Scheming Schemers is the 173rd 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 short is a reworking of Vagabond Loafers, which in itself was a remake of A Plumbing We Will Go. Additional pie fight footage was recycled from Half-Wits Holiday.


The Stooges are novice plumbers, whose first job is finding a valuable ring that went down a drainpipe at the home of the wealthy Norfleets (Emil Sitka and Symona Boniface). The timing could not be any worse, as the Norfleets are throwing a dinner party to celebrate their acquisition of a $50,000 Van Brocklin painting.

The Stooges happily retrieve the ring, but Larry knocks it out of Moe's hand, and back it goes down the drain. The Stooges then work their way to basement to shut the water off. Larry is assigned to finding the water cutoff and proceeds to dig up most of the lawn. Shemp later surmises that the pipes fail to work properly because they are "clogged up with wires." Shemp and Moe proceed to remove the electrical system from the pipes and connect a water pipe to the newly available pipe. The cook (Dudley Dickerson), who is in the kitchen trying to prepare an extravagant meal for the Norfleets, watches in bewilderment as the stove and chandelier gush water. "This house has sho' goan crazy!", he exclaims.

As the Norfleet's house transforms into Niagara Falls, two party guests named Mr. and Mrs. Allen (Kenneth MacDonald and Christine McIntyre) manage to swipe the prized Van Brocklin painting. Shemp heads for the upstairs bath to continue fixing the pipes, and Moe and Larry discover that the ring was stuck in Larry's hair the whole time. Mr. Norfleet is happy about his ring, but frantic that his painting was stolen. Moe and Larry see Allen hiding the painting in a pipe, and a pie fight ensues, extending to the other party guests. The Stooges manage to recover the painting, and Mr. Norfleet decides to reward them. Moe and Larry wonder where Shemp has been all this time. It turns out that he got himself stuck fixing the bathroom's pipes. "Moe! Larry!", said Shemp.

End of the Shemp Howard eraEdit

As Shemp Howard had already died, for his last four films (Rumpus in the Harem, Hot Stuff, Scheming Schemers and Commotion on the Ocean), Columbia utilized supporting actor Joe Palma to be Shemp's double. Even though the last four shorts were remakes of earlier Shemp efforts, Palma's services were needed to link what few new scenes were filmed to the older stock footage.

For Scheming Schemers, Palma appears for the shot of "Shemp" with his back to the camera, honking the horn of the Stooges' jeep. Palma then gathers several pipes, obstructing his face. Palma's one line of dialogue — "Hold yer horses, will ya?" — is really Shemp's voice from the soundtrack of the recently released Creeps (and originally filmed in 1949 for The Ghost Talks).


  • Lenburg, Jeff; Howard Maurer, Joan; Lenburg, Greg; (1982). The Three Stooges Scrapbook, p. 263, Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-0946-5
  • Solomon, Jon. (2002) The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion, p. 481; Comedy III Productions, Inc., ISBN 0-9711868-0-4
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