March 22, 2011

The four Stooges

Moe, Larry, and Curly, AND Shemp

I heart Curly.

Hello, hello, hello...HELLO!

This is something I didn't know about The Three Stooges. So, Shemp Howard was one of the original Three Stooges when they (Moe Howard and Larry Fine) began the vaudeville act in 1925. He quit the group in 1932, and youngest Howard brother, Jerry (Curly), then joined.

Well, I'm exhausted (whew!) now after having written this paragraph, so let me let Jimi take over*:

Curly was easily the most popular member of the team. His childlike mannerisms and natural comedic charm (he had no previous acting experience) made him a hit with audiences. The fact that Curly had to shave his head for the act led him to feel unappealing to women. To mask his insecurities, Curly ate and drank excessively and caroused whenever the Stooges made personal appearances, which was approximately seven months out of the year. His weight ballooned in the 1940s, and his blood pressure was dangerously high. His wild lifestyle and constant drinking eventually caught up with him in 1945, and his performances suffered. In his last dozen shorts (ranging from 1945's If a Body Meets a Body through 1947's Half-Wits Holiday), he was seriously ill, struggling to get through even the most basic scenes.

It was during the final day of filming Half-Wits Holiday on May 6, 1946, that Curly suffered a debilitating stroke on the set, ending his 14-year career. Curly's health necessitated a temporary retirement from the act, and while the Stooges hoped for a full recovery, Curly never starred in a film again. He did make one brief cameo appearance in the third film after Shemp returned to the trio, Hold That Lion! It was the only film that contained all four of the original Stooges (the three Howard brothers + Larry) on screen simultaneously; Jules White recalled Curly visiting the set one day, and White had him do this bit for fun.

And here that wonderful little moment is:

Yep, it's Curly!



hap said...

There was a different member of the stooges. I think his name was "Joe". The stooges played Nac back in the early days at a building on Main St.

Chris said...

Yes, there was Joe Besser, and then Joe De Rita.

Wow, they did? Just like the Marx Brothers?