Termites of 1938 is the 28th 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.


A high-society woman named Muriel (Bess Flowers) wants to attend a swanky dinner party thrown by a friend of hers, but her husband, Arthur, decides instead to go on a fishing trip. Rather than showing up stag to the party, Muriel tells her housekeeper to call the Acme Escort Service to bring a few "college boy" escorts. However, the housekeeper accidentally calls the Acme Exterminator Co., run by the Stooges. After testing out a few unorthodox techniques involving catching a mouse, including Curly playing a piccolo and Moe being shot into a wall by a loaded cannon, the phone rings. Moe, his ears still ringing from the cannon, answers and, unwittingly, the boys are hired to be Muriel's escorts to the party.

At the mansion, the guests all arrive, and not long afterwards the Stooges show up in tuxes in a beat-up car. The Stooges, convinced that they were hired to clear the house of pests, are about to get to work when they hear that dinner is served. Moe tells his pals that they "always feed ya at these high class joints", and the Stooges rush to the dining room to eat. After dinner, the guests enter the main hall where a small group of musicians are playing. The Stooges then take over and begin to perform while actually syncing to music playing from a nearby victrola. The Stooges continue their mock performance until Moe accidentally grabs a saw and cuts the bass in half. Several mice inside begin to scurry about, causing the guests to run away, and the boys decide then and there to get to work. The boys make a shambles of the house, leading the owner to chase them out of the mansion, wielding a Gopher Bomb. The boys run to their car and make an escape, by Arthur throws the bomb into the car, causing it to explode and scatter the Stooges all over the street.


  • Moe, Larry, and Curly: "At your service, day and night, we do the job and do it right! Acme!!"


  • Moe: "How you gonna call him out?"
  • Curly: "I've been readin' up on it. See?"


Curly shows Moe a copy of the book "The Pied Piper of Hamelin".

  • Moe: "So what?"
  • Curly: "If a pie-eyed piper can call 'em out, I guess I can sober!"


  • The title Termites of 1938 is a parody of the film title Gold Diggers of 1937
  • Termites features a classic "replacement gag." During the faux music-playing scene, Moe reaches for a bow to 'play' his bass cello, but mistakenly grabs a saw. Then, in mock-playing the bass, Moe proceeds to saw the instrument in two.
  • This film was remade as Society Mugs, a non-Stooge short that starred Shemp Howard, as well as Tom Kennedy, a frequent Shemp co-star.
  • This short has two musical quirks unusual for Stooge shorts. First, the Three Stooges' opening theme, "Listen to the Mockingbird," is played again when the audience first see the Stooges. Second, background music plays during the otherwise silent scene in which the Stooges and other guests are eating. This is the result of producer Charley Chase, who liked to put music in as many parts of his films as could possibly be done.
  • This is the first short in which Curly does his "chicken with its head cut off" move where he drops to the ground and spins in a circle. That move would be a recurring routine in later Stooge shorts.
  • This is the first Three Stooges episode to be released after Ted Healy's death.

Sources Edit

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.