Production Information
Title: What’s The Matador? 

Studio: Columbia
Short Number: 62
Release Date: April 23, 1942
Running Time: 16:16


“How dare you hug my wife in front of my eyes!” “Well turn around, and I’ll hug ‘er behind yer back!”
(Harry Burns and Curly)

What’s The Matador? Short Take

In What’s The Matador? The Stooges are out-of-work actors who manage to wrangle themselves a job putting on their gag “bullfight” act during a fiesta in Mexico. On the bus trip to Mexico City they meet a beautiful senora named Dolores, and when they run into her jealous husband at the bus stop Dolores mistakenly ends up with their suitcase instead of her own.

The genre known as ‘comedy of manners’ has a long pedigree extending back to Restoration England. Its typical elements – bedroom settings. hidden lovers, duplicitous wives, and jealous husbands – are all found in the bedroom sequences of What’s The Matador?. As a result, there is very little slapstick by the Stooges in this scene. The comic protagonist is the jealous husband, who runs into the wall, puts his head through the door, and gawks at the three different hidden Stooges lovers running out the bedroom door. Harry Burns (1885-1948) who played two ethnic roles in other films, plays the husband – Jose. His wife Delores is played by Suzznne Kaaren who also appeared in Yes, We Have No Bonanza.

The last time The Three Stooges played themselves was in A Pain In The Pullman, also written by Jack White.

What’s The Matador? Cast & Crew

Directed byJules White
Produced byJules White
Written bySaul Ward
Jack White
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Suzanne Kaaren
Harry Burns
Dorothy Appleby
John Tyrrell
Cy Schindell
Eddie Laughton
Don Zelaya
CinematographyL. William O’Connell
Edited byJerome Thoms

What’s The Matador? Trivia

  • Everybody remembers Suzanne Kaaren  (Delores) as Gail Tempest in Disorder In The Court.
  • In a true rarity in the shorts, The Boys actually refer to themselves in this short as ‘The Three Stooges’ in the telegram they send.
  • If you listen carefully when The Boys are getting directions, you’ll realize, if you speak Spanish, that they’re also being told to “jump into the river and drown yourself.”The Stooges have a frustrating exchange with an old Mexican local (Don Zelaya) when they ask if he has seen Dolores. Though his lengthy Spanish response seems unintelligible to them, he actually says the following: “Go down the street three blocks, turn right and go two more blocks, turn right, cross the square, and turn right. Walk down that street until you find an alley, but keep walking. Go down that street until you find another alley, but do not enter that alley. Turn right. There you will find a river. Do me a favor: jump into the river and drown yourself!”
  • The film’s title is a pun on the question “what’s the matter?” The film itself is inspired by the popularity of the 1941 film Blood and Sand. While bullfighting is the reference, the two stories otherwise have nothing in common.
  • DVD Talk critic Stuart Galbraith IV noted the beginnings of Curly Howard’s physical decline, observing that “one can see the earliest signs of Curly’s pre-stroke personality change. It’s very subtle, and while he’s still quite funny, one can see little changes in his screen persona, and about here he begins to age dramatically, with lines suddenly etched deep in his face.”

Production Notes

  • What’s the Matador? was the last short filmed in 1941, shot on August 14–18 of that year.
  •  It was remade in 1959 as Sappy Bull Fighters, using minimal stock footage from the original.