I was the one who posted the Joe DeRita interview. I had no other information on it at all, but since he says he's 78 "and will be 79 in July", and also that he was born July 12 1909, I just did the math and assumed the interview took place in May of 1987. If this is incorrect, thanks for the updated information. Anyway, it dosen't matter all that much.
I know a lot of you guys don't like Joe, but I think he was great. He was just what they needed at that stage and at that time when they were getting pretty old. If they'd gotten another guy who was a young ball-of-fire like Curly, he wouldn't have meshed with them at that time. Because of their age and because they were aiming at mostly a children's audience at that point, the violence was greatly diminished and they had to have a more laid-back style. Plus if Joe had tried to upstage Moe and Larry by making himself the center of attention, since he was the new kid on the block that wouldn't have worked either. It would have looked like he was trying to take all the credit for their renewed success, after they had spent decades of hard work establishing the act. He had a pleasant and gentle face, voice and personality that appealed to kids, so I think he was about as good as they could have done at that time. Anyway, he was a big improvement from Besser, who also really wasn't all that bad either. But I fully agree that neither Joe came close to Curly or Shemp. But unfortunately they were gone by that point, and the show must go on. Thanks very much all of you for the feedback.