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This article is about the 1947 film starring the Three Stooges. For the 1926 silent film starring Douglas MacLean, see Hold That Lion.
Hold That Lion!
Directed by Jules White
Produced by Jules White
Written by Felix Adler
Starring Moe Howard
Larry Fine
Shemp Howard
Curly Howard
Kenneth MacDonald
Emil Sitka
Dudley Dickerson
Heinie Conklin
Victor Travers
Blackie Whiteford
Cinematography George F. Kelley
Edited by Edwin Bryant
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • July 17, 1947 (1947-07-17)
Running time
16' 27"
Country United States
Language English

Hold That Lion! is the 100th 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 the sole heirs to a grandiose inheritance, but the money is in the hands of an underhanded broker named Ichabod Slipp (Kenneth MacDonald). They try to claim the inheritance at the office of Cess, Poole, and Drayne. Their attorney, played by Emil Sitka, explains that he doesn't have their money and they have to find Slipp. While in the office, the trio try to help find some files and tangle with a very stubborn filing cabinet. One by one the Stooges confront Slipp in his office. He in turn accuses first Larry, then Moe, then Shemp, of being that crook Slipp, and successfully flees his office with the money.

The Stooges follow Slipp on board a train. To avoid a conductor after them for tickets they hide out in a large crate in the baggage car. A lion is also in the crate, and the Stooges run, hiding in a sleeping berth. Larry convinces the others that they should rest and confront Slipp the next day. Moe sticks his bare foot out through the curtain and the lion licks it, causing Moe to laugh. The lion laughs himself after it takes takes two swipes on Moe's sole to start with. Moe wakes up and punishes Shemp, thinking he was the culprit. After they go back to sleep, the lion climbs up into the berth.

The lion lays on all their feet, waking them up. After bickering with each other, they realize the lion is in their booth. The Stooges escape, pulling down all the curtains to the berths and waking everyone up.

As they make their getaway in the confusion, the Stooges spot Slipp and take off after him. They chase him to the baggage car and finally defeat him, reclaiming their inheritance.

Production notes[edit]

A new version of the "Three Blind Mice" theme music starts in this short. It will be used till Mummy's Dummies.

The title is a parody of the football term, "Hold that line!" [1]

Icabod Slipp's name appears on the door as "I. Slipp." This is a semantic parody on the Long Island town of Islip, New York.[2]

Shemp Howard (a man of many phobias) was reportedly so frightened of the lion that he insisted a glass plate be placed in between him and the animal while filming the scene in the crate, and the Stooges' reflection in the glass can be seen as they are hastily exiting the crate. Apparently, though, Columbia Pictures hired a lion who was getting on in years. Emil Sitka later commented that the feline was "so sickly, he would fall asleep in the middle of a take."[3]

Curly Howard returns[edit]

Curly Howard returns in a cameo

Hold That Lion! is notable for a cameo appearance by former Stooge Curly, younger brother of Shemp and Moe. He appears as a snoring passenger who the Stooges think is Ichabod Slipp, the man they are looking for. This was the only film that featured all three Howard brothers — Moe, Curly, and Shemp — in the same film and all members of The Three Stooges including Larry. This also marks the first time Curly is shown on camera with a full head of hair, and his only film appearance following the stroke that ended his career as a full-time Stooge.

Director Jules White remembers:

"It was a spur of the moment idea. Curly was visiting the set; this was some time after his stroke. Apparently he came in on his own since I didn't see a nurse with him. He was sitting around, reading a newspaper. As I walked in, the newspaper, which he had in front of his face, came down and he waved hello to me. I thought it would be funny to have him do a bit in the picture, and he was happy to do it."[4]

Recycling template[edit]

Hold That Lion! would be the template for recycled films post-1953. Three films in a row utilized footage from this short:

  • First, Booty and the Beast recycled the second half of Hold That Lion!.
  • Next, Loose Loot recycled the first half.
  • Finally, Tricky Dicks recycled the only segment from Hold That Lion! not previously used: the filing cabinet sequence.

Due to this successful practice, director Jules White would begin recycling entire shorts as a cost-saving tactic for the remainder of the Stooges' tenure in Columbia Pictures' shorts department.[3]

The Stooges torture their attorney (Emil Sitka)


  1. ^ Hold That Lion! entry on threestooges.net
  2. ^ Shifres, Ed (Summer 2001). "The Three Stooges Supporting Players: Mini-Biographical Profiles (Kenneth MacDonald)". The Three Stooges Journal (Gyynedd Valley, Pennsylvania: The Three Stooges Fan Club, Inc.) (98): 10. 
  3. ^ a b Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion. Comedy III Productions, Inc. pp. 296–298, 420. ISBN 0-9711868-0-4. 
  4. ^ Okuda, Ted; Watz, Edward; (1986). The Columbia Comedy Shorts, p. 69, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 0-89950-181-8

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hold_That_Lion! — Please support Wikipedia.
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29 news items

San Diego Reader (blog)
Thu, 27 Jun 2013 15:57:44 -0700

How is it that MGM decided to put a lion on its payroll and act as studio mascot and corporate logo centerpiece? "Löwe" is German for "lion" and many are quick to credit studio co-founder Marcus Loew with the idea. Loew's Metro Pictures merged with ...
WGN Radio
Sun, 04 May 2014 03:54:48 -0700

Curly Howard, Larry Fine, Moe Howard and Shemp Howard of 'The Three Stooges', the only timw all three Howard brothers appeared on film together in the short “Hold That Lion'. Courtesy of 'The Three Stooges Scrapbook'/Joan Maurer. ONE TIME USE ...


Sun, 25 Jan 2015 14:06:08 -0800

I've never heard of any footage of Curly following his stroke, outside of the cameo with the Stooges in the classic 1947 short, Hold That Lion! It's amazing that there exists no interview footage of Curly or Shemp, which is too bad for all of us. I ...
Mon, 21 Oct 2013 22:09:37 -0700

Today marks the 110th birthday of one Jerome Lester Horwitz, better known as "Curly" of the Three Stooges. His trademark blend of improvised physical comedy, slapstick, and over-the-top catchphrases made Curly the most popular of the Stooges, and his ...
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Mon, 24 Jun 2013 05:48:18 -0700

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San Diego Reader (blog)
Fri, 24 May 2013 15:34:26 -0700

Before you hit the road for this Memorial Day weekend, why not give your memory a workout by trying to spot which three (3) of the following 20 (twenty) title cards are bogus. If you have to resort to using Google or IMDB in order to win, you don't ...
San Diego Reader (blog)
Wed, 26 Jun 2013 15:41:27 -0700

8, 2013; Hold that lion: a pictorial history of the MGM logo — June 27, 2013; A gallery of 33 vintage posters from Hollywood's Golden Age of cartoons — June 12, 2013; The long, long titles: Part 2 — April 22, 2013; Luck of the Island at McP's ...
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Tue, 18 Jun 2013 13:24:19 -0700

Hold that lion: a pictorial history of the MGM logo — June 27, 2013; Trailer Park: Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street — June 17, 2013; A gallery of 33 vintage posters from Hollywood's Golden Age of cartoons — June 12, 2013; Can Taken 2 ...

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