Production Information
Title: Half-Wits HolidayStudio: ColumbiaShort Number: 97
Release Date: January 9, 1947
Running Time: 17:29

“Oh, see the deer. Has the deer a little doe?” “Yeah, two bucks!”
(Curly & Larry)


Short Take

Two professors take a page from George Bernard Shaw and settle a behaviorism dispute on heredity vs. environment by trying to reform three slovenly, crass handymen, played, of course, by the Stooges. A several-thousand-dollar bet is made, and Prof. Quackenbush sets to training his three Lizas. Several months pass and the newborn gentlemen attend a dinner party. They behave themselves for about two minutes.

Cast & Crew

Directed byJules White
Produced byJules White
Written byZion Myers
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Emil Sitka
Vernon Dent
Barbara Slater
Ted Lorch
Symona Boniface

Half-Wits Holiday Trivia

  • Half-Wits Holiday is a reworking of 1935’s Hoi Polloi, without the aid of any stock footage. Half-Wits Holiday would later be reworked as 1958’s Pies and Guys.
  • The untimely absence of Curly from the pie fight would prove somewhat helpful when pie fight footage was needed. The Curly-less footage was recycled in Pest Man WinsScheming Schemers and Pies and Guys and the compilation feature film Stop! Look! and Laugh.

Production Notes

  • Half-Wits Holiday was filmed on May 2-6, 1946
  • Curly’s departure marked the final appearance of Curly Howard as an official member of the slapstick comedy team. During the final day of filming (May 6), Curly suffered a severe stroke and was rushed to a nearby hospital, effectively ending his career. Curly was to be featured prominently in the pie-fight scene, but after Moe found him with his head slumped on his shoulder, it was apparent the comedian was in no shape to perform. Moe quietly alerted director Jules White of Curly’s unfortunate situation, leading White to quickly rework the scene to be divided between Moe and Larry. Reaction shots from the supporting cast were spliced in more frequently to hide Curly’s absence. Supporting actor Emil Sitka, who made his debut with the Stooges in this film, remembered: “ After (the stroke) occurred, Curly was just missing all of a sudden. It wasn’t announced to the rest of the cast; nobody knew what happened. So, we’re approaching the last scene in the picture, a big pie fight. They had a big set and they put a huge canvas all around; it was going to be like a battleground. They’re getting all geared up and the script calls for all the Stooges. I see a dry run-through of the scene and there’s no Curly. I thought it was just a change in the script. No one — including Moe, Larry and Jules — ever told us how serious his condition was. It was only after the picture had been completed that I found out he took ill. ” Even before the day Curly suffered his debilitating stroke, the Stooge had been having problems taking direction from White during filming. Many of the lines intended for Curly were either given to Larry or eliminated altogether. One scene, in particular, took much longer to film than it should have. The Stooges are supposed to behave like proper, dignified gentlemen, and communicate fluently when introduced to the wealthy gentry:

Larry: “Delighted.”
Moe: “Devastated.”
Curly: “Dilapidated.”
Larry: “Enchanted.”
Moe: “Enraptured.”
Curly: “Embalmed.”

  • White later said, “I had a devil of a time getting that scene. Curly just couldn’t get the hang of it. I should have realized then that he was deteriorating even further.”