'FRAIDY CAT is a remake of DIZZY DETECTIVES, and I'm going commit Stooge blasphemy here and say I like the Besser version better. Two main reasons for this. The first is that the Besser version is a bit tighter. DIZZY DETECTIVES is one of the longer Stooge films, and part of this is because of unnecessary stock footage from PARDON MY SCOTCH. 'FRAIDY CAT does not have this and as a result, is two minutes shorter. Secondly in the hands of The Three Stooges, this is simply a good short out of dozens of good shorts, with several of these good shorts being much better than DIZZY DETECTIVES. In the hands of the much smaller Joe Besser canon, this film is a revelation.
Two revelations in fact. The first revelation is Hawthorne, the straight man Besser is teamed with. I'll get laughs out of Hawthorne more than most of you because he looks freakishly like one of my best friends. Tall and the exact same face with glasses. Just Picture Hawthorne a bit heavier with a balder head and you have my friend, it's uncanny. Personal stuff aside, Hawthorne is a great straight man and has wonderful chemistry with Besser. Their temperaments compliment one another and their lines flow together perfectly. The second revelation is that Besser can handle Curly material just fine. The guillotine scene, the mask on the foot scene he thinks is a head stalking him, and the rocking chair scene with the cat's tail, all done by Besser comparatively well. There's only one Curly, but Besser was a good comedian in his own right more than capable of handling this material. Absolute proof in my eyes if Besser was in another era with good scripts, he would have held his own as a Stooge. I think in 1956 and 1957, nobody cared about the Stooge shorts anymore, and it showed in the writing. I don't think even Curly could have saved that era were he alive and healthy.