SATURDAY STOOGEFEST

‘The Ghost Talks’ (1949) is the 113th short comedy made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed from Tuesday, August 26th through Friday, August 29th 1947 and released on Thursday, February 3rd, 1949. It’s a fine Shemp outing with a strange inner-flashback depicting the ghost as a real human being as well as a number of other oddities–a geletanious frog, two skeletons playing chess and a painful gag where Moe and Larry attempt to bash a door down using Shemp’s head and which is done without a double or a dummy. Jesus, what these guys put themselves through for a few laughs.

Now we’re going to play a little game of ‘Six Degrees Of Stooge’, one in which I’m featured. At the end of the film a woman purporting to be Lady Godiva rides into the house on a white horse. The actress who plays her was a woman named Nancy Saunders. (I had to look her up since, well, how could you not want to know the backstory of a woman who got to ride a horse in a Three Stooges movie?) It turns out that she got the role because a talent scout was looking for a beautiful young woman who could ride a horse. This ‘launched’ her on a modest career in which she appeared in a few other Stooge shorts as well as a smattering of other things. In 1948 she married a shady car dealer named Ray Davioni from whom she was quickly divorced. Five years later, Davioni was accused and convicted of being a pimp in the criminal case brought against Oleomargerine heir Mickey Jelke, a major tabloid scandal of the day. In 1995 I wrote and directed a movie about the Jelke case called ‘Cafe Society’ (click here to watch the movie for free–I highly recommend it). Davioni was a key supporting role and was played by the late, great John Spencer (of ‘West Wing’ fame). So if the Stooges hadn’t hired Nancy Saunders, and she hadn’t attracted the interest of Ray Davioni who, after she threw him over, went reeling to New York to become a pimp which ensnared him into a major scandal which for some reason fascinated me enough to make a movie about…you get the idea.

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