Booby Dupes [1945]

"Cookoo Cavaliers" (1940) and "Booby Dupes" (1943) are respectively the 51st and 84th entries in the Columbia series of Three Stooges shorts. While most of the shorts on these releases are in no particular order, both of these episodes start with the boys in the fish business. In the first, their 30-day-old catches and lack of customers force them to purchase what they think is a saloon down in Cucaracha, Mexico, but it turns out to be a beauty salon. Here one feels a little sorry for the senoritas whose hair is totally destroyed by the Stooges' ineptitude. However, Curly's pantomime (with sound effects) of a bartender is a gem. "Booby Dupes" begins as a literal remake of the 1932 Laurel and Hardy classic "Towed in a Hole," and perhaps it suffers by comparison. It is business as usual as they try to fix up a craft that is not seaworthy, which they of course manage to sink on their first fishing trip out. Their signaling a plane with a towel that has a paint stain very much like a Japanese flag is merely a contrivance to bring the film to an all-too-common hasty conclusion. "Busy Buddies" (1944, #78) has them as restaurateurs with Curly as a cook to whom chicken soup means passing boiling water through a hen. A pie delivery does not lead to what one would expect but to their need to earn $100 by Curly's winning a milking contest so they can pay their bills. They lose when the crowd realizes he is milking a fake cow with Larry, Moe, and a huge supply of milk inside. The film ends with the three beating a hasty retreat, this time from the arena. --Frank Behrens

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