Playing the Ponies (1937) starring The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard )
Synopsis of the Three Stooges short film, Playing the Ponies
In Playing the Ponies, the Three Stooges are tricked into trading their restaurant for Thunderbolt, a washed up racehorse. But when Curly accidentally feeds Thunderbolt some chili pepperinos by mistake, the horse runs like lighting towards the nearest water trough. Realizing the pepperinos can lead Thunderbolt to victory, the Stooges try to win their money back by entering Thunderbolt in a big race.
Review of the Three Stooges short film, Playing the Ponies
Playing the Ponies begins with the Three Stooges working as inept restaurant operators. For example, Chef Curly makes a bowl of chicken soup by taking a chicken out of the refrigerator, placing it in a strainer, pouring hot water over it and into a bowl, and then replacing the chicken into the refrigerator. Later, Moe delivers an order for “one fresh mackerel”, and so Curly fishes out the back window of the restaurant to catch the fish! Later, when the order gets changes to “fillet of sole”, Curly fishes again. Catching an old boot – chopping off the “sole” and cooking it! Likewise, Moe is an uncaring waiter, and Larry is a cashier, who regardless of how poor the meal was reminds the customers to “be sure to tell your friends”.
Cash and Carry, as two con men who swindle the Three Stooges, getting them to trade their restaurant as a “down payment” on his “winning” race horse, Thunderbolt. Their leaving the restaurant is comedy gold, as Moe demonstrates the comedy value of the rule of three. Each of the Stooges tries to leave the restaurant with “a little something” – the finale with Moe is very funny, due to the build up to that moment.
At the Races
Soon, the Three Stooges are at the races to inspect their “new” horse, Thunderbolt – a swayback nag who’s days of winning races are far behind them. All appears lost until Curly accidentally feeds Thunderbolt spicy chili pepperinosâ – and Thunderbolt sends a record for racing to the water trough – followed shortly by Moe and Curly. This gives them the idea that they can use this to win a race, by feeding Thunderbolt the pepperinos and showing him water at the finish line. Things nearly go wrong when jockey Larry accidentally sits on a pitchfork, and when Curly spills the water, not to mention Larry riding Thunderbolt the wrong way on the track. But thanks to a nearby motorcycle and sidebar, the Stooges manage to pull victory from the jaws of defeat.
Playing the Ponies is a funny Three Stooges short film from the boys in their prime, and is available on DVD as part of The Three Stooges Collection volume 2.
Funny movie quotes from Playing the Ponies
[sign] Today’s Double Feature – Lobster with Frog Legs, 35 cents
Customer: Hey, waiter, is this pork or veal?
Moe (Moe Howard): What did you order?
Moe (Moe Howard): Then it’s veal.
[dog growling at customer]
Customer: Say, waiter, what’s this dog growling at me for?
Moe (Moe Howard): Aw, don’t mind him – he’s mad ’cause you’re eating outta his plate.
Customer: Oh. [pushe the plate away]
Larry (Larry Fine): [looking at stains on customer’s tie to make out his bill] Let me see, you had chicken soup, tenderloin steak, and coffee. Is that all? [customer tries to hide another stain] Eh-eh – custard pie.
Larry (Larry Fine): How’d you enjoy your meal?
Customer: The soup was watery, the steak was tough, and the coffee was just like mud.
Larry (Larry Fine): Well I’m glad you liked it; don’t forget to tell your friends.
Larry (Larry Fine): Why don’t we get out of this restaurant business anyway?
Moe (Moe Howard): Why don’t catfish have kittens?
Larry (Larry Fine): [in deep thought] I wonder …
Customer: What have you got there?
Curly (Curly Howard): Where?
Customer: There! [points to large container under Curly’s buttoned coat]
Curly (Curly Howard): Oh, that’s a goiter.
Moe (Moe Howard): Gentlemen, I’m mortified. I’m at a loss for adjectives. I wanna apologize for my two partners. I didn’t know I was connected with common thieves! [picks up his suitcase only to have all of the restaurant’s silverware fall out]
At the racetrack
Curly (Curly Howard): [pointing to swayback horse] Hey look, he must have slept under a lumber pile!
Larry (Larry Fine): [hitting Moe with alarm clock] How time flies!
Moe (Moe Howard): What’s the big idea?
Curly (Curly Howard): You told me to race him around the track … and I did. And I beat him!
Moe (Moe Howard): [to Larry] Give him a rub down.
Curly (Curly Howard): That’s just what I need. Start on this leg. [pulls up his pants leg]
Moe (Moe Howard): The other horse!
Moe (Moe Howard): [to Larry] Pipe down, ya wanna make Thunderbolt less nervous?
Curly (Curly Howard): What happened?
Moe (Moe Howard): I stopped, but you didn’t!
Trivia for the Three Stooges short film, Playing the Ponies
- The title Playing the Ponies is a slang expression meaning “betting on racehorses.”
- The Three Stooges’ restaurant is The Flounder Inn.
- A colorized version of this film was released in 2004, part of the DVD collection entitled Goofs on the Loose.
- Nick Copeland and Lew Davis reprise their roles from the last short, Cash and Carry, as two con men, who once again try to swindle the Stooges.
Cast of characters
- Billy Bletcher (Pardon My Scotch) … Racetrack Announcer
- Nick Copeland (Cash and Carry) … Con Man
- Lew Davis (Dizzy Doctors) … Con Man
- Charles Dorety (Dizzy Pilots) … Stunned Pepperino Eater
- Al Haskell … Customer ordering Veal
- William Irving (Pardon My Scotch) … Higgins
- Jack ‘Tiny’ Lipson (Hoi Polloi) … Cafe Customer
- Sam Lufkin Grips, Grunts and Groans … Race Starter
- Charles Phillips (Matri-phony) … Butler