Boobs in Arms is the 52nd 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 street peddler greeting card salesmen who anger a man on the street after an accidental altercation. They are then approached by a woman (Evelyn Young) with a request to help her make her husband (Richard Fiske) jealous. The Stooges defend themselves against the irate husband with their usual combatives and flee from the husband shouting his threats. In hiding from him, they line up on a queue that takes them to a recruitment office by mistake and end up joining the army.
No sooner are they getting acclimated with their new army surrounding when they meeting their Drill instructor-sergeant: Hugh Dare, the irate husband/man on the street. Sgt. Dare desperately attempts to teach the Stooges the standard military drill from the manual of arms. He then threatens them during bayonet practice.
The Stooges are sent to the front line, where they decide to take a long nap. After learning that Sgt. Dare has been captured by the enemy, they are instructed to detonate a laughing gas shell, which manages to explode on them rather than the enemy due to their pointing the cannon upward. Laughing hysterically, the Stooges are brought to enemy headquarters where Sgt. Dare is being detained. The enemy communicate in pig latin; hopped up by the gas, the Stooges gleefully use their violence in a wild free for all fight against their captors, including an accidental sword thrust to the rear of the sergeant and his retaliatory punch to the enemy captain that makes him fall on the pointed end of his pickelhaube helmet. The Stooges knock out everyone, including all the enemy soldiers and Sgt. Dare. After emerging victorious, several guns fire at them, with shells whizzing past, the Stooges always ducking in laughter or leaning back giggling, each time missing another shell. Finally, the last shot's shell passes between their legs and takes them into the clouds.
Hollywood and the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940Edit
The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 was passed by the United States Congress on September 16, 1940, becoming the first peacetime conscription in United States history. Hollywood reflected the interest of the American public in Conscription in the United States by having nearly every film studio bring out a military film comedy in 1941 with their resident comedian(s):
- Universal Pictures' Abbott and Costello released the first feature film on the subject with Buck Privates, followed by In the Navy and the United States Army Air Corps to Keep 'Em Flying.
- Paramount Pictures featured Bob Hope in Caught in the Draft.
- Warner Bros. featured Phil Silvers and Jimmy Durante in You're in the Army Now.
- Columbia Pictures featured Fred Astaire in the army declaring You'll Never Get Rich.
- Hal Roach gave his new comedy team of William Tracy and Joe Sawyer Tanks a Million.
- 20th Century Fox had the former Hal Roach team of Laurel and Hardy going Great Guns.
The minor studios such as Republic Pictures provided Bob Crosby and Eddie Foy Jr. as Rookies on Parade and Monogram Pictures enlisted Nat Pendleton as Top Sergeant Mulligan.
However, the first comedians to appear in an army comedy were the Stooges with Boobs in Arms. Columbia Pictures placed the Stooges in an unnamed army with military uniforms consisting of Zorro hats and tan uniforms with sergeant chevrons worn upside down to the American way; they are also armed with Civil War type muskets instead of modern rifles. Perhaps these uniforms deliberately do not resemble those of the U.S. Army because the finale takes place in a war.
Ironically, Richard Fiske (Sargeant Dare) was drafted into the U.S. Army and was killed in France in World War II at age 28.
- The drill sergeant training segment was reused in the 1943 short Dizzy Pilots.
- The plot where greeting card salesmen who try to make a married woman's husband jealous adapted from Laurel and Hardy's 1935 short The Fixer Uppers.
- The title is a parody of the 1939 MGM film Babes in Arms based on the Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers musical. The working title was All This and Bullets Too, a parody in itself of the title of the Warner Bros. film All This and Heaven Too.
- The closing gag of a person riding a bombshell through the air would be recreated by Slim Pickens in 1964's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
- The gag of dopes who accidentally end up enlisting in the US Army had been used previously in Half Shot Shooters.
- Jules White adapted the Stooges' drill scene from the vaudeville skit of future Stooge Joe Besser. Besser later performed this scene in his 1952 solo Columbia short Aim, Fire, Scoot and its 1956 remake Army Daze.
- Curly's print ad for "O'Brien's Restaurant" has dessert misspelled as "desert".