Each Thanksgiving weekend the Alex Film Society has provided families with a great way to escape the holiday chaos at home and share some laughs at someone else’s expense at the theater, serving up an annual array of classic comedy shorts by the indomitable Three Stooges.

This Saturday marks the show’s 20th incarnation with “Crème de la Cream Pies: Celebrating 20 years of Delicious Madness!”

The afternoon will feature five classic Stooges shorts in the now all-too-rare format of 35 mm film, starting with 1934’s “Men in Black.” In this Academy Award-nominated short, Larry, Moe and Curly bring their unique medical skills to the Los Arms Hospital where they cause mayhem at every turn. The short was shot at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, years before Moe’s grandchildren were born there.

Next up on the bill is the 1936 short “Disorder in the Court,” in which the Stooges are witnesses in a murder trial, creating courtroom havoc. Classic sequences include Curly’s famous ‘Take Off Your Hat’ routine, Gail Tempest’s dance number and Larry and Curly playing Moe like an instrument after he swallows a harmonica. Sol Horwitz, the Howard brothers’ real life dad, makes an appearance as a member of the courtroom gallery.

Third on the lineup is 1939’s “Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise,” in which the Stooges discover oil on the widow Jenkins’ property, but have to retrieve the deed from swindlers. Besides Curly’s uncanny luck with wishes, for once the Stooges do the right thing, save the damsels-in-distress and ultimately triumph. At the finale, Curly winks at the camera and says “We’ll honeymoon in Canada!” for the first time “breaking the fourth wall,” talking directly to the audience.

The penultimate short in this year’s lineup is “Squareheads of the Round Table,” a 1948 short in which medieval-era Stooges help a love-struck blacksmith unite with Elaine, King Arthur’s daughter. Highlights include the Stooges serenading the princess and a multi-door chase scene in an elaborate castle (the set borrowed from a big-budget studio feature.) Jacques O’Mahoney (aka: Jock Mahoney) who would play the Arizona Kid in other Stooge shorts, had a long career in Westerns as well as playing Tarzan.

Finally, 1940’s “A Plumbing We Will Go” finds the Stooges spending almost the entire short destroying a house, ruining the basement, upstairs bathroom, kitchen, living room, lawn and demolishing the plumbing, electrical, telephone, gas and steam lines. Some of these gags have become part of Stooge lore, including, of course, the image of “Curly In The Pipes,” one of the most iconic images in all of Stoogedom.

As always, Stooges family members, friends & co-stars will be in attendance. Raffle baskets filled with Stooge goodies from C3 Entertainment will be given away, with all raffle proceeds supporting the non-profit Alex Film Society. n


The 20th Annual Three Stooges Big Screen Event, “Crème de la Cream Pies: Celebrating 20 years of Delicious Madness!” will be shown at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Tickets are $11 to $16. Call (818) 243-2539 or visit alextheatre.org.