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Half-Wits Holiday

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Half-Wits Holiday
Directed byJules White
Written byZion Myers
Produced byJules White
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Emil Sitka
Vernon Dent
Barbara Slater
Ted Lorch
Symona Boniface
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • January 9, 1947 (1947-01-09) (U.S.)
Running time
CountryUnited States

Half-Wits Holiday is a 1947 short subject directed by Jules White starring American slapstick comedy team the Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard in his final starring role). It is the 97th entry in the series released by Columbia Pictures starring the comedians, who released 190 shorts for the studio between 1934 and 1959.

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In the second Stooge adaptation of the 1913 play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, the Stooges find themselves entangled in a wager between two psychologists, Professors Quackenbush and Sedletz, who seek to transform the repairmen into gentlemen through environmental influence. Amidst the tumultuous training process, marked by comedic misadventures and the Stooges' amorous escapades with Professor Quackenbush's daughter Lulu, the stakes escalate toward a decisive test of their refined behavior at an upscale society gathering.

However, the anticipated soirée descends into chaos as the Stooges' innate antics disrupt decorum with inadvertent calamity. Curly's misjudged attempts at etiquette culminate in a pie-flinging debacle, symbolizing both his departure from the stage as a Stooge and a comedic foreshadowing of impending misfortune. Moe's nervous reaction to the looming presence of Mrs. Smythe-Smythe, inadvertently likened to the Sword of Damocles, triggers a slapstick sequence culminating in a pie fight.




Production notes

Half-Wits Holiday is a reworking of 1935's Hoi Polloi, without the aid of any stock footage. Half-Wits Holiday would itself later be reworked as 1958's Pies and Guys.

The untimely absence of Curly from the pie fight would prove somewhat helpful when pie-fight footage was later needed. The footage was recycled in Pest Man Wins, Scheming Schemers and Pies and Guys, as well as the compilation feature film Stop! Look! and Laugh.

Curly's departure

Half-Wits Holiday was filmed May 2–6, 1946;[1] it marked the final appearance of outgoing Stooge Curly Howard as an official member of the team. During the final day of filming (May 6), Curly suffered a debilitating stroke on the set and was rushed to a nearby hospital, effectively ending his career.

Curly was to be featured prominently in the pie-fight scene, but after Moe found him with his head slumped on his shoulder and with tears rolling down his eyes, it was apparent that Curly could not perform. Moe alerted director Jules White of Curly's unfortunate situation, leading White to quickly rework the scene to be divided between Moe and Larry. Reaction shots from the supporting cast were spliced in more frequently to hide Curly's absence.[2]

Supporting actor Emil Sitka, who made his debut with the Stooges in this film as the first footman Sappington, remembered:

After (the stroke) occurred, Curly was just missing all of a sudden. It wasn't announced to the rest of the cast; nobody knew what happened. So, we're approaching the last scene in the picture, a big pie fight. They had a big set and they put a huge canvas all around; it was going to be like a battleground. They're getting all geared up and the script calls for all the Stooges. I see a dry run-through of the scene and there's no Curly. I thought it was just a change in the script. No one — including Moe, Larry and Jules — ever told us how serious his condition was. It was only after the picture had been completed that I found out he took ill.[2]


Even before the day when Curly suffered his debilitating stroke, he had been having problems taking direction from White during filming. Many of the lines intended for Curly were either given to Larry or eliminated altogether.

In the scene where the Stooges have their reflexes checked at the beginning of the short, an ailing Curly noticeably looks to director Jules White off camera, supposedly instructing him when to lift his leg or when to stay still, as well as his next line. To help with his struggles, Curly was often placed next to his brother, Moe, to help guide him through scenes.

One scene in particular took much longer to film than it should have been due to Curly's health issues. The Stooges were supposed to behave like proper, dignified gentlemen and communicate eloquently when introduced to the wealthy gentry:

  • Larry: "Delighted."
  • Moe: "Devastated."
  • Curly: "Dilapidated."
  • Larry: "Enchanted."
  • Moe: "Enraptured."
  • Curly: "Embalmed."

White later said, "I had a devil of a time getting that scene. Curly just couldn't get the hang of it. I should have realized then that he was deteriorating even further."[2]

External links


  1. ^ Half-Wits Holiday at
  2. ^ a b c Okuda, Ted; Watz, Edward (1986). The Columbia Comedy Shorts. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. pp. 67, 68. ISBN 0-89950-181-8.
This page was last edited on 6 May 2024, at 02:56
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