The Three Stooges Become Census Takers

Census enumerators (census takers) have a difficult job at best. Can you imagine Larry, Curly or Moe interviewing local residents?

In a 1940 movie, No Census, No Feeling, The Three Stooges obtained jobs as census enumerators and were to be paid four cents per name recorded. I watched the movie today and now I understand some of census records I have looked at in the past. I think this is the threesome that visited my great-great-grandparent’s house!

You can watch The Three Stooges at their best, or worst, in No Census, No Feeling at

As you watch the movie, you might want to know a bit of trivia:

The football sequences in No Census, No Feeling were filmed at the University of Southern California (USC) in the autumn of 1940. Some of the crowd scenes apparently were filmed during a real game.

At one point, Moe says, “Wait a minute, flathead! We just got a job. We’re working for the census.” Curly then replies, “You mean Will Hays?”

The reference to Will Hays will escape most of today’s viewers. William Hays was the creator of the Hays Code for censorship of American films. Every actor, producer, and director would have been very familiar with Will Hays and the Hays Code in 1940 and most everyone in Hollywood disliked Hays. Curly’s remark confuses the word “census” with censorship.

One comment in the middle of the film probably made perfect sense to audiences in 1940 but not today. According to at,_No_Feeling, “In one scene, Curly believes that it is Independence Day in October, claiming that ‘you never can tell; look what they did to Thanksgiving!’ This is a reference to an event in 1939 when Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to an earlier Thursday in November to lengthen the Christmas shopping season. This act angered many Republicans and, after some time, the holiday ended up moving to the last Thursday of November.” That was still controversial when the movie was made a year later.

The 3 Stooges normally performed their own stunts. (One exception was a different film, the Three Little Pigskins. The stunts performed in the other movie were so dangerous that the stunt doubles suffered broken bones and cracked ribs.) As you see the 3 Stooges fall from an awning onto a cement sidewalk several feet below, you may appreciate that those probably were indeed the real 3 Stooges in that fall.

The film was created in black-and-white. However, a color version of this film was released in the 2004 DVD collection entitled “Stooged & Confoosed.” The color version is available online at



What a bunch of good laughs. Remember them from years ago!


Real Genealogy Trivia on the 3 Stooges … or they were 4 ? … or 5 ! It was really a family business.
The act began in the early 1920s billed as “Ted Healy and His Stooges”, consisting originally of Healy (the creator of The Three Stooges) and Moe (Harry Moses). Over time, they were joined by Moe’s brother Shemp, and then Larry. The four appeared in one feature film, Soup to Nuts, before Shemp left to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Jerome “Curly”, the youngest brother of Moe and Shemp
The famous trio Moe, Larry, and Curly performed from 1934 to 1946.
Jerome suffered a stroke in May 1946, -dying on Jan 18 1952- and Shemp returned, reconstituting the original lineup, until his death of a heart attack on November 22, 1955.
Fine suffered a stroke in the midst of filming a pilot for a Three Stooges TV series in January 1970 and died in 1975 after a further series of strokes. Moe died on May 4, 1975.
Much of the “gibberish” that the Stooges sometimes spoke was actually the Jewish language of Yiddish. The most famous example of this occurs 15 minutes into the 1938 short Mutts to You. Moe and Larry were impersonating Chinese laundrymen in an attempt to fool the local cop. While being questioned Larry says “Ech Bin A China Boychic Frim Slobatkya-Gebernya Hak Mir Nisht Ken Tshaynik And I Dont Mean Efsher”. This translates as “I’m a China boy from Slobatkya Gebernya (a Jewish European City in the 19th and 20th centuries) stop annoying me and I don’t mean maybe.”
And how do I know so much … well … AND because the real last name of the brothers was HOROWITZ !
Descendants from Lithuanian Jewish immigrants Solomon and Jennie Horowitz, migrate into the US on 1889, establish in NY and grow a family of 5. More about the family and its tree can be seen at the (still) work in progress
Thank you for bringing back to me this genealogy research I did some time ago and will update now.


    Thank you for that information! At first I thought you were saying that Moses was a last name (it’s one of the surnames that I research), but then I looked at the tree you pointed to, and realized it was a middle name, though in the Wikipedia article it looks like it’s a first name. That’s one of the difficulties in researching the Moses family. It’s just as likely to be a first name than it is a last name.


I was born in 1949, but heard of this controversy. In particular, every time November had five Thursdays, my parents would speak of Franksgiving vs Thanksgiving.


Leave a Reply

Name and email address are required. Your email address will not be published.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <pre> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: