Production Information
Short Number: 143
Release Date: December 4, 1952
Running Time: 15:28

“Oh boy, limburger! My favorite fruit.”

Short Take

Larry and Shemp live in a stolen train car. Larry wants to marry his girlfriend, but she won’t marry him until Shemp marries her older sister. Shemp is constantly drunk, in love with an imaginary canary named Carrie. Moe is a railroad inspector, on the trail of the stolen car. Moe’s old love is the older sister, setting up a competition between Shemp and Moe. Eventually, both girls want to marry Shemp, but Shemp prefers his imaginary canary. Huh!?

Cast & Crew

Directed byJules White
Produced byJules White
Written byFelix Adler
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Shemp Howard
Patricia Wright
Victoria Horne
CinematographyHenry Freulich
Edited byEdwin H. Bryant


  • The plot is borrowed from two popular films of the period. The idea of a stolen railroad car is a parody of A Streetcar Named Desire, while the imaginary animal friend parodies the film Harvey (Victoria Horne had starred in the latter). The theme of a woman’s unwillingness to marry until her sister can be found in a willing husband-to-be alludes to Kiss Me, Kate, a Cole Porter musical based on the Bard’s play, which also had a 1953 MGM film adaptation.
  • This reportedly was one of Larry Fine’s favorite shorts to watch repeatedly during his last years in the Motion Picture House. It is one of the only Stooge shorts in which he plays a different character than usual: tougher, more domineering, and speaking in a gravelly, mumbly voice in a broad parody of Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Production Notes

  • Cuckoo on a Choo Choo was filmed on April 21-23, 1952.
  • Over the course of their 24 years at Columbia Pictures, the Stooges would occasionally be cast as separate characters. This course of action always worked against the team; author Jon Solomon concluded: “when the writing divides them, they lose their comic dynamic.” In addition to this split occurring in Cuckoo on a Choo Choo, the trio also played separate characters in Rockin’ in the Rockies (their only starring feature film with Curly Howard and possibly designed to fail so that Columbia could continue with the shorts instead of promoting them to full-length films), He Cooked His Goose (and its remake Triple Crossed), Gypped in the PenthouseFlying Saucer Daffy and Sweet and Hot.