|Directed by||Del Lord|
|Produced by||Del Lord
|Written by||Monte Collins
|Edited by||Paul Borofsky|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Phony Express is the 75th short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1943 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 town of Peaceful Gulch is under attack by bandits and thugs. The mayor devises a plan to scare them out of town by creating a false report of the arrival of three dedicated marshals, using the picture from a wanted poster for three vagrants (the Stooges). Despite this, the boys are almost chased out of the town themselves after nearly poisoning the town's sheriff (Snub Pollard) who is suffering from lumbago, by concocting a miracle medicine. Marching themselves into a saloon, the leader of the thugs, Red (Bud Jamison), tries to placate them with drink and dance, but is soon informed of the ruse. Testing Curly's marksmanship, the trio successfully outwit them and escape.
The sheriff finally puts them in charge of guarding the bank, which gets robbed while their backs are turned. To avoid being hanged, the Stooges search the area, with Curly as the bloodhound. After momentarily getting sidetracked by hunting a skunk, Curly taking the hide for a hat, the Stooges eventually discover the stolen money, just as the gang returns to the cabin they stashed it in. Through a series of mishaps, Curly ends up in a stove with the money, however, as Red lights a fire inside it accidentally, the flames igniting Curly's bandolier, sending bullets flying and scattering the outlaws.
Phony Express was filmed on March 27–31, 1943. The film title is a parody of the "Pony Express," a fast mail service that crossed the North American continent from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California from April 1860 to October 1861. Some of the plot and minimal stock footage would be recycled in Merry Mavericks.
- Pauley, Jim (2012). The Three Stooges Hollywood Filming Locations. Solana Beach, California: Santa Monica Press, LLC. p. 202. ISBN 9781595800701.
- Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion. Comedy III Productions, Inc. p. 238. ISBN 0-9711868-0-4.