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Author Topic: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?  (Read 10568 times)

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Offline shemps#1

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Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the third Master Debates. Thanks to everyone who submitted. We may have our own rivalry in the making.

Topic
Should Moe, Larry and Curly have made the switch to full length features?

Participants
Taking the position that they should have made the switch: TMD I Runner-Up Giff Me Dat Fill-Em!
Taking the position that they should not have made the switch: TMD I Winner metaldams

Judges
xraffle - Winner TMD II
WhyIOughta
Dunrobin
curlysdame

Format
The participants have until March 13 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!
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 07:53:09 PM by shemps#1 »
"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 III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2009, 10:21:09 AM »
Hey, Giffy baby, ya ready to feel the fury again?  Let the rivalry commence!   ;D

Here's my rally song. 

[youtube=425,350]ykTy5ei7Apg[/youtube]

"Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job." - George Carlin

Offline WhyIOughta

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2009, 02:02:03 PM »
Oooooh, smak-talk!  I love it!  Can't wait, ready to go on this end.  Giff me dat argument!

Offline Giff me dat fill-em!

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2009, 08:35:35 AM »
... It's me again, metaldams ...

[youtube=425,350]GPrQOiS_zLQ&hl=en&fs=1[/youtube]
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Offline metaldams

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2009, 03:57:44 PM »
(In Mr. Miyagi voice) I look forward to the rematch, my most worthy adversary. 
"Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job." - George Carlin

Offline WhyIOughta

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2009, 07:53:46 PM »
Let 'er rip, my stooge-a-holics......

Offline metaldams

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2009, 09:00:30 PM »
My essay won't be in until the last minute.  I'm actually using my brainpower to study tonight.

Bad news:  Gotta study for a test in my new job.  Three weeks training!

Good news:  I have a new job.
"Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job." - George Carlin

Offline metaldams

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2009, 09:00:57 PM »
....that said, I'll still kick ass.
"Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job." - George Carlin

Offline Giff me dat fill-em!

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2009, 12:29:20 AM »
....that said, I'll still kick ass.

Already into name calling, eh? [I'll still kick ass = I'll win = Giff is an ass] (wink)

Ill never be your beast of burden
My back is broad but its a hurting
All I want is for you to make a winner of me
Ill never be your beast of burden
Ive walked for miles my feet are hurting
All I want is for you to make a winner of me

Am I hard enough
Am I rough enough
Am I rich enough
Im not too blind to see

Ill never be your beast of burden
So lets go to the 'pooter and draw the curtains
Music on the radio
And write a strong article for me

Am I hard enough
Am I rough enough
Am I rich enough
Im not too blind to see

Ill tell ya
You can put me out
On the street
Put me out
With no shoes on my feet
But, put me out, put me out
Put me out of loser-y
The tacks won't come out! Well, they went in ... maybe they're income tacks.

Offline metaldams

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2009, 06:26:18 PM »
BEAST OF BURDEN?  OK, now it's personal!  I'm about to write my side of the debate and will submit it to Jim before the night is through, but right now, with a little help from my friend, The Ultimate Warrior, I am going to cut a promo on you, Giff.  Subsituite any reference to Hulk Hogan for YOU, Giff, and substitute any Warrior reference for ME, and you'll know how hard I'm coming at you in this debate.  Shakespeare isn't as elegant as this. 

[youtube=425,350]VkEl_R0dTfY[/youtube]


AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHH!!! (Snort)
"Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job." - George Carlin

Offline Giff me dat fill-em!

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2009, 12:56:19 AM »
Shemps#1 -
In your last post on this thread you stated you needed a fourth judge. Have you found one?
According the hot, sizzling confab between metaldams and myself in the last few days, (see above posts) we have PM'ed our arguments to you by now.

And, Metaldams, I was being facetious when I claimed you were reverting to name calling. However, it seemed to have brought out the best in you, and I'm glad. It will be challenging to top the best of my rival Master Debater.
The tacks won't come out! Well, they went in ... maybe they're income tacks.

Offline shemps#1

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2009, 02:07:04 AM »
Sorry about that guys, I had to make an emergency trip out of the state. You may post your submissions. Shit, I've been so busy I forgot the fourth judge. Anyone who wants in just say so.
"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 Giff me dat fill-em!

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2009, 06:04:09 AM »
Should Moe, Larry and Curly have made the switch to full length features?

   Most of us know that Columbia Pictures had a tight-fisted grip on anything Moe, Larry or Curly-like while our boys worked there. They did allow them to make public appearances during their off-season, so it was a good deal for them. It’s hard to imagine wanting to break away from a steady job with good benefits. However, in support of Moe, Larry and Curly making feature-length films on their own, they had a lot going for them to do so.    Even though Moe, Larry and Curly had only bit parts in films past doesn’t mean they couldn’t hold their own in a starring role. Curly, especially, would have shined and most likely have stolen the show, perhaps even prompting a debate about starting his own solo career.
   First of all, they were well known in the cinematic world, since many patrons of movie houses watched their short subjects. Prior to this, though, they had been supporting cast members of a few movies such as “Nertsery Rhymes”, “Plane Nuts”, and even a semi-dramatic role in “Fugitive Lovers”. “Plane Nuts”, in particular, was a grouping of their stage performances in which Ted Healy took a semi-straight man role and let our boys pull out all the stops with their comic mayhem. This ground work made our boys ripe for a movie career of their own. In as much as Columbia cast them as short-subject makers only made their movie appeal better. They had the opportunity to hone their act into perfection. Whether Moe, Larry and Curly should’ve made the switch is a resounding Yes! (Never mind that Columbia saw fit to leave them in short-subjects).
   It may be argued a Stooge feature film would be the equivalent of four or five short-subjects, and that kind of non-stop slapstick experience might be too much for an audience to tolerate in 80 or 90 minute doses. This may be true, if you sat through that many short-subjects, being the average movie-goer. But all that is needed is a dramatic storyline to frame the comedy in. MGM recognized this when they cast The Marx Brothers in “A Night at the Opera”. A Stooge plot could establish a “bad” guy, (like the nasty opera singer who beat Harpo), and that immediately would set the Stooges up as the heroes. They could then expend their mayhem at will with the audience witnessing their comic assaults as what actually saves the day. The slapstick need only be separated into segments for storyline development.
   Emil Sitka said it best in his '80's interview - (paraphrased) "I've worked on other fine projects, and most of the time it was, come in to work, do your job, try to make it look real, cut, wrap, print, how was your weekend, let's have a smoke, etc. But in those 15 or 16 minutes I filmed with the Stooges, there was electricity in the air, excitement. The laughs were non-stop, and I've had my best acting experiences in those few minutes."
   No need for slapstick to soften in a movie-going environment like that. Capturing a Moe, Larry and Curly short-subject experience in a feature-length film is not only attainable, but would have been a pearl that our boys could have been very, very proud of.
The tacks won't come out! Well, they went in ... maybe they're income tacks.

Offline metaldams

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2009, 08:12:04 AM »

And, Metaldams, I was being facetious when I claimed you were reverting to name calling.


I was being facetious too.  Dude, really, it's The Ultimate Warrior!  He's the king of camp entertainment, I was only joking around.
"Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job." - George Carlin

Offline metaldams

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2009, 08:15:15 AM »
Don't know why me entry wasn't posted, I sent it to Jim Thursday night (hope everything's OK, bro).  Anyway, here she is.

PS:  I'LL be the fourth judge.   ;D 

      Between 1921 - 1928, slapstick comedy saw its greatest era.  Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd made their great feature films in this period.  Between 1934 - 1946, The Three Stooges made a greater batch of comedy films than any other slapstick or stage based comedians of their era.  They did this in the genre of short films.  Both events go a long way in offering some historical perspective over why The Three Stooges were indeed best off in short films.
      If you've seen the silent features of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd, you'll know what wonderful comedies they are.  They are character based comedies with heart that told a story and had very creative gags.  All three stars had creative control over their films and worked with a regular group of writers and gag men.  These films were made by men who specialized in slapstick comedy and were masters of their craft.
      The Three Stooges, while not necessarily auteurs like Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd, happened to be three very funny men who also worked with specialized comedy gag men and writers.  Like the creative teams of the silent clowns, the Columbia Comedy Shorts department was also a tightly knit group who knew how to make great comedy films, except they did so in only short films. 
      The Columbia Comedy Shorts Department had creative control because Harry Cohn did not think these films were important enough to interfere with creatively.  To him, they were merely filler on the bottom of the bill, not money makers.  Feature films were where the money was at, and by 1934, the studios have completely taken over the creative process of film making.  This worked well in some genres, but not in slapstick comedy.  Films were now churned out by the studios in a factory like manner, not made by men who actually specialized and cared about slapstick comedy.  This is why in the MGM Marx Brothers films and early Abbott and Costello features, you have the boneheaded moves of throwing musical numbers and generic boy-girl love stories in the midst of funny comedy routines.  It completely breaks the flow of the films, and sadly, we would've witnessed the same practices with The Three Stooges.
      The only outlet The Three Stooges had to make such high caliber films between 1934 - 1946 was with the Columbia shorts department, and therefore it is best they never regularly made features.  It has nothing to do with how funny they were and everything to do with how Hollywood made slapstick comedy during their era.  If they did make features, there'd probably be enough funny scenes to fill a compilation or two in the 60's, but not great overall films.   
      By the way, Moe, Larry, and Curly did make a b-level feature film known as ROCKIN' IN THE ROCKIES.  The result?  Moe was separated from the team and we got singing cowboys and a sappy love interest.  I rest my case.           
 
"Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job." - George Carlin

Offline metaldams

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2009, 08:35:05 AM »
Don't know why me entry wasn't posted, I sent it to Jim Thursday night (hope everything's OK, bro).  Anyway, here she is.

Wait, we're SUPPOSED to post our own submissions.  Oh well, nevermind me.  I had a busy week too.
"Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job." - George Carlin

Offline WhyIOughta

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2009, 11:32:57 AM »
....Rebuttals.......?

Offline shemps#1

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2009, 01:42:44 PM »
....Rebuttals.......?

Yeah, what he said  :P. Go ahead and post rebuttals. Hopefully we'll get a last min. judge like Sarah or Justin or someone else to step up.
"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 III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2009, 04:09:30 PM »

   It may be argued a Stooge feature film would be the equivalent of four or five short-subjects, and that kind of non-stop slapstick experience might be too much for an audience to tolerate in 80 or 90 minute doses. This may be true, if you sat through that many short-subjects, being the average movie-goer. But all that is needed is a dramatic storyline to frame the comedy in. MGM recognized this when they cast The Marx Brothers in “A Night at the Opera”. A Stooge plot could establish a “bad” guy, (like the nasty opera singer who beat Harpo), and that immediately would set the Stooges up as the heroes. They could then expend their mayhem at will with the audience witnessing their comic assaults as what actually saves the day. The slapstick need only be separated into segments for storyline development.
   

      The formula you speak of is great, the problem is the studios had trouble getting that formula right.  A NIGHT AT THE OPERA is no doubt the greatest comedy ever made using the formula of comedians, music numbers, and romantic couple, but even THAT has some flaws.  Can you or anybody else here honestly tell me they watch A NIGHT AT THE OPERA for "Cosi-Cosa" or "Alone?"  COMIC musical numbers were great like in the Marx Bros. Paramount films, but the problem is by 1934, studios were no longer making films like that.  Even at Hal Roach, for every great feature Laurel and Hardy made like BLOCK-HEADS, there had to be a compromise like SWISS MISS.  There was a battle between Hal Roach and Stan Laurel over how to make comedy films, and Stan sometimes got his way.  No way relative newcomers to film like The Three Stooges would ever get their way over Roach or any other big time Hollywood producer.

      To me, this argument has nothing to do with the magic The Three Stooges brought to a set.  Film making is a team effort that involves studios, producers, directors, writers, etc.  1934 - 1946 was a not a great era for slapstick/stage based comedian feature comedy.  There were compromises all over that The Three Stooges in the Columbia Comedy Shorts Department never had to deal with.  There is no way The Three Stooges, as feature film comedians, would have made a canon of films even close in quality to the 97 shorts they made with Curly.  Hollywood simply was not churning out feature film slapstick comedies that good anymore.
"Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job." - George Carlin

Offline curlysdame

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2009, 04:46:56 PM »
Yeah, what he said  :P. Go ahead and post rebuttals. Hopefully we'll get a last min. judge like Sarah or Justin or someone else to step up.

Wow, I thought all the judges had been picked already.  ....I'll do it, Jim.
"Imagine five things like us in one room??  I can't stand it!" - Curly (Time Out For Rhythm 1941)

Offline shemps#1

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2009, 07:50:59 PM »
Awesome, thanks.
"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 Giff me dat fill-em!

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2009, 12:10:49 AM »

      The Columbia Comedy Shorts Department had creative control because Harry Cohn did not think these films were important enough to interfere with creatively.  To him, they were merely filler on the bottom of the bill, not money makers.  Feature films were where the money was at, and by 1934, the studios have completely taken over the creative process of film making.
      The only outlet The Three Stooges had to make such high caliber films between 1934 - 1946 was with the Columbia shorts department, and therefore it is best they never regularly made features.  It has nothing to do with how funny they were and everything to do with how Hollywood made slapstick comedy during their era.  If they did make features, there'd probably be enough funny scenes to fill a compilation or two in the 60's, but not great overall films.
 

