Three Loan Wolves is the 93rd short subject starring the Three Stooges.
Told in flash back, the Stooges tell their son (Jackie Jackson) how he came to have three fathers. The Stooges, owners of a pawn shop, owe money to the gashouse protection society, a bunch of loan sharks. To complicate matters, a lady (Beverly Warren) leaves a baby in the shop as part of a plan to sell a phony diamond and the Stooges (primarily Larry) wind up caring for the kid. The trio manage to defeat the crooks and when they finish telling the story, the kid goes off to find his real mother. Then Larry got punished by Moe and Curly.
Three Loan Wolves was filmed near the end of Curly Howard's career. The 42-year-old comedian had suffered a series of minor strokes several months prior to filming, and his performances had been unpredictable. By the time of Three Loan Wolves, he had lost a considerable amount of weight, and lines had creased his baby face. In fact, co-stars Larry Fine and Moe Howard look stocky by comparison.
While director Edward Bernds devised ways to cover Curly's illness, Jules White simply shifted the action away from him by giving additional lines of dialogue to Larry Fine. With Three Loan Wolves, White made Larry the main character (Larry's first time in the spotlight since the Stooges inaugural short for Columbia Pictures in 1934, Woman Haters), with nearly the entire film revolving around him. Larry had also opted to take the brunt of Moe's punishment as opposed to Curly, who doesn't get slapped around as much in this short versus earlier shorts.
Curly also tried desperately to maintain his high-pitched voice, but was clearly unable to. Several scenes are heartbreaking to watch, as the once-superstooge had been relegated to a line here or there.