Half-Wits Holiday, a professor bets that he can turn the Three Stooges into gentlemen in 60 days, ending in a pie fight! Curly’s final short
Half-Wits Holiday (1947) starring the Three Stooges – Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard
Half-Wits Holiday (1944) is a funny, yet bitter-sweet short film by the Three Stooges – Moe Howard, Larry Fine and the final performance by Curly Howard. Its a remake of an earlier Three Stooges short film, Hoi Polloi. In Half-Wits Holiday, two college professors make a bet whether or not the Three Stooges can be turned into gentlemen. Highlights of the short film include the Three Stooges pantomiming eating soup as they attempt to learn manners (failing miserably), Moe having a discussion with a dinner guest about the sword of Damocles (a long-time favorite scene) at the climatic coming-out party, and Moe hitting Curly in the stomach, only to have stolen silverware fall out – a sight gag reminiscent of Harpo Marx. The film culminates in a massive pie fight, with Moe, Larry and various party guests throwing and receiving pies in the face.
Why are there no scenes of Curly in the pie fight? Because, sadly, it was during the filming of Half-Wits Holiday that Curly Howard suffered from the stroke that necessitated his retirement from the screen. This is why, although Half-Wits Holiday is a very good Three Stooges short film, I always have mixed emotions while watching it. It is available on the DVD collection The Three Stooges Collection volume 5.
Trivia for Half-Wits Holiday
- This short marked the debut of Emil Sitka (who plays Sappington the butler) in short from The Three Stooges. He is one of the very few stooge foils to appear in a Stooges short featuring Curly Howard, Shemp Howard, Joe Besser and Joe DeRita.
- During a break in filming of this short, Curly Howard suffered a stroke, ending his film career (in the first part of the film. shot before the stroke, Curly is obviously in ill health; his movements are slowed considerably, as is his speech, he looks tired and has lost a noticeable amount of weight). When shooting resumed Moe Howard and Larry Fine continued causing the usual mayhem, with no reference to Curly’s absence. Curly did have a cameo role in their next film, Hold That Lion! (1947). In that film, he had a full head of hair on screen, for the first time.
- A remake of Hoi Polloi (1935), this was the first short from The Three Stooges that was a remake of an earlier one.
Funny movie quotes from the Three Stooges in Half-Wits Holiday (1947)
Moe (Moe Howard): But we’re organized. [holds up a card with the letters AAM on it] The Amalgamated Association of Morons. Local six and seven-eighths.
Moe, Curly, Larry: We are morons! Tried and true! We will do our yell for you!
Prof. Quackenbush (Vernon Dent): How would you like to earn $1000 dollars?
Moe (Moe Howard): Who do we have to murder?
Prof. Quackenbush (Vernon Dent): It’s nothing like that. All you need to do is let me make gentlemen out of you.
Curly (Curly Howard): Oh please no! There hasn’t been a gentleman in our family for 50 generations!
Moe (Moe Howard): Quit bragging.
In training to be gentlemen
Prof. Sedletz (Theodore Lorch): If I gave you a dollar, and your father gave you a dollar, what would you have?
Larry (Larry Fine) A dollar!
Prof. Sedletz: You don’t know your arithmetic!
Larry (Larry Fine) You don’t know my father!
Moe (Moe Howard): Babe, I’d like to cover you with furs and automobiles.
Lulu Quackenbush (Barbara Slater): Why, thank you.
Moe (Moe Howard): Mink! Skunk! Porcupine! Only the best for you!
Curly (Curly Howard): There’s a hair in my soup!
Moe (Moe Howard): That’s a crack in your plate.
Curly (Curly Howard): I never saw a crack go that way! [motions with his hands]
Moe (Moe Howard): That’s neither hair nor there.
Curly (Curly Howard): [reading] See the little deer. Does the little deer have any doe?
Larry (Larry Fine) Yeah, two bucks!
At the party
Lulu Quackenbush (Barbara Slater): May I present Mrs. Smythe-Smythe?
Moe (Moe Howard): [to Smythe-Smythe] Very very happy-happy.
[pie dangling from ceiling, unknown to Mrs. Smythe-Smythe]
Mrs. Smythe-Smythe (Symona Boniface): If you don’t tell me about this metamorphosis, I shall always feel as though I’ve missed something.
Moe (Moe Howard): Lady, if you don’t move, you won’t miss anything!
Mrs. Smythe-Smythe (Symona Boniface): Young man, what’s wrong? You act as though the sword of Damocles is hanging over your head!
Moe (Moe Howard): Lady, you must be psychic!
Mrs. Smythe-Smythe (Symona Boniface): What is wrong with that young man? [looks up, gets hit with pie]
Cast of characters
- Curly Howard … Curly
- Larry Fine … Larry
- Moe Howard … Moe
- Vernon Dent (Sing a Song of Six Pants) … Prof. Quackenbush
- Barbara Slater (Three Smart Saps) … Lulu Quackenbush
- Theodore Lorch (Uncivil Warriors) … Prof. Sedletz
- Symona Boniface (Micro-Phonies) … Mrs. Smythe-Smythe
- Helen Dickson (Pies and Guys) … Mrs. Gotrocks
- Mary Forbes (The Picture of Dorian Gray) … Countess Shpritzvasser
- Johnny Kascier (Boobs in Arms) … Councillor
- Judy Malcolm (Gents Without Cents) … Party Guest
- Emil Sitka (Vagabond Loafers) … Sappington
- Al Thompson (Three Little Pirates) … Mr. Toms
- Victor Travis (How High is Up?) … Sleeping Party Guest