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"You must believe in the hypothesis of occult power!" "Well, I guess so... " - Phyllis Crane and Moe (HOI POLLOI, 1935)

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Average Rating:     [7.00/10]   28 votes


The Stooges fail their military entrance exams and decide to help the country by becoming farmers. Word is received that some men have escaped from a Relocation camp. The escapees hide on the Stooges' farm, and with help from an explosive ostrich egg, they're defeated.

In the late 1970s, some television stations stopped airing this film, due to its depiction of American citizens of Japanese descent as war enemies. The characters in this film are NOT Japanese POWs. They are American-Japanese escapees from a relocation center...

In 1942 the United States began relocating 120,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry, wrongfully labeled them as imbedded enemy agents and security risks, and moved them to "safety (aka prison) centers." The camps were disbanded in late 1944, and many of these American citizens returned to find they no longer had homes, in spite of government assurances that personal property would be held in protective trust... landlords evicted them for non-payment of rent, banks foreclosed for non-payment of mortgage, and many found their homes vandalized and destroyed by paranoid neighbors. Many American families of Japanese descent, although naturalized and/or natural-borne citizens for decades, found their established lives and livelihoods destroyed.

Government pressure effectively kept the aftermath (and guilt) of this homeland wartime "crime" from the history books for almost 30 years. By the late 1960s, many affected Japanese-American families had built new lives, and gained political and social influence. Federal lawsuits were filed in the early 1970s. Congressional hearings on the imprisonment, with testimonies from high-profile personalities like George Takei (STAR TREK) and Jack Soo (BARNEY MILLER), who both were children imprisoned with their families in 1942, made headlines. After several years of Congressional delays, the Reagan administration reached a nominal $20,000 financial settlement with each surviving interee in 1988.

Some television programmers came to realize the underlying plot premise of THE YOKE'S ON ME. Not all markets, local or national, omit it from rotation... but some do. THE YOKE'S ON ME is on home video.

IMDb Rating


Moe, Larry and Curly
Release Date
May 26, 1944
Production Type
Short Subject
16.2 min.
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Production Notes   (4)
Working Title(s):   FOULED BY A FOWL
Title Origin:   Expression, "The joke's on me."
Prod. No.:   571
Shooting Days:   5 days   From: 1943-11-08   To: 1943-11-12

Stooge Mayhem   (Avg. 2.75)
Face Slaps: 11 Eye Pokes: 0 Head Bonks: 0 Pastry Thrown: 0

Stooge Quotes   (7)
  • "I don't see a single cow." "I don't even see a married one."
    (Larry & Curly)

  • "I know he'll become a General in the cavalry. Why, only last week I had to drag him off the merry-go-round."
    (Eva McKenzie)

  • "That's no pelican... that's a gander." "Mahatma Gander?"
    (Moe & Curly)

  • "And little baby gooses too." "I read about 'dem... they come from Germany... the Goosetapo."
    (Larry & Curly)

  • "If you don't stop, I'll give you a pop." "What flavor?" "Five delicious flavors!" [smack!]
    (Moe & Curly)

  • "Kill that gander so we can have some roast goose for dinner." "Oh boy, we're gonna have propagander for dinner!"
    (Moe & Curly)

  • "Hey, pin-up boy, come in here and get to work before I pin your ears back!"

Stooge Goofs   (7)
  • Foul Mouthed Farmer
    It's the one where the boys trade some money and a car to a farmer for his farm. This particular goof happens in the scene when the farmer gets the sheriff and deputy to push start his car. Before they do, he tries to start it himself and when it doesn't, the last thing he says (under his breath) is "bastard."

  • Line Flub
    Curly messes up a line when he says â€Å"Hit me with that and we'll be...all be even.” He was supposed to say â€Å"Hit me with that and we'll all be even.”

  • Missing Eyepoke
    Curly says â€Å"The place is surrounded by Japs!”, then the camera shows some Japanese escapeeswalking into the shack, and when it goes back to the Stooges, Curly's holding his eyes in pain as if he was eyepoked, but we never see it.

  • More Unconscious Body Movement
    When Moe's father kicks him into the wall, Moe falls unconscious between Curly and Larry with his head located at about their waists. In the next shot, Moe's father throws water on them, and all three of the stooges heads are lined up so the water can hit all of them in the face.

  • Overdubbed Lines
    At the end when the two sheriffs arrive, a lot of the Stooges and sheriffs' lines don't match their actual mouth movements.

  • Unconscious Body Moving
    After the ostrich egg explosion, the Japanese escapees are all supposed to be knocked unconscious and lying still, but when Curly grabs a shovel from one escapee, you can see one of the â€Å"unconscious” escapees in the background moving his arm to scratch his face.

  • Visible Equipment
    When Curly gets bitten on the nose near the hay bale by the goose, you can see the two guide wires that assist the stage hands in guiding the goose's beak onto Curly's nose.

Stooge Routines   (2)

Stooge Trivia   (0)

No trivia have been logged for this episode.

Audio Files   (0)

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Video File   (Y)

Transcript   (N)

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Videography   (1)

Fan Reviews   (15)
Posted 2001-10-03 14:42:00 by Shemp_Diesel
Edited 2014-09-18 10:39:51 by Shemp_Diesel

It's difficult to rate this one given the actual content & the circumstances surrounding it. This short dealing with the black eye on American history that was the "relocation camps" of many Japanese-American citizens make it tough to say that this is a good short. Granted, there are some funny bits sprinkled throughout the film--Curly's fandance being the big highlight.

But once the Japanese civilians enter this picture, things take a turn for the worse. Not terrible, but not very good either.

5 pokes

Reviewer's Rating: (5)
Posted 2010-10-22 01:58:16 by shemps#1
Edited 2010-10-22 02:12:54 by shemps#1
In looking over the past reviews for this short there is a lot of attacks on the "political correctness" of today. Now I personally abhor "political correctness" but I am definitely siding with Brent from 10 years ago on this one. The Yoke's On Me starts off fine enough, but once the wrongly imprisoned Japanese American's show up and are portrayed in such a negative light it goes straight down the drain.

The prisoners (yes, the "Issei", "Nisei" and "Sansei" who were put in Relocation Camps were prisoners) did nothing wrong. Their only crime was to be born of Japanese Ancestry. The fact that they were portrayed in a Three Stooges short shows that this was common knowledge during the era and no government secret. So we have men, women and children wrongfully imprisoned (and some not even allowed to practice their religion, Shinto, a direct violation of the Establishment Clause) and here they are portrayed as buck-toothed savages. On top of that they are killed off at the end, which is rarity for a Stooges short.

I would never advocate censorship. This short should be looked at as a sign of its times and a testament to a horrible black eye on US History. In that context it is very interesting. It is also notable as probably the first short where you can notice the decline of Curly's health. But in no way is the short "hilarious" or "great". In fact it is quite sad.

1 poke

Reviewer's Rating: (2)
Posted 2010-10-16 15:48:24 by [Deleted Member]

It's not a bad short. Curly started to get sicker by this time, but still has some good energy. My favorite parts were when Curly kept hitting his head on that hook thing in the barn, and his fan dance. I'd give this short **1/2

