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Offline shemps#1

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TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« on: May 09, 2009, 09:49:39 PM »
Welcome one and all to the fifth and final (?) installment of The Master Debates.

Topic: If Shemp had never left The Three Stooges would they still be remembered today?

Taking the position that they would be remembered: TMD newcomer stooged and confused
Taking the position that they would not be remembered: the bridesmaid to metaldams' bride, Giff me dat fill-em

Judges:
Dunrobin (the boss man)
metaldams (TMD I and III winner)
xraffle (TMD II winner)
WhyIOughta (TMD IV winner)

Format
The participants have until May 18 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

stooged and confused

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2009, 12:27:46 AM »
Would the Three Stooges still be remembered if Shemp never left the team? Of course they would.

One only has to look at their body of work to realize that their place in comedy history would be secure.

Shemp was a hit with the Boys and Ted Healy on the stage and when he made those classic shorts with Moe and Larry for Columbia, the answer should be as clear as every bump on Shemp's face.

Considering that many who worked with them site Shemp as being the most naturally funny of the Stooges, only goes to validate what we Stooge fans knew all along.

Author Ron Geraci, in his great article " Which Stooge Are You?" , wrote of Shemp: "Shemp had the ideal Stooge type personality--the lovable Moe. He wasn't a moron like Curly or a slap dummy like Larry. The guy returned eye pokes, seduced women and occasionally told Moe to go service himself in 1940's terms. How could you not love a guy like that?"

The Stooges, with Shemp, were honored with the Laurel Award for top two reelers for several years in a row.

Edward Bernds has said, "I consider the Stooges comedies I did with Shemp as the best of the bunch I did."

And if Stooge director Edward Bernds' comments about Shemp aren't enough for you, just look to the members of this site. There is more anticipation for Volume Six than any of the sets released thus far.

So, the question being: "Would the Three Stooges still be remembered if Shemp never left the team"? You have all answered that already. The teaming of Moe, Larry and Shemp are still remembered, and fondly so.

I sum up the appeal of Shemp like a bottle of fine wine. He just gets better with age.

Offline Giff me dat fill-em!

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2009, 06:28:20 AM »
Woob-woob-woob-woob!! … Rrruff! Rrruff!! … (that wonderful turkey gobble) … (the horizontal Curly Shuffle)

   What would the world be like without these comedic gems? A world of Moe, Larry and Shemp in a less than desirable state of affairs. As far as the premise of this debate is phrased, “If Shemp had never left The Three Stooges would they still be remembered today?” I would be remiss if I said they would not EVER be remembered, (the internet harbors sites that remember anything and everyone) but their memorials would be in a MUCH more minor context than they enjoy today. The reasons for this argument are as follows:

   Curly was the attraction, the superstar, the curiosity, the draw, the deliverer of great moments for our boys. And Jules White was quick to make Curly the star, giving him an entire sequence to himself with a beer and an angry clam in the chowder, to site a single instance of Jules’ genius. Would he have designed such a sequence with Shemp (or maybe Larry)? I think not. Moe, Larry and Shemp were a cohesive team that worked very well together, as most of the MLS shorts attest. Their comedy was best served together, and they were marvelous at it. But cohesiveness does not make one particularly memorable. Shemp is my personal favorite Stooge, but Curly was the one who put the Stooges at the top of the comedy charts. Without his input, our boys would have had a successful career, and their comedy would have been timely, but not timeless.
   As a “what if”, let’s take the sequence in “Sing a Song of Six Pants” in which Shemp tries to iron the extremely curled up pair of pants. (Jules was no dummy, he tried to recreate the “Curly moments” even without Curly.)  This sequence can only exist in our most passionate ‘Curly’ dreams, but one can easily imagine a much more hilarious sequence than was performed (very well, I might add) by Shemp.
   This brings me to the nub of my argument – would there be such fervor to make a Three Stooges movie without the influence of Curly? As a died-in-the-wool Shemp fan, I say no way. Without Curly our boys would have been a famous comedy team of the past, and no more. As far as the internet public is concerned, there is no doubt that in a world of only Moe, Larry and Shemp, they would have their dedicated websites and such, but I feel that these sites would get far fewer hits than the current one that includes Curly.
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Offline WhyIOughta

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2009, 11:11:12 AM »
Just dropping a thought in at this point, that has no bearing on the outcome of this particular debate -- After reading these two debate arguments, one thing immediately becomes clear to me.  THESE DEBATES must NOT stop.  I really don't care if the same six-to-ten posters are involved in the process at this moment in time -- It may just keep the process alive for future members-to-be to pick up the gauntlet later on...OK, rant over, continue.......

xraffle

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2009, 11:53:29 AM »
I've read both arguments and I haven't come to a decision yet. Hopefully, I'll have one once the rebuttals are posted. If not, then I may have questions. ;D

stooged and confused

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2009, 02:13:59 PM »
Here's my rebuttal to Giff:

The question stated for this debate is "If Shemp had never left the act".....so for the purpose of this debate, we must assume there would be no Curly; no N'yuk N'yuk's; no shuffle; no spinning on the floor. If Shemp had never left, we'd have no Curly. With that said, he must be wiped out of our minds for this debate and the work of Moe, Larry and Shemp must stand without comparison.

In my argument, I never mentioned Curly (sans a quote from an author). The fact that my opponent sites Shemp as his favorite does little to support his argument for the other side. This debate must be judged on Shemp's contribution to the Stooges without any comparison to Curly, for he would not be a part of the equation had Shemp never left. His work must be viewed on its own with no comparing "eeps" to "N'yuks".

The shorts would have kept the Boys alive because the prime Shemp years had the same ingredients: fast pacing; cartoon violence; lightning timing; those great sound effects and numerous classic bits: Shemp screaming "My neeeeck" in "Fuelin' Around"; his pantomime with the idol guarding the box with all those hands in "Hula La La"; the slap fest with Christine in "Brideless Groom"; the Shemp shuffle (cop a sneaker, eh) and those faboosh "eep eeps"--JUST TO NAME A FEW.

My opponent says they were "cohesive". They were far more than that. Hey, he even states in his argument that "Shemp is my personal favorite." As Archie Bunker himself would say, "Case closed."

The debate is "If Shemp had never left the act", so Giff's "what if" scenario is a moot point. If he never left the act, there would be no Curly to compare with...you'd never miss him because he wouldn't have been there in the first place. The M/L/S Columbia shorts were funny in their own right, and when they would have been sold to TV in the late 50's, they would have been a hit on their own. Shemp shorts have more than enough laugh out loud moments( and, for the most part, better story structure) and trademarks to remain in the popular culture.

I'll say it once again, how many of you can't wait to get your hands on Volume 6...an ALL SHEMP set?!

Offline Giff me dat fill-em!

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2009, 10:14:41 PM »
I submit no rebuttal. Any words I might use would all be considered conjecture, since I can find no concrete evidence for my stance, as S&C sites Shemp episodes to support his notions. Soup to Nuts was a flick that was not our boys best effort, and could be labeled forgettable. I can only state that without the fantastic jump to stardom that Curly gave them, our boys would have a difficult time making up for that deficit, and arrive at a point in which their celluloid contributions would be worthy of watching more than once.
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xraffle

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2009, 10:46:57 PM »
Here are my questions.

S&C: You mentioned that Edward Bernds considers the Stooges comedies he did with Shemp as the best of the bunch that he directed. Keep in mind that Edward Bernds didn’t start working with the stooges until 1945, when Curly’s health was failing. If Bernds started to work with the stooges around 1935, when Curly was in good health, do you think he still would’ve felt that the Shemp shorts he directed were the "best of the bunch?" If yes, then why?

Giff: You mentioned that Moe, Larry and Shemp’s comedy was best served together and they were marvelous at it. But then you say that cohesiveness does not make it particularly memorable. Why not? What exactly did Curly have that Shemp didn’t?

stooged and confused

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2009, 11:53:56 PM »
Good question, X. While it is true that Edward Bernds began working with the Stooges during Curly's decline, there were bright spots ("Three Little Pirates" and "Micro Phonies" comes to mind). But good or bad health, Bernds was familiar with Curly's catalog and STILL considered Shemp to be the most naturally funny of the two. I could easily see Shemp doing the Maha routine (the little bit he jumbled off in "Studio Stoops" is a riot). Truth is, many of the later Curly shorts just weren't as good structurally... "Monkey Businessmen", "Three Loan Wolves", "Uncivil Warbirds" (to name a few) were weaker films regardless of Curly's health.  Some of his early efforts suffered due to ill pacing. And Bernds was NOT the only one who has sited Shemp as a standout. Sam White and Phil Silvers said the same thing.

