Private detectives Gus and Dick are looking for clues in the murder case of wealthy Jonas Morton. They encounter sliding panels, a living corpse and other obstructions. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Gus Schilling and Richard Lane, who had numerous supporting roles in several features before, were signed by Columbia in 1945 until 1950 and made a series of two-reel comedies in between film assignments. The Schilling/Lane Columbia shorts were a mixed bag, considering the quality of most of them, but one called PARDON MY TERROR is no exception as it was originally written for the legendary Three Stooges, but when Curly suffered the stroke that ended his career in May 1946, writer/director Edward Bernds was forced to modify the script and assign Moe's lines to Lane, Curly's lines to Schilling, and having Larry's material split between the two actors.
The plot has wealthy millionaire Jonas Morton (Vernon Dent) who is seen being strangled by an unseen killer. Her daughter Gladys (Christine McIntyre) calls the Wide Awake Detective Agency run by two bumbling gumshoes (Schilling and Lane). When they arrive at the house, they are met by the seemingly good guy family lawyer Mr. Grooch (regular Stooge villain Kenneth McDonald) and instructs them to search for clues. The detectives then discover Grooch is working with a lunkhead tank of a man, Luke (Dick Wessel, in his first Columbia short) and seductive femme fatale, Wanda (Lynne Lyons) to steal documents from Jonas's study. So it's up to our heroes to save the day.
TERROR is not bad of a short, but one wonders how it would have played out with the Stooges. Bernds would rework the material with them later on, as WHO DONE IT?, which is far superior compared to this version. It's sort of jarring to see Lane slap Schilling around since they played mostly friends in their Columbia shorts. Other actors who make uncredited appearances in this is Emil Sitka as an explosive landlord and Dudley Dickerson as a janitor who gets his hat blown off. Worth a look if you track down a copy of it.
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