Reviewer's Rating: (6)
Posted 2008-12-28 09:57:14 by Lefty
Last night, following the Flyers' dismal (and first-ever) loss to Columbus, my wife and I watched The Yoke's On Me. It was the first time in at least 20 years since I've seen it (thanks to government/TV censorship), and the first time in over 35 years that I've seen it in its entirety (thanks to local TV "editing"). We both got some good laughs out of it, ignoring the obvious fact that the "Japanese" villains did not even look Japanese. "We're gonna have 'Poppa Gander' for dinner!" "We have an aw-stritch that lays hand-gren-eggs!"
Posted 2008-02-02 01:26:40 by BeAStooge
Edited 2008-02-02 08:57:39 by Dunrobin
Pat the Stooge wrote:
The reason why it hasn't aired since 1985 or was it 86 and will never be released on DVD is because a Japanese American rights group drew up a petition ordering this short to be pulled from the market permanently, Norman Maurer who owned the rights to Stooges until December 1999 when C3 outbid them relented and persuaded Columbia to remove this short from the market which is fine by me.
- THE YOKE'S ON ME is not now or ever has been withdrawn from distribution. Individual local maket exclusions are due to local market programming decisions. It's exclusion from local market TV syndication packages since 1998 ("The Missing 60") is happenstance, not design.
- It was released on VHS; Sony/Columbia certainly plans to include it on a future home video DVD release.
- No such petition from Japanese-American groups exists.
- Norman Maurer died in 1986.
- Norman Maurer Productions was disbanded in 1994, after a litigation between the Moe Howard, Larry Fine & Joe DeRita heirs. C3, founded in 1959, was reinstated as the trademark rights owner in 1994.
- Neither C3 or Norman Maurer Productions have ever had any influence in the distribution of any Three Stooges film owned by Sony/Columbia, including THE YOKE'S ON ME.

Reviewer's Rating: (3)
Posted 2001-01-11 15:53:00 by Uncle Mortimer
Edited 2006-03-25 08:57:23 by shemps#1
This is not a great film, but I also would like to see AMC play it. I like the JACKO-LANTERN/Japo-lantern scene;(Uh-oh, am I getting racist?)It's a visually memorable scene, although I don't understand what those japanese guys were trying to accomplish by putting those pumpkins on their heads and running around the farm.? One 'curious' thing too; after the previous farm owner drives away in the stooges car, he's stopped by two guys who tell him about the escaped japanese. He then tries to restart the car, but can't. In his disgust, it "sounds" like he calls the car a bastard. I don't know, listen for yourself (That is if you EVER get to see this short!)
Posted 2003-11-08 15:07:00 by jagman
I know, I know. I'm going to be dubbed "politically correct" for this one. It's not that I'm a fan of the way Japan behaved in WWII. If the three spies had escaped from a prison for enemy soldiers I wouldn't have minded. But of course that was impossible, since all such prisons were out in the Pacific islands.The three Japanese in this short escape from an internment camp. For those who don't remember, these camps were established for **American** citizens of Japanese descent, regardless of whether they supported Japan in the war or not. (As an indication of how politically motivated this move was, no such camps were established in Hawaii, where the Japanese-Americans had considerably more voting clout.) I think if any German film of the period portrayed an escapee from one of their own camps as an evil-minded dolt, the majority of today's viewers would turn away in disgust. The internment camps were not, of course, death camps; but they were pretty bad, and this attempt to justify them does not wear well.

Reviewer's Rating: (5)
Posted 2001-05-03 19:29:00 by Stooge
Edited 2003-07-01 04:15:00 by Stooge
I don't really like this short much, and not because of PC reasons, but because it's a pretty slow-paced short and the only real hilarious thing that stands out is Curly's fan-dance scene, but that's just a small part.[br] [br]Oh, and as for the "bastard" rumor - it's true. When Mr. Smithers is trying to start his car again and it won't go, he clearly mutters "bastard" under his breath. This must've gotten past the Hayes Office.

