‘Woman Haters’ (1934) is the first of 190 short comedies made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed from Tuesday, March 27 through Friday, March 30 1934 and was released on Saturday, May 5th of that year (the 125th day of the Gregorian calendar and the 18th Saturday of that year). It was the sixth entry in Columbia’s ‘Musical Novelty’ series, with all the dialogue delivered in rhyme with the music. Being the sixth in the series, the movie appropriated its musical score from the first five films (none of which the Stooges appeared in)–the main theme song, ‘My Life, My Love, My All’ was originally featured in “Umpa”, a previous novelty short. Other music cues came from shorts such as ‘School For Romance’ and ‘Susie’s Affairs’. Other interesting trivia includes: Curly is billed by his real name Jerry Howard; the pre-title teaser shows the emblem of the National Recovery Administration for some reason; and the film was written by Jerome Gottler, the son of the film’s director Archie Gottler. I met Jerome Gottler a couple of times in the early 1990s in Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills (of all places). I just struck up a conversation with an interesting looking old man who turned out to be the guy who wrote ‘Woman Haters’–he was more than a little astonished when I began singing the ‘dialogue’ from the film verbatim. Indeed, ‘Woman Haters’ provokes a rather emotional reaction from me and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because it’s their debut as a team (sort of). Not only do we see them in their youth but the film ends with them as old men coming together as friends after a long estrangement. The final moments–a reprise of “My Life, My Love, My All’–have been known to bring tears to my eyes. I’m not kidding. For more on the subject of the origins of my Stoogeamania, click here to to go to my podcast and hear a monologue I did a few years ago in the subject. (Scroll down and find the episode called ‘My Life As A Stooge’).
When I reactivated this blog almost two years ago I decided to feature a Stooge short every weekend, working our way through all 190 of them. I don’t have an exact count of where we are now but I think we’re hovering somewhere around the 100-120 mark. Alas, it doesn’t look like we’re going to be able to complete this noble task. Sony Pictures has made it their business in recent weeks to take down the Stooge shorts from YouTube due to ‘copyright infringement’ issues. Who are they kidding? The Stooges, like Mickey Mouse, are beyond copyright. They are in the public domain spiritually if not actually. What does Sony think–that anybody’s going to buy DVDs of these films? Or perhaps they’re beginning a streaming channel devoted to Columbia Pictures short subjects, with the Stooge films being joined by Andy Clyde comedies (as well as a few Hugh Herberts and late Buster Keatons). I was surprised to find ‘Woman Haters’ still up and hope it lasts through the weekend–it really is a wonderful artifact and if it can’t be found on YouTube it will sadly be forgotten except by extreme Stooge fanatics. As a result of this grotesque act I’ve decided to boycott all things Sony…except my 65 inch Sony television. Which is the only Sony product I have, so I guess I’m full of shit. Anyway we may move onto a weekend Laurel and Hardy fest and I hope you’ll join me for them in the coming weeks/months/years. Until Sony blocks them too, I guess. If that happens I’ll toss the Sony and buy a Samsung.