Hokus Pokus (1949 film)

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Hokus Pokus
Directed by Jules White
Produced by Jules White
Written by Felix Adler
Starring Moe Howard
Larry Fine
Shemp Howard
Mary Ainslee
David Bond
Vernon Dent
Ned Glass
Jimmy Lloyd
Cinematography Vincent J. Farrar
Edited by Edwin H. Bryant
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • May 4, 1949 (1949-05-04) (U.S.)
Running time
Country United States
Language English

Hokus Pokus is the 115th short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1949 starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Shemp Howard). The comedians released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.


The Stooges are three paperhangers who also look after invalid Mary (Mary Ainslee), who always uses a wheelchair. The seemingly helpless blonde, however, is trying to swindle her insurance company out of $25,000, as she is not handicapped in the least. While the Stooges are at work hanging posters, they are taken by one poster that advertises a great hypnotist, Svengarlic ("He'll steal your breath away!" the poster announces). The Stooges want the hypnotist to work his magic on Mary so that she can walk again, but Svengarlic is more interested in winning an audience by hypnotizing the Stooges. Under his spell, they walk out onto a flagpole high on a building and dance. But a distracted bicyclist knocks Svengarlic over and the Stooges are abruptly awakened. They immediately panic when they see where they are, then the flagpole breaks, sending them flying through an open window. The boys land directly in the insurance office where Mary is about to be handed her check. Startled, she jumps out of her wheelchair, exposing her scheme.

Production notes[edit]

Hokus Pokus was reworked in 1956 as Flagpole Jitters, using ample stock footage. In particular, the two films have different endings: Mary is a fraud here, whereas in the later picture she is actually paraplegic. In the remake Svengarlic is the fraud.[1]

The Stooges make a reference to Sing Sing Correctional Facility, in which Shemp believes he has hypnotized Moe into thinking he is locked up in the infamous prison. The character name 'Svengarlic' is a parody of 'Svengali,' the name of a fictional character in George du Maurier's 1894 novel Trilby.[1]


  1. ^ a b Solomon, Jon. (2002) The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion, p. 348-349; Comedy III Productions, Inc., ISBN 0-9711868-0-4

External links[edit]