|Directed by||Jules White|
|Produced by||Jules White|
|Written by||Clyde Bruckman|
|Cinematography||Benjamin H. Kline|
|Edited by||Jerome Thoms|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Sock-a-Bye Baby is a 1942 film directed by Jules White and starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard). It is the 66th short film released by Columbia Pictures starring the comedians, who released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.
The Stooges awake in the middle of the night to a crying baby left on their doorstep. A letter from the despondent mother (Julie Gibson) states that baby Jimmy (Joyce Gardner) has been abandoned. The Stooges react by taking the little guy in, feeding him, and trying their best to act fatherly.
Later, Larry finds a newspaper article stating a child kidnapping, and the Stooges believe that Jimmy is the child and the kidnappers left a phony note. When the mother and two motorcycle cops come to reclaim the baby, the Stooges evacuate their home quickly, with Jimmie in tow; unbeknownst to the Stooges Jimmy crawled into the back seat of their car. The police on their motorcycles track them down and the baby is returned to the parents who, the father being one of the cops, reconcile. The Stooges, meanwhile, make a conspicuous escape by skittering away hidden in large haystacks.
Filming for Sock-a-Bye Baby commenced between April 28 and May 1, 1942. The film title is a parody of the lullaby "Rock-a-bye Baby", likely shared by the similarly-named Popeye cartoon Sock-a-Bye, Baby from 1934, 8 years earlier, made by Fleischer Studios.
This short is one of the rare few that contains explicit racial humor. Specifically, after Curly begins singing a song about Japanese people, he catches himself and says "What am I sayin'? [spits Pew!] on the Japanese." The U.S. was at war with Japan during World War II at the time and jingoism was a presence in the media.
While washing the celery being prepared for Jimmie's meal, Curly sings an a cappella "nonsense song" with lyrics imagining he was a Brazilian coffee bean: "I was a boy in Brazil and I grew on a tree. / When they shook the tree then I fell down. / Then they put me in a bag / and they fastened on a tag / and they shipped me off to York town."
- Pauley, Jim (2012). The Three Stooges Hollywood Filming Locations. Solana Beach, California: Santa Monica Press, LLC. p. 244. ISBN 9781595800701.
- Solomon, Jon. (2002) The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion, p. 217; Comedy III Productions, Inc., ISBN 0-9711868-0-4