THERE WERE SEVERAL teamings of Billy Gilbert with Shemp Howard. The combo had been tried at several different studios over the years. We recall having seen the twosome in sound shorts at both Hal Roach and RKO Radio short subjects departments. They also appeared in at least one Universal colour feature as the comic relief for the likes of Jon Hall and Maria Montez.
IN THE PAPERBACK book written by film historian & aficionado, Leonard Maltin, THE GREAT MOVIE COMEDY TEAMS, the then venerable veteran, Billy Gilbert stated that he had been teamed with both Shemp Howard and Ben Blue at various times. He said that he didn't care much for the experience; although he did like both men personally.
IOT WAS INDEED a shame, for there was a great chemistry between them and it is put on display to good effect in THREE OF A KIND (Monogram, 1944).
THAT THIS WAS a product of the poverty row charter member MONOGRAM PICTURES doesn't diminish the on screen fun. Billy & Shemp are joined by former World's Light-Heavyweight Champion, "Slapsey" Maxie Rosenbloom. Max does his best in adding to the fun as the now three funnymen form a sort of extended group of well meaning schlemiels, in the best tradition of Laurel & Hardy, the 3 Stooges and Rhondo Hatton & Tor Johnson. (just wanted to see if you're paying attention on that last one)
WE HAVE SEEN the picture with an alternate title of WHAT'S COOKIN'; which may well have been the product of one of those re-release outfits, such as REAL-ART, DOMINANT PICTURES or COMEDY CLASSICS.
WHILE BEING NO masterpiece of a Chaplin, Keaton or Lloyd, TRREE OF A KIND is good fun. It would well be a good addition to one's home video collection, much as both Schultz and I have done.
BUT IF NOT, it is certainly worth at least one screening. You owe it to yourself, Scout's Honor! Honest Injun! Cross My Heart.........etc.
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