‘Vagabond Loafers’ (1949) is the 118th short comedy made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed from Tuesday, January 25 through Friday, January 28 1949 and was released on Thursday, October 6th of that year (the 279th day in the Gregorian calendar). It’s a remake of one of the best Curly outings ‘A Plumbing We Will Go’ (1941) and deploys a reasonable amount of stock footage from that film. An additional plot line has been added to this version, involving the theft of a painting at a ritzy cocktail party. Many Stooge regulars appear in the film, including beauteous Christine McIntyre, Kenneth MacDonald, Emil Sitka, Symonia Bonicafe and Dudley Dickerson (the latter appears both in stock footage from the original film as well as in new footage) and the general feeling here is of a well-organized, rather civil endeavor–the gags work well enough, the plot actually makes a little sense and the photography has that special crisp, late 40s Columbia noir flavor. Does that praise sound a little muted? I guess it’s because ‘A Plumbing We Will Go’ is a very hard act to follow and, the deeper I got into watching ‘Vagabond Loafers’, the more I found myself wanting to view its predecessor. (In fact that’s what I’m about to do, right after i pour myself that second cup of mocha java). There’s a manic energy to the earlier film–a crazed inventiveness and unruliness–that doesn’t quite happen here. Much as I like Shemp, I’m afraid he’s just not the force of nature that his younger brother was. There are Mickey Mouse people vs. Bugs Bunny people (I am the latter), cat people vs. dog people (I am the former) and Star Trek vs. Star Wars people (I am neither). Curly and Shemp appeal to different sides of the brain–I love them both but I revere one of them. I won’t go any further than that. Nyuck, nyuck.


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