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Punch Drunks
Punch Drunks title.jpg

Release Date

July 13, 1934

Directed by

Lou Breslow

Written by

Moe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Jack Cluett

Produced by

Jules White

Preceded by

Woman Haters

Followed by

Men in Black

Punch Drunks is the 2nd short subject starring American slapstick comedy team the Three Stooges. The trio made a total of 190 shorts for Columbia Pictures between 1934 and 1959.



Struggling boxing manager Moe is having lunch with several associates when he notices their shy waiter (Curly) goes insane whenever he hears the song "Pop Goes the Weasel". Moe also takes notice of a fiddler (Larry) who happens to be playing the potent tune at the restaurant. Seeing dollar signs in the uncontrollable waiter, Moe quickly recruits the two unsuspecting cohorts and preps them for the boxing world. Curly's boxing handle becomes "K.O. Stradivarius", and with Larry in tow—playing "Pop Goes the Weasel" at every boxing match, Curly becomes the number one contender for the heavyweight championship.

All goes well until the night of the highly anticipated World Championship match with Killer Kilduff (Al Hill). Only a few moments into the first round, Kilduff plants a left hook at Curly, sending him into the crowd, landing on Larry and crushing his violin. Frantic, Larry scurries the streets, looking for anything that is playing "Pop Goes the Weasel", while Curly is being battered by the boxer. Larry finds a radio playing the tune, takes it and heads back to the arena. Larry arrives at the arena a few minutes later with the radio. The song ends moments later just as Curly is about to knock out Kilduff. Moe sends Larry back out to find something else playing the "Pop Goes the Weasel".

Larry manages to come across a politician's campaign truck blaring the tune from its speakers and races it to the arena, crashing through a side wall. Curly is just about ready to throw in the towel until he hears "Pop Goes the Weasel". The wobbly boxer comes to his feet with renewed energy, and knocks out Kilduff in a matter of seconds, winning the fight. With the song still playing, he also knocks out Moe and Larry, and then walks toward the camera (the viewer) "woo-wooing" menacingly at iris-out.


  • This film was originally called A Symphony of Punches but was changed before its release. The title Punch Drunks comes from the expression "punch drunk", referring to any fighter who has been hit so many times he is unsteady on his feet.
  • A colorized version of this film was released in 2004 as part of the DVD collection Goofs on the Loose.
  • The short is notable as being one of the few in which the Stooges are not an established trio at the beginning of the film, but rather meet up through happenstance.
  • Jerry Howard's natural voice was rather lower than the high-pitched voice he effected for his "Curly" character.
  • This is the first film in which Curly calls himself a "victim of soycumstance!" (circumstance): this comment would become one of Curly's catch-phrases.
  • When the Stooges are taking part in Curly's first workout as a boxer (rowing down the street), Larry is playing a tune on his violin that sounds akin to "Let's Fall in Love", a song sung 23 years later by the character Tiny (Muriel Landers) in the Stooge film Sweet and Hot.
  • The "Pop Goes the Weasel" gag was later reused by the Stooges (with Joe DeRita) in their 1963 feature film The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze.
  • The short ends with the playing of the song "Pop Goes The Weasel", which would become the opening theme for the short Pop Goes the Easel.
  • This is the first of at least four Stooge shorts (including Horses' Collars, Grips, Grunts and Groans and Tassels in the Air) in which a normally passive Curly sees, hears, or smells something that triggers a violent reaction in him.
  • The boxing option in the The Three Stooges video game is based on this short.
  • This was also the first of nine shorts that featured Larry Fine playing his violin.
  • Over the course of their 24 years at Columbia Pictures, the Stooges would occasionally be cast as separate characters, with this being one such occurrence (the boys start out in separate roles and end up working together). While some would argue that this ruins their comic dynamic, this is a notable exception in that the dynamic is not lost by their personal separation.
  • During the fight, when Larry is seen running down the street, Curly's voice can be heard in the distance saying, "Run! All the way!" This happens twice in the film.
  • Larry's running down the street is sped up for comic effect, with post-production sounds of rapid footsteps added. His frantic driving of the van, with its speakers booming out "Pop Goes the Weasel" (the same recording as on the radio earlier), is also sped up.
  • This film features a rare scene in which Moe smacks someone other than one of his two pals; as several people begin to rub Curly down after a rather painful round of boxing and accidentally pull Moe into it, he slaps one of them in the back of the head.
  • The title music uses a unique jazzy big band 1930s melody called "I Thought I Wanted You". It was composed by Archie Gottler who directed the previous short. The first part was also used in Woman Haters; the second part was later used in Men in Black.
  • Originally, the song "Stars and Stripes Forever" was going to be used, but the producer did not want to pay royalties, so the song "Pop Goes the Weasel" was selected because it was in the public domain.
  • Men in the audience near the beginning of the boxing match can be seen sticking up their middle fingers.
  • A snippet of Punch Drunks appears in the Eddie Murphy comedy Daddy Day Care.
  • This episode makes the first appearance of William Irving appearing with the Three Stooges.



The Three Stooges S01E02 Punch Drunks

The Three Stooges
Woman Haters I Punch Drunks I Men in Black I Three Little Pigskins I Horses' Collars I Restless Knights I Pop Goes the Easel I Uncivil Warriors I Pardon My Scotch I Hoi Polloi I Three Little Beers I Ants in the Pantry I Movie Maniacs I Half Shot Shooters I Disorder in the Court I A Pain in the Pullman I False Alarms I Whoops, I'm an Indian! I Slippery Silks I Grips, Grunts and Groans I Dizzy Doctors I Three Dumb Clucks I Back to the Woods I Goofs and Saddles I Cash and Carry I Playing the Ponies I The Sitter Downers I Termites of 1938 I Wee Wee Monsieur I Tassels in the Air I Healthy, Wealthy and Dumb I Violent Is the Word for Curly I Three Missing Links I Mutts to You I Flat Foot Stooges I Three Little Sew and Sews I We Want Our Mummy I A Ducking They Did Go I Yes, We Have No Bonanza I Saved By the Belle I Calling All Curs I Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise I Three Sappy People I You Nazty Spy! I Rockin' Thru the Rockies I A Plumbing We Will Go I Nutty But Nice I How High Is Up? I From Nurse to Worse I No Census, No Feeling I Cookoo Cavaliers I Boobs in Arms I So Long Mr. Chumps I Dutiful But Dumb I All the World's a Stooge I I'll Never Heil Again I An Ache in Every Stake I In the Sweet Pie and Pie I Some More of Samoa I Loco Boy Makes Good I Cactus Makes Perfect I What's the Matador? I Matri-Phony I Three Smart Saps I Even as IOU I Sock-a-Bye Baby I They Stooge to Conga I Dizzy Detectives I Spook Louder I Back From the Front I Three Little Twirps I Higher Than a Kite I I Can Hardly Wait I Dizzy Pilots I Phony Express I A Gem of a Jam I Crash Goes the Hash I Busy Buddies I The Yoke's On Me I Idle Roomers I Gents Without Cents I No Dough Boys I Three Pests in a Mess I Booby Dupes I Idiots Deluxe I If a Body Meets a Body I Micro-Phonies I Beer Barrel Polecats I A Bird in the Head I Uncivil War Birds I The Three Troubledoers I Monkey Businessmen I Three Loan Wolves I G.I. Wanna Home I Rhythm and Weep I Three Little Pirates I Half-Wits Holiday I Fright Night I Out West I Hold That Lion! I Brideless Groom I Sing a Song of Six Pants I All Gummed Up I Shivering Sherlocks I Pardon My Clutch I Squareheads of the Round Table I Fiddlers Three I The Hot Scots I Heavenly Daze I I'm a Monkey's Uncle I Mummy's Dummies I Crime on Their Hands I The Ghost Talks I Who Done It? I Hokus Pokus I Fuelin' Around I Malice in the Palace I Vagabond Loafers I Dunked in the Deep I Punchy Cowpunchers I Hugs and Mugs I Dopey Dicks I Love at First Bite I Self-Made Maids I Three Hams on Rye I Studio Stoops I Slaphappy Sleuths I A Snitch in Time I Three Arabian Nuts I Baby Sitters Jitters I Don't Throw That Knife I Scrambled Brains I Merry Mavericks I The Tooth Will Out I Hula-La-La I Pest Man Wins I A Missed Fortune I Listen, Judge I Corny Casanovas I He Cooked His Goose I Gents in a Jam I Three Dark Horses I Cuckoo on a Choo Choo I Up in Daisy's Penthouse I Booty and the Beast I Loose Loot I Tricky Dicks I Spooks! I Pardon My Backfire I Rip, Sew and Stitch I Bubble Trouble I Goof on the Roof I Income Tax Sappy I Musty Musketeers I Pals and Gals I Knutzy Knights I Shot in the Frontier I Scotched in Scotland I Fling in the Ring I Of Cash and Hash I Gypped in the Penthouse I Bedlam in Paradise I Stone Age Romeos I Wham-Bam-Slam! I Hot Ice I Blunder Boys I Husbands Beware I Creeps I Flagpole Jitters I For Crimin' Out Loud I Rumpus in the Harem I Hot Stuff I Scheming Schemers I Commotion on the Ocean I Hoofs and Goofs I Muscle Up a Little Closer I A Merry Mix Up I Space Ship Sappy I Guns a Poppin! I Horsing Around I Rusty Romeos I Outer Space Jitters I Quiz Whizz I Fifi Blows Her Top I Pies and Guys I Sweet and Hot I Flying Saucer Daffy I Oil's Well That Ends Well I Triple Crossed I Sappy Bull Fighters