‘3 Dumb Clucks’ (1937) was the 22nd short comedy made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed from Monday, February 1 through Friday, February 5th, 1937 and was released on Saturday, April 17th of that year. This is a neatly conceived and executed mistaken identity comedy with Curly playing two roles–himself and his father (who appears to also be the father of Moe and Larry making this one of several shorts in which the three play brothers). In the scene between the father and brothers you get to hear Curly use his actual, lower-pitched voice for the first and only time on film. Funny as the film is, one is made uncomfortable with the number of times Curly’s head is bashed in or used as a forceful instrument (banging out the prison wall in the opening scene for instance). In light of our knowledge of his illness and death–he suffered many strokes, the result of brain damage clearly incurred during his work–it’s damn hard to watch and in some ways spoils what otherwise rates as one of their best late 30s outings. Moe, in his autobiography, even relates an incident that happened on this film having to do with a Curly head injury. I’ll let the film’s Wiki entry do the heavy lifting.

During the scene where Curly’s father arrives for his wedding, two of the gold digger’s henchmen dispose of him by throwing him down an elevator shaft. The prop men had padded the bottom of the shaft to cushion Curly’s fall, but neglected to cover a protruding 2 in × 4 in (51 mm × 102 mm) panel. Curly was thrown down the shaft quickly, and landed head-first on the panel, tearing his scalp open. As the Stooges were workhorses at Columbia Pictures, Curly was not taken to the hospital. Instead, the studio physician was rushed to the set to apply several stitches to Curly’s scalp. Some fresh hair was glued over the wound, and with a healthy dose of painkillers, the slightly wobbly Stooge was back in action within a few hours.



Sign up for news & updates so you don't miss a thing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *