‘Blunder Boys’ (1955) is the 166th short film made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed from Monday, January 24th through Wednesday, January 26th 1955 and was released on Thursday, November 3rd of that year. This is the last Shemp entry that wasn’t a remake, or otherwise reliant on heavy use of stock footage from earlier shorts. Shemp’s death on November 22nd of that year (three weeks after the release of this film) necessitated the use of his double Joe Palma to fill in for Shemp in the remaining five shorts they owed Columbia Pictures. Palma’s face was obscured and his dialogue non-existent. Combining this absurd footage with old stock footage of Shemp convincingly was a complete misfire, so much so that as a kid I used to wait for these shorts to show my friends how obvious it was that it was a stunt double and not the real Shemp. Sam Raimi apparently did the same thing when he was a kid and dubbed these movies ‘Fake Shemps.’ We’ll get to the ‘Fake Shemps’ in due time. Meanwhile, enjoy this rather clever satire of the then newly popular Jack Webb police procedural ‘Dragnet’. The only other thing I can think of to say about this film is that, for some reason, it made me wonder if Moe was forced to go through normal life wearing his hair with that absurd cut. Or was that a wig they put on him with his real hair carefully tucked beneath? Moe changed his hairstyle just a year or so from the time this was made, choosing to slick it back for the dire series of Joe Besser shorts. This suggests to me that his haircut in the earlier films really was that dreadful Buster Brown cut we see and that he simply couldn’t stand it anymore. Letting Moe slick back his hair, alas, is akin to putting Curly on the Atkins diet. He’s no longer Moe without that hair…just a very angry middle-aged man prone to violence.


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