Reviewer's Rating: (6)
Posted 2002-02-20 09:49:00 by black banana
Edited 2002-04-30 06:47:00 by black banana
This was the hardest stooge short for me to acquire as it was bannedon Chicago TV in the 1980's and also on WTBS many years ago.Local TV finally ran it during a Stooge Special and that wasthe first time i saw it! I have the vhs version now and i'm sureeventually it will be on dvd (eventually most of the curly andshemp shorts probably will be).Even though I don't like political correctness, I can see why there is a problem dealing with Japanese-Americans escaping from a relocation center. One has to remember that this was filmed while we were at war with Japan; it would be interesting to see what a stooge anti-taliban short would have looked like...About the short itself...just watched this, and it was actually much betterthan I remembered it. The opening scene with the Stooges parentsis kinda funny, as is the farm sequence. Moe is very crabby and quite funny throughout this short; he even calls Curly a nitwit (his favorite Shemp insult). Curly turns in a spirited performance, with his fan dance the highlight of the short. Moe's reaction to this dance: "Hey, Pin-Up Boy!".The reasons this film seems to be banned on TV are the use of the word"Jap" (done four times) and the line about "Some Japs escaped from therelocation center". To make the Japanese soldiers a more acceptabletarget for Stooge abuse, I would say the line should have read "Some Japanese SOLDIERS escaped from detention". This would have made it clear these were enemy soldiers and not Japanese-American citizens.My guess for the reason this wasn't done was that Japanese POW's werenot detained in America and therefore wouldn't be stealing pumpkins (!)outside the Stooges barn.Rating 2 3/4 pokesp.s. Even though there is a rough edit here, it sure sounds like the old man in the car says "b*st*rd" when trying to restart the engine!
Posted 2002-04-29 18:15:00 by [Deleted Member]
Yay! I got this Columbia video for Chistmas and now can finally get around to commenting on the short! There's something about this film that struck me as not being like other Stooge shorts, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Maybe it was just because of a lack of recognizeable supporting actors- but then again, lots of shorts have that.It's really a good short- not one of the best, but still good. The scenes with the boys and their parents never gets mentioned. I love this scene- especially when the boys sing their rendition of "Farmer in the Dell". Their harmony sounds different then usual, but still good.The rest of the short is good too, of course. I liked the reworking of a bird laying explosive eggs (See "Flat Foot Stooges"). Curly's fan dance was only lightly amusing to me. It's a classic example of one reason that I find Curly to be a little too silly in his shorts.So the Japanese guys escaped from relocation camps, eh? I remember concentration camps in history pretty well, but I'm a little hazy on relocation camps. Aren't they where the civillians were sent to protect them from the war? If this is the case, I can see why this short is banned. The writers and filmmakers had no right to portray these men as bad guys, and I'm also a little disappointed in the Stooges for agreeing to do the short. Also, why would anyone want to escape a place where they are placed for their protection? It just don't add up!!! These things slightly take away from my enjoyment of this short, but I still like it- and I will never be in support of the banning of this or any Stooge short.Larry: You know, fish is good brain food.Moe: You know, you should fish for a whale! (SLAP)
Posted 2002-02-19 15:41:00 by [Deleted Member]
Uninspired, often boring effort. Saving grace is, of course, Curly, whose energy makes it worth watching. His ostrich-feather dance gets this 2 stars(I can't go any lower for a Curly film.)Darn, I can't think of a signature!
Posted 2002-01-30 00:07:00 by jercel77
Remember folks, these aren't Japanese soldiers in this short, it's Japanese Americans that escaped relocation camps. That's why it is pretty much a banned short. Other than that it has it's funny moments. Jerry
Posted 2001-10-03 01:11:00 by Mike Holme
After watching this again, I have a change of heart. I liked this one when I was younger and now I like it just as much. There are a lot of funny scenes and quotes. "You old bag, I'll give you the sack!"3 1/2 pokes Mike Holme
Posted 2001-05-09 12:41:00 by BeAStooge
An insult to Japanese-Americans, and not very good to begin with. Starts funny... finishes lame.

Reviewer's Rating: (3)
Posted 2001-02-23 04:37:00 by Mike Holme
A good short, our society today is so sensitive to jokes against any group, and especially to the Japanese being portrayed with Buck Teeth in this episode! Well guess what, all you politically correct people, too bad! The Japanese were nasty in WWII, so this is a more interesting short.

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