Rob Farr wrote:
I gotta admit that when I listened to Ron Hutchinson talk about Shemp Howard slapping Jimmy Stewart around in a Vitaphone short on his recent Leonard Lopate show appearance
, I thought he was mistakenly converging the tame and kinda boring Chic Sale vehicle "Important News" with a Shemp short. But Shemp and Stewart were
apparently in the same short, 1934's "Art Trouble" starring Harry Gribbon. Has anyone seen this? Has it ever popped up on TCM?
I gotta see Shemp slap Jimmy Stewart around!!!
Ron knows his stuff and is correct about "Art Trouble". I know this short well, and Shemp does slap around Jimmy Stewart in their first scene together in the short. Stewart and screen brother Don Tomkins (sometimes billed "Tompkins") approach Shemp and Harry Gribbon and ask if they're working. This somehow infuriates them and they start slapping Stewart and Tomkins around. Short Shemp takes on the tall Stewart while the diminutive Tomkins is attacked by the very large Mr. Gribbon. By the way, I always thought that the reason the as yet unknown James Stewart was cast in this film in the first place was to create the visual gag of the very tall Stewart and the very short Tomkins as brothers. Don Tomkins was appearing in other Vitaphone shorts around this time, but they must not have had anyone as tall as Stewart available, so had to go and find him.
"Art Trouble" is a fun one, with Shemp in top form, but unfairly billed below Gribbon. They work together as a team in this short, as in several other Vitaphone shorts, but only Gribbon gets top billing here.
One nice scene in "Art Trouble" has Shemp and Harry applying checkered paint to the side of a ship. See if you can figure out how they do it.
Regarding "Art Trouble" having been shown on TCM, if so it has must have been many years ago. They don't seem to like to show the Vitaphone comedy shorts from the 1933 to about 1935 period (Shemp, Arbuckle, etc.) as much as the musicals, MGM's, etc. "Art Trouble" was shown on TNT way back when they ran Vitaphone shorts as fillers.
Regarding "Art Trouble" being available on video or DVD, so far only two Shemp Howard Vitaphone shorts have been officially and legally released on video, laser disc or DVD. "Smoked Hams" (1934) was included in the 1996 laser disc set "Cavalcade of Vitaphone shorts, Volume 2". The "Rambling 'Round Radio Row" short (1934) in which Shemp appears (with new Mafia fave George Jessel) was included in the recent Warner Archives DVD set "Big Band, Jazz and Swing". That's it for officially released Shemp Vitaphone shorts so far. Stooges and Shemp fans are hoping for a DVD set, probably from Warner Archives, of more Shemp Vitaphones.
"I gotta see Shemp slap Jimmy Stewart around!!!"
Okay Rob, I'll send you a copy.