Production Information
Title: Tricky Dicks

Studio: Columbia
Short Number: 147
Release Date: May 7, 1953
Running Time: 15:50

“You say there’s a dead horse on Ticonderoga Street. How do you spell Ticonderoga? Oh, You don’t know either. Well, drag him over to First Street.” – Moe

Tricky Dicks Short Take

Writer Felix Adler created a wide range of clever scenarios for Stooge comedy. In Tricky Dicks he utilizes unity of time and space in a ‘box comedy of narrative format’. The Boys tackle a mystery without ever leaving their office. Adler first developed bringing the plot to one location in Three Loan Wolves and Sing A Song of Six Pants.

In Tricky Dicks Larry, Moe and Shemp play the role of police detectives working in a police station, and they spend their day engaging in four different silly phone conversations, battling file cabinet drawers, grilling three different witnesses in four interviews, and ultimately solving the mystery of who killed Slug Magurk, capturing the criminal with the assistance of a hurdy-gurdy monkey.

The requirements for a box comedy is that the characters who enter the Stooges’ space must be amusing or move the plot along and that the dialogue maintains an upbeat momentum. ‘Slick Chick’ (Connie Cezan) beautifully brings out the witlessness of Shemp as a detective, she picks his pocket, takes his matches, and reveals to us plenty more contraband strapped to her legs.

Plot Summary

The Chief of Detectives gives Moe, Larry and Shemp 24 hours to solve the murder of Slug McGurk. They question a witness, an Italian organ grinder with a British accent, but he runs away when they mention a murder. A frustrated actor named Gilbraith Q. Tiddlewadder (better known as Chopper) tries to confess as a publicity stunt, but the real killer shows up, outraged at not getting credit, and starts shooting up the police station.

Verbal Humor

Adler’s script offers the most compendious collection of phone gags in all of Stoogedom.

“You say you don’t know what to do about a woman bein’
annoyed by a man with a wooden leg by the name of Smith?
Well, find out the name of his other leg.”

You know my sister was engaged to a guy with a wooden leg.

What happened?

She broke it off.

The engagement?

Nah, the leg.

Tricky Dicks Cast & Crew

Directed byJules White
Produced byJules White
Written byFelix Adler
Jack White
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Shemp Howard
Benny Rubin
Connie Cezan
Ferris Taylor
Phil Arnold
Murray Alper
Suzanne Ridgeway
CinematographyWilliam P. Whitley
Edited byEdwin H. Bryant

Tricky Dicks Trivia

  • This was the third short in a row to feature stock footage from Hold That Lion!
  • NBC chime  – When several hard objects are dropped on the floor or on somebody’s head, they make the sound of the NBC chime.
    Also used in Back To The Woods, So Long Mr. Chumps, Beer Barrel Polecats, Three Loan Wolves, Fiddlers Three, I’m A Monkey’s Uncle, The Ghost Talks, Hokus Pokus, Three Hams on Rye, Stone Age Romeos, Creeps, and Muscle Up A Little Closer. 
  • Old Panther  – When a Stooge takes a bottle of liquor, the camera shows a close-up of the bottle that says “Old Panther – Distilled Yesterday”. Also used in Love at First  Bite, Shot in the Frontier, Gypped in The Penthouse.
  • This marks the first Stooge appearance by Benny Rubin (Antonio Zucchini Salami Gorgonzola de Pizza); he will play mostly ethnics in five more. His career spanned over 50 years, one of his first films being Hollywood on Parade in which The Stooges also appeared.
  • There are over seventy shots from the killer’s pistol without one reload.

Production Notes

Tricky Dicks was filmed in July 1952 and is a spoof of the 1951 film Detective Story.