‘Three Little Pigskins’ (1934) was the fourth short comedy made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed from Saturday, October 20th through Thursday, October 25th, 1934 and released on Saturday, December 8th of that year (the 342nd day of the Gregorian calendar). Obviously my timing for the showing of this one is Super Bowl-centric–it’s subject is football, or at least what football once looked like. As it’s an early effort the pacing is still uncertain but there are pleasures to be found, albeit ones that the Stooges and director Raymond (Leo’s brother) McCarey may not have intended. For one thing Lucy Ricardo–er Lucille Ball–is seen in one of her earliest roles. She has about as much in common with the Lucy we later come to know as she has with Desi Arnaz. Nonetheless it’s a surprise to hear that distinctive voice and watch her play straight man/gal before she herself began to use her enormous comic talent. Although several extended comic scenes are labored and unfunny–the seltzer-squirting routine is attenuated and forced–it’s nonetheless interesting to view if you put it in context of what audiences of the time knew about the Stooges. Since this was only their fourth outing they were an act that moviegoers were still getting used to–and one must remember that their specific form of violent humor was a novelty, something that probably was more outrageous to the average audience member of the time than we can now imagine. Finally there is the ‘meta’ of the filming itself; the final football sequence appears to have been shot at Fairfax High School, with the Hollywood Hills behind them as well as the marquee from the Fairfax Theater (visible at 14:40), a theater that was still in business when I was a kid growing up nearby. If you notice the filming dates, shooting began on a Saturday which might seem unusual except when you consider that school isn’t in session on the weekend, thus allowing the Stooges and crew to have the use of the field for two days of filming. And now, can you please welcome Usher…


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