Pop Goes the Easel

Pop Goes the Easel is the seventh short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1935 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.

Pop Goes the Easel
The Stooges were not professionally known as "The Three Stooges" when this film was released as they were billed by their individual names
Directed byDel Lord
Produced byJules White
Written byFelix Adler
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Bobby Burns
Phyllis Crane
Joan Howard Maurer
Phyllis Fine
William Irving
CinematographyHenry Freulich
Edited byJames Sweeney
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • March 29, 1935 (1935-03-29) (U.S.)
Running time
CountryUnited States


The onset of the Great Depression, the Stooges are forced to look for jobs. Taking a merchant's brooms to sweep his sidewalk, they are mistaken for thieves by him, and soon find themselves on the run from the police. With a cop chasing them, they flee into an art school, where they are mistaken for art students. They take their first art lessons while hiding from the police, resulting in a climactic clay fight that takes no prisoners (the persistent cop is among the numerous people who get hit). The film ends when three art students break sculptures over the boys' heads, resulting in them being soundly beaten up.

Production notes

Pop Goes the Easel marks several Stooge firsts:

  • Moe holding out his hand to Curly and asks him to "pick out two" fingers. Curly does, and Moe pokes him in the eyes with them. This would be a recurring joke. In addition, the short contains a very rare scene in which Moe delivers a slap in the face to several people at once. At the end of the clay fight scene, Moe stops everyone and asks, "Who started this?!" Larry yells, "YOU did!", to which Moe angrily replies, "Oh, YEAH?!" and, with right hand extended, spins in a counter-clockwise motion, slapping everyone around him.[1]
  • A clay-throwing fight, a precursor to the classic pie fights which would become a staple of the Stooge films. The first genuine pie fight would appear the following year in Slippery Silks.[1]
  • Moe holding out his fist to Curly and says, "See that?" When Curly replies, "Yeah," he smacks the fist dismissively, in which it swings in a circle behind Moe's body, over his head, and bops Curly on the head with it.[1]
  • Curly dressing in drag, a gag that would be revisited in several later Stooge shorts, such as Uncivil Warriors, Movie Maniacs, Whoops, I'm an Indian!, Wee Wee Monsieur, Mutts to You, Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise, Nutty But Nice, Matri-Phony, Micro-Phonies, Uncivil War Birds and Rhythm and Weep.[1]

The title of the film Pop Goes the Easel is a pun on the nursery rhyme "Pop Goes the Weasel", which is used for the one and only time as the opening theme.[1] The film also ends with the tune, as with the ending of Punch Drunks.[1] It was filmed on February 6–11, 1935.[2]

The two girls playing hopscotch on the sidewalk are Larry Fine's daughter, Phyllis (who died in 1989 at age 60) and Moe Howard's daughter, Joan.[1]

A colorized version of Pop Goes the Easel was released in 2006 as part of the DVD collection entitled "Stooges on the Run".[3]

According to the updated version of the book The Three Stooges Scrapbook, there was an alternate clay fight in the script by Jules White. It was listed as unused or edited. A careful viewer of the clay fight can see some places where the two clay battles were filmed and edited to make one battle. Differences include: The female model is standing in the foreground close to the screen at the beginning, but when she's hit with clay she's standing in front of the windows. She's brunette throughout the whole short but at the ending her hair is blonde. As the Stooges walk through the studio, there are spots on the wall made from clay. The officer who was chasing them is out cold and struck with a piece of clay, but later is shown getting his toupee knocked off his head (from a thrown piece) as he is throwing clay.


  1. Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion. Comedy III Productions, Inc. pp. 49–61. ISBN 0-9711868-0-4.
  2. Pauley, Jim (2012). The Three Stooges Hollywood Filming Locations. Solana Beach, California: Santa Monica Press, LLC. p. 214. ISBN 9781595800701.
  3. Stooges on the Run
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