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Jun 29, 2021

No Census, No Feeling

Census enumerators (census takers) have a difficult job at best. Can you imagine The Three Stooges interviewing local residents?

In a 1940 Three Stooges movie, Larry, Curly, and Moe obtained jobs as census enumerators and were to be paid four cents per name recorded. I watched the movie today, and now I understand some of census records I have looked at in the past! I think this is the same group that visited my great-great-grandfather’s house.

You can watch The Three Stooges at their best, or worst, in “No Census, No Feeling” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAcSFskC0aI.

Here is a bit of trivia:

The football sequences in “No Census, No Feeling” were filmed at USC in the autumn of 1940. Some of the crowd scenes apparently were filmed during a real game.

Curly’s Thanksgiving remark alludes to the 1939 law establishing Thanksgiving as a legal holiday to be celebrated on a Thursday, something that was still controversial when the movie was made a year later.

At one point, Moe says, “Wait a minute, flathead! We just got a job. We’re working for the census.”

Curly replied, “You mean Will Hays?” Will Hays was a reference to William Harrison Hays Sr. a United States politician, chairman of the Republican National Committee (1918–21), U.S. Postmaster General (1921–22), and, from 1922–1945, the first chairman of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA). He became the namesake of the 1930 Motion Picture Production Code, informally referred to as the Hays Code, which spelled out a set of industry moral guidelines for the self-censorship of content in Hollywood cinema.

Jun 29, 2021

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