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Scheming Schemers

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Director  Jules White
Film series  Three Stooges Films
Language  English
6.2/10 IMDb

Genre  Comedy, Short
Cinematography  Ray Cory
Country  United States
Scheming Schemers movie poster
Release date  October 4, 1956 (1956-10-04)
Writer  Elwood Ullman (story), Jack White (screenplay)
Genres  Short Film, Comedy, Black-and-white
Cast  Larry Fine (Larry), Shemp Howard (Shemp), Emil Sitka (Mr. Norfleet)
Similar movies  Tugboat Mickey, Orphan's Benefit, Mickey's Birthday Party, Symphony Hour, Pacific Rim, The Artist
Tagline  The Stooges are plumbers assigned to retrieve an expensive ring that is lost in the bathroom basin.

Scheming Schemers is a 1956 film directed by Jules White. It is the 173rd short film released by Columbia Pictures starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Shemp Howard). The comedians released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.


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The Stooges are novice plumbers, whose first job is finding a valuable ring that went down a drainpipe at the home of the wealthy Norfleets (Emil Sitka and Symona Boniface). The Stooges happily retrieve the ring, but Larry knocks it out of Moe's hand, and back it goes down the drain. The Stooges then work their way to basement to shut the water off. Larry is assigned to finding the water cutoff and proceeds to dig up most of the lawn. Shemp later surmises that the pipes fail to work properly because they are "clogged up with wires." Shemp and Moe proceed to remove the electrical system from the pipes and connect a water pipe to the newly available pipe. The cook (Dudley Dickerson), who is in the kitchen trying to prepare an extravagant meal for the Norfleets, watches in bewilderment as the stove and chandelier gush water.

As the Norfleet's house transforms into Niagara Falls, two party guests named Mr. and Mrs. Allen (Kenneth MacDonald and Christine McIntyre) manage to swipe the prized Van Brocklin painting. Shemp heads for the upstairs bath to continue fixing the pipes, and Moe and Larry discover that the ring was stuck in Larry's hair the whole time. Mr. Norfleet is happy about his ring, but frantic that his painting was stolen. Moe and Larry see Allen hiding the painting in a pipe, and a pie fight ensues, extending to the other party guests. The Stooges manage to recover the painting, and Mr. Norfleet decides to reward them. Moe and Larry wonder where Shemp has been all this time. It turns out that he got himself stuck fixing the bathroom's pipes.

"Fake Shemp"

As Shemp Howard had already died, for his last four films (Rumpus in the Harem, Hot Stuff, Scheming Schemers and Commotion on the Ocean), Columbia utilized supporting actor Joe Palma to be Shemp's double. Even though the last four shorts were remakes of earlier Shemp efforts, Palma's services were needed to film new scene in order to link existing stock footage.

For Scheming Schemers, Palma appears for the shot of "Shemp" with his back to the camera, honking the horn of the Stooges' jeep. Palma then gathers several pipes, obstructing his face. Palma's one line of dialogue — "Hold yer horses, will ya?" — is Shemp's voice borrowed from the soundtrack of 1949's The Ghost Talks. This new footage was shot on January 16, 1956, only six weeks after Shemp's death.


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