Saturday, June 11, 2016

CRAZY KNIGHTS - "Ghost Crazy" (1944)

Shemp Howard was one of the original Three Stooges, but was replaced by his brother Curly when Shemp decided to pursue a solo acting career, and so it went for years until Curly could no longer go on because of a heart condition!

This 1944 feature titled "Crazy Knights," and later released as "Ghost Crazy" was about three quarters along in Shemp's career that included many colourful zany characters with names like Dopey, Clem, Lefty, Smokey, Shemp, Henry, Knobby, Happy, Wacky, Gabby, Dizzy, Dingbat, and Mumbo!

 Shemp and his pals are a bunch of small-time hucksters!

It's a side-show act featuring a super intelligent gorilla named Borneo!

To make the act legit, they have a real gorilla, and his body double in a gorilla suit that Shemp wears when they ask the gorilla questions! (Of course, the REAL gorilla is a guy in a gorilla suit too!)

They might be small time con men, but they have a really nice woody that would make any surfer green with envy!

Any student of 1950's TV will recognize Minerva Urecal who was Tugboat Annie, and Jim Bowie's Mother! Among her 275 credits are a couple of other gorilla suit movies, "The Ape," and "The Ape Man!"

Billy Gilbert played Billy, with Shemp as Shemp, and Maxie Rosenbloom as Maxie, in more than a couple of movies with titles like "Three Of A Kind," and "Trouble Chasers!" 

So it looks like somebody in a ghost outfit is trying to scare the boys!

But then the ghost disappears into the night, and into this grave, and you begin to think that this a story about the supernatural, but after this, it's just guys in ghost costumes again!

Billy finds a ghost costume and proceeds to scare the pants off of Shemp!

The rest of the cast from left to right are Bernard Sell who had small roles in the ultra-classics "The Day The Earth Stood Still," and "Them!" It's pretty amazing how many roles Bernard also had as just a guy somewhere in a bar, or a restaurant, a nightclub, a casino, or a guest at a party!  Then there's the blonde and beautiful Jayne Hazard, whose first role ever was as a party girl in another great ape flick, "The Monster And The Girl," and who, if it hadn't of been for the war years, might have been a name as recognizable as Marilyn Monroe today cause she is drop dead gorgeous, and finally John Hamilton, who even though he had 346 acting credits, I only can think of one thing when I see his face, and that is Perry White in 102 episodes of "The Adventures Of Superman!"
Shemp puts on his gorilla suit to try and stir up some truth, and Barney the gorilla escapes from his cage at the same time, so you can imagine how much havoc that creates! The guy inside the Barney suit was Art Miles who donned the hairy tuxedo in at least three other movies or shorts, "The Gorilla," "Moon Over Vegas," and "A Bird In The Head!"

 Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom might have been a buffoon in the movies, but in real life he was a championship boxer whose career spanned 16 years, and ended with a record of  274 fights, with 207 wins, 39 losses, and 26 draws! Maxie wasn't a big knockout artist and only had 19 KO's out of all those fights, so that means he went the distance in about 90% of those bouts! He was one tough dude!

"Ghost Crazy" comes off as one long extended Three Stooges episode with Billy and Maxie replacing Moe and Larry, and makes you realize why the Three Stooges shorts were so good, because they had the good sense to make them only 15 or 20 minutes long!
If you've got nothing better to do, you can watch "Ghost Crazy" for free on Youtube and transport yourself into better times some 72 years in the past! Pretty amazing we're still here!


TC said...

I remember seeing Billy Gilbert in Laurel & Hardy comedies, and I knew Shemp played supporting parts in the 1940's (The Bank Dick, Crazy House, Africa Screams) before he rejoined the Stooges. But I didn't know Billy and Shemp ever worked as a team. Live and learn.

EEGAH!! said...

Live and Learn indeed TC. Doing this blog, I've learned tons more than I ever knew before!

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