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The Three Stooges vs. Hitler

The Three Stooges vs. Hitler

It's probably been 35 years since I've seen an episode of The Three Stooges, so when I stumbled across one this past rainy Sunday I figured it was a good time to bond with my boy and watch some good ol' fashioned slapstick violence. What I didn't know is that the episode we'd tuned in to was really special: a 1940 short that openly mocked Hitler and Nazi Germany. This was actually controversial at the time, as the United States was still "neutral" about the war which had been raging in Europe since September 1939. In fact, the film managed to evade government censorship primarily because it was a short film and not a full-length feature.

This episode, titled "You Natzy Spy!" had Moe Howard appearing as a caricature of Hitler. It was the first such caricature in Hollywood, followed soon after by Charlie Chaplin's Great Dictator. Larry's Minister of Propaganda Pebble was based on Goebbels. Curly played Field Marshal Gallstone, the Göring caricature.

The film has no shortage of brilliant puns and jabs at Germany. In this clip from near the beginning, Moe and his wallpaper hanging crew are informed of plans to make him dictator of the country of "Moronica":

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