Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise

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Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise
Directed by Jules White
Produced by Jules White
Written by Andrew Bennison
Mauri Grashin
Starring Moe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Dick Curtis
Eddie Laughton
James Craig
Eva McKenzie
Dorothy Moore
Lorna Gray
Dorothy Comingore
Richard Fiske
Cinematography Henry Freulich
Edited by Charles Nelson
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • October 6, 1939 (1939-10-06) (U.S.)
Running time
Country United States
Language English

Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise is the 42nd short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1939 starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard). The comedians released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.


The Stooges are three hapless tramps. After nearly destroying a farmer's (Richard Fiske) pile of firewood, and destroying some of his equipment, they hit the road. Curly wishes they had a car after they stop for a break. By accident they think they've found a car for free and take it. After driving around for a bit the boys come to the assistance of the Widow Jenkins (Eva McKenzie). She graciously gives them a huge meal and in return they offer to fix her broken outdoor water pump.

As the Stooges attempt to fix the pump, they discover oil hidden under the farm when the pump turns into an oil geyser. They are happy for the lady and her beautiful daughters, until she regretfully tells them she had sold the farm. The Stooges realize she was cheated out of her land by a trio of swindlers (Dick Curtis, Eddie Laughton, James Craig). They manage to retrieve the deed to the land and are allowed to marry the now wealthy Widow Jenkins' daughters.

Production notes[edit]

Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise was filmed on March 16–20, 1939.[2] The film's title is a parody of Benjamin Franklin's, "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."[1]

Towards the end of the film, Moe tells Curly to wish for quintuplets and Curly responds that honeymooning in Canada with their new found loves is how to make the wish come true, a reference to the Dionne quintuplets.[1]

The studio crew can be heard laughing when Curly accidentally hits his head on Widow Jenkins' kitchen door while trumpeting and singing "A-Pumping We Will Go."[1]

The shot of Curly riding the oil gusher up into the sky would be reused in Oil's Well That Ends Well.[1]

Moe's injury[edit]

Moe Howard recalled in his autobiography that he received a glob of goo (representing oil) directly under his eyelids during shooting:

"I remember once when the prop man concocted a smorgasbord of gook: chocolate, whipped cream, asbestos chips, linseed oil, ketchup, and other unknown goodies. The plot had us in one scene trying to repair a water pump. After many attempts, I took a screwdriver, knelt down, peered into the mouth of the pump, and jiggled the screwdriver inside of it. Gazing up the opening, I jiggled again and then looked up a third time. Suddenly, a blob of assorted gunk got me right in the eye...and...it took hours to clean me up for the next scene.[3]

Moe would have a similar ordeal while filming 1946's The Three Troubledoers, when chunks of black soot became lodged under his eyelids.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion. Glendale, California: Comedy III Productions, Inc. p. 94. ISBN 0-9711868-0-4. 
  2. ^ Pauley, Jim (2012). The Three Stooges Hollywood Filming Locations. Solana Beach, California: Santa Monica Press, LLC. p. 188. ISBN 9781595800701. 
  3. ^ Howard, Moe (1977, rev. 1979). Moe Howard and the Three Stooges. Citadel Press. pp. 95, 101. ISBN 0-8065-0723-3.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]