Boobs in Arms

Boobs in Arms is the 52nd short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1940 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.

Boobs in Arms
Directed byJules White
Produced byJules White
Written byFelix Adler
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Richard Fiske
Evelyn Young
Johnny Kascier
Cy Schindell
Eddie Laughton
John Tyrrell
Lynton Brent
CinematographyJohn Stumar
Edited byMel Thorsen
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • December 27, 1940 (1940-12-27) (U.S.)
Running time
CountryUnited States


The Stooges are street peddler greeting card salesmen who anger a man on the street after an accidental altercation. They are then approached by a woman (Evelyn Young) with a request to help her make her man-hating husband (Richard Fiske) jealous. Realizing it is the same man they faced before, the Stooges defend themselves against the irate husband with their usual combatives and flee from the husband shouting his threats. In hiding from him, they line up on a queue that takes them to a recruitment office by mistake and they end up joining the army.

No sooner are they getting acclimated with their new army surrounding when they meeting their drill instructor: Sergeant Hugh Dare, the irate husband/man on the street they encountered before. Sgt. Dare desperately attempts to teach the Stooges the standard military drill from the manual of arms. He then threatens them during bayonet practice.

The Stooges are sent to the front line, where they decide to take a long nap. After learning that Sgt. Dare has been captured by the enemy, they are instructed to detonate a laughing gas shell. After putting the laughing gas bomb in, Curly and Moe use a swab to push the shell further in the cannon, but ends up getting the end of the swab stuck from the inside. As they successfully get it out, Moe falls in a puddle of mud, which Curly admonishes him about going swimming; this angers Moe as he kicks Curly into the cannon where his head becomes lodged. As Larry and Moe get Curly's head out of the cannon, it points to where Curly is and they then point the cannon straight upward. Naturally the shell goes up and then down which manages to explode on them.

Laughing hysterically, the Stooges are captured and brought to enemy headquarters where Sgt. Dare is being detained. The enemy communicate in pig Latin. Hopped up by the gas, the Stooges gleefully use their violence in a wild free for all fight against their captors, including an accidental sword thrust to the rear of the sergeant and his retaliatory punch to the enemy captain that makes him fall on the pointed end of his pickelhaube helmet. The Stooges knock out everyone, including all the enemy soldiers and Sgt. Dare. After emerging victorious, several guns fire at them, with shells whizzing past, the Stooges always ducking in laughter or leaning back giggling, each time missing another shell. Finally, the last shell passes between their legs and takes them into the clouds as they still laugh.

Production notes

Filmed on August 15–20, 1940,[1] the title is a parody of the 1939 MGM film Babes in Arms based on the Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers musical. The working title was All This and Bullets Too, a parody in itself of the title of the Warner Bros. film All This and Heaven Too.[2]

Joe Besser had his own version of the army drill routine, which was used on stage for the first time in April 1941 and titled "You're in the Army Now". Jules White adapted the routine for Boobs in Arms, and would reuse the footage for the ending of Dizzy Pilots in 1943. The skit was revised with Joe Besser and his straight man Jimmy Little who first joined Joe in October 1940 in the Olsen and Johnson production of Sons of Fun (October 1941 until January 1944). White later filmed Besser's performing his army drill version of the routine in 1952 Columbia short, Aim, Fire, Scoot, and its 1956 remake, Army Daze.[2][3]

Laurel and Hardy played greeting card salesmen who try to make a married woman's husband jealous in 1935's The Fixer Uppers.[2]

After joining the army, Curly beings to recite lyrics from the song "You're in the Army Now". After Curly says "You'll never get rich," Moe stops him before he can utter the next line, sometimes sung as "You son of a bitch".

The closing gag of a person riding a bombshell through the air would be re-created by Slim Pickens in 1964's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.[2]

Curly's print ad for "O'Brien's Kosher Restaurant" has "dessert" intentionally misspelled as "desert".[2]

Hollywood and the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940

The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 was passed by the United States Congress on September 16, 1940, becoming the first peacetime conscription in United States history. Hollywood reflected the interest of the American public in Conscription in the United States by having nearly every film studio bring out a military film comedy in 1941 with their resident comedian(s):

However, the first comedians to appear in an army comedy were the Stooges with Boobs in Arms. Columbia Pictures placed the Stooges in an unnamed army with military uniforms consisting of Zorro hats and tan uniforms with sergeant chevrons worn upside down to the American way; they are also armed with Civil War-type muskets instead of modern rifles.[2]

Ironically, Richard Fiske (Sergeant Dare) was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II; he was killed in action in August 1944 in La Croix-Avranchin, France. Fiske was only 28.[2][4]


  1. Pauley, Jim (2012). The Three Stooges Hollywood Filming Locations. Solana Beach, California: Santa Monica Press, LLC. p. 55. ISBN 9781595800701.
  2. Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion. Comedy III Productions, Inc. p. 183. ISBN 0-9711868-0-4.
  3. Aim, Fire Scoot at
  4. Richard Fiske (1915 - 1944) - Find A Grave Memorial
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