SATURDAY STOOGEFEST

‘From Nurse To Worse’ (1940) was the 49th two-reel short subject made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed from Wednesday, May 15th through Saturday, May 18th 1940 and released on Friday, August 23rd of that year. The film is a good solid Curly outing with an insurance swindle gimmick (Curly has to pretend that he’s insane and thinks he’s a dog so they can collect on a fake claim), a proliferation of witless pratfalls (lots of people running into and falling over each other) and a few good views the Columbia lot and the adjoining streets just outside of the studio. The male nurse is played by Joe Palma, a stuntman whose first non-stunting appearance this was. Palma doubled for Shemp during his reign as the third stooge and, when Shemp passed away and they needed somebody to pretend to be Shemp to finish the last four films on their contract, Palma became ‘Fake Shemp’. (This is a term coined by Sam Raimi who had wondered since his childhood why in some of the Shemp films Shemp’s face was hidden from view and he grunted but did not speak). Palma later became Jack Lemmon’s personal assistant/aide/buddy and turns up in ‘The Odd Couple’ playing a butcher. Bet you didn’t know that, did you?

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