Flat Foot Stooges

Flat Foot Stooges is the 35th short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1938 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.

Flat Foot Stooges
Directed byCharley Chase
Produced byCharley Chase
Hugh McCollum
Written byCharley Chase
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Dick Curtis
Lola Jensen
Chester Conklin
Heinie Conklin
Al Thompson
CinematographyLucien Ballard
Edited byArt Seid
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • December 5, 1938 (1938-12-05) (U.S.)
Running time
CountryUnited States


The trio are firemen (a la 1936's False Alarms) at an engine company that still employs horse-powered engines. Sleazy salesman Mr. Reardon (Dick Curtis) fails to convince Fire Chief Kelly (Chester Conklin) that horse-powered engines are on the way out. His ideas are rejected, and he is sent on his way. Mr. Reardon, however, tries to sabotage the firehouse by committing arson. He drops a can of gunpowder into the old-fashioned pump boiler and the chief's daughter (Lola Jensen) sees him. Reardon does not know that the can has a leak, and a duck has been eating the spilled gunpowder. The duck alights on a window ledge in the station and lays an egg, which falls to the floor and explodes like a hand grenade, starting a fire. The explosion startles the chief's daughter which causes her to fall backwards and knock her head on the bed, unconscious.

Before the incident takes place, the Stooges take their horses, Fanny and Annie to clean them up by engaging themselves in a Turkish bath steam, and rubbing the horses down, for the fireman's picnic. Also, Curly has an invention where he says repeatedly: "All you have to do is to pull the string", in which the harness falls from the ceiling of the firehouse, which however, causes the two horses to run out of the firehouse.

While the fire is raging at the firehouse, the Stooges notice a mouse, and send their mascot dog, Butch, to go after the mouse, however, the mouse outwits Butch, following a struggle underneath the sink. When the alarm sounds, the Stooges rush out to look for where the fire is coming from, not realizing that it's in their own firehouse, while being stopped by a patrol man, the fire pump, with the gunpowder explodes, however, no one is hurt. They then, go on a horse and buggy, which collapses with their weight, causing Curly to grab a piece of wood, taken off a fence, in order to keep their balance. When Reardon wakes up in the fire, the Stooges turn around and return to the firehouse, where they prepare the net for him. At this time, the fire chief's daughter, also wakes up and screams at the other window where she leaps into the fireman's net, while Reardon hits the ground, unhurt. When the daughter points out to the chief that it was Reardon for starting the fire, the Stooges go after him, but they are stopped by a hole, where the Stooges fall in. Reardon returns now about to chase the Stooges out of the hole.

Production notes

Filmed on October 25–28, 1938,[1] the title Flat Foot Stooges is a pun on the 1938 jazz song "Flat Foot Floogie (with a Floy Floy)".[2]

A rarity among Stooge shorts, the boys are shown reciting dialogue incorrectly on several occasions, a result of director Charley Chase's rushed directing style. Chase rarely stopped for retakes in an effort to finish a film ahead of schedule.[2]

When Larry slides down the fire pole and is accidentally punched by Moe, he calls himself a "victim of circumstance". This marks the first time a Stooge other than Curly says the line.

Upon realizing they are heading in the wrong direction, Curly quips "Hey, we're doing the Corrigan!", a reference to aviator Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan. Corrigan had recently returned from a transcontinental flight from Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York to Long Beach, California. Instead of returning to New York, he bypassed it, and headed to Ireland.[2]

Flat Foot Stooges marks the first usage of "Three Blind Mice" as the Stooges' title theme. However, this was not put to permanent use until We Want Our Mummy.


  1. Pauley, Jim (2012). The Three Stooges Hollywood Filming Locations. Solana Beach, California: Santa Monica Press, LLC. p. 106. ISBN 9781595800701.
  2. Solomon, Jon. (2002) The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion, p. 129; Comedy III Productions, Inc., ISBN 0-9711868-0-4
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