THE POPULARITY OF College Football had been a bankable subject for film makers ever since that "Golden Age of Sports" materialized during the 1920's. By that time the Nation was well aware of the Coleges; mainly because of the "Gridiron."
AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, it was the College Football game which had captured the imagination of the public at large. Mr. & Mrs. Average American were always interested in hearing of the exploits of Jim Thorpe, the Ivy League, the Forward Pass, Notre Dame, Red Grange ("the Galloping Ghost"), Knute Rockne, Pop Warner and the Bowl Games.
AS FOR THE Professional Game, the road was much bumpier and it took years for the 'Pros' to gain even a modicum of success and respect. There had been a sort of snobbish attitude that permeated society; branding the Professionals as a sort of superfluous afterthought and a waste of time and athleticism. Why should a player risk his post academic career in what was considered a minor league, bush operation? After all, he'd already starred for State U.,garnering all the accolades and honors in the "Simon Pure" ranks.
THIS SHARP DELINIATION between Collegiate and Professional Football was the basis for this 3 Stooges Short Subject, THREE LITTLE PIGSKINS (Columbia, 1934).
FROM THE START, we have the Stooges' being victims of a case of mistaken identity. Depression Era unemployment leads the boys into working as commercial sign pilots; who are also costumed as football players. Falling in with three hotties (including a young Lucille Ball), they are in turn introduced to the tough guy/gangster-type owner of the Tigers Professional Football Club.
BELIEVING THAT THE Stooges are the "Famous 3 Horsemen of Boulder College". the Owner (Walter Long) promises them big cash to play for the team. To insure that their Amateur Athlete's Status isn't jeopardized, the game will be played before no spectators, in an empty Stadium.
WHJAT FOLLOWS IS the usual slapstick fracturing of the game that had been long screen comic fodder; as exhibited by such comics as: Harold Lloyd, The Four Marx Brothers, Our Gang and even Bert Wheeler & Robert Woolsey. he Stooges do manage to bring on the laughs in their own way; managing a balanced attack of both the sight gag and the verbal barbs.
ALL OF THE elements that go into the construction of this sports spoof are contemporary "New Deal" Era references. The title is a fracturing of the Walt Disney Cartoon Short, THE THREE LITTLE PIGS: which had proved to have a special significance to those caught in financial straits of the early '30's. The Stooges' ready acceptance of the menial job of carrying the signs for minimal compensation is another indicator.
AND TO US, the kicker is the designations of "the Three Horsemen" and "Boulder College", which is an obvious reference to the newly constructed Boulder Dam on the waters of the Arizona River.
WHEN VIEWED TODAY, after so many previous screenings, THREE LITTLE PIGSKINS remains an entry of Producer Jules White's Columbia Pictures' Short Subjects Department that belongs right up at the top, not as a "Bush League" also ran.