Three Stooges Clip Of The Week: 1940’s ‘You Nazty Spy’

Courtesy+WikiCommons

Courtesy WikiCommons

St. Louis Jews have had a long love affair with the Three Stooges. First, not counting Joe DeRita, they are all Jews, and Joe Besser is from St. Louis, and his family still lives here.

A month after its debut in 1959, KPLR TV began running Three Stooges comedy shorts as part of an after-school cartoon show. Then in the 1980s, they became a staple on Saturday nights. There is now a generation of 45-year-old and plussers who wax nostalgic for the Stooges, and I’m at the top of the list.

The Three Stooges have been making us laugh with their unique and sometimes painful brand of slapstick comedy since 1922. They made their mark in short subjects, television syndication, and full-length feature films, but like anything great, they faded due to changing times and technology.


You Nazty Spy! is the forty-fourth Columbia Pictures short subject starring The Three Stooges.

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Release date

January 19, 1940

Plot

In the fictional country of Moronica, three munitions manufacturers—Messrs. Ixnay (Richard Fiske), Ohnay (Dick Curtis) and Amscray (Don Beddoe)—decide their country is in need of a change. They decide to implement a dictatorship, oust the king, and go about finding someone stupid enough to be a figurehead leader. Ixnay volunteers the three wallpaper hangers simultaneously working in his dining room—the Stooges.

Ixnay presents Moe Hailstone, Curly Gallstone, and Larry Pebble with the offer to run Moronica. Moe is instituted as the leader (the Adolf Hitler role), with Curly as Field Marshal Gallstone (a representation of Hermann Göring), and Larry as Minister of Propaganda Pebble (an amalgam of Joseph Goebbels and Joachim von Ribbentrop). After his takeover, Hailstone proceeds to give a speech to the masses, cueing Larry to display signs reading “APPLAUSE”, “CHEERS” and even “HISS”. Moe “bonks” Larry after Larry accidentally raises the cue card for “HISS” at the wrong time during one of Hailstone’s speeches.

However, the daughter (Lorna Gray) of the overthrown king pays Hailstone a visit, going by the name Mattie Herring (a spoof of World War I spy Mata Hari). The Stooges suspect she is a spy, and attempt to execute her. She escapes, and gathers a huge mob to storm Hailstone’s palace. The trio quickly abdicate, and flee into a lion’s den. A Lion is seen exiting wearing Hailstone’s peaked cap.

Starring