garage have that particularly lends itself to 3-D? The answer is: a surprising array of things that squirt. In this short (which of course is presented ‘flat’) you’ll see a veritable catalogue of squirting devices, all of which discharge liquids and oils that cover up a piece of glass placed in front of the camera. Knives also come into play but it’s the squirting stuff that I really like. The opening credits feature a different version of the usual title card–in this one the Stooges are ‘live’ and come rushing up to the camera to greet the audience before their heads settle into their three respective slots with their names helpfully printed under each of them, presumably so you’ll know that Shemp isn’t Larry and that Moe isn’t Shemp. The Stooges rushing the camera is perhaps the scariest effect in the film.

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