Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Nov. 16, 2019, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movie was the 1934 Vitaphone short “Art Trouble,” with Harry Gribbon, Shemp Howard, Beatric Blinn and Leni Sengel. Writted by Jack Henley and Dolph Singer, photographed by E.B. DuPar, directed by Ralph Staub. According to the trades, it was released June 23, 1934, in a package of 29 Vitaphone one- and two-reelers scheduled for June through August, 1934.

“Art Trouble” appears to be available from Warner Archive on the Vitaphone Comedy Collection, Vol. 1. Warner Archive doesn’t list the contents, but they are available elsewhere.

“Art Trouble” is known today as the film debut of James Stewart, who – yes – gets roughed up by Shemp Howard. In every way, however, he is the James Stewart we know from much later films. Many of the performers are unidentified. Perhaps the Brain Trust can help identify them.

Aside from Stewart, there is all sorts of things going on in this film. It’s quite racy and definitely pre-Code.

Shockingly, the New York Times failed to review “Art Trouble.”

Herbert Mueller of the Texas Theatre in Seguin, Texas told Motion Picture Herald (July 28, 1934) it was a “very good comedy.”  Seth H. Field, of the Dirigo Theatre, Ellsworth Maine, told the Motion Picture Herald: “Comedy that is way below the standard set by this company. There was no necessity of timing the jokes or gags to coincide with the audience laughter because there just wasn’t any of the latter.”

Film Daily (Sept. 18, 1934) called it an “amusing comedy.”

As a couple of painters who substitute for two rich brothers on a trip to Paris to study art, Harry Gribbon and Shemp Howard do a good job supplying laughs. Before the parents learn of the trick, Harry and Shemp have had quite a time of it in the Paris art salons, Apache rendezvous and other places. Should satisfy generally.

 Are You Two Boys Married?
Here’s a sample:

Leni Stengel: Before we sit down with you we must know one thing.

Harry Gribbon: What is that?

Leni: Are you two boys married?

Harry: No. We’re just two very good friends.

There’s also an Apache dance (note to IMDB, NOT “unabashed”).


Subtle, sophisticated humor, of course…

Nov. 16, 2019, Apache Dancers
These dancers are unidentified, and although I’m not an expert on the Apache dance, they seem quite good.

Nov. 16, 2019, Apache Dancers

Nov. 16, 2019, Apache Dancers

Nov. 16, 2019, Shemp Howard Dances
Which is burlesqued by Shemp Howard and Leni Stengel.

It does not end well for Mr. Shemp.
Nov. 11, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery chanteuse.

Update: Our mystery chanteuse is indeed mysterious as she’s not identified anywhere. She’s a good singer and I’m surprised no one has recognized her.

Nov. 12, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Tuesday, we have a mystery woman.

Update: This is Gertrude Mudge.

Nov. 13, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Wednesday, we have this mystery gent. He is not interested in such goings-on.

Update: This is Don Tomkins.

Nov. 13, 2019, Mystery Photo

We also have this arty shot….

This mystery woman remains unidentified.

Nov. 13, 2019, Mystery Photo

… and this arty shot – with newsboy cap!

Update: This mystery gent likewise remains unidentified.

Nov. 13, 2019, Mystery Photo

… And finally, this mystery woman approves of some goings-on. But not others.

Update: This is Hope Landin.

Nov. 14, 2019, Mystery Photo

For “Aha Thursday,” we have a mystery artist and his subjects….

Update: This is Harry Gribbon with three mystery models, still unidentified.

Nov. 14, 2019, Mystery Photo
… A not terribly mysterious woman in a blurry screen cap….

This is, yes, Marjorie Main, with Harry Gribbon and Shemp Howard as Back of the Head Guys.

Nov. 14, 2019, Mystery Photo
And our mystery artist with Wednesday’s mystery gent.

Update: This is Harry Gribbon and Don Tomkins.

Nov. 15, 2019, Mystery Photo
For Friday we have two entirely unmysterious gents.

Update: This is James Stewart and Shemp Howard

Nov. 18, 2019, Mystery Photo

Here’s a better look. “On to Woonsocket!”

Update: This is Don Tomkins and James Stewart.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery woman in white hat, Tuesday’s mystery woman, Wednesday’s mystery guests and Thursday’s mystery guests) and Charles Kjelland (Thursday’s mystery woman).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1934, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Gary says:

    This is Claudette Colbert and Gracie Allen in Hollywood on Parade, 1933.


  2. Dan Nather says:

    Wild guess: THOSE THREE FRENCH GIRLS . . .


  3. Mary Mallory says:

    Sarah Padden.


  4. Anne Papineau says:

    Torch Singer … oh, but it’s not 1933.


  5. David Inman says:

    Beulah Bondi today?


  6. Sheila says:

    Blanche Friderici for Tuesday?


  7. Mary Mallory says:

    Monday, Rosalie Roy and Mae Madison from Footlight Parade.


  8. Anne Papineau says:

    Wednesday’s final mystery actress is channeling Simone Signoret


  9. Sheila says:

    Florence Eldridge for Wednesday?


  10. Mary Mallory says:

    I just saw this the other day on TCM! ART TROUBLE. Beatrice Blinn and Leni Stengel Monday, Gertrude Mudge Tuesday, Don Tompkins, Leni Stengel, and Hope Landin Wednesday, Harry Gribbon, Marjorie Main, and Don Tompkins today. I couldn’t believe this was Jimmy Stewart’s first film!


  11. Charles Kjelland says:

    Marjorie Main today!


  12. Mary Mallory says:

    Shemp Howard and Jimmy Stewart, and then Don Tomkins with Stewart.


  13. Mary Mallory says:

    So that’s Mary Wickes with the bangs on Monday.


  14. Gary says:

    Shemp Howard in Art Trouble.


  15. Sylvia E. says:

    Didn’t get any of the mystery until today.

    Art Trouble 1934
    Mon. – The seated woman in the white hat is Beatrice Blinn.
    Tues. – Gertrude Mudge (love that name)
    Weds. – Don Thompkins and Hope Landin. I think the other two are Leni Stengel and Shemp Howard in ‘dramatic lighting’ poses – but I’m not sure.
    Thurs. – Harry Gribbon, Marjorie Main, then Gribbon and Thompkins again
    Fri. – James Stewart and Shemp Howard, then Stewart and Thompkins


  16. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Art Trouble (1934)
    Monday: Beatrice Blinn and Leni Stengel
    Tuesday: Gertrude Mudge
    Wednesday: Don Tomkins, Leni Stengel, Gayne Whitman, Hope Landin
    Thursday: Eddie Gribbon, Marjorie Main
    Friday: Shemp Howard, James Stewart


  17. Benito says:

    Shown recently on tcm. I liked the “checkered paint” that Shemp & co. apply to a ship’s hull!


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