Hold That Lion! is the 100th 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 the sole heirs to a grandiose inheritance, but the money is in the hands of a underhanded broker named Ichabod Slipp (Kenneth MacDonald). One by one the Stooges confront Slipp in his office. He in turn accuses first Larry, then Moe, then Shemp, of being that crook Slipp, and successfully flees his office with the money.
The Stooges follow Slipp onboard a train. To avoid a conductor after them for tickets they hide out in a large crate in the baggage car. A lion is also in the crate, and the Stooges run, hiding in a sleeping berth. Moe sticks his foot out through the curtain and the lion licks it, then climbs up in the berth. After bickering with each other the Stooges escape, pulling down all the curtains to the berths and waking everyone up.
As they make their getaway in the confusion, the Stooges spot Slipp and take off after him. They chase him to the baggage car and finally defeat him, reclaiming their inheritance.
Curly Howard's cameoEdit
Hold That Lion! is notable for a cameo appearance by former Stooge Curly, younger brother of Shemp and Moe. He appears as a snoring passenger who the Stooges think is Ichabod Slipp, the man they are looking for. This was the only film that featured all three Howard brothers — Moe, Curly, and Shemp — in the same film and all members of The Three Stooges including Larry. This also marks the first time Curly is shown on camera with a full head of hair, and his only film appearance following the stroke that ended his career as a full-time Stooge.
Director Jules White remembers:
"It was a spur of the moment idea. Curly was visiting the set; this was some time after his stroke. Apparently he came in on his own since I didn't see a nurse with him. He was sitting around, reading a newspaper. As I walked in, the newspaper, which he had in front of his face, came down and he waved hello to me. I thought it would be funny to have him do a bit in the picture, and he was happy to do it."
Hold That Lion! would be the template for recycled films post-1953. Three films in a row utilized footage from this short:
- First, Booty and the Beast recycled the second half of Hold That Lion!.
- Next, Loose Loot recycled the first half.
- Finally, Tricky Dicks recycled the only segment from Hold That Lion! not previously used: the filing cabinet sequence.
Due to this successful practice, director Jules White would begin recycling entire shorts as a cost-saving tactic for the remainder of the Stooges' tenure in
- The title is a parody of the football term, "Hold that line!"
- Icabod Slipp's name appears on the door as "I. Slipp." This is a semantic parody on the Long Island town of Islip, New York.
- Shemp Howard (a man of many phobias) was reportedly so frightened of the lion that he insisted a glass plate be placed in between him and the animal while filming the scene in the crate. Apparently, though, Columbia Pictures hired a lion who was getting on in years. Emil Sitka later commented that the feline was "so sickly, he would fall asleep in the middle of a take." The Stooges' reflection in the glass can be seen as they are hastily exiting the crate.