    Columbia treated our boys as "filler" because that's all they were to them. In the 30's and 40's, movie patrons received a smorgasbord of entertainment for their movie dollar. They got a short-subject. a newsreel and a cartoon. And if feature films were where the big money was, why did MGM go to great lengths to include musical numbers and an overarching storyline in their comedy features? This is what the movie public wanted to see, or else all those comedies would be discarded and forgotten by now. They loved the comedy, but they also enjoyed the dramatic structure, and yes, even the musical numbers that broke up the comedy.
    If slapstick comedy was b-grade and nothing else to the movie moguls, then the Stooges were trapped within their own genre. Columbia could have easily given the tight-knit short-subject group a feature length setting, and hardly anything would need to change. Bring in an extra writer for the dramatic lines, if necessary, and that's about it. Since Harry Cohn didn't think the Stooges were important enough to interfere with creatively is what made the short-subject group so tight-knit. It's hard to imagine that Cohn didn't see dollar signs with a well-oiled group of comedic experts at his disposal.
     It's only because Moe, being the workaholic, the worrier-over-money, the sensible guy, never pushed Cohn for a REAL feature length movie. Moe had become entrenched in his good fortune for having a very good job in such hard times as the Great Depression, and hardly considered feature films until the Short-Subject Department closed in the 50's.
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Offline shemps#1

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2009, 08:19:35 AM »
The floor is now open to questions from the judges. If a judge wishes to abstain please state so.
"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 FineBari3

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2009, 08:47:12 AM »
Don't know why me entry wasn't posted, I sent it to Jim Thursday night (hope everything's OK, bro).  Anyway, here she is.

PS:  I'LL be the fourth judge.   ;D 

      Between 1921 - 1928, slapstick comedy saw its greatest era.  Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd made their great feature films in this period.  Between 1934 - 1946, The Three Stooges made a greater batch of comedy films than any other slapstick or stage based comedians of their era.  They did this in the genre of short films.  Both events go a long way in offering some historical perspective over why The Three Stooges were indeed best off in short films.
      If you've seen the silent features of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd, you'll know what wonderful comedies they are.  They are character based comedies with heart that told a story and had very creative gags.  All three stars had creative control over their films and worked with a regular group of writers and gag men.  These films were made by men who specialized in slapstick comedy and were masters of their craft.
      The Three Stooges, while not necessarily auteurs like Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd, happened to be three very funny men who also worked with specialized comedy gag men and writers.  Like the creative teams of the silent clowns, the Columbia Comedy Shorts department was also a tightly knit group who knew how to make great comedy films, except they did so in only short films. 
      The Columbia Comedy Shorts Department had creative control because Harry Cohn did not think these films were important enough to interfere with creatively.  To him, they were merely filler on the bottom of the bill, not money makers.  Feature films were where the money was at, and by 1934, the studios have completely taken over the creative process of film making.  This worked well in some genres, but not in slapstick comedy.  Films were now churned out by the studios in a factory like manner, not made by men who actually specialized and cared about slapstick comedy.  This is why in the MGM Marx Brothers films and early Abbott and Costello features, you have the boneheaded moves of throwing musical numbers and generic boy-girl love stories in the midst of funny comedy routines.  It completely breaks the flow of the films, and sadly, we would've witnessed the same practices with The Three Stooges.
      The only outlet The Three Stooges had to make such high caliber films between 1934 - 1946 was with the Columbia shorts department, and therefore it is best they never regularly made features.  It has nothing to do with how funny they were and everything to do with how Hollywood made slapstick comedy during their era.  If they did make features, there'd probably be enough funny scenes to fill a compilation or two in the 60's, but not great overall films.   
      By the way, Moe, Larry, and Curly did make a b-level feature film known as ROCKIN' IN THE ROCKIES.  The result?  Moe was separated from the team and we got singing cowboys and a sappy love interest.  I rest my case.           
 


Excellent essay. This is exactly the same position I took when I read this debate topic, and the same historical and artistic perspective with the 'golden age' of slapstick.

Funny, if Harry Cohn did believe in hampering the creativity of the comedy shorts, we may have never even seen the Stooges!
Mar-Jean Zamperini
"Moe is their leader." -Homer Simpson

Offline metaldams

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Re: The Master Debates III: Should Moe, Larry and Curly Have Made Movies?
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2009, 09:59:33 AM »
Excellent essay. This is exactly the same position I took when I read this debate topic, and the same historical and artistic perspective with the 'golden age' of slapstick.

Funny, if Harry Cohn did believe in hampering the creativity of the comedy shorts, we may have never even seen the Stooges!

Thank you Mar-Jean.
"Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job." - George Carlin