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Baby Boomer Chronicles: The Three Stooges-A Softspot for Slapstick

Updated on September 6, 2011

As a little boy, I remember sitting cross-legged in front of a 13” screen black and white television set. This television set was some sort of cube, elongated toward the back with a clunky channel tuner, horizontal and vertical hold adjustment knobs on the side. It always gave you a jolt when you inadvertently touched it, as current was running through the entire chassis. There was a whole generation of young people who watched TV like this. I asked my father once when we were ever going to get a color TV; he used to say, “The TV that you are watching already has two colors, black and white”. You could always count on him for a witticism or two.

I was hardly old enough to go to school, but being exposed to the Three Stooges was one of those early memorable experiences. Their 15 minute movie shorts were broadcast at specific times during the weekdays. It was back in the day when you wanted just a good laugh. The kind of laugh wasn’t at the expense of anyone, had no ideological tilt, nor was smart-assed. The kind of laugh you get when Wile E. Coyote mishandled Acme products, you know. I miss that kind of a laugh, it was therapeutic. I cannot really measure how much of that kind of laughter disappears with childhood. In a world where there is so much to lament as an adult, I still watch cartoons and try to find the Stooges when available, because I enjoy that kind of laughter. I was thinking of this song while I was writing this, enjoy.

The Curly Shuffle by Jump N the Saddle Band (1983)

I won’t go into a detailed biography of the Stooges as that is available in great detail from Wikipedia. The purpose of this article and articles like them is to add a bit of me to the story. Most of the movie shorts I think about were filmed during the 1930’s and 1940’s. Larry, Moe, Shemp and the several Curlys have long since passed from the stage. But, I will always have them around in my fond memories and when I can find them on TV.

You may remember one short entitled “A Plumbing We Will Go” produced in 1940, where the three were hired as plumbers and managed to wreck the plumbing system and ruin the house.

There was another one where the Stooges brushed shoulders with high society, Curly got a spring from a sofa stuck on his rear and kept bouncing like a toy from the floors, walls and the high society guests during a party. If anyone knows the title, let me know. There are a lot of great pie throwing scenes in this one. Nothing gives a slapstick fan a rise like a pie in the face.

Then there was the 1941 short, entitled "I'll Never Heil Again", where Moe parodies Adolph Hitler, and Curly is supposed to resemble Benito Mussolini. There is no one that does “Hitler” like Moe. They say that the cause of Germany and Italy declaring war on the United States was the alliance with Japan, but I say the real reason was that Mussolini and Hitler previewed this film and were outraged. The comic antics and facial expressions of these guys were part of the fun. Of course, the only other parody of Hitler was that of the Charlie Chaplin (Adanoid Hinkel) character in the “Great Dictator” (1940). I had the memorable opportunity to say hello to this icon of cinema when he came through Denver Stapleton airport in 1972 on the way to Los Angeles to receive a lifetime achievement award. He was quite wheel chair bound then. I was just a high school kid working part time for a small newsstand.

I still get to find the Stooges on late night TV sometimes, when I get lucky. I now have all the time in the world to try to get to relive a little bit of childhood joy and wonder. It does not get any better.

If you have the time, check out other installments in the Baby Boomer TV series

http://hubpages.com/hub/Baby-Boomer-Chronicles-BBC-1960s-TV-the-Creative-and-the-Corny-Introduction

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    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Credence2 

      6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Buildo1603, thanks for dropping by. It is nice to confer with another stooge fanatic. I have heard positive things about the "New Stooges" , particularly how the current characters are so much like the originals that we all remember and are so fond of. I have not seen the film yet but it is on the list as must see. We will probably rent as our theatre options are limited.

      The Curly Shuffle was fun 80s tune. What a coincidence that you happened by with this interesting fact.

      The chronicles invite you to return at your earliest convenience, thanks again for the comments and sharing!!

    • billd01603 profile image

      billd01603 

      6 years ago from Worcester

      Crendence2 Great Hub I voted up and Awesome

      I've loved the Stooges since i was 8 or 9. They are not on as much as they were in the past but a Boston tv station has a Stooges Marathon every New Years Eve. My son and I watch it every year- He's 13 and he loves it. He is rolling on the floor laughing. I realized his generation doesn't have any good slapstick that compares with it. The humor is more sofisticated and sanitized. My vepisode is "Three Little Pigskins" where they mascarade as football players. Have you seen the new movie? It's very funny, They do a good job imitating the original Stooges

      PS I used to work with a woman whose son wrote the Curly Shuffle

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Credence2 

      7 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hello, Telly, this was great anyway, but it wasn't the one I was thinking about. Good to hear from another Stooge fanatic.

    • profile image

      TellyGunge 

      7 years ago

      "There was another one where the Stooges brushed shoulders with high society, Curly got a spring from a sofa stuck on his rear and kept bouncing like a toy from the floors, walls and the high society guests during a party. If anyone knows the title, let me know. There are a lot of great pie throwing scenes in this one. Nothing gives a slapstick fan a rise like a pie in the face."

      This one?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqQYR1oXAiY

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Credence2 

      7 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hi, marcoujor. Thanks for the comment. Lots of great things to recall during the period of 'what was". Best wishes, Cred2

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      7 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Credence2,

      I just laugh like a little girl at the silly antics of these guys... thank you so much for this pleasant walk down memory lane! My hubby and I still watch every chance we get!

      Voted UP & FUNNY & AWESOME!

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Credence2 

      7 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hi, Feenix, oh yes, I have figured you are probably my senior by 10 years or so, so none of this stuff is no surprise to you. But these youngsters have no idea of the world that you and I have been privileged to live through. At the time you were that same little boy I was, color television was science fiction. I don't think that they came into the market place until the mid 1950's, clunky and expensive with the color quality of the image leaving much to be desired.

      I am a fan of Laurel and Hardy. You have to see the film of theirs where Stan is picked up from the trenches in France by his pal, Ollie. Stan was soldiering on for 20 years since the WWI ended. When Ollie read the banner headline without knowing the name, he knew immediately that there was only person in the entire world dumb enough not to know that the war had been over!!

      How much we use to take for granted regarding childhood and a simpler time. I am glad to have relived a little of it with you.

      thanks Cred2

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 

      7 years ago

      Credence2, color TV had come out when you were a kid?! WOW, you are just a youngster because when I was a kid hardly anyone even dreamed that the day would come when they would be able to watch their shows in color.

      Seriously, though, you prompted me to look back at a very happy time in my life. I really did enjoy watching those '3 Stooges" shorts, too.

      I must say that there will never be comedy teams like the "3 Stooges", "Laurel and Hardy", and "Abbott and Costello" again.

    • profile image

      Credence2 

      7 years ago

      Melpor, Thanks for your comment. It is always great to find a stooge fanatic. You and I have a lot in common according to your background and I am both anxious and proud to become a member of your team.

    • melpor profile image

      Melvin Porter 

      7 years ago from New Jersey, USA

      Crudence2, this is a good hub. You are right there are not many shows on TV today that make me laugh as hard I did when I was watching The Three Stooges short episodes. I would laugh so hard until my stomach hurt. It was a good way to develop your abs back then. The show used to come every evening around 4 o"clock. I always look forward to watching it after finishing my homework and just in time before dinner. I still watch it occasionally on the weekends when I can. This hub brought back a lot of memories. Thanks for the trip down memories lane.

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