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The Stooges are "recruited" by a college to drum up publicity for the college's football team by being dressed up as football players. Meanwhile, the owner of a professional football team, Joe Stacks, has to find three new players for the next game. One of Joe's girlfriends soon meets the Stooges and confuses them for genuine college football players known as "The Three Horsemen" (a parody of the "Four Horsemen" of Notre Dame fame). The Stooges go back to her house and meet the girl's two friends.
After squirting each other with nightcap bottles, everyone decides to play the game Blind man's buff. The Stooges are blindfolded and walk around trying to find the girls. Just at that moment, Joe and his two henchmen walk in. They punch out the trio and then chase them around the house. One of the women finally explains that the three strangers are actually "The Three Famous Horsemen," and Joe offers them money to play for him.
Naturally, the trio have not a clue how to play football. Their first game (staged at Hollywood's Gilmore Stadium) turns into a fiasco and eventually causing their team to lose. Believing that they had thrown the game on purpose instead, Stacks and his fellow managers turn their revolvers on the Stooges, hitting them on the buttocks as they attempt to flee.
Three Little Pigskins was filmed on October 25–30, 1934. The film's title is a multiple pun, derived from The Three Little Pigs, along with "pigskin" being a synonym for a football. The film marked one of the earliest credited appearances for a then blonde-haired Lucille Ball, who played a supporting role as one of the female recruiters and would herself become known for her own work in physical comedy in later years. Later in her career, when this short was brought up, Ball (apparently referring to the seltzer squirting scene) would remark, "The only thing I learned from The Three Stooges was how to duck. I still got wet!"
This is the first of several Stooge shorts involving a dumbwaiter, usually involving Curly accidentally destroying the floor of the elevator, causing injury to Larry and Moe. The dumbwaiter would reappear in Nutty But Nice. This is also the first of sixteen Stooge shorts using the word "three" in the title.
The football teams listed on the scoreboard are actually two baseball teams in real life, those names belonging to the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago Cubs.
For the football game, Moe's jersey number is H2O2 (the abbreviation for hydrogen peroxide), Larry's is 1/2, and Curly's is a question mark "?".
The football team the Stooges played against was that of Loyola Marymount University.
There was no attempt to hide the venue, Gilmore Stadium, as its name on the scoreboard appears in several shots. There is also a shot that includes a billboard for Gilmore Oil, including its trademark symbol, a lion.
A planned concluding scene had the Stooges, years later, telling the story to their sons. It is unknown if this scene was ever filmed, but publicity photos exist of the Stooges, each with a young actor, all made up and dressed to resemble their older counterparts