Ah, OIL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL... Felix Adler's swan song...
This short holds a special place in my heart, for as far as I can remember, this was the very first Stooge short I ever recall seeing.
I had always known of the Stooges from a young age, but had never seen any of their shorts nor did I know of their history. Back when I was a youngster (he says, adding several decades to his actual early 20s) and they were showing these on AMC, I managed one day to catch this one. I don't think I had much of a reaction seeing Joe rather than Curly, with the lineup of Moe, Larry & Curly being the one I was most familiar with. In fact, being quite ADD as I was (and am), I don't remember too much about seeing this for the first time, except that it was at my grandparents' camp, and I remember seeing the two "dummy" bits: Larry getting tossed into the bed and Joe getting yanked from the oil well (not knowing the latter was stock footage). It might a little bit before I started watching more Stooges - I do recall trying to keep up with the "Stooges Slap Happy Hour" airing in the mornings when they were on Spike TV. Eventually, I got numerous DVDs of the public domain shorts and other miscellany. The first I got was a 2-disc set of the public domain shorts, JERKS OF ALL TRADES, SWING PARADE OF 1946, the cartoons and wrap-arounds and little "trivia" slideshows, from Sam Goody IIRC.
Eventually, when the first 1934-1936 Collection came out proper, I scooped it up during a trip to visit family friends in Wisconsin. Gradually, I completed the collection, which came only a couple of years ago, and here I am now...
But that's enough from me. I agree with the pack: this is a very good short and arguably the best of the Joe era. The boys work very well together here, especially moreso than last week's Besser solo in all but name. One of a group of Stooge shorts that my younger step-brother, who loves the Stooges, watches constantly.
Favorite and notable bits:
- The cigar is from "[Joe's] pal, Felix" -- as in longtime scribe Felix Adler, earning his final writing credit.
- "I got my wish again!... I'm scared..." "So am I..." (Moe backs away, fade)
- "I'll gouge your eyes out!" (block) "See, you don't know how to do that, look... put it up there..." (Larry puts hand up, Moe pokes eyes using both hands) "...THAT'S the way!"
- When Moe pokes Joe after the "How now brown cow" bit, keep your eye on Joe as he swats at Moe. He looks absolutely hilarious here, like a cartoon almost. Same goes for his face after he tastes the milk.
- "Try another faucet, maybe it gives chocolate flavor!" (squirt, taste) "Tastes the same!"
- "What does the Geiger counter say?" "Click-click, click-click, click-click!--" (smack)
- ...followed by Larry and Moe's small battle royale after the former accidentally hits Moe with the pickaxe. Moe clutching Larry's throat is a nice little touch at moment's end.
- (mouths) "I. Hate. Him!" A gag reused from Besser's solo short AIM, FIRE, SCOOT, but a funny one.
- The entire bunk bed scene. "Good night, mother... Wind up the cat, and put out the clock..."
- Not a bad ending. A bit hokey and maybe even "cringey" to close it out with Joe announcing the film's title, but it doesn't at all deter from a fine effort.
I don't usually rate these, but... I guess this one gets an 8/10 from me. Sadly, it doesn't get better with the final two stock footage fests. If the series ended with OIL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, the boys' series of 190 probably would've gone out on a somewhat high note.