Sunday, March 29, 2009

Honourable Mentions: The Three Stooges: Space Ship Sappy

splash screenI must admit I am not au fait with the work of the Three Stooges, they just didn’t really come onto my radar as I was growing up. However, fellow genre fan Leila suggested that I look at this. It wasn’t suggested that it was actually vampiric but it was suggested that it deserved an Honourable Mention.

This was directed by Jules White and was first aired in 1957. The stooges line-up at the time consisted of Moe (Howard), Larry (Fine) and Joe (Besser). The beginning of the short establishes them as out of work bums, reduced to eating a shoe. Larry checks the paper and sees a situation vacant for three sailors to go on a cruise.

looking for workThe boys head over to the home of Professor A K Rimple (Benny Rubin), as they approach they are watched by the professor and his daughter Liza (Doreen Woodbury). She hopes they won’t refuse the job like other applicants and the Professor decides he won’t tell them what is really going on. They hide the control panels (the house is a space ship) but they needn’t have bothered – the boys are more bothered about the rate of pay.

blast offLiza gives them pills and injects them (with the obvious slapstick results) as the professor preps the ship. When they take off they believe there is an earthquake until the Professor confesses they are ascending. They are going to the moon but, first, they are going to the planet Sunev (Venus backwards). It is here that we are concerned with and I apologise to Stooges’ fans if I have glossed over or avoided a favoured gag.

Aye, aye, aye… Be-bop!The boys go out to explore the planet but the planet is inhabited (as spotted by Liza and the Professor) by cannibalistic amazons – billed as Flora (Lorraine Crawford), Fauna (Harriette Tarler) and Amazon (Marilyn Hanold). Liza knows they are cannibals because they have a big cooking pot. I was somewhat amused by the alien language – “Aye, aye, aye… Be-bop!” They are after the boys.

these girls don’t know how to kissOf course the boys just see girls and try to kiss them. The return kiss involves biting the cheeks/lips – which convinces the boys that ‘these girls don’t know how to kiss’ and, of course, someone has to teach them – it appears they are quick learners (who’s teaching who?) The professor uses his tannoy to try and warn them – he actually states that they are vampires and they will love them to death – but the boys are overpowered and dragged off.

ooo fangsFood preparation seems to involve tickling the boys to death, on the sole of the foot whilst they are tied to posts. After a bit of this the girls develop fangs and claws and encroach upon the boys… How will they get away? What is the punch line pay-off for the short? I’m not going to spoil that – we have reached the end of any vampire-like activity. To be honest cave girls, with fangs, on a distant planet reminded me of Horror of the Blood Monsters and some of the footage in that was probably older than this… however this is vastly superior as a piece of televisual art.

The imdb page is here.

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