Pardon My Backfire (1953) starring Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Shemp Howard, Benny Rubin
In Pardon My Backfire, bank robbers go to the Three Stooges’ auto shop to repair their get-away car. Then, the Stooges hear a radio broadcast about the hold-up & suspect their new customers.
Pardon My Backfire is the last of the 3D Three Stooges shorts – thank goodness. It simply doesn’t work, doesn’t enhance the humor, and distracts. Having said that, how’s the rest of the short work?
Not bad, actually. Pardon My Backfire is split into two locations, and three parts:
10th Anniversary Party
First, it begins with Moe, Larry, and Shemp celebrating their 10th anniversary with their girls — Betty (Diana Darrin), Nettie (Ruth Godfrey), and Hettie (Angela Stevens). Once they sit down to dinner, they pass plates and dish up dinner to the tune of “Oh! Susanna” — a funny bit.
Eventually, the girls’ father (Fred Kelsey) interrupts — pointing out that it’s the 10th anniversary of their engagement! As a result, if they don’t get married in a week, the girls will marry other suitors! Next, Moe accidentally hits him in the face with their anniversary cake … Finally, the Stooges beat a hasty retreat.
Slapstick at the Garage
So, at their car garage, the Three Stooges are determined to make enough money in a week to marry the girls. Which is an invitation to various slapstick moments, such as:
- Moe looks for find a leak in a tire, and gets soaked. So he asks Shemp to take a look. And Shemp doesn’t get soaked, of course.
- Shemp getting a face full of soot from an exhaust pipe, leading to Larry’s comment, “Pardon my backfire”.
- A very funny Looney Tunes style moment as the Stooges try to “fix” a broken car horn, ending with it lying on the floor, dying, “They got me, Ma …”
The Villains Arrive
Meanwhile, the Stooges hear a radio announcement on the car’s radio (voice of producer Jules White) about three escaped criminals are on the loose with a young woman. Right on cue, four new customers arrive (Benny Rubin, Frank Sully, Phil Arnold, Barbara Bartay). They are, of course, the three escaped convicts and girlfriend. However, after a few moments of “working” on the car, the Stooges realize that they’re the convicts, and the slapstick fight is on!
After some funny bits, the villains are defeated. After that, the girls arrive with the police. Their squad car broke down in front of the girls’ house, and they brought them new customers! Just in time for them to take the villains away. To sum up, with the $1,500 reward they can all get married, and the short ends happily ever after.
Funny movie quotes from Pardon My Backfire
Moe: Sit down. Eat your dinner like a gentleman.
Shemp: I’ll eat, but I’ll promise nothing.
Moe: Do you like asparagus?
Larry: Love it!
Moe: Here’s a couple of tips for you! [eye poke]
Moe: Do you want that cake?
Shemp: In the worst way!
Moe: That’s how you’re gonna get it! [throws cake, Shemp ducks, it hits their fiancees’ father]
Shemp: [about a customer’s car] You know, I think they hit something.
Moe: Listen, every time you think, you weaken the nation.
Shemp: How do you feel? [after roasting Moe’s posterior]
Moe: Like a baked potato!
Shemp: That’s a hot one!
Escaped Convict (Benny Rubin): I’m going to kill you to death!
Larry: That’s too permanent!
- This is the third and final Stooge short with the words “pardon my” in the title. The others are Pardon my Scotch and Pardon my Clutch
- This was the last Three Stooges short featuring longtime supporting actor Fred Kelsey.
- The second and last short made by Columbia with the Stooges in 3D, the other being Spooks!
- Ruth Godfrey who played the role of Nettie was the producer Jules White’s daughter.
Cast of characters
- Moe Howard … Moe
- Larry Fine … Larry
- Shemp Howard … Shemp
- Benny Rubin (Space Ship Sappy, The Red Skelton Show) … Charles, Escaped Convict
- Frank Sully (Guns a Poppin!) … Algernon, Escaped Convict
- Phil Arnold (The Ghost Talks) … Shiv, Escaped Convict
- Barbara Bartay (Flagpole Jitters) … Gang Moll
- Diana Darrin (Musty Musketeers) … Betty
- Ruth Godfrey (Muscle Up a Little Closer) … Nettie
- Fred Kelsey (If a Body Meets a Body) … Papa
- Angela Stevens (Blunder Boys) … Hettie
- Jules White (The Ghost Talks) … Radio Announcer (voice)
- Blackie Whiteford (Phony Express) … Policeman