The Three Stooges developed their own brand of comedy. They specialized in slapstick, and produced a number of comedies, which are now becoming recognized as classics. During their prime moviemaking years, the 1930s and ’40s, the Three Stooges made great comedy movies. The Stooges currently hold the record for appearing in more movies than any other comedy team in history. The Three Stooges started their career as a trio in 1925 in a studio in California. They were all actors that wanted to make people laugh. They thought it would be fun to decivilize society. The more rude and violent they acted, the more popular they became.
The boss of the Three Stooges throughout its entirety was Moe Howard. He was born Harry Horwitz in 1897. Moe grew up in Brooklyn and found playing child parts in silent films. Moe eventually graduated to traveling theatrical troupes. Moe married Helen Schonberger in 1925, shortly before becoming a permanent member of the Stooges.
The “middleman” of the team was Larry Fine. He was born Louis Feinberg in 1902. Larry grew up in Philadelphia, and, like Moe, went into show business at an early age. He played child parts in vaudeville comedy plays and eventually formed his own musical act. He married a woman named Mabel Haney and became one of the stooges in 1925.
The most popular member of the team was Curly Howard who was Moe’s younger brother. He played the patsy of the trio. He was born Jerry Horwitz in 1903. He also performed on in vaudeville plays. Curly was married and divorced several times as a stooge.
Curly was eventually replaced in the act by another brother, Shemp Howard, then Joe Besser and finally Joe DeRita. All three actors were vaudeville actors before become a stooge.
Shemp died in 1955, and was replaced by Joe Besser, a chubby character comic. Besser was bald except for a little of ring of hair on his head, he was fat and cherubic like Curly. Besser left the act in the late 1950s, after appearing in only a handful of comedies with the Stooges.
The final member of the Stooges was Joe DeRita, called “Curly Joe” because of his physical resemblance to Curly Howard. DeRita was also round and wore a crewcut, looking like the “original” Curly. He remained with the Stooges until the act disbanded in the late 1960s.
These six performers were all of the members of the Three Stooges. Other “Three Stooges” ensembles, however, popped up throughout the years, including a trio consisting of three other Healy Stooges, and another group that simply called itself the “Three Stooges.” Strangely enough, both of these other teams also made movie appearances of their own at different studios.
During their “hay day” the Three Stooges stared in several movies including, Woman Haters (1934) Punch Drunks (1934) Men in Black (1934), and near the end of their career Cuckoo on a Choo Choo (1952) which was the beginning of the end for the stooges.
By the time this movie was made, it was obvious that the Stooges were getting on in years, and were not as physically flexible as they had once been. By now all of them were in their fifties, and had begun dyeing their hair. And clung to the haircut idea.
Remakes of earlier comedies became very popular by this time. Columbia Studio started re-releasing cuts from previous movies and some new material called “shorts”. For several years in the 1950s, the Columbia Stooges shorts were among the nation’s most popular box office attractions. For short comedies, they were selected top money-makers for five consecutive years, from 1950 through 1954.
In 1955, Shemp Howard suffered a heart attack. He died almost immediately, with friends. At age 60, the second “star” member of the Three Stooges was dead. It was downhill from that point on, even though the Stooges were together as a team for more than another decade.
By 1959, the Stooges were suddenly back on top, because of television. They were very popular, more popular then they have ever been. They were now national celebrities. They also appear on the Ed Sullivan Show and the Steven Allen show.
As a result of the outcry against violence in the early 1960s, the Stooges toned down their slapstick. They abandoned the “poke in the eyes,” and at each personal appearance at theaters and in night clubs Moe would mention to the kids that their fighting was just comedy and nobody got hurt and that they shouldn’t try it at home because they might hurt someone.
Larry’s had a stroke, Moe Howard decided to retire the act. Larry was taken to the Motion Picture Country Home, where Curly Howard had stayed after his stroke. Like Curly, Larry stayed there for six years before having another stroke.
The Three Stooges was official over. Soon after, Moe died.
They receive more recognition for their work more now then they ever did in there past. Now they are dead and can’t realize their popularity. There is a web site where people can tell others what they think of the stooges. It’s just one of the bulletin boards about the stooges. The public love and admiration for the Three Stooges has not ended since Moe Howard’s death several years ago. If anything, it has actually increased. They make people laugh, which is so important in today’s world. Many comedy teams use the Three Stooges as a model and they make people laugh. Laughing actually changes the affect on history. Still today, although they themselves never thought it would happen, are quickly the world’s most loved clowns. After all, “All the World Loves A Clown!”