Three Stooges question: Press, Press, Pull! From where do they got the press buttons?

In the episode of “Three Little Beers” (Video) the Stooges need to get into a golf tournament, at the entrance to the golf club they are informed that only members of the Press are admitted, so they go into the Gentleman’s Lounge and come ready with some buttons to show the receptionist:

Moe: Press! (shows a press button)
Larry: Press! (does the same)
Curly: Pull! (shows a “pull” button with metal rods coming out)

Curly runs then to join the others leaving behind a befuddled receptionist.

But this has nagged me for decades:

Where did the stooges got the rounded buttons from? From toilets from that time? Vending machines? It seems that the buttons were a common sight then so many got the joke then of how far the stooges could go to obtain something, but from what machine they got the buttons from?

I bet you also wonder how Bugs Bunny can carry an anvil in his pocket when he doesn’t even wear pants.

You have to admit that is pretty hard to figure out.

Well that would be the simplest explanation: “Hammer Space” but this is not the case here, the Stooges go a different room and the implication is that they broke a machine to get the items. This was done also in the episode of “Even As IOU.”

Condom dispenser? If so, that’s a pretty risque joke.

According to this site a patent for a condom dispenser was given on September 5, 1995.

Not likely for a restroom of 1935 to have something like that when that Stooges short was made.

The “Pull” was a typical vending machine design: you put in your money and pulled out a rod to buy the item. The rod usually had a ceramic button saying “Pull” on it.

I would think that the “Press” comes from a similar device.

Note that vending machines in rest rooms often had items other than condoms – combs, tins of aspirin, toothbrushes, etc. Many had no condoms at all. So they were not necessarily risque.

Actually, they weren’t likely to be risque at all. Short subjects were, like any other film, viewed by the censors, and the slightest hint of sex would shut them down. While a studio might argue points for a major production, they would save their battles and do whatever the Hayes Office said for something like a Three Stooges film.

Condom dispensers didn’t make their first appearance in 1995! That patent must be for a particular type of condom dispenser, but condom dispensers of one type or another have been around for ages.

Thanks for that RealityChuck!

Searching around now for early vending machines I found a device with similar round ceramic buttons:

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but you just left me no option but to assume that you are <= 13 years old.

Well don’t take this the wrong way, but do you really **think ** or know that in 1935 condom dispensers were allowed in public rest rooms?

I don’t have to to know that they were around for a long, long time before 1995 and that citing a 1995 patent for one was a silly thing to do to try to suggest that they couldn’t have been around in 1935, as seems to have been your intent.

Don’t got blowing your stack, okay? I had a little fun at your expense, you’ve responded with the necessary show of bravado.

A local restaurant/lounge had a condom machine in the bathroom when I was a kid (mid 1970’s). I still remember coming out of the bathroom and asking my mom “what’s a protective sheath?”

Anyhow, I haven’t seen the episode in question, but I used to see old cigarette machines with pull knobs/buttons in some bars.

I was looking for vending machines when the search came with that, and it references other similar inventions. You have a point that condom machines appeared early than that but not with the pulling technology we are looking for here. AFAIK to make a condom dispenser machine in public restrooms a common sight one has to go to the early 80’s when AIDS caused many moral barriers of the past to be ignored for the public good. I would not be surprised to find early references of condom vending machines, but not common enough with that kind of pulling technology to be used in a joke from the 1930’s

Oh…Wise Guy, Eh? Why I Oughta! :slight_smile:

Good thing I did not mention that you may be >= 100 years old :wink:

In Little Darlings, the infamous movie where Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol vie to see who can lose her 15-year old cherry first, there’s a scene where they sneak into a gas station men’s room and try to steal some condoms from the vending machine. The machine proves stubborn and eventually to falls off the wall to be carried away and smashed open at their leisure. Nobody said anything like, “Let’s steal some condoms,” so when they were struggling with it, my then-girlfriend asked, “What is that?”

I literally did a double-take and replied, “Rubbers. They used to have them a lot in gas stations, drive-ins – any place a guy might think he’ll get lucky. Don’t they have them in ladies’ rooms?”

“Naw. All we get are tampons.”

ETA to comment: I saw them when I was a tyke fifty years ago, more so than now. Nowadays convenience stores/gas stations have them on racks next to the gensang extract.

For the subject at hand, do you remember if they had white handles with “press” or “push” written in the knobs?

Generally, there’s a slot to insert two quarters into, which is above a rotating handle. Turn the handle, quarters fall into the box, condoms fall out. 1935 was a little before my time, but that’s the way it was done 45 years ago. Obviously, YRVMMV…

Way back when there were many vending machines that had pull knobs for dispensing of product.
Cigarette machine Candy machine. The first gas station I worked in had a pull handle cig machine with white knobs that said pull. It was a very very old machine in 1967, so it would not surprise me if it dated back to the 1930s.

Now that **Harry1945 **mentions it, I do remember seeing a machine like that in the 80’s but the handle was metallic with silver color or chrome, and with a very oval shape to then allow one to turn it, not to pull it.

It is more likely that a vending machine like the one mentioned by **Rick **was the one the Stooges took apart.

That’s not correct. They were common enough in men’s rooms when I was in high school in the 1960s, though usually in gas stations or less respectable bars. The products were prominently labeled “for prevention of disease only,” that is, they were not (supposedly) for the purpose of contraception.

I don’t know if they would have been around in the 1930s, and in any case I very strongly doubt that would have been the Stooges reference, since as has been said there were other kinds of vending machines in rest rooms.