A Pain in the Pullman is the 16th 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 small time actors traveling by rail to an engagement—and fleeing the landlady for their unpaid rent. They are told to put their pet monkey, Joe, in the baggage car, but are afraid he will get hurt. They sneak Joe onto the train with them, but Joe gets loose, managing to awaken and annoy all of the train's passengers, including Mr. Paul Pain (James C. Morton ) and Mr. Johnson (Bud Jamison). Ultimately, a terrified Joe pulls the train's emergency cord, abruptly stopping the train in the process. The passengers then forcibly remove the Stooges from the train.

Shellfish and the StoogesEdit

Moe Howard had fond memories of filming A Pain in the Pullman. He also recalled his intense dislike for shellfish, and how brother Curly Howard cut the inside of his mouth eating the shells from a Dungeness crab:

...In one sequence, all three of us wound up in the same upper berth. Later, we found ourselves a drawing room, not knowing it was assigned to the star of the show (James C. Morton ). There was a lovely table set in the room with all kinds of delicacies.
At one point Curly picked up the hard-shelled Dungeness crab. We, of course, were not supposed to know what it was. Larry thought it was a tarantula, Curly figured it to be a turtle, and I concluded that it must be something to eat or it wouldn't be on the table with crackers and sauce.
As the scene progressed, Curly tried to open the crab shell and bent the tines of his fork. I took the fork from Curly, tossed a napkin on the floor, and asked him to pick it up. When Curly bent over, I hit him on the head with the crab, breaking the shell into a million pieces. Then Curly scooped out some of the meat, tasted it, and made a face. He threw the meat away and proceeded to eat the shell.
I have to tell you, if there's one thing to which I have an aversion, it's shellfish, and I couldn't bring myself—even for a film—to put that claw in my mouth. Preston Black , the director, asked me to just lick the claw, but I couldn't. He finally had the prop man duplicate the claw out of sugar and food coloring and had me nibble on it as though I was enjoying it. I was still very wary during the scene. I was afraid they had coated the real shell with sugar and that that awful claw was underneath. I chewed that claw during the scene, but if you'll notice, I did it very gingerly.
In the meantime, Curly was still chewing on the shell, which was cutting the inside of his mouth. Finally, our star comes back to his room and kicks us out, and we three climb into our upper berth to go to sleep.


  • A Pain in the Pullman is the longest Stooge short filmed, running at 19' 46"; the shortest is Pardon My Clutch, running at 15' 16".
  • This is the first short in which Moe, Larry, and Curly are actually referred to as "The Three Stooges" in the dialogue.
  • The closing shot of the Stooges leaping over a bush, and landing on a trio of bucking steers was reused at the end of A Ducking They Did Go . Those gag was used in the end of The Ren and Stimpy Show episode "Rubber Nipple Salesmen" (show creator John Kricfalusi was apparently a big fan of the Three Stooges, using a good number of Stooge gags as part of his tenure with Ren and Stimpy; the character of Stimpy is himself based on Larry).
  • The same plot with this short was previously done by female comedy team ZaSu Pitts and Thelma Todd in 1932 short Show Business and was directed by Jules White.
  • This film was remade as Training for Trouble, 1947 non-Stooge Columbia short starring burlesque comic Gus Schilling and actor Richard Lane. Jules White was also the directed the short.
  • The name "Johnson" was shouted a total number of 10 times in the short.
  • This short featured the first appearance of a classic gag used regularly during scenes when the Stooges were sleeping all in the same bed. Moe nudges Larry awake, only to tell him "Wake up and go to sleep!"


  • Howard, Moe (1977, rev. 1979). Moe Howard and the 3 Stooges: The Pictorial Biography of the Wildest Trio in the History of American Entertainment. Citadel Press. pp. 81, 82. ISBN 0-8065-0723-3.
  • Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion. Comedy III Productions, Inc. p. 98. ISBN 0-9711868-0-4.