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Author Topic: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?  (Read 22961 times)

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Offline shemps#1

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Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the second Master Debates.

Topic
Artistically speaking, when should the Three Stooges have called it quits?

Participants
Taking the position that they should have quit immediately after Shemp's stroke in 1952: Finebari3
Taking the position that they should have quit after the 1956 short For Crimin' Out Loud: xraffle

Judges
metaldams - winner of TMD I
WhyIOughta
Dunrobin
Justin T

Format
The participants have until February 9 to write their arguments. In the interest of fairness I will ask the participants to send their finished arguments to me in a Private Message before posting to this thread. This is so the second participant to finish does not have any advantage from reading the other participant's argument. Once I receive both arguments I will inform the participants that they may post their arguments for the judges to read in this thread.

Once the arguments are posted the participants will then have an opportunity for a rebuttal, or a chance to poke holes in their opponents argument. The rebuttals may be posted immediately to this thread.

Once the rebuttals have been posted and the judges have read and scrutinized everything the judges will be allowed to pose one question (from each judge, not as a group) to each of the participants regarding either their argument or rebuttal.

Once the judges have asked all the questions they needed to and those questions have been answered, the floor will be open to the general public for a period of two days to ask questions of the participants.

Once any and all questions have been answered each judge will cast a vote (in this thread) for who they believe won the debate. If the vote tally is 4-0 or 3-1 a winner will be announced. If the vote tally is 2-2 I will cast the deciding vote.

The winner will receive a one year subscription to the Three Stooges Journal.

Let the debate commence!
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish." - Unknown

Offline metaldams

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2009, 11:11:34 AM »
X and Mar-Jean,

A couple of rules Jim failed to mention:

     - If you two fail to call me "Judgie Wudgie" or "My Honor" during this contest, I will request you become automatically disqualified. 

     - If you don't attempt to bribe me with cash, you will become automatically disqualified.  I only accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. 

I've hope I made my self clear.  Other than that, I will be completely fair.

Love,

      Judgie Wudgie

xraffle

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2009, 09:29:16 PM »
X and Mar-Jean,

A couple of rules Jim failed to mention:

     - If you two fail to call me "Judgie Wudgie" or "My Honor" during this contest, I will request you become automatically disqualified. 

     - If you don't attempt to bribe me with cash, you will become automatically disqualified.  I only accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. 

I've hope I made my self clear.  Other than that, I will be completely fair.

Love,

      Judgie Wudgie

Truth is stranger than fiction, Judgie Wudgie. ;)

Wow, Finebari3 says 1952 and I say 1956. This will be an interesting debate.

Offline WhyIOughta

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2009, 11:54:27 PM »
Remember, you two -- You're in a courtroom, not Clancy's Pool room.....   [3stooges]

Offline FineBari3

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2009, 10:28:25 AM »
"WOOOOLLFFFF....WOOOLLFFFF!"

Mar-Jean Zamperini
"Moe is their leader." -Homer Simpson

Offline shemps#1

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2009, 11:14:31 AM »
The arguments are ready for submission. Once both of the arguments have been submitted each participant may post their rebuttals directly in this thread.
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish." - Unknown

xraffle

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2009, 11:15:17 AM »
Ok, here goes nothing.


   So when should the stooges have called it quits? That’s a very interesting question that has a very simple answer. To me, it is very obvious that after Shemp’s death, the stooges started going downhill. They just weren’t as funny. Therefore, I think the stooges should have stopped in 1956 after “For Crimin’ Out Loud” was released.
   After “For Crimin’ Out Loud” was released, the stooges decided to film four more shorts and have Joe Palma as a stand-in for Shemp. Now, that was a bad idea. Those four shorts are simply unbearable to watch.  Just look at “Hot Stuff.” Joe Palma does a bad job at impersonating Shemp’s “eeb eeb.” Anybody would know that this guy is not really Shemp. It’s even suspicious when new footage is being shown and Shemp has his back facing the camera with his back bent.
   After the four Palma shorts were released, we have Joe Besser taking over as the third stooge. While he may be a good comedian, he wasn’t fit to be a stooge. The fact that Joe Besser didn’t want to take any hits is already a sign that he isn’t going to be nearly as funny as Shemp and Curly. It’s really ridiculous to watch a short like “Hoofs and Goofs” and just see Larry taking all the hits. We also have his corny “not so hard” response. If that isn’t enough, we have some really bad shorts to go along with all of that such as: “Horsing Around” and “Sweet and Hot.” I can’t even think of any Shemp or Curly short that’s as bad as those two.  They are just unbearable to watch. I doubt anyone can watch those two shorts and say, “That was hilarious!”
   Let’s look at the remakes Moe, Larry and Joe did. First, we have “Guns a Poppin.” Even with Curly’s failing health, he did a much better job in “Idiots Deluxe.” Next, there is “Rusty Romeos.” No one can honestly say that this was funnier than “Corny Casanovas.” Even that picture that Shemp gives his fiancée that causes the cat to hiss is hilarious. Joe’s version of the picture is not funny at all. Then, we have “Quiz Whizz” which is also a very bad remake of “All The World’s a Stooge.” The next remake is “Pies and Guys.” Since Curly’s health was really bad in 1947 and he missed the pie fight, one can argue that this remake was probably better than “Half-Wits Holiday,” but it certainly wasn’t better than “Hoi Polloi.” So, this third remake was completely useless. Then comes “Oil’s Well That Ends Well.” This short was nowhere near as funny as “Oily To Bed, Oily To Rise.” After that, we have “Triple Crossed.” This is a terrible remake of “He Cooked His Goose.” Even the ending of this remake was bad. The ending of “He Cooked His Goose,” where Moe shoots Larry in the rear, was much funnier. Finally, there is “Sappy Bullfighter.” This is the last short the stooges ever made and it has to be another remake. I’m pretty sure most people would agree that “What’s the Matador” is MUCH better. So, there are 16 Besser shorts and 7 of them are remakes, none of which are better than the original. This pretty much proves that, at this point in time, they were out of ideas and should have already called it quits.
   After Joe left the group, we have Curly-Joe DeRita taking over as the final third stooge. Now, he is just as bad as Besser in a very different way.  There was not a single thing funny about him. Compare the maha-rajah routine in “The Three Stooges Go Around The World In A Daze” to the one in “Three Little Pirates.” Even with Curly’s failing health, he does a MUCH better job than DeRita. Now compare the Pop Goes The Weasel bit in the Daze movie to the one in “Punch Drunks.” Again, Curly does a far better job.
   Another thing bad about the DeRita films is the fact that they cut down on the violence. That was a huge mistake. In fact, out of five films, there was only one eyepoke and that was in “Have Rocket, Will Travel.” The violence is what made the stooges funny. In addition to those five Columbia films, the stooges decide to star in “Snow White and the Three Stooges.” Back in the 1930s and 1940s, the stooges wouldn’t be caught dead in a movie like that. Then, they also decide to start a show called “Kook’s Tour.” I’m sure everyone here could agree that this was pretty bad. This show didn’t even get past the pilot episode due to Larry’s stroke. Now, Larry’s stroke is a sign that the stooges’ health are starting to deteriorate and that they should have called it quits a long time ago.
   Both Curly and Shemp were funny in their own way. Curly had his woo-woo, nyuk nyuk and high-pitched voice. Shemp had his long, greasy hair; his eeb eeb; and his funny look. Those are what made them funny. There’s really nothing special in Besser or DeRita that is funny. They just had their corny dialogues like “not so hard” and “buddy boy.”
   1956 is the best time for the stooges to call it quits. Sure, they did reuse a lot of stock footage at this time in their shorts, but they did have some hilarious new footage. Some examples include:  the first scene in “Husbands Beware” and the new footage in “For Crimin Out Loud.” Those two shorts are worth watching just to see the new footage. And don’t forget the short, “Blunder Boys,” which is hilarious from start to finish. The ‘Halliday, Tarriday’ bit is a classic. After “For Crimin’ Out Loud,” all that laughter stops. So this is why the stooges should have called it quits after that short. The stooges lasted over 20 years at this point and I think that was already a great progress.

Offline FineBari3

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009, 12:47:00 PM »
Sorry I didn't get this posted sooner; I was watching the Steelers' championship parade!
Here is my official submission:


I believe that the Three Stooges should have retired in December of 1952. I give this date because of the supposed small stroke (or strokes) Shemp had in November, 1952.

Shemp was the natural replacement for baby brother Curly; certainly no one else could have done a better job. Shemp, being an original member of the group fit in almost seamlessly in 1947.

Although it has been documented that Babe stated Shemp had this stroke while playing cards in 1952, daughter Sandie Howard states that if Shemp had a stroke, it was "a family secret". Whatever statement is true, an observer of the Shemp films can certainly notice his decline physically and mentally. Shemp looks pale, weak, and has a potbelly. He often appears in a daze, but not a "comic" daze, like Keaton might do, or the Stooges might pose for in a studio still. Shemp's daze shows a vacant, confused look.

I also give this date because the quality of the shorts began to decline at this time. Budgets were cut, writing was substandard, and shorts on a movie program had fallen by the wayside.  I believe Columbia had the only remaining operating shorts department in December, 1952, but I am not sure of that date. Their shorts certainly did not get better after this date.

While writing this essay, I asked myself "What might have happened if they HAD retired in December, 1952?" Would we have had a resurgence in popularity because of television? Would there have been any feature length films in the 1960's?

In a perfect world, we all would like to retire when we make enough money. I don't believe the Stooges (except for Moe) could retire at this time (1952). Also, the trouper flame in a performer's soul is difficult to extinguish. We can see that with the Stooges, as Moe tried to keep the act going in some form literally up until the day he died.

Money and creative reasons aside, I believe that the Stooges should have retired in December of 1952, before their noticeable decline became a downward free fall.
Mar-Jean Zamperini
"Moe is their leader." -Homer Simpson

xraffle

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2009, 01:14:53 PM »
Here’s my rebuttal.


While Shemp may have suffered a series of strokes in the 1950s, the stooges had some great shorts between 1953 and 1956. Some of those shorts include: Up In Daisy’s Penthouse, Tricky Dicks, Pardon My Backfire, Spooks, Goof On The Roof, Shot In The Frontier, and Blunder Boys (which I mentioned earlier). These shorts are filled with laughs. Even though Shemp’s health may be deteriorating at this time, these shorts prove that he hasn’t lost his touch. He still manages to make us laugh.

The stooges did tend to use a lot of stock footage at this time, but like I said earlier, many of the new footages shown in those shorts are hilarious. Watching shorts like Husbands Beware, Booty And The Beast, For Crimin' Out Loud, and Hot Ice are worth watching just to see the new footage.

Shemp’s health may have deteriorated in the 1950s, but he still managed to bring us a lot of laughter. It wasn’t until Shemp’s death where we see a HUGE decline. For Crimin’ Out Loud (1956) was the last short where the stooges make us laugh. The new scene in the office is priceless even though the new footage was short. That was the last big laugh the stooges were able to give to its fans. Therefore, the stooges should have stopped after that short was released.

Offline FineBari3

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2009, 02:18:40 PM »
Here is my rebuttal:

I stated in the last line of my essay "Money and creative reasons aside, I believe that the Stooges should have retired in December of 1952, before their noticeable decline became a downward free fall."

Simply put, the product was not good anymore. I agree with you that some very short were released in the time frame of 1953-1956, I disagree that they were some of the Stooges best work (and you're talking to a diehard Shemp fan).

By 1952, shorts were very old-fashioned; by 1956, the were prehistoric. I have no idea why Columbia kept making shorts after every studio got out of the shorts business by then.

