Production Information
Phony Express
Studio: Columbia
Short Number: 75
Release Date: November 18, 1943
Running Time: 17:09

“Buy me some of that stuff. I can’t sleep.” “You sleep 12 hours a night.” “Yeh, but I’m wide awake all day!”
(Curly and Moe)

Short Take

When Red Morgan and his gang invade Peaceful Gulch, the local editor prints a picture of the Stooges (who are wanted for vagrancy) as three famous marshals coming to clean up the town. When the Stooges show up in town, Red and his gang are worried until they find out the Stooges are just tramps, but when the gang tries to get them the Stooges manage to knock them out instead. The boys get hired to guard the bank, but when Morgan and his gang rob it anyway, it’s up to the Stooges to get the gold back!

Cast & Crew

Credited Production Crew
Produced by Del Lord & Hugh McCollum
Directed by Del Lord
Story & Screenplay Elwood Ullman & Monty Collins
Director of Photography John Star
Film Editor Paul Borofsky
Art Direction Victor Greene

Credited Cast
Curly Howard
Larry Fine
Moe Howard – Lola
Bud Jamison – Red Morgan

Uncredited Cast
Victor Travers – newspaper editor
Snub Pollard – sheriff
Chester Conklin – bartender
John Merton – Red’s assistant
Blackie Whiteford – gang member
Joel Friedkin – Doctor Abdul
Sally Cleaves – dancing partner
Gwen Seger – dancing partner


  • This was the last Three Stooges short co-written by Monte Collins


  • And lay you right down, too!
    When Moe gives a drink that the Stooges made themselves to a man, Moe says “This oughta pick you up”. Then Curly adds in “…and lay you right down, too!”
  • Bloodhound Stooge
    A Stooge acts like a bloodhound and tries to sniff out the tracks of enemies that they’re looking for.
  • Falling chandelier
    Somebody accidentally fires a gun or throws a knife at a chandelier wire, causing the chandelier to fall and crash on somebody’s head.
  • Liquor after-effects
    After a Stooge or supporting character drinks some strong liquor, it causes loud ringing and horn noises and/or him to blow smoke from his mouth.
  • Missing toupee
    A man’s toupee gets removed somehow, usually by a shooting bullet.
  • Moe getting hit by swinging door
    When the Stooges are going through a Western-style swinging door, Curly and Larry go first. After they push the door in and walk inside, the door swings back and hits Moe in the face.
  • Swishing branch
    The Stooges are crawling through some bushes in the woods and when one of the Stooges pushes a big branch in front of him, then ducks and lets the branch go, it swishes back and hits the Stooge behind him (usually Moe) in the face.

Production Notes

  • Phony Express was filmed on March 27–31, 1943.
  • The film title is a parody of the “Pony Express,” a fast mail service that crossed the North American continent from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California from April 1860 to October 1861. Some of the plot and minimal stock footage would be recycled in Merry Mavericks.