‘Calling All Curs’ (1939) was the forty-first short comedy made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed from Tuesday, December 27th through Friday, December 30th, 1938 and was released on Friday, August 25th, 1939. The film is a top-notch Curly entry from the richest era of their output–1937-41–and is unusual in that the Stooges, from the beginning of the film, are presented as successful and accomplished entrepreneurs who own and run their own pet hospital. Thus the usual first five minutes of explaining how they’re mistaken for being something that they’re not is dispensed with and the movie kicks off in high gear. It’s said that this was Curly’s favorite of their films due to his love for dogs. I’d love to know how they managed to choreograph that shot at 8:40 when the dogs, having been called to dinner, race down the hall (the shot is under-cranked) to the dining hall. What was the prompt the on-set animal wrangler used to set it in motion? And most importantly, how did they get that little dog at the end to do that confused tag? (Watch it–I can’t explain it). Similarly, lining them all up at the dining table and keeping them in position while the camera dollied back couldn’t have been easy. Also note that, per the above shooting dates, the Stooges were expected back to work two days after their Christmas holiday. (So was the whole crew, for that matter). Columbia Pictures didn’t screw around. They had deadlines to meet with theater owners and getting a day off for Christmas was probably as benevolent a gesture as they were ever going to make. All I can say to that is: ‘Anacanapa!’


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