An absolute shame this one's not viewable on line, as this is way better than any Stooge short Besser appeared in. I am really becoming convinced Joe Besser was a good comedian who joined The Three Stooges at their lowest point budget and writing wise and didn't have much chemistry with Moe and Larry. Joe is a ball of energy in this one, and he is given a good script with a great supporting cast playing interesting and funny characters. No Greta Thyssen, no Milton Frome, no Muriel Landers, no Harriet Tarler, no Gene "one hit wonder" Roth, no talking horses, but instead, memorable supporting actors with good roles. Makes a world of a difference. Would Joe have found chemistry with Moe and Larry in better times? Who knows, but he was a fine comedian in his own right.
The basic story is Joe is supposed to marry Christine McIntyre, who is as beautiful and full of life as ever, yet he can't make his own wedding because of some habit he can't kick. What habit, you ask? Drink? Drugs? Gambling? Women? No to all of the above. The answer is chasing fires. He's obsessed with being at the scene of fires, and his apartment is filled with fireman paraphernalia (complete with pole to glide downstairs), and had an entertaining butler who enables Joe's habit. The other guy who wants to marry Christine is a funny Grady Sutton like wimp, the psychiatrist who tries to cure Joe is over the top with a cowboy obsession, and Vernon Dent is great as Christine's father.
The budget looks decent for this one compared to a Besser era Stooge short, as there's loads of scenery changes, and even the chase at the wedding at the end is entertaining. It really is amazing what good actors, interesting characters, and a creative script can accomplish. My favorite bit would be at the beginning when a crazed Joe is holding Christine while he's wearing a fireman's hat, water dripping from the hat onto poor Christine. Great reactions. It can't be stressed enough, Christine is wonderful here, confused about her lovers, and really funny and charming at the end, which I won't give away.
If you get a chance to see this one, please do. A travesty Shemp solo never got an original script this good, Shemp would've also been great in Joe's role.