Production Information
Ants In The Pantry 
Studio: Columbia
Short Number: 12
Release Date: February 6, 1936
Running Time: 17:39

“I can’t see, I can’t see!” “What’s’a’matter!?” “I got my eyes closed.” [ploink!]
(Larry, Moe & Curly)

Short Take

In Ants In The Pantry, The Three Stooges are pest exterminators who, for want of business, also provide the pests. They select an upscale mansion where a high society dinner party is being held. With gleeful amorality, they unleash a plague of rats, moths, and ants, literally tossing vermin on passersby — then are predictably hired to clean up their own mess, without interrupting the party, dressed as guests. Things go according to plan until Larry and Curly hastily conceal mice-hungry cats inside an upright piano which is then played during a recital of Johann Strauss II‘s “Blue Danube Waltz.” The chaos is compounded when a mouse enters the piano, agitating the cats. The Boys are forced to get the offending pest and the cats out, destroying the piano in its entirety. To prevent the hostess from being socially humiliated, the guests are told the boys are the entertainment and find their antics absolutely hilarious. The Stooges are invited to join in the foxhunt, where Curly blows his nose, making a sound, which Larry thinks that it is the sound of a bugle, call, that a fox is in sight, instead, Curly picks up a live skunk, and puts it in the bag, causing Moe, and Larry to faint, to the ground, and a horse to collapse to the ground as well, being the result of the skunk’s nasty odor.

Cast & Crew

Directed byPreston Black
Produced byJules White
Written byAl Giebler
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Clara Kimball Young
Bud Jamison
James C. Morton
Douglas Gerrard
Lew Davis
Harrison Greene
Isabelle LaMal
Anne O’Neal
Vesey O’Davoren
Althea Henley
Clarence Nash (uncredited)
CinematographyBenjamin H. Kline
Edited byWilliam Lyon

Ants In The Pantry Trivia

  • Goofs – After Larry leaves the window, & as Moe & Curly go up the ladder, they leave the poor cat in the bag down in the bushes. You can see it squirming around. Not long afterward, the workman, from whom Curly stole the ladder, takes it back, & the bag & cat are gone. A second later, when Larry returns & Moe & Curly fall out of the window onto the ground, the bag & cat are back, but in a different position. Good thing, too, because Curly’s suitcase fell into the bushes – exactly where the cat was before they went up the ladder.
  • Veteran voice actor Clarence Nash, most famous for doing Donald Duck, did the sounds of the cats in the piano.
  • Ants in the Pantry was remade with Shemp Howard in 1951 as Pest Man Wins.
  • What does Larry fill the piano with in Ants In The Pantry? (A: Cats )
  • Ants In The Pantry saw Larry, Moe and Curly perform a dance they would use in many more shorts? What is the name of the dance? (A: The Cossack Dance).

Anne O’Neal

  • Actress Anne O’Neal appeared in only two shorts but left her indelible impression on the characters she played. She played Eleanor in Ants In The Pantry and Mrs. Hammond Eggerley in A Pain In The Pullman. O’Neal was born on In her career, the St. Louis native acted in approximately 200 TV shows and films. Known for Borrowed Trouble (1948), Gun Crazy (1950) and The Bishop’s Wife (1947), she died on November 24, 1971, in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California.

Production Notes

  • Ants in the Pantry was filmed on December 11–14, 1935.
  • The film title is a pun on the phrase “ants in the pants. Moe later recalled that a nest of ants actually worked their way into his pants:

There was a scene where we were having trouble selling our services, so we complain to our boss, who tells us, ‘If they don’t have ants, give them some. You dumbkopf!’ We got the idea and went from house to house throwing moths in with minks, mice on the floor, and ants in the pantry. During the shooting, I hadn’t noticed that a small container of red ants had broken apart in my pocket and the little devils were crawling down my back, in my hair, and into my pants. It was insane. All through the scene I was scratching and squirming and slapping myself on the neck and face and on the seat of my pants. Elated, director Preston Black shouted, ‘Great Moe. Keep up that squirming!’ It was very funny—to everyone but me.