False Alarms (1936) starring the Three Stooges
In False Alarms the Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard) are inept firefighters, who have once again missed the fire alarm, and they’re about to be fired by their long-suffering fire chief, (Stanley Blystone) when they beg and grovel their way to one last chance. No sooner do they get their last chance than Curly decides to sneak out of the firehouse to visit his girlfriend … who has dates for Larry and Moe as well.
Moe and Larry, escaping the room and seeing that the other firefighters have already left, decide to race to the fire in their chief’s brand-new car … which we know will not end well. They arrive before the fire trucks, and the Three Stooges, along with their dates, try to get away in the fire chief’s car before the fire trucks arrive, with a zany driving routine as Curly weaves between traffic, finally crashing. Moe extracts the others, Mimi (the plump girl) gets into a slap-fight with Curly, and the fire chief is approaching!
The short ends with the Stooges driving the wrecked car into a Bekins moving van, which promptly explodes … and the Three Stooges drive off with the still-smoking moving van.
In all, False Alarms is a good Three Stooges short film, fast paced and funny. I rate it four stars out of five.
Funny movie quotes from False Alarms
Moe (Moe Howard): Hey, did you hear a bell?
Larry (Larry Fine): What?
Moe (Moe Howard): I said, “Did you hear a bell?”
Larry (Larry Fine): What’d you say?
Moe (Moe Howard): The bell! The bell!
Larry (Larry Fine): I can’t hear you on account of the bell.
Fire Chief: If this were the army I’d have you shot at sunrise!
Curly (Curly Howard): But you couldn’t do that, cap, we don’t get up that early!
Minnie: I guess the only way I can get a man to come to see me is to call a doctor.
Minnie: You’ll like me after we get acquainted. I grow on people.
Curly (Curly Howard): So do warts!
Curly (Curly Howard): Is there any gas in the tank?
Larry (Larry Fine): The arrow’s half-way. I don’t know if it’s half empty or half full!
Trivia for False Alarms
- The captain in this short mentions what he would do to the Stooges “if this were the army”. The same actor, Stanley Blystone, played the Stooges’ army sergeant (Sgt. MacGillicuddy) in Half Shot Shooters.
- At one point the Captain refers to the Stooges as “Those three missing links!” Three Missing Links became the title of the Stooges 33rd short two years later.
- This short features one of the most unusual eye pokes in the Stooge shorts. Moe and Curly are talking on the telephone, and Curly calls Moe a coward. So Moe pokes the receiver of his phone with two fingers, and Curly reacts angrily when he “receives” the eye poke on the other end of the line.
- At one point in the short, Moe sticks out his fist to Curly and says, “See that?”, which is a recurring joke in which Moe swings his fist around and bops Curly on the head. But the Stooges are being chased, so this time Curly says, “You ain’t got time…here comes the captain!” and the Stooges scurry away. Curly also tries the trick twice in this short, again unsuccessfully.
- This is the first instance of Curly having a girlfriend (with her girlfriends anticipating hooking up with Moe and Larry), along with their rhyming names.
- Fire station filming took place at LAFD Fire Station 61, 5821 West 3rd Street. The station was replaced with a new building at the same location in 1987.
- The fire apparatus used during the filming was a 1921 Seagrave combination chemical and hose wagon, one of nine owned by LAFD..