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As noted in Filmfacts, Stop! Look! and Laugh! is a compilation of bits and pieces from Three Stooges two-reel comedies produced by Columbia in the 1930s and 1940s. These segments are tied together by newly shot footage involving ventriloquist Paul Winchell (1922-2005) and his dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff. In the onscreen credits, the production crew from the Three Stooges segments are grouped together and identified as "writers of various segments," "producers of various segments," "directors of photography various segments" and "directors of various segments." The production crews from the Paul Winchell and Cinderella sequences are grouped separately under the heading of "Cinderella sequence" and "Paul Winchell sequences." Although the film was scheduled to be shown on July 27, 1960, a Daily Variety news item dated July 27, 1960 noted that a restraining order was filed by Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Joe DeRita, the successor of original Stooge Curly Howard, on the grounds that the film was advertised as a new Three Stooges comedy, and that it would greatly impair the Stooges' plans to make a follow-up to their 1959 film Have Rocket Will Travel (.) The complaint also alleged that Columbia had no right to incorporate the Stooges' two-reel films into a feature without their consent. According to a November 1960 Hollywood Reporter news item, the restraining order was dissolved two weeks later when the court decided that the comedians did not have sufficient cause to prevent distribution of Stop! Look! and Laugh!.
In the 1950s, Winchell (1922-2005) and Mahoney were well-known television stars. Winchell first appeared on radio in 1936 on the Major Bowles Original Amateur Hour, where, with his puppet Terry, he did an imitation of Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. In 1948, now teamed with his puppet Jerry Mahoney, Winchell co-hosted the CBS television series The Bigelow Show with mentalist Dunninger. Throughout the 1950s, Winchell and sidekicks Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff, starred in the following televised shows: What's My Name? (originally called The Spiedel Show), Winchell Mahoney Time, Circus Time and The Paul Winchell Show. Although Winchell had provided an off-screen voice for the 1939 film Everything's on Ice (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40), Stop! Look! Laugh! marked his first onscreen film appearance.
The following segments featuring the Three Stooges were omitted from the summary: The Stooges finding a baby on their doorstep, a dog being kidnapped from The Stooges' animal hospital and Curly lip synching opera, accompanied by Larry and Moe.