I appreciate your expert analysis of the Besser shorts of that era. I do believe that bringing Curly Joe into two paragraphs of your essay is not related to the stance you took on the year 1956. This Curly Joe rant seems to have been left over from last month's topic of debate. 

(I hope you realize I would be the last person to deliberately piss anybody off by critiquing their work....it's a debate!)
Mar-Jean Zamperini
"Moe is their leader." -Homer Simpson

Offline metaldams

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2009, 02:53:56 PM »
Xraffle:  Finebari brings up a good point about shorts subjects in general being passe in Hollywood by 1952.  No doubt there were budget setbacks with the advent of stock footage shorts.  Stock footage shorts were not only a Stooge phenomenom, but also done for Andy Clyde and Joe Besser.  You mention the new footage is funny, but do you feel funny five minute wraparounds with old footage constitutes artistic growth? 

Finebari:  How severe do you find Shemp's illness as far as his performance goes?  Every Stooge fan to a man (or woman), agrees the last Curly shorts are difficult because of his physical condition, but there is debate about Shemp.  Can you perhaps site an example where Shemp's health hindered what otherwise could've been a funny performance?

xraffle

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2009, 03:03:04 PM »
You mention the new footage is funny, but do you feel funny five minute wraparounds with old footage constitutes artistic growth? 

Yeah, I think it does. While these shorts may not be their best works, they were still funny. I feel that as long as the stooges continue to bring us laughter, then they should still continue. While most of the shorts in this time period used stock footage, the stooges also managed to give us some brand new shorts here and there, like the ones I mentioned in my rebuttal. While they may not be their best shorts, they certainly were good ones.

While many may say that Shemp wasn’t as funny as Curly, he still had a unique style of comedy. Same with these 1950s shorts. While they may not be as good as their 1930s and 40s shorts, they still made us laugh, even if it was only for five minutes. The Palma, Besser and DeRita stuff didn’t make us laugh and that’s the point I’m trying to make.

Offline FineBari3

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2009, 04:00:36 PM »

Finebari:  How severe do you find Shemp's illness as far as his performance goes?  Every Stooge fan to a man (or woman), agrees the last Curly shorts are difficult because of his physical condition, but there is debate about Shemp.  Can you perhaps site an example where Shemp's health hindered what otherwise could've been a funny performance?

I would say that Shemp's illness was less noticeable than Curly's illness. I remember being surprised when I read that Shemp had a stroke prior to his death. I began to notice more and more, that Shemp just seemed to be off. His illness is not as obvious as Curly's was. He should have been in a hospital, not in front of a camera!

I absolutely knew that somebody was going to ask me to site evidence! Unfortunately, I have been staying at my mother's since my step-dad passed away, and have no access to my videos, DVDs, and books. Belive me, I would have had some examples from the shorts to back up my stance had a been at home. Eh, I figured what the heck, maybe somebody would not ask.   [shrug]
Mar-Jean Zamperini
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Offline metaldams

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2009, 06:20:33 PM »
Sorry about your stepfather, Mar-Jean. 

xraffle

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2009, 07:50:13 PM »
Justin, Rob, and WhyIOughta: Do you guys have any questions for me and FineBari?

Offline shemps#1

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2009, 07:55:32 PM »
Just to remind the other judges, if you wish to abstain from questioning please state so in this thread.
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish." - Unknown

Offline Dunrobin

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2009, 08:30:12 PM »
Just to remind the other judges, if you wish to abstain from questioning please state so in this thread.

Sorry - literally just got home a few minutes ago (long day plus crappy Michigan winter weather, the price I pay to live in the boondocks.)  I'm just re-reading the prime arguments and going through the rebuttals.  I'll let you all know if a few if I have any questions.

Offline Dunrobin

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2009, 08:53:14 PM »
I'm going to abstain from questions.  Doug has already asked the pertinent ones, and I'm ready to cast my vote.  (I had read the initial arguments and the rebuttals while I was at work; I just needed a few minutes to read the rest of the posts.)

