Soup to Nuts

Soup to Nuts is an American Pre-Code feature film written by cartoonist, sculptor, author, and inventor. Rube Goldberg and directed by Benjamin Stoloff. It was the film debut of the original four members who would later, minus Ted Healy, go on to become known as The Three Stooges comic trio (Shemp Howard, Moe Howard, and Larry Fine). Goldberg made a cameo appearance in the film as himself, opening letters in a restaurant. Several other comedians are also featured.

Soup to Nuts
Trade magazine ad
Directed byBenjamin Stoloff
Produced byA. L. Rocket
Written byRube Goldberg
StarringTed Healy
Charles Winninger
Frances McCoy
Lucile Browne
Stanley Smith
Hallam Cooley
George Bickel
William H. Tooker
Shemp Howard
Harry Howard
Larry Fine
Fred Sanborn
Music byCliff Friend
James Monaco
CinematographyJoseph Valentine
Edited byClyde Carruth
Distributed byFox Film Corporation
Release date
  • September 28, 1930 (1930-09-28)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States


Ted Healy is a salesman for the Schmidt Costume Shop who likes to hang out at the fire station where Moe (billed as "Harry Howard"), Larry, and Shemp (along with Fred Sanborn) work. Old man Schmidt spends more time building crazy inventions (typical of devices by writer/cartoonist Rube Goldberg) than tending to his business; as a consequence he is bankrupt and his business is taken over by his creditors, who send a young man named Carlson to manage the business. Carlson immediately falls for Mr. Schmidt's niece, Louise, but she resists him.

Meanwhile, a certain General Avocado wants to organize a revolution in San Stevedore and comes to the costume shop to order uniforms; sadly his army flees in fright without paying at the sound of a child bursting a toy balloon. Ted also swings a deal with the Fire Department to supply costumes for the fireman's ball. Carlson wants to take Louise, so Ted hatches a plan to take Louise, and have himself and Carlson dressed alike, then switch places at the ball. When Louise learns of the switch, she runs back to the shop and locks herself in her room. Carlson chases her home, and unknowingly starts a fire while trying to persuade her to come out. The firemen (the Stooges) arrive to extinguish the blaze — with the unexpected help of one of Old Man Schmidt's inventions — and at last Louise and Carlson are a couple.


The Three Stooges appearance

This film was released before Shemp, Moe & Larry first broke out on their own and toured as "Howard, Fine & Howard: Three Lost Soles" from Fall 1930 to mid-1932. They rejoined Healy in July 1932 for the Broadway revue PASSING SHOW OF 1932, but Healy quit during rehearsals, which subsequently prompted Shemp Howard to leave on August 19, 1932 (he remained with PASSING for a time, and then began a solo career, landing at Brooklyn's Vitaphone Studios in May 1933). Younger Howard brother Jerry replaced Shemp on August 20, 1932, and Ted Healy's stooges became Moe, Larry & Curly. The Stooges finally split from Healy in March 1934, and became The Three Stooges at Columbia Studios. (When Curly was debilitated by strokes years later, Shemp reluctantly abandoned his solo career and returned to the Stooges). In Soup To Nuts, Shemp appears to be the "leader" of the three. He has most of the dialogue and does a lot of the pushing and hitting. Plus, Shemp was billed before the other two in the credits. Also note that Moe was credited as "Harry Howard."

In the film, the Stooges use one of their longest running gags. This same gag was used not only in many of their short films but also in their final feature film Kook's Tour.

  • "Is there gas in the tank?"
  • "The arrow points half way. I don't know if it's half empty or half full."

This is the first film where the Stooges sing a cappella style: "You'll Never Know What Tears Are" as well as the only time they sang it in a film with Shemp.

See also

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