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Mr. Schmidt's costume store is bankrupt because he spends his time on Rube Goldberg-style inventions; the creditors send a young manager who falls for Schmidt's niece Louise, but she'll have none of him. Schmidt's friends Ted, Queenie, and some goofy firemen try to help out; things come to a slapstick head when Louise needs rescuing from a fire. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Sound was everything in these earliest "Talkie" days and this was certainly no different! That's for sure, Schultz!".
We well remember hearing about this film and seeing one particular still from it; but for years, that was about it. It was found in lists of stooge filmography; where it provided us with yet another puzzling fact. It was listed as SOUP TO NUTS (FOX, 1930). FOX was a film company that was bought by Darryl F. Zanuck's upstart 20th Century Film Corporation, forming, oddly enough, the 20th CENTURY-FOX Film Corporation! But, being loyal 3 Stooges fans, we knew that their Home Studio was, is and forever be Harry Cohn's Columbia Pictures Corporation. We had been conditioned by the famous Lady Columbia's opening all their films; as well as the tack-on TV openings of "Screen Gems, Television Subsidiary of Columbia Pictures Corporation." And then, just who is this Ted Healy guy, where'd he come from? Why does he seem to boss Shemp, Larry, "Harry" and this Fred Sandborn character? And just who or what is a Fred Sandborn, anyway? Our family was lucky, as our parents, Clem Ryan (1914-1974) and his Bride, Bertha (nee Fuerst, 1917-Still going strong at 91!) were great believers in sharing all knowledge, no matter how seemingly insignificant as this. They clued us in that it originally had been "Ted Healy and His Stooges", although the Stooges broke away from the ego maniacal, tyrannical and alcoholic Healy and were fairly successful, too!
SOUP TO NUTS was not only the Stooges first movie, but was an adaptation of a Rube Goldberg novel. Mr. Goldberg was arguably America's pre-eminent cartoonist; becoming famous world-wide for his intricately designed, yet singularly functioned "inventions". As cartoonists of this day were highly regarded as celebs, they often appeared in films; such as this one, in which Mr. Goldberg made an appearance as Rube Goldberg, himself!
The film uses the back drop of the old Fire House. Long a favourite in literature, the movies and comic strips, the job of the Fireman has long had status as both the Heroic for what they do when applying their trade and humorous for those down time, between fires stretches (if your referring to a House located in a quiet area). Films such as LIFE OF AN American FIREMAN (Edison Co., 1903), A TITLE UNK. And believed lost Sound Serial (Universal, ca. 1931), FIREHOUSE (TV movie, Metromedia Prod./ABC, 1973), "FIREHOUSE" TV Series (Metromedia/ABC, 1974) and more recently screened projects like BACKDRAFT! (Image Films/Trilogy Entertainment/Universal Pictures, 1991) and John Travolta's LADDER 49 (Touchstone/Beacon/Casey Silver/Fantail/Buena Vista, 2004), all are good examples.
On the humorous front, we had the comic strip SMOKEY STOVER by Bill Holman (Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, 1935-1973). It featured Smokey, the Fire Chief Cash U. Nutt, Smokey's Cat, Spooky and the bizarre 2 wheeled Fireengine, the "Foomobile". In addition, Mr. Holman injected all manner of puns and 'unusual' occurrences such a little hitch-hiker character inquiring, "Nov shmooz kapop?"and framed wall 'licenses' reading 'Notary Sojac'! And Now, Back To SOUP TO NUTS, presented without any commercial interruptions! As for the humor of the film, which at times seems rather scarce to modern viewers, it is episodic, even so very brief and unconnected to other events in the film. In that sense there is a strong resemblance to a 3 or 4 panel comic strip. (Gee, I wonder why!) And one thing we, perhaps, forget that every picture constantly tests the waters for what is funny. It is our perspective of hind-sight, we sometime forget that even standard bits such as Stan Laurel's opposite extremes of Laughing and Crying routines, Oliver Hardy's recurring plunging head deep into the deepest puddle and Buster Keaton's "Great Stone Face" on screen, were all the results of trial & error.
Though not hardly a typical Stooges film, there were embryonic signs of what would be later considered to be "Stooges' Standards". As an example of such a routine seen in this movie is their rendition of "You'll never know .", in the format of a Barber Shop Quartet. This was heard so many times in future Producer Jules White's Columbia shorts.
Yeah, there's really not a lot here; and it was at one time thought to be lost. But, thanks to UCLA's Motion Picture Archives' preservation program and the formerly great American Film Classics, the world got to see it once again. And, please, Schultz, correct me if this "Old Redhead" is wrong; but I believe that AMC's telecast of ca. 1994-96, during their film preservation week, was the picture's TV Premier.
Get it, if for no other reason, as an Historical Curio of both the early "Talkies", as well as the Stooges Historical movie launching pad.
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