Ants in the Pantry is the 12th 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.
The Stooges are pest exterminators who are forced to drum up business by planting mice, moths, and ants in an unsuspecting house under the threat of being fired if they cannot. They select a fancy mansion where a high society dinner party is being held. After successfully infesting the house with vermin, the trio are predictably hired to clean up their own mess, without interrupting the party, dressed as guests.
One highlight is the piano recital of Johann Strauss II's "Blue Danube Waltz." A chorus of cats in the piano responds, bewildering both the audience and the pianist. The chaos is compounded when a mouse enters the upright piano, agitating the cats. The Stooges are forced to get the offending pest and the cats out of the piano, destroying it in the process. To prevent the hostess from being socially humiliated, the guests are told the boys are the entertainment and find their antics absolutely hilarious.
The short ends with the Stooges on a fox hunt. Curly, who has developed a cold, mistakes a skunk for a fox, the stench of which knocks out the other two Stooges and a horse.
Notes and Production Edit
- The title Ants in the Pantry is a pun on the phrase "ants in the pants." This seemed appropriate, as Moe Howard later recalled that a nest of ants actually worked their way in his pants:
- "There was a scene where we were having trouble selling our services, so we complain to our boss, who tells us, 'If they don't have any bugs, give them some.' We got the idea and went from house to house throwing moths in with minks, mice on the floor, and ants in the pantry. During the shooting, I hadn't noticed that a small container of red ants had broken apart in my pocket and the little devils were crawling down my back, in my hair, and into my pants. It was insane. All through the scene I was scratching and squirming and slapping myself on the neck and face and on the seat of my pants. Elated, director Preston Black shouted, 'Great Moe. Keep up that squirming!' It was very funny—to everyone but me."
- Ants in the Pantry was reworked in 1951 as Pest Man Wins.