The Sitter-Downers (1937) starring the Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard)
In The Sitter-Downers, Moe, Larry and Curly are three bachelors, who are dating three sisters (Corabell, Florabell and Doorbell) – the short film begins with them leaving the flower shop with flowers for their girls – and their dog is carrying a rose in his teeth for his canine girlfriend as well. They leave to get ‘the car’ – a funny bit where the audience first thinks that the Stooges are driving out of the garage in a normal car, but quickly realize that’s not the case as Moe comes out driving a scooter, towing Larry, Curly and the dog in a series of small wagons, hitched together like a train.
Moe weaves through the streets in order to end up at their girls’ house. Once there, they do their classic routine of dusting off each other’s back – with Curly slapping Moe in the face when he turns around! Soon, the Three Stooges propose (for the hundredth time) to their girls, who insist that their father, Mr. Bell, grant his permission first. Mr. Bell will not hear of it, however, leading the Three Stooges instituting a sit-down strike (a rather hot topic back in 1937) – vowing to sit in Mr. Bell’s living room until he consents.
Sit down strike
Over the next three weeks, the Stooges become a minor newspaper sensation, resulting in fan mail offering them various things. Including a free lot and prefabricated house for them to move into after their honeymoon. After some slapstick dealing with the boys ‘roughing it’ in the Bell living room (including Curly fishing in the goldfish bowl), Mr. Bell finally relents. And the Three Stooges are free to marry their sweethearts. Once they decide which Stooge will marry which daughter by drawing names out of a hat!
Assembling the house
Soon, the newlywed Stooges and their brides arrive at the site of their new house – which the Three Stooges have to assemble for themselves. The wives insist that the Stooges start building their love nest immediately, although the Three Stooges want to go on their honeymoon first. The wives lay down the law, and knock their newlywed husbands down. After a short-lived attempt at striking again, the wives have their husbands beaten into submission, and they’re trying their (inept) hands at building the house. If Curly hadn’t destroyed the plans, things might have turned out better — but probably not.
The Three Stooges manic slapstick comes fast and frequent, as Moe chases Larry through the cement that Curly’s trying to pour … and then does it again. In a very funny moment, Moe gets his finger stuck in a water pipe, and Larry takes advantage of it to get a rare moment of revenge on Moe, kicking him and breaking a lumber board over him. Until Moe gets free, and chases him again, leading the wives to chase them both … towards Curly’s carefully repaired cement. Rather than letting them trample it again, Curly does it first – only to watch everyone else run around the cement!
Let’s use dynamite!
A related cement accident has Curly have his feet stuck in cement, causing Moe to do the obvious to free him – blow it up with dynamite! This results in Curly getting blown into a tree, falling down and knocking out one of the girls. Despite their best efforts, the Three Stooges eventually complete the house, which looks like a fun house at a carnival, with a sideways door, bathtub mounted on the wall, and stairs coming out of the walls – ‘those aren’t stairs, those are shelves’ – but it all comes tumbling down when one of the wives pushes a pillar that’s ‘out of place,’ ending the short film.
The Sitter Downers is available on DVD as part of the Three Stooges Collection volume 2, and is a very funny Three Stooges short film, strongly recommended. A colorized version is available on The Three Stooges – Goofs on the Loose (Colorized / Black & White)
Funny movie quotes from The Sitter Downers starring the Three Stooges
Moe (Moe Howard): For the hundredth time,
Moe, Larry, Curly in unison: Will you marry us?
Corabell: This is so unexpected!
Mr. Bell: I’ll have you thrown out of this house!
Moe (Moe Howard): Is that so? [pushes Curly towards him] Tell him a few syllables!
Curly (Curly Howard): You can’t do that to us, we ain’t interfering with interstate commerce! And we’re gonna sit right here! [sits down on yarn needles]
Sit down strike
sign: This Place Unfair to Union Suitors
[Curly is fishing in goldfish bowl]
Moe (Moe Howard): Didn’t I tell you not to fish for those pets?
Curly (Curly Howard): But I had two strikes!
Moe (Moe Howard): Here’s third! [breaks the fishing pole over Curly’s head]
[the Three Stooges pick names out of a hat, to determine who gets to marry which girl]
Larry (Larry Fine): I got Florabell!
Moe (Moe Howard): I got Corabell!
Corabelle: Oh, Darling!
Curly (Curly Howard): I got Stetson! What one is she?
Building the house
sign: No Honeymoon, No Work
Florabell: I’ll bring ’em down! [hits the ramshackle frame with a board so it collapses and the Three Stooges fall down to Earth]
Moe (Moe Howard): Hey, Larry, help me, my finger’s caught!
Larry (Larry Fine): Are you sure?
Moe (Moe Howard): I’m sure, I can’t get it out!
Larry (Larry Fine): That’s all I want to know! [starts hitting Moe]
[Curly has his feet stuck in cement, looking like giant cement shoes]
Moe (Moe Howard): What’s the big idea?
Curly (Curly Howard): Somebody hit me on the head with a keg of nails, when I came to, here I was!
Moe (Moe Howard): I knew I missed a keg of nails.
Curly (Curly Howard): But it didn’t miss me!
[Moe plans to blow the ‘concrete shoes’ off Curly with dynamite]
Curly (Curly Howard): Dynamite? Hey, you’re not gonna blast!
Moe (Moe Howard): What would you do?
Curly (Curly Howard): I’d blast.
Moe (Moe Howard): You’ve got nothin’ to worry about. Besides, dynamite always blows down.
Curly (Curly Howard): I didn’t know that.
Curly (Curly Howard): [to the unconscious Florabell] Say somethin’! Say somethin’! Not much, but somethin’!
Trivia for The Sitter-Downers
- The Stooges’ wives are named Florabell (June Gittelson), Corabell (Betty Mack), and Dorabell (Marcia Healy, sister of the Stooges’ former boss, Ted Healy).
- This is the last Three Stooges film released during Ted Healy’s lifetime. He died on December 21, 1937.
Cast of characters
- Charles Dorety (Boobs in Arms) … Man on Street
- June Gittelson (Dizzy Doctors) … Flora Bell
- Marcia Healy … Dora Bell
- Jack Hill (Three Little Pirates) … Man on Street
- Jack Long (Matri-Phony) … Truck Driver
- Betty Mack (Grips, Grunts and Groans) … Cora Bell
- Robert McKenzie (Hoi Polloi) … Justice of the Peace
- James C. Morton (Three Little Sew and Sews) … Mr. Bell
- Charles Phillips (How High is Up?) … Man on Street
- Bert Young (So Long Mr. Chumps) … Truck Driver