Production Information
Flagpole Jitters 
Studio: Columbia
Short Number: 169
Release Date: April 5, 1956
Running Time: 15:15

“You ard now in Sing Sing.” – (Moe)


Flagpole Jitters Short Take

The Three Stooges are three paperhangers who also look after invalid Mary, who uses a wheelchair. While working, they are taken by one poster that advertises a great hypnotist, Svengarlic (“He’ll steal your breath away!” the poster announces). The Stooges want the hypnotist to work his magic on Mary so that she can walk again, but Svengarlic is more interested in winning an audience to create a diversion by hypnotizing The Stooges.

While the audience watches The Stooges dance on an overhead flagpole, Svengarlic’s henchmen are in the process of robbing a bank. But a distracted bicyclist knocks Svengarlic over and the Stooges are abruptly awakened. They immediately panic when they see where they are, then the flagpole breaks, sending them flying through the open window of the bank being robbed, thwarting the theft.

Flagpole Jitters Cast & Crew

Directed byJules White
Produced byJules White
Written byFelix Adler
Jack White
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Shemp Howard
Barbara Bartay
Frank Sully
Beverly Thomas
Bonnie Menjum
Mary Ainslee
David Bond
Vernon Dent
CinematographyIrving Lippman
Edited byHarold White

Flagpole Jitters Trivia

  • The Stooges make a reference to Sing Sing Correctional Facility, in which Shemp believes he has hypnotized Moe into thinking he is locked up in the infamous prison.
  • The character name Svengarlic is a parody of Svengali, the name of a fictional character in George du Maurier‘s 1894 novel Trilby.
  • Flagpole Jitters was the last short produced that included new footage of Shemp Howard. As it was released later, For Crimin’ Out Loud is commonly thought to be the last film featuring new footage of Shemp. However, the new footage used in For Crimin’ Out Loud was filmed on June 30, 1955. Flagpole Jitters was filmed the next day, on July 1. Shemp died on November 22, 1955, before any new films were produced.
  • This is the first Stooge film of photographer Irving Lipmann, a childhood friend of Jules White’s in Edendale.

Three Stooges Routine

  • One of our favorite bits by The Boys is Dangerous Shaving  – The Boys are shaving hastily and nearly cut their own and each other’s faces. Also used in Cactus Makes Perfect, Brideless Groom, and Hokus Pokus.

Production Notes 

  • Flagpole Jitters is a remake of 1949’s Hokus Pokus using ample stock footage from the original.
  • The films have different endings: Mary is actually paraplegic here, whereas in the original she was a fraud. In Flagpole Jitters, Svengarlic is the fraud.