A Plumbing We Will Go (1940), starring the Three Stooges – Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard
A Plumbing We Will Go begins with the Three Stooges in court, on charges of stealing chickens. It’s a funny scene, with Moe acting as a ventriloquist with Curly and Larry sitting on his lap as the dummy. The judge throws the case out due to lack of evidence, and Curly pulls his hat out of his pocket – letting fly a small storm of chicken feathers falling all over the arresting officer, played by Stooge regular Bud Jamison. The Three Stooges snap their fingers in the officer’s face on the way out of the courtroom, who has trouble with it and ends up with a kick in the seat of the pants from the officer.
Next, the boys are “fishing” in an aquarium at a pet shop for supper, and Curly plays with a mannequin dressed as a police officer, only to fall afoul of Officer Jamison again. A chase ensues, with Curly interrupting a street magician who’s using a “magic box” to make his assistant reappear — with Curly! Closing the door, the magician tries again, only this time the assistant disappeared and Moe and Larry in the box with Curly! Officer Jamison pursues, and the comedy chase end with the Three Stooges “borrowing” the truck of Casey the Plumber, ending with Bud Jamison on an out-of-control cart landing in a pile of wet cement. It’s a very funny scene, and serves to set the stage for the remainder of the short film.
The Three Stooges stop the plumber’s truck outside of a mansion, and when the butler mistakes them for the plumbers that he’s been expecting, and they dash inside to evade the still-pursuing Officer Jamison. Soon the Stooges are dashing “up to the basement” to try and fix the leak, and Curly goes further upstairs to turn off the water (since water always runs downhill, of course) while Larry accidentally knocks a hole in a heating vent, which he and Moe repair with a … woman’s corset!
The mayhem starts coming fast and furious, as Curly throws a man out of the shower in order to turn off the water, and soon has the water running nonstop. While Curly begins piping himself into a corner, Larry runs outside to turn off the water by digging a hole in the lawn and looking for the water pipe. Soon the water is behaving crazily throughout the house, as the suffering cook in the kitchen finds out.
In no time at all, Curly has caged himself with plumbing pipes (a classic comedy scene), he drills a hole in the floor to let the water out, and starts soaking Moe. Curly goes to help Moe, and starts pulling wire out of a pipe – causing the electrical system of the house to go crazy, with a kitchen light bulb filling with water, the stove spitting water, a demonstration of Television (which was brand-new at the time) displaying Niagara Falls – with the water exploding out of the set, the telephone receiver, etc.
Here comes the Judge!
Soon the owner of the house comes home, and it’s the Judge from the courthouse! The try to escape through the enormous hole that Larry’s been digging, and they exit out of that same magician’s box (Professor Bilbo, who’s now performing in the Judge’s garden for a party held by the Judge’s wife), pursued by the police, including Officer Jamison and a motorcycle cop!
A Plumbing We Will Go is one of the classic Three Stooges short films, and I recommend it highly. I rate it 4 clowns out of 5. A Plumbing We Will Go is available as part of the DVD collection The Three Stooges – Curly Classics.
Trivia for A Plumbing We Will Go
- Curly Howard’s favorite Three Stooges short film
- Several routines from A Plumbing We Will Go were reused several times throughout the Three Stooges film career. Curly recreated his maze of pipes routine for the feature film Swing Parade of 1946. Shemp also performed the pipes routine in Vagabond Loafers. Curly Joe DeRita made his own maze of pipes in his first feature with the trio, Have Rocket, Will Travel.
- Likewise, the basic plot was reused in Vagabond Loafers and Scheming Schemers
- The chicken-stealing segment that opens the film was also reworked in Listen, Judge
- Like A Ducking They Did Go, the title is a play on the children’s song, “A-Hunting We Will Go”
Funny movie quotes from A Plumbing We Will Go - the Three Stooges
Prosecutor: Now were you, or were you not, on the night of June 13th in Mrs. Throttlebottom’s chicken coop?
Curly (Curly Howard): Soitenly not! I was in the house.
Prosecutor: What house?
Larry (Larry Fine): The dog house!
Curly (Curly Howard): Nyuk nyuk nyuk!
Curly (Curly Howard): Say why don’t you call your stops?
Moe (Moe Howard): This is far enough I guess.
Larry (Larry Fine): Where are we?
Curly (Curly Howard): What do you care as long as we’re not in jail.
Posing as plumbers
Curly (Curly Howard): We’re plumbers!
Moe (Moe Howard): Three of the best plumbers that ever plumbed a plum!
Moe (Moe Howard): Where’s the leak, boy?
Butler: In the basement.
Larry (Larry Fine): Where’s the basement?
Curly (Curly Howard): Upstairs!
Moe (Moe Howard): Up to the basement!
Moe (Moe Howard): What do you know about plumbing.
Larry (Larry Fine): Nothing.
Moe (Moe Howard): That’s fine, give me a hand.
Curly (Curly Howard): A simple job for simple people!
The cook (Dudley Dickerson): This house has sure gone crazy!
Moe (Moe Howard): [Larry has accidentally poked a hole in the furnace vent] Hey, are you smokin’?
Larry (Larry Fine): No, but the pipe is.
Moe (Moe Howard): The pi – why, you lamebrain! Ya wanna get us suffocated? Put some tape on it!
Larry (Larry Fine): [checks his pockets] We forgot the tape!
Moe (Moe Howard): Well, we had to forget somethin’ or we wouldn’t be plumbers.
Moe (Moe Howard): Who said you need brains to be a plumber?
Man in shower: I beg your pardon!
Curly (Curly Howard): Why, why did you do?
Moe (Moe Howard): This ain’t a house, this is a sieve!
Moe (Moe Howard): This is all your fault, you! Look what you did! Get another piece of pipe!
Curly (Curly Howard): I resent that!
Moe (Moe Howard): (threateningly) What are you going to do about it?
Curly (Curly Howard): I’m gonna get another piece of pipe.
Cast of characters
- Curly Howard (Oily to Bed Oily to Rise) … Curly
- Larry Fine (Disorder in the Court) … Larry
- Moe Howard (The Three Stooges Meet Hercules) … Moe
- Wilson Benge … Butler
- Symona Boniface (In the Sweet Pie and Pie) … Party Guest
- Neal Burns (Back from the Front) … Audience Member
- Monte Collins (Matri-Phony) … Prof. Bilbo
- Dudley Dickerson (They Stooge to Conga) … The Cook
- Bess Flowers (We Saw Down) … Mrs. Hadley
- George Gray (Phony Express) … Audience Member
- Bud Jamison (The Champion,A Pain in the Pullman) … Police Officer Kelly
- Eddie Laughton (The Lost Weekend) … Prosecuting Attorney
- Al Thompson (Merry Mavericks) … Storekeeper / Audience Member
- John Tyrrell (The Shadow) … Judge Hadley (uncredited)
- Jules White (Rhythm and Weep) … Announcer (voice)
Updated May 22, 2022