The Stooge

Synopsis: Egotistical vaudevillian Bill Miller basks in the limelight with his successful musical-comedy act, but his success is due to his unheralded second banana.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Musical
Director(s): Norman Taurog
Production: Paramount Pictures
100 min

Lackawanna 8-799.

Hello. Hello.

l'm so afraid to close my eyes

Afraid that l'll find

- That was mighty pretty, honey.

- Oh, hello.

Say, are you doing anything

tomorrow after the matinee?

- No.

- How would you like to get married?

- Well, you got someone in mind?

- Yes. Me.

Well, best offer l had today.

Suppose l think it over?

All right, you take your time.

l'll hold on.


This lovely thrill is just a silly illusion

With my eyes wide open

Do l deserve such a break?

You know, l think l can make it.

Good. Oh, by the way,

what was that name again?

- Miller. Bill Miller.

- Oh, how nice.

- Well, good night, Mr. Miller.

- Now, one minute.

- Who are you?

- Well, l'm Mary Turner.

Good night, darling.

See you in church.

See you in church.

Mighty pretty. Mighty pretty.

Thank you, sir.

The agent's slice, Leo.

The usual ten percent.

Looks like a small cut to me.

- Hello, Mary.

- Hi, honey.

And to you and Mary, the best of luck,

forever and a day.

- l'll miss you, Bill.

- l'm gonna miss you too, Ben.

You've been swell.

We had great years.

Why the gloom, boys?

This is a wedding, not a wake.

For the act, it's a wake. Bill's leaving.

Well, l want to play the big time

on my own, as a single.

Oh, is that so?

l tell you, you're out of your head,

quitting a great comic like Ben Bailey.

l did a single before.

l know a lot more now.

l've learned from Ben.

Listen, Bill,

when l found you in Scranton,

you were making a fast 60.

You had those flashy two-pants

suits and ragged underwear.

Who got you to play

that chest piano?

Who built you up to 1 250?

Who bought you your first tuxedo?

- l did!

- Bill,

the trick in show business

is to be a hit.

With another guy, with a girl,

with a kangaroo, anything.

Look, you're my friend,

but l don't think you can make it alone.

Now, don't try to talk me out of it, boys.

l'm gonna start again in Scranton.

Alone. lf l have anything,

l'll be back here again, alone.

My name will be on top, alone.

Maybe you should have

got married, alone.

l don't think you can stand two

talented people in the same family.

l'm sorry, fellas. l'm doing a single.

A singing, dancing, talking comedian.

l love you, Leo, but since an hour ago,

l have a wife to take care of.

l gotta start sometime.

OK. Start.

Well, what do you say, Leo,

do l make any sense?

lf you really mean what you just said,

you make sense.

l think any man has a right

to do what he wants to...

...providing he doesn't hurt anyone.

But you've got to

have material, jokes.

Well, l have Al Borden writing

an act for me right now.

He's the greatest gagman

in America.

- You think so?

- l do.

That makes two of you. You and Al.

Now, look, Leo,

will you leave that to me?

All l want you to do is get the bookings

and you can start now.

Oh, there you are.

Say, isn't there something

about the groom dancing with

the bride on their wedding day?

l'll bet you made that up.

Will you excuse us, Leo?

- Well, Al Borden!

- Congratulations.

Glad you came.

Excuse me, will you, honey?

Say, are you serious?

You just got married.

Thank you, Mr. Borden,

for my first wedding present.


- Mary needs a partner.

- Mary isn't the only one.

Al, listen...

You don't think he's doing

the right thing, do you?

You mean quitting Ben?

As an agent, no.

As a friend...

And what about me

leaving Sutherland?

Mary... leaving Sutherland after

all your hard work? And mine?

Bill doesn't want me

to work anymore.

Love, he can handle, but l wish he'd

leave the business end of it to me.

You'll keep on looking out for him,

won't you, Leo?

For ten percent, l'd look after

my own mother-in-law.

Well, l wouldn't say she had buckteeth,

but she was the only girl l knew

that could eat an apple

through a picket fence.

That was funny.

And so l said to the fellow,

''lf that's your wife, buddy,

you're in a lot of trouble.''

That was funny, wasn't it?

- Yeah, that was funny 20 years ago.

- Well, don't worry.

Once Bill starts to warm them up,

the audience will really go.

They're going now.

Out of the theater.

''Short, short story.

''Ben Bailey broke in new partner,

''socko Baltimore, ditto Boston,

ditto Washington.''

Here's the important part:

''Bill Miller, single, 1 2 minutes.

''Lays egg in Newark,

''ditto Camden, ditto Wilkes-Barre,

ditto Scranton.''

- That wiseacre! l'll call those guys...

- Shut up!

- What?

- l said, shut up.

You've got yourself in a spot

because you got a swellhead.

Some fairy godmother

must have whispered to you

and told you that you

don't need nobody.

Well, you better stop listening

to pixies and listen to your agent.

You're not a single,

you never will be.

You're a nice guy, and you got talent,

and you got a nice wife,

but you're gonna blow them all off

if you don't start listening!

Want to hear what's wrong

with your act?

Well, sit down,

because l'm gonna tell you.

You think that you can come out

and sing and be cute.

Well, cute songs

are a nickel a dozen.

You need a new opening.

A comedy song and two funny stories.

Not those broken-down jokes

from Al Borden.

And a finish.

Did you ever hear about that?

A ''San Francisco'' finish.

Cohan did it with a flag.

lt's the most important thing of all!

- Well, it's easy to tell me about it.

- Yeah? Well, here's how you do it.

You go down to any

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Fred F. Finklehoffe

Fred Franklin Finklehoffe (February 16, 1910, Springfield, Massachusetts – October 5, 1977) was an American film writer and producer. He was educated at Virginia Military Institute (V.M.I.) where he met his writing partner John Cherry Monks, Jr. (both class of 1932).Monks and Finklefhoffe wrote a play set at VMI in 1936, "Brother Rat", which was adapted into a 1938 film of the same name. A 1940 film sequel entitled Brother Rat and a Baby was also produced. Monks and Finklehoffe also wrote the MGM musical, Strike Up the Band (1940). Finklehoffe was nominated for the 1944 Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay with Irving Brecher for his work on Meet Me in St. Louis. He also wrote the scripts for a pair of Martin and Lewis comedy films, At War with the Army (1950) and The Stooge (1952). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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