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The Three Stooges: Masters Of Slapstick Comedy

Updated on December 14, 2015

The Three Stooges

The Three Stooges was an American comedy act famous for their 190 short slapstick movies that where very popular between the 1930 s and the 1950 s. Those movies where made for Colombia Pictures, The Three Stooges is a misunderstood concept as there were actually 6 stooges. The most populair stooges however where Larry Fine (1902-1975) and the 3 brothers Howard Shemp (1895-1955), Moe (1897-1975) and Curly (1903-1952). Typical for The Three Stooges movies are scenes where the stooges slap each other in the face or poke one and other in the eyes at brief moments, those acts of violence where given a more brutal impression by adding special sound effects to them.

The Early Years

Born in Brooklyn, New York the brothers Samuel, Moses and Jerome Howard where children of jewish immigrants from Lithuania, those brothers started to perform comedy at a young age. The first of the three Howard brothers that took the step was Moses (nicknamed Moe), followed by his brother Samuel (nicknamed Sam) his mother however pronounced his name as Shemp. Moe became a member of the Vaudeville comedy act led by his childhood friend Ted Healy (1896-1937) In 1923 Samuel joined the act. Pretty soon Healy and co began to perform under several names such as Ted Healy and His Racketeers but also Ted Healy and His Southern Gentlemen. In 1925 Larry Fine (real name Louis Feinberg) ho was a Vaudeville violin player at that time became a full time member of the act. In 1930 Healy and his group created a new act called Ted Healy and His Stooges for their first film Soup to Nuts. The coöperation between Moe, Shemp, Larry and Mr Healy ho was their boss did not go very well as the last named was often drunk. In the beginning their arguments where minor and could be solved easely, but in 1932 Shemp stopt working for Healy and focused on his solo career which was pretty successful by the way. The most important part that he got was in a movie called Pittsburgh (1942) alongside Marlene Dietrich and John Wayne, he also played in The bank Dick (1940) directed by W.C. Fields.

In the stooges movies there is a lot of poking as it can be seen on the picture.
In the stooges movies there is a lot of poking as it can be seen on the picture.
Moe grasping Larry and Curly as usual.
Moe grasping Larry and Curly as usual.

Highdays Of The Three Stooges

Moe has always been the hart and soul of the group, he was the glue that holded the crew together in difficult times and afterwords when he worked behind the scenes, he even oversaw the group's financial bussines. In the movies it can be seen that he is the man that gives the orders, Moe is pretty much the only one ho has a pattent on slapping his fellow buddy's when they fail to comply. At a given moment Jerome replaced his older brother Samuel. All three stooges had special haircuts, Moe had some kind of page haircut while Larry had curly hair around a bald looking forehead. After being a fulltime stooge Jerome shaved his head joking afterwords "boy do I look curly" so his nickname was born. In 1934 Moe, Curly and Larry cancelled all future projects with their longtime employer Healy and signed a contract with Colombia Picture's under the name The Three Stooges. The fans regarded Curly as the most funny stooge because he had a typical way of bringing humor to the audience by acting manical and talking very loud, his nyuk nyuk nyuk shouts are legendary. The movies with Moe, Curly and Larry where appreciated by most of the fans, but in 1946 Curly got a severe brainstroke, Shemp was prepared to come back as a stooge knowing that Moe and Larry would lose their jobs but on one condition which was that Curly would take his place again when he got better, this never happened. Curly's health got whorse instead and he never got on stage again Curly died in 1952 at the age of 49. Shemp continued his career with the stooges until he died of a hartfailure in 1955, he was then replaced by the comedian Joe Besser.

Moe, Curly and Larry
Moe, Curly and Larry

Swing Parade Of 1946

In this musical the stooges help Carol Lawrence (Gale Storm) to make a career in the show business, the help of a famous nightclub owner will come in very handy.

Malice In The Palace

Travelling through the middle east, a great adventure awaits the stooges as they search for a 100 carat diamond that is wel hidden.

Jerks Of All Trades

To work for a living appears to be a challenge for the stooges as they try to paint the interior of a house, will they bring the decoration of the house to a good end ?

Sing a Song Of Six Pants

Are friends run a tailor shop, seemingly not able to pay the rent Moe, Larry and Shemp get the chance to save the shop due to a coincidental chain of events. Will they take this oportunity ?

The End Of The Three Stooges

Being a producer of short movies for a long time, in 1957 Columbia Pictures stopped the production of short films as they didn't made enough profit. Moe and Larry then decided to go on tour but Besser refused to join them because his wife had suffered a hartstroke and therefore he did not want to leave her all by herself. So the stooges went back on tour together with the famous comedian Joe DeRita ho replaced Joe Besser as the third stooge, DeRita (real name Joseph Wardell) called himself Curly Joe referring to Curly, Moe, Larry and Curly Joe performed in many theathers during the 1960s and made some very successful movies along the way. This could not last for long as tragedy struck the stooges once again as Larry got a brainstroke in 1970 during the filming of the pilot for a televsion series that would be called Kook's Tour, unfortunately Larry died in january 1975. Moe ho did not want to give up The Three Stooges asked the actor Emil Sitka (1914-1998) to join the act, The Three Stooges where not new for Emil as he appeared in many stooge movies before. There where even plans to cast in the movie Blazing Stewardesses, but Moe passed away in 1975 and The Three Stooges definitely came to an end. The cast for Blazing Stewardesses has been taken over by the Ritz Brothers. Later on Curly Joe brought a new act together baptised The New Three Stooges but it could never match the original concept, Curly Joe died in 1993 he was the last of the stooges.

The Comeback

By the end of the 50's Columbia Pictures sold all of the Three Stooges short films to the television, resulting in a rediscovery of the Three Stooges by a new generation. This marked a new beginning of the Three Stooges rage that is still existant in America today. In 2012 The Three Stooges where brought back to the white screen in full colour, not that there where no colour movies of the stooges out there before but the quality was rather poor. Direced by Bobby and Peter Farrelly the film has been received with great enthusiasm by the public. The main cast for the new stooges film where Sean Hayes (Larry), Will Saso (Curly), and Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe).

The Three Stooges in 2012 featuring Sean Hayes (Larry),  Will Saso (Curly) and Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe).
The Three Stooges in 2012 featuring Sean Hayes (Larry), Will Saso (Curly) and Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe).

The Three Stooges

When 3 baby's are left behind on a nun's doorstep, nobody would ever suspect that later on they will be given the names Larry, Curly and Moe and that they where destined to poke their way into becoming brainless adults with hilaryious tendencies. Filled with misadventure the trio attempt to save the orphanage where they spent their childhood, while almost becoming enrolled in a murder plot, wich leads to accidentally ending up in a reality show. This film is highly enjoyable for both the young and older fans.


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      Kaitlinhyndman 3 years ago

      I'm happy it is fun

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      Curly 4 years ago

      Even our own comedy cracks me up, "Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!

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      Larry 4 years ago

      And not a bad one at that

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      Alex deCourville 4 years ago

      This was a really good lookback. I recently did a countdown of my favorite shorts.