False Alarms is the 17th 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 firemen who are constantly getting in trouble. After missing their umpteenth fire call, they are warned that one more incident will cost them their jobs. They then proceeded back to work, in this case, cleaning the fire hoses. In the midst of the action, a new coupé that the chief has purchased is delivered to the station. Curly rolls out the hose into the street. But in the process, the hoses are cut by a passing streetcar, with Curly starting to identify them after the first names of the young Dionne quintuplets. In frustration, Moe wrings Curly’s hands on the wringers.
Meanwhile, Curly sneaks out to visit his girlfriend Mayzie to celebrate her birthday despite the restrictions. She has two friends who need dates, so Curly tries to get Moe and Larry to join him. The two other girls are named Mimi and Minnie, the latter being tall, heavy set, and quite determined to secure a boyfriend. She even aggressively pursues a very reluctant Curly when it becomes apparent that the restrictions are going to prevent Moe and Larry from joining the party. Larry attempts to go anyway, but is stopped by Moe at the firepole by pulling his hair. Moe then goes to the stock room holding Larry by the hair, and locks the door to prevent Larry from leaving. But Larry fights back, and the key goes into the sink in the melee. Moe then proceeds to use Larry as a plunger to retrieve the key. Just then, Curly realizes that the only way he knows to get Moe and Larry out of the fire station is to pull a fire alarm, so he decides to activate it. The firemen respond to the call, but without Larry and Moe. Realizing the alarm, they force themselves out, and down through the firepole. They found that the firemen have left them, so they decided to use the coupé.
They go to the alarm location, finding Curly and the three girlfriends waiting for them. Moe is irate by the false alarm, but sensing the approaching fire truck (and the captain), all six then ride the coupé and go on a wild joyride, with Curly at the wheel, barely missing cars and streetcars. One unfortunate turn hits the car at a post, forcing them into the boot except for Moe who lands outside. Moe, assisted by concerned pedestrians, retrieves them out of the car, but with their egos bruised, the three girlfriends scoot off in a huff. However, before this happens, Minnie (sporting a large black eye) gets into a comical face slapping match with Curly.
The Stooges push the battered coupé out of the accident scene, but forgot to shut it off. The car goes in its own power in the street, back to the fire station. It goes out again, and the chief realizes that it is his car that is in trouble. The car ends up into an open Bekins van, and as they closed the door, the car explodes. The fire truck, with the irate captain, chases the Stooges. Sensing the chief, they escape in the van, smoking car and all.
- The captain in this short mentions what he would do to the Stooges "if this were the army". The same actor, Stanley Blystone, played the Stooges' army sergeant (Sgt. MacGillicuddy) in Half Shot Shooters.
- At one point the Captain refers to the Stooges as "Those three missing links!". Three Missing Links became the title of the Stooges 33rd short two years later.
- This short features one of the most unusual eye pokes in the Stooge shorts. Moe and Curly are talking on the telephone, and Curly calls Moe a coward. So Moe pokes the receiver of his phone with two fingers, and Curly reacts angrily when he "receives" the eye poke on the other end of the line. In a humorous twist, Curly grabs the wrong end of the receiver when trying to silence Moe on the other end.
- At one point in the short, Moe sticks out his fist to Curly and says, "See that?", which is a recurring joke in which Moe swings his fist around and bops Curly on the head. But the Stooges are being chased, so this time Curly says, "You ain't got time...here comes the captain!" and the Stooges scurry away. Curly also tries the trick twice in this short, again unsuccessfully.
- This is the first instance of Curly having a girlfriend (with her girlfriends anticipating hooking up with Moe and Larry), along with their rhyming names.
- Fire station filming took place at LAFD Fire Station 61, 5821 West 3rd Street. The station was replaced with a new building at the same location in 1987.
- The fire apparatus used during the filming was a 1921 Seagrave combination chemical and hose wagon, one of nine owned by LAFD.