I'll hold back my vote for now, in case any one else has a question.  (Besides, I went first last time, didn't I?)   ;)

Offline Justin T

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2009, 11:09:48 PM »
Doug almost read my mind with those questions he asked. Those were very similar to
ones I was going to ask. I'm going to abstain also
"Moronica must expand! We must lend our neighbors a helping hand. We must lend them two helping hands, and help ourselves to our neighbors!"
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Offline WhyIOughta

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2009, 11:49:29 PM »
I'm wording the questions as I write this, I should have them both ready in a bit......

Offline WhyIOughta

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2009, 12:36:22 AM »
Finebari3.....My question to you is.... You've chosen your particular point in time, I would surmise, as a result of your love for the Stooges shorts that involve Shemp Howard....If you're approaching this topic from strictly an artistic standpoint, how can you justify your attempt at omitting Shemp Howard's four-year contributions, from the time of late 1952, through 1956? 

Offline WhyIOughta

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2009, 12:43:55 AM »
xraffle...My question to you is.....Most of your argument seems to argue the point of the Stooges needing tostop AFTER 1956....But, from a purely artistic standpoint, wouldn't you agree that the use of so much stock footage for the four year period (1952-56) seems to suggest that the "Art of the Three Stooges" was being watered down towhat amounts to "Columbia Re-Runs," and the team should have called it quits in '52, instead of exposing their audience to said re-runs?

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2009, 01:11:54 AM »
xraffle...My question to you is.....Most of your argument seems to argue the point of the Stooges needing tostop AFTER 1956....But, from a purely artistic standpoint, wouldn't you agree that the use of so much stock footage for the four year period (1952-56) seems to suggest that the "Art of the Three Stooges" was being watered down towhat amounts to "Columbia Re-Runs," and the team should have called it quits in '52, instead of exposing their audience to said re-runs?

You bring up a very interesting point. The budget at this time was a lot lower, which is why they had to reuse a lot of stock footage in order to save money. But like I said earlier, there were a handful of shorts that were brand new (several of which I mentioned in the rebuttal). Had the stooges called it quits in 1952, those shorts would've never been filmed. While those new shorts may not be their best, they were still good shorts that are worth watching. And like I said before, many of the new footage used in the remakes were hilarious (again there are examples in my rebuttal). Sure, I would agree that the shorts may not have been as good as their earlier ones and that they had indeed been "watered down," but they are still worth watching.

The reused stock footage was mainly due to the fact that their budget was low at this time. But looking at the new footage in these remakes, it shows that the stooges still had great talent. Had it not been for their low budget, the stooges would've been able to make a lot more new shorts. These reused footages were done because of money issues, not because the stooges didn't still have the "art." They still did, so they did the right thing by continuing with their career. Once Shemp died, that "art" disappeared and they weren't nearly as funny as they used to be.

Offline FineBari3

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Re: The Master Debates II: When Should The Stooges Have Called It Quits?
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2009, 09:32:39 AM »
Finebari3.....My question to you is.... You've chosen your particular point in time, I would surmise, as a result of your love for the Stooges shorts that involve Shemp Howard....If you're approaching this topic from strictly an artistic standpoint, how can you justify your attempt at omitting Shemp Howard's four-year contributions, from the time of late 1952, through 1956? 

I am not approaching this topic with strictly an artistic standpoint, but approaching it with several reasons including popular culture of the time and the health of a performing member. Artistic quality is certainly important, if not the most important reason, but not the only one for my choosing late 1952. Therefore, I do not have to justify the shorts after 1952.

I really did not chose that particular point in time because of my fondness for Shemp. I looked at the Stooges' career objectively and decided that time would be a good choice for the debate, and built my argument around it.
Mar-Jean Zamperini
"Moe is their leader." -Homer Simpson

Offline shemps#1

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The Master Debates II: Floor Open to the General Public
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2009, 10:53:31 AM »
The floor is now open to questions from the general public. The floor will remain open until 12pm on Feb 6.
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish." - Unknown