Crime on Their Hands

Crime on Their Hands is the 112th short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1948 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.

Crime on Their Hands
Directed byEdward Bernds
Produced byHugh McCollum
Written byElwood Ullman
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Shemp Howard
Kenneth MacDonald
Christine McIntyre
Charles C. Wilson
Cy Schindell
CinematographyHenry Freulich
Edited byHenry DeMond
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • December 9, 1948 (1948-12-09) (U.S.)
Running time
CountryUnited States


The Stooges are janitors at a newspaper who stumble on a hot story about the priceless Punjab diamond being stolen by a crook named Dapper (Kenneth MacDonald). With dreams of becoming genuine reporters, the trio head for Squid McGuffy's cafe asking for the whereabouts of Dapper. They manage to convince everyone at the restaurant that they are actually police.

While searching several rooms above the cafe, the Stooges stumble on Dapper's moll (Christine McIntyre), who hastily hides the Punjab diamond in a candy dish. The boys refuse to leave, suspecting Dapper will eventually show his face. While killing time, Shemp starts to flirt with the moll, and manages to swallow the ice along with some mints from the candy dish. The gal nearly has a nervous breakdown but quickly discovers the Stooges are nothing more than reporters. She calls in Dapper and his henchman Muscles (Cy Schindell) and frantically try to pry the diamond out of frazzled Shemp.

After all else fails, Dapper decides to cut him open. Moe and Larry are locked in a closet by Muscles while Shemp is tied down on a close by desk-turned-operating table. As luck would have it, there happens to be a bag of tools in the closet, which Moe and Larry use to saw their way out of the closet, and right into a gorilla's cage on the other side of the wall. The gorilla knocks Moe, Larry, Dapper, and Muscles cold. The beast, however, befriends Shemp, and helps him cough up the diamond.

Production notes

The title Crime on Their Hands is a parody of the expression "time on their hands."[1] The press room scene was recycled in 1956's Commotion on the Ocean, while the remaining portion of Crime on Their Hands was utilized in 1955's Hot Ice.[1] It is a partial remake of the 1942 Andy Clyde short All Work and No Pay.[1]

Crime on Their Hands marked the final appearance of longtime Stooge supporting actor Cy Schindell. Drafted into the Marines during World War II, Schindell developed a severe case of jungle rot while on Guadalcanal, which eventually developed into terminal cancer. Knowing he was dying, Schindell worked constantly during his illness to assure his family would be financially secure after his death. Excessive makeup was used during the filming of Crime on Their Hands to mask Schindell's cancer-ridden face.[2]


  1. Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion. Comedy III Productions, Inc. pp. 340–341. ISBN 0-9711868-0-4.
  2. Okuda, Ted; Watz, Edward (1986). The Columbia Comedy Shorts. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 232. ISBN 0-89950-181-8.
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