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Scheming Schemers is the one-hundred-seventy-third Columbia Pictures short subject starring the Three Stooges.


The Stooges are inept plumbers at Day and Nite Plumbers. Moe is busy reading "How to Be a Plumber" when the phone rings with a request to find a ring that trickles down the sinkpipe 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 the acquisition of a $50,000 Van Brocklin painting.

Just as the Stooges happily retrieve the ring, Larry knocks it out of Moe's hand, right back down the drain. The Stooges then work their way to basement to find the water shutoff. Larry is assigned to finding the water cutoff and proceeds to dig up most of the lawn in an attempt to turn off the water. 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 freshly 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.

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. The Stooges manage, however, to catch onto the Allen's scheme and retrieve the painting, but not before engaging in a pie fight with Mr. Allen. As this is going on, Moe wonders where Shemp is throughout the pie melee. It then is discovered that Shemp is in the upstairs bathroom, trapping himself inside a maze of pipes.

Shemp Howard Missing[]

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" honking a truck horn. Palma then gathers several pipes, obstructing his face. Palma then gets a line of dialogue — "Hold yer horses, will ya?" — by dubbing in Shemp's voice from the soundtrack of The Ghost Talks.