Production Information
Back to the Woods
Studio: Columbia
Short Number: 23
Release Date: May 14, 1937
Running Time: 19:27

Short Take

In Back To The Woods, Set in colonial times, The Stooges are convicted criminals who are banished from England to the American colonies. When they arrive (and after a dancing fling with the governor’s daughters), they find that the colonists are starving because the local Indians will not let them use their hunting grounds without a fee of 5,000 shekels. A down payment has been made, but it is not enough. The Stooges decide to go hunting anyway to help out the colony.

Outside of Plymouth, they exchange their pilgrim hats with coonskin caps, except Curly, who wears a skunk hat. An accidental discharge by Curly’s blunderbuss yields a turkey, which gives them hope. Then, they spot what they think are a group of turkeys and fire their rather overcharged long blunderbusses at the group. The “group” turn out to be Indian headdresses, and the fired-upon Indians become agitated. Attempts at retaliatory fire fail as their guns are destroyed by the powder overcharge, and they are chased by the Indians.

A wild goose chase ensues. The Stooges use a tree branch catapult to launch a rock, a mudpack, a fish, a hornet’s nest, and then a log at their antagonists. But in their escape, Larry is left behind, captured and tied to a tree, ready to be scalped. A passing woodpecker adds to his misery. Curly and Moe eventually rescue him, helped with dumping hot coals down the Indian’s pants and wapping them on their behinds sending them howling and running for the lake. The Stooges escape in a canoe, “motorboat” style, having accidentally revived the bopped Indians with water.

Back to the Woods Cast & Crew

Directed byPreston Black
Produced byJules White
Written byAndrew Bennison
Searle Kramer
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Bud Jamison
Vernon Dent
Ethelreda Leopold
Harley Wood
Cy Schindell
Ted Lorch
CinematographyGeorge Meehan
Edited byCharles Nelson

Back to the Woods Trivia

  • The was the first Stooges short to feature old footage from a previous short – the ending canoe scene is from Whoops, I’m an Indian! (1936).
  • Near the beginning of Back to the Woods when the Stooges are prisoners, each Stooge drops the metal ball that is being used to restrain him, in succession. When each ball hits the ground, a chime rings. The notes are the G-E-C chime sequence that was (and still is) the same as the NBC Chimes used for NBC radio and later NBC television. This is followed by Curly imitating a radio announcer. The “NBC chimes” gag would eventually be recycled in the team’s 1941 short So Long Mr. Chumps.

Production Notes

  • Back to the Woods is the last Stooges’ films directed by “Preston Black”, pseudonym of Jules White‘s older brother and fellow producer/director Jack White.
  • It is the second-longest Stooge short filmed, running at 19′ 27″; the longest is A Pain in the Pullman, clocking in at 19′ 46″. Filming was completed on March 2-6, 1937.