Hokus Pokus is a 1949 short subject directed by Jules White starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Shemp Howard). It is the 115th entry in the series released by Columbia Pictures starring the comedians, who released 190 shorts for the studio between 1934 and 1959.
The Stooges are three paperhangers who also look after invalid Mary (Mary Ainslee), who always uses a wheelchair. The seemingly helpless blonde, however, is trying to swindle her insurance company out of $25,000, as she is not handicapped in the least. While the Stooges are at work hanging posters, they are taken by one poster that advertises a great hypnotist, Svengarlic ("He'll steal your breath away!" the poster announces). The Stooges want the hypnotist to work his magic on Mary so that she can walk again, but Svengarlic is more interested in winning an audience by hypnotizing the Stooges. Under his spell, they walk out onto a flagpole high on a building and dance. But a distracted bicyclist knocks Svengarlic over and the Stooges are abruptly awakened. They immediately panic when they see where they are, then the flagpole breaks, sending them flying through an open window. The boys land directly in the insurance office where Mary is about to be handed her check. Startled, she stands up to look at the boys, only to have her scheme exposed and her check snatched and torn up. Angry, she grabs the ball from the broken flagpole and throws it at the boys in the heads.
Hokus Pokus was filmed on March 23–26, 1948, and released over 13 months later on May 5, 1949. It was remade as Flagpole Jitters (1956), using ample stock footage. In particular, the two films have different endings: Mary is a fraud here, whereas in the later picture she is actually paraplegic. In the remake Svengarlic is the fraud.
The Stooges make a reference to Sing Sing Correctional Facility, in which Shemp believes he has hypnotized Moe into thinking he is locked up in the infamous prison. The character name 'Svengarlic' is a parody of 'Svengali,' the name of a fictional character in George du Maurier's 1894 novel Trilby.
|Kamera:||Vincent J. Farrar|
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