‘The Tooth Will Out’ (1951) is the 134th short subject made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed on Monday, February 19th and Tuesday, February 20th 1951 and was released on Thursday, October 4th of that year. The abbreviated two-day shooting schedule (the Shemp shorts were generally four day shoots) is due to the fact that the second half of the film, consisting of the dentist office scene, was originally filmed seven months earlier in June 1950 for inclusion in the previous entry, ‘Merry Mavericks’. However, the scene ran too long and had to be excised from the final cut. Rather than disposing of the surplus dentist footage, the story line of ‘The Tooth Will Out’ was built around it. I make no great claims for this Shemp entry even though it was directed by Edward Bernds, whose work was generally more thoughtful and inventive than Jules White’s often slapdash and revoltingly violent style. But complaining about a Three Stooges short because of its violence is like being annoyed with The Beatles because they play rock and roll. You get what I mean? You’d have to be a moron not too–though morons do tend to comprise a sizable percentage of the Stooges fanbase. Which brings me to the often asked question of me: ‘why the hell do you post a Three Stooges short every week?’ If it seems vaguely out of step with my otherwise polished and sleek taste in all matters cultural, then let me assure you that I in fact have little appreciation for anything that’s much lengthier than twenty minutes and with a story line too complex for a five year old to understand. The Stooges are like old pals to me–you can outgrow your earliest friends but you never lose affection for them. In my case I haven’t outgrown them but kept pace with them. When I was a kid I identified with Curly–manic, full of energy, risk-taking and happy to hurl myself on the floor and twirl around in circles for a laugh. As an adult I am now firmly in Shemp’s orbit; boastful and cowardly, foolhardy and smitten with women who look like Christine McIntyre. In old age I imagine I’ll be heading toward Joe Besser-land, which is to say fussy, easily annoyed and overweight. And that’s why I post Stooges shorts–to understand life as I experience it.


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