Three Pests in a Mess

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Three Pests in a Mess
Stooges 3pestsinmess.jpg
Directed by Del Lord
Produced by Hugh McCollum
Written by Del Lord
Starring Moe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Christine McIntyre
Brian O'Hara
Vernon Dent
Snub Pollard
Victor Travers
Heinie Conklin
Cinematography Benjamin H. Kline
Edited by Henry Batista
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • January 19, 1945 (1945-01-19) (U.S.)
Running time
Country United States
Language English

Three Pests in a Mess is the 83rd short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1945 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 inventors desperately trying to obtain a patent for their fly catching invention. Whilst learning they must catch 100,000 flies to get their patent, their conversation is overheard by several crooks across the hallway. Unfortunately, the crooks think Curly has $100,000. A flirtatious woman (Christine McIntyre) who is part of the nest of crooks corners the gullible Curly and tries to finagle the non-existent money out of him. When he confesses that the 100,000 are indeed flies and not dollars, she turns against him, and has the crooks go after the Stooges.

The trio take cover in a sporting goods store where Curly accidentally shoots a mannequin. In their infinite wisdom, the Stooges believe they have killed a real human, and go about trying to bury the "body" in a nearby pet cemetery. Unfortunately, the cemetery's night watchman (Snub Pollard) sees the Stooges prowling around and informs cemetery owner Philip Black (Vernon Dent), who happens to be attending a masquerade party with his partners. The owner arrives at the cemetery, replete in the spookiest outfits possible, and scare the bejesus out of the Stooges.

Production notes[edit]

Three Pests in a Mess was filmed on June 22-26, 1944.[1] It a partial remake of the 1933 Paramount Pictures short film Sailors Beware! (also directed by Del Lord)[1] and 1941 Columbia short film Ready, Willing But Unable.[2] The concept of men trolling through a cemetery with a dead body dates back to Laurel and Hardy's 1928 silent film Habeas Corpus.[2]

The syncopated, jazz-tinged version of "Three Blind Mice", first heard in Gents Without Cents, makes its return with this film. This version would be used for the next two releases, as well as Three Loan Wolves, before being retired permanently. This version is played in the key of F major, while the key of G major was previously utilized.[2]

This is the ninth of sixteen Stooge shorts with the word "three" in the title.

Curly's "Call for Philip Black" mimics the popular 'Call for Philip Morris' cigarette advertisements of the period.[2]

A prop man dug a hole and covered it with rubber to achieve the effect of Larry sliding under the door at the cemetery. They quickly pulled him under, and filmed the shot as a speed shot.[3]

The math is wrong: they calculate a penny a fly, and since they need $100, 10,000 flies would be needed, and not 100,000 as stated.

Several publications erroneously list the running time of this film as 17:41.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

Three Pests in a Mess was one of four Stooge films included in the TBS 1992 Halloween special The Three Stooges Fright Night.


  1. ^ a b Three Pests in a Mess at
  2. ^ a b c d e Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion. Comedy III Productions, Inc. p. 257. ISBN 0-9711868-0-4. 
  3. ^ Lenburg, Jeff; Howard Maurer, Joan; Lenburg, Greg; (1982). The Three Stooges Scrapbook, p. 246, Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-0946-5

External links[edit]