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Mummy’s Dummies

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Shemp Howard as Painless Papyrus, the near-sighted dentist in the Three Stooges short film, Mummy's Dummies
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Mummy’s Dummies (1948) starring the Three Stooges (Moe, Larry, Shemp), Vernon Dent, Philip Van Zandt

Mummy's Dummies - the Three Stooges (Moe, Larry, Shemp) as used chariot salesmen try to fleece the Chief of the Guards (Ralph Dunn)
Vernon Dent as the troubled King Rootentooten in the Three Stooges short film, Mummy's Dummies

Mummy’s Dummies is set in ancient Egypt, with the Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Shemp Howard) as dishonest used chariot dealers — poking fun as dishonest used car salesmen with their tactics. They make the mistake of swindling Rhadames (Ralph Dunn), who is the chief of the king’s guard, who brings the Stooges before King Rootentooten (Vernon Dent).

Vernon Dent as King Rootentooten in Mummy's Dummies
Shemp Howard as Painless Papyrus, the near-sighted dentist in the Three Stooges short film, Mummy's Dummies

The King, however, is dealing with twin troubles of missing tax money and a terrible toothache. Desperate to save their necks, Moe introduces “Painless Papyrus” — Shemp as a dentist. Shemp puts on his near-sighted glasses, making him virtually blind, and he tries to pull Rootentooten’s tooth with traditional slapstick. First Shemp unintentionally pulls Moe’s tooth by mistake, and then knock Rootentooten to the floor, causing his tooth to come out. With the pain gone, the grateful king spares the Stooges lives and makes them Chamberlains.

Shemp being pampered in the Three Stooges short film, Mummy's Dummies
Chest and periscope in the Three Stooges short film, Mummy's Dummies

After some pampering by the palace’s slave girls, the Three Stooges try to find a bathroom, and after their “point right” routine accidentally walk in on the Tax Collector (Philip Van Zandt) and Rhadames who are hiding the stolen tax money — and from that point on, the chase is on! There’s a fair amount of slapstick and prop humor in the chase, including Moe and Larry hiding in the large chest with the treasure — with a periscope to see who’s around, Shemp dressed as a mummy who eventually gets unraveled, etc.

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Happily ? ever after

Vernon Dent getting his cheek pinched by the slave girl in the Three Stooges short, Mummy's Dummies

In the end, all’s set right, and the Stooges are awarded again — this time with marrying the king’s homely daughter.

Shemp being 'awarded' with the king's homely daughter in the Three Stooges short film, Mummy's Dummies

One of the funniest bits in the short is at the very end where King Rootentooten explains the beautiful maiden by him isn’t his daughter, but only a slave — and she pinches his cheek affectionately, and he waves his finger at her silently. The short ends with Shemp and his homely bride-to-be being pelted with rice, and shoes — lots and lots of shoes!

In all, Mummy’s Dummies is a very good Shemp-era Three Stooges short, and I recommend it. It’s available on The Three Stooges Collection Volume 5.

Funny movie quotes from Mummy’s Dummies

Used chariot salesmen

Sign: The Smiling Egyptians – used chariots

Moe: I’m Honest Moe, that’s Honest Shemp, and that’s… well that’s Larry.

Moe: If that chariot doesn’t do everything we claimed for it, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.

At the palace of Rootentooten

Rootentooten: Who are these sand fleas?

Larry: What do we have to lose?
Shemp: My head!
Moe: Like he said, what do we have to lose?

Larry: What if he wants another tooth pulled?
Shemp: We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it! [laughs at his own joke] Not bad, was it?
Moe: Not good. [hits Shemp]

Shemp: Some perfume, sister. What brand do you use?
Pretty Girl: Sphinx.
Shemp: I know, but what brand do you use?

Rhadames: Hail, wise oracle; which way did those men go?
Shemp: [wearing a bull head as a disguise, points] They went that-away, and that’s no bull.

Shemp: Hold it! Ain’t I the first chambermaid?

Cast of characters

Additional Cast

  • Virginia S. Ellsworth … Pretty Girl (uncredited)
  • Wanda Perry (Pardon My Clutch) … Princess Fatima (uncredited)
  • Suzanne Ridgway (Even as IOU) … Pretty Girl (uncredited)
  • Jean Spangler … Pretty Girl (uncredited)

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