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Cuckoo on a Choo Choo

Three Stooges short film Cuckoo on a Choo Choo (1952) starring Moe HowardLarry FineShemp Howard

Synopsis of Cuckoo on a Choo Choo

Larry has stolen a train car and kidnapped the rich drunkard Shemp; he needs to have Shemp marry Larry’s girlfriend’s older sister so that Larry can get married.  Moe, working as a detective for the railroad, tracks them down, only to find his former love, the older sister.  Shemp keeps drinking and hallucinating a giant canary.  No, really.

Cuckoo on a Choo ChooReview of Cuckoo on a Choo Choo

It’s frankly rather hard to review Cuckoo on a Choo Choo, since my mother raised me to not say anything if I can’t say anything nice—and there’s precious little nice to say about this Three Stooges short film.  For starters, the Three Stooges don’t act as a team in this film, and secondly it’s hard to feel sympathy for any of the characters.  Larry is verbally abusive to his girlfriend, and goes to the very edge of physically abusive.  I know that he’s doing a parody of A Streetcar Named Desire, but that doesn’t make his character any more likable.  Shemp is an inebriated drunk throughout the entire film, who stays so drunk that he hallucinates a giant canary, Carrie, whom he thinks that he’s in love with.

There are a lot of people who consider this to be the worst of the Three Stooges short films, and I frankly wouldn’t agree with that assessment.

Cuckoo on a Choo Choo is available on DVD as part of The Three Stooges Collection volume 7.

Trivia for Cuckoo on a Choo Choo

  • This reportedly was one of Larry Fine’s favorite shorts to watch repeatedly during his last years in the Motion Picture House.
  • The voice on the radio at the beginning of the short film is actually that of Moe Howard.
  • The working title of this short film was A Train Called Schmoe, a parody of the then-new movie A Streetcar Named Desire.

Funny movie quotes from Cuckoo on a Choo Choo starring the Three Stooges

Larry (Larry Fine): Eh, why does your older sister have to get married before you can marry me?
Lenore: It’s an old family tradition, and besides he’s filthy with money.
Larry (Larry Fine): Ah, he’s filthy with or without.”


Shemp (Shemp Howard): Oh…I’m shot! Or I’m half shot, I wanna be shot…Oh, I guess I’ll have a shot.


Moe (Moe Howard): You stay away from Roberta, she’s my girl.
Shemp (Shemp Howard): That’s okay, with me, I don’t want her.
Moe (Moe Howard): Oh, she’s not good enough for you, eh?
Shemp (Shemp Howard): Okay, okay, then I’ll take her.
Moe (Moe Howard): Oh, you’re trying to cut me out again, eh?


Moe (Moe Howard): Oh boy, Limburger, my favorite fruit.  If we only had some applesauce.


Moe (Moe Howard): Sorry kid, sorry, say a few syllables, tell me your name so I can tell your mother.
Shemp (Shemp Howard): My mother knows my name.


Lenore: Oh Shemp, why do you always drink twice too much?
Shemp (Shemp Howard): To get rid of my red nose.
Lenore: How can you get rid of a red nose by drinking?
Shemp (Shemp Howard): Drink until it turns blue.


Roberta: You dumbkoff.
Lenore: You dumbkoffer.

Originally published at Clown Ministry

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