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3 Dumb Clucks

Gold digger and Curly's father in "3 Dumb Clucks"
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3 Dumb Clucks starring the Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard)

Synopsis for Three Dumb Clucks starring the Three Stooges

In 3 Dumb Clucks, “‘Til death do us part” takes on new meaning as The Three Stooges try to prevent their father from leaving their mother and marrying a gold-digging young floozy. And her friends plan to kill him after the wedding. Curly, who is a double for his father, comes to the rescue by impersonating “Popsie” and marrying the girl instead.  And then all he needs to do is stay alive!

review of Three Dumb Clucks

Three Dumb Clucks begins with the Three Stooges doing some spring cleaning — in their prison cell.  One funny bit of visual comedy comes when Moe throws a pair of socks to Larry to wash out …. Which land upright with a “clunk” on the bench.  As they’re cleaning, a letter from their mother arrives. It tells them that their father (“Popsie” Howard, also played by Curly) has become rich after striking oil. He’s divorced her and ran off to marry a young blonde.  Ma wants them to bring their father back home.  The Stooges rapidly agree once they can break out of their cell.

The Three Stooges break out of prison

In a classic Three Stooges bit, Larry suggests that they use the tools to break out.  

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What tools?
The tools we’ve been using every day for the last ten years!
Oh, those tools!

And so they roll back their mattress, showing a veritable arsenal of tools to break out of the cell with.  The actual breakout scene is very funny, ranging from the “termites” that eat through the bars on the window to Moe “shaving” in order to cover the noise of Curly’s drilling. It needs to be seen to be appreciated.

A visit with Pops

Gold digger and Curly's father in "3 Dumb Clucks"

After their escape, they make their way to their father’s mansion. Moe decides that they could break the gates open if only they had a hammer; Curly obligingly pulls a sledgehammer out of his pants!  He then stands in the middle with the hammer, with Moe holds the spike and Larry watching behind Curly. Curly swings back and hits Larry in the head with the hammer, then Curly swings forward and hits Moe’s hand instead of the spike! This would be a recurring joke in future Stooge shorts.

The gate opens regardless, and soon the Three Stooges are facing their wayward father, Popsie, who is the spitting image of Curly, only with side whiskers.  Popsie isn’t about to go along with the boys, and instead bribes them with a large roll of bills so that they can go buy nice clothes for his wedding.  When the boys leave to do so, Popsie’s fiancee, Daisy (Lucille Lund), encourages him to shave his whiskers for the wedding.  Soon after she leaves, and the audience learns that with the help of her gangster friends she intends to murder Popsie immediately after the ceremony in order to inherit his fortune.

In the meantime, the Three Stooges are picking out their new clothes, ending with a hilarious bit as Curly keeps trying to pick out a “cabbie” hat, which Moe repeatedly rejects.  It’s very funny, and one of the highlights of the film, especially when Moe throws the hat away only for it to boomerang back onto Curly’s head.  Eventually, they leave the store, only to meet Daisy outside, who mistakes Curly for Popsie. And Moe decides that Curly will marry her, to spoil Popsie’s plan.

At Popsie’s wedding

The wedding has moved to the apartment of Daisy’s brother. This leads to a funny scene when Popsie calls to find out where Daisy is … Only to find out she can’t come to the phone since she’s getting married.  This motivates Popsie to wing his way to the apartment, but it’s too late.  Curly and Daisy are now man and wife, although Curly faints at the mention of “til Death do you part,” since he knows what Daisy’s friends have planned.

The mistaken identity starts to play fast and furious, as Popsie arrives, and no sooner do the gangsters think they’ve killed him (by dropping him down an elevator shaft) than they see Curly, and think they’re seeing a ghost.  After some running around, Curly (and Moe and Larry) try hiding at the top of a flagpole, which the gangsters simply topple over — the Stooges fall, seemingly to their doom, only to bounce off an awning and land on Popsie, whom they drag back to their mother.

The Three Stooges collection volume 2 - 1937-1939

Three Dumb Clucks is a funny Three Stooges short film and is available on The Three Stooges Collection volume 2.

Funny movie quotes from the Three Stooges short film, Three Dumb Clucks

Curly (Curly Howard): I got an idea in the back of my head!
Moe (Moe Howard): Well, bring it out front! [He hits him in the head] What is it?
Curly (Curly Howard): You knocked it clear out!

Moe (Moe Howard): It’s a good thing we don’t got an electric chair in here, otherwise I’d kill ya!

Prison guard: [after the Three Stooges have filed the bars out of their prison cell] What’s going on in here?
Curly (Curly Howard): [turns to Moe] What’s going on in here?
Moe (Moe Howard): Termites!
Prison guard: Termites? I’ll report them!

Prison guard: [as Moe is shaving] What you need is a hacksaw.
Larry (Larry Fine): We tried that, but … [Moe kicks him]
Prison guard: Imagine a hack saw in jail! Ha ha ha. [walks off]

Moe (Moe Howard): Nothing doing! You can’t bribe me!
Larry (Larry Fine): Me neither!
Curly (Curly Howard): Me too! [takes the bankroll of cash]

Moe (Moe Howard): What are you shaking for?
Curly (Curly Howard): I don’t know, I’m in a hurry all over!

Curly (Curly Howard): I’€™ll marry her when I’m ready!
Gangster: [aims gun in his pocket at Curly] Are you ready?
Curly (Curly Howard): Yeah, I’m ready.

Popsie Howard (Curly Howard): [on telephone] Hello, is Daisy there?
Gangster: Yeah, but she can’t come to the phone — she’s busy getting married to Old Man Howard.
Popsie Howard (Curly Howard): Thanks, I’ll call later. [hangs up phone] Married? Wait! Hello? You can’t do that, I ain’t there, I’m here! But I’ll be right over!

Gangster: Give him some air. Bring him over here by the open window.
Curly (Curly Howard): [awakes from faint] No, not the window! [faints again]
Moe (Moe Howard): Speak to me, kid, say something! C’mon, kid, say something!
Curly (Curly Howard): Something.

Trivia for Three Dumb Clucks

  • 3 Dumb Clucks is a send-up of the feature film Three Smart Girls.
  • Of the sixteen Stooge shorts using the word “three” in the title, 3 Dumb Clucks is the only one to use the number “3”.
  • 3 Dumb Clucks was reworked in 1953 as Up in Daisy’s Penthouse, using minimal stock footage from the original.
  • During the scene where Curly’s father arrives for his wedding, two of the gold digger’s henchmen dispose of him by throwing him down an elevator shaft. The prop men had padded the bottom of the shaft to cushion Curly’s fall, but neglected to cover a protruding 2″ x 4″ panel. Curly was thrown down the shaft quickly, and landed head-first on the 2″ x 4″, tearing his scalp open. As the Stooges were workhorses at Columbia Pictures, Curly was not taken to the hospital. Instead, the studio physician was rushed to the set to apply several stitches to Curly’s scalp. Some fresh hair was glued over the wound, and with a healthy dose of painkillers, the slightly wobbly Stooge was back in action within a few hours (The story was told by Moe in his autobiography, Moe Howard and the Three Stooges). The patch can clearly be seen in the scene where Curly is trying on hats.

Cast of characters in 3 Dumb Clucks

Additional cast

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