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Nertsery Rhymes

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Nertsery Rhymes (1933) starring Ted Healy and his Stooges
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Nertsery Rhymes (1933) starring Ted Healy and his Stooges

Nertsery Rhymes (1933) starring Ted Healy and his Stooges – a very early short film, in color – Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard

Review

In short, Nertsery Rhymes is a strange little short film. It was made when the Three Stooges were still part of Ted Healy and his Stooges. They’d actually left him after Soup to Nuts, and Shemp left the group altogether. But, they returned, so, this is Curly’s first movie appearance as the third Stooge. And, it’s in color as well. The basic story has Ted as the father of three young boys (Moe, Larry, Curly), whom he’s trying to put to bed. But they want a bedtime story, so he tells them the stories of The Story of the Lady in a Fan and The Woman in the Shoe. These are actually musical numbers from other movies, so there’s nothing of the Stooges in them.

In between the two numbers, the Good Fairy comes in to help put the boys to sleep – and Ted decides to pursue her romantically. And, the ending — after the Good Fairy and Healy leave – is hilarious!

Funny movie quotes

Curly: Papa. Papa, please tell me a bedtime story.
Papa: Shh, quiet son.
Curly: Papa, will you please tell me a bedtime story?
Papa: Will you please be quiet? You’ll wake up the other two boys.
Curly: I don’t care about the other boys.

Papa: [singing] Listen my children and you shall hear / Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
Larry, Curly, Moe: [singing] Why, you don’t mean the ride of Pa-aul Revere?
Papa: [singing] Yes, I mean the ride of Pa-aul Revere.
Larry: Who was Paul Revere?
Papa: Who was Paul Revere? Are you kidding? [to Curly] Look at me son. What happened in 1776?
Curly: What street?
Papa: What street? [laughs] Aren’t you the one? [hits him on the head]

Larry: Little fly upon the track, the train came along and broke his back.
Larry, Curly, Moe: Whoo whoo! Chugga chugga chugga chugga whoo whoo!

Trivia

  • Film debut of Curly Howard.
  • Jennie Horwitz, the mother of Moe, Curly, and Shemp, was aghast when she saw this film. She began screaming at Moe on the screen for hitting his little brother, Curly. She had to be escorted from the theater.
  • The first M-G-M short to feature Ted Healy.
  • The two musical numbers were taken from earlier films. “The Story of the Lady in a Fan” was originally filmed for the uncompleted The March of Time, and “The Woman in the Shoe” was from Lord Byron of Broadway (1930). 
  • Since Healy and the Stooges split after Soup to Nuts in 1930, he reached a new agreement with them and they teamed up again in 1932 to do more vaudeville shows and this was their first on screen performance together since Soup to Nuts. (This is also the first short featuring Curly as the third Stooge since Shemp left due to Healy’s abrasiveness, bad temper and heavy drinking). From this point on, Ted Healy and his Stooges made mostly on screen shorts and appeared in feature films as opposed to Vaudeville shows, until they split with Healy a little over a year.

Cast of characters

Nertsery Rhymes cast - Ted Healy, Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Bonnie Bonnell

Additional Cast

  • Beth Dodge … Turn of a Fan Dancer (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • Betty Dodge … Turn of a Fan Dancer (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • Lottice Howell … Turn of a Fan Singer (voice) (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • The Rounders (The Hollywood Revue of 1929) … Woman in the Shoe Quintet (uncredited)
  • Ethelind Terry … The Woman in the Shoe (archive footage) (uncredited)

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