Shemp had a natural chemistry (on his own or with Moe and Larry) and I could see laughing with Shemp in shorts like "Pardon My Scotch", "Pop Goes The Easel" etc. Let's face it...funny is funny and he had the chops to carry those films as well.

Giff mentions that "Soup To Nuts" was forgettable, but I stiil wonder how the Stooges got past 'Woman Haters" to make more shorts as that title was not that well received or considered memorable by most.

stooged and confused

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2009, 12:22:30 AM »
Oh yeah, and Quentin Tarrantino said, "Shemp was just as good at taking his place." So, there you go.

Offline metaldams

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2009, 10:47:00 AM »
STOOGE AND CONFUSED:  The main question is with Shemp staying in the act the whole time and no Curly involved, would the boys be remembered.  To me, this has little to do with artistic credibility because there are other funny comedians of the era people don't remember.  From your personal experiences, outside of Three Stooges boards and conventions, what do you gather the general public's perception of Shemp to be?

GIFF: If I think of a question for you, I'll ask later.

Offline Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2009, 11:55:13 AM »
GIFF: If I think of a question for you, I'll ask later.
"Don't Worry, We'll Think Of A Question"
"Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day." -- Samuel Goldwyn

Many would rather believe a lie because truth demands a response.

stooged and confused

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2009, 03:57:13 PM »
STOOGE AND CONFUSED:  The main question is with Shemp staying in the act the whole time and no Curly involved, would the boys be remembered.  To me, this has little to do with artistic credibility because there are other funny comedians of the era people don't remember.  From your personal experiences, outside of Three Stooges boards and conventions, what do you gather the general public's perception of Shemp to be?

GIFF: If I think of a question for you, I'll ask later.

I can only quote from my circle of friends who all love Shemp and think he's hilarious and don't laugh any less whether they hear "woo woo woo" or "eep eep eep." His shorts are funny and there are many of them. The fact that the shorts have the same feel, pacing, sound effects, supporting cast would have made them a natural in the late 50's for kids to cling to and take that fondness with them through the years as they grew up. I know quite a few who prefer Shemp over Curly or any of the other 3rd Stooges.

Offline Ectahoozis

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2009, 05:27:51 PM »
First post here...(really enjoy this site)  My 2 cents are thus: I think the stooges needed someone like Curley to get the ball rolling for them (childlike demeanor, physical style humor and obvious contrast look-wise from Larry & Moe) early on.  As soon as their popularity rose, bringing Shemp in after Curley had his stroke is akin to a relay race where the first runner set a really good pace, but the 2nd runner being faster than the first, took them all the way.  As correclty stated above, when Screen Gems re-released the shorts in the 50s, more children were drawn in by Curley.  All this to say, sadly I don't think they'd be where they are today had it not been for the mass appeal of Curley.
Shemp's funnier tho!

Offline Giff me dat fill-em!

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2009, 06:58:05 PM »
Here are my questions.

Giff: You mentioned that Moe, Larry and Shemp’s comedy was best served together and they were marvelous at it. But then you say that cohesiveness does not make it particularly memorable. Why not? What exactly did Curly have that Shemp didn’t?


There are cohesive teams that are not particularly memorable - Burns and Carlin, The Limeliters, and Mitchell & Petrillo to name a few. Moe, Larry and Shemp, in order to be writ large in people's memory, need a shtick more than just slap-shtick, more than just "eeps" alone can give.
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xraffle

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2009, 06:59:20 AM »
Wow! I almost forgot about this debate since it's been three days since someone posted here. Where is everyone? ;D

Offline Dunrobin

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2009, 07:53:09 AM »
I've been kind of busy, myself, but I also have been having trouble coming up with a good question for either side that hasn't already been asked.  I'm still somewhat torn on which way to decide - does anyone else have questions for the debaters?

xraffle

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2009, 08:36:18 AM »
Yeah, this is a difficult decision to make. But after reading through the arguments, rebuttals and the answers to my questions very carefully, I’ve finally reached a verdict. I will post it once it’s time.

Offline shemps#1

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2009, 09:55:14 AM »
Sorry guys, I've been dealing with a recurring eye injury the past couple of days and have needed to wear shades to go outdoors at night, much less look at the notebook screen.
"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: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2009, 12:04:32 PM »
We still need to wait for WhyIOughta's questions before we can proceed.

Offline WhyIOughta

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2009, 02:37:35 PM »
Wow, i'm having quite a hard time with this one.....This truly IS a tricky debate, as it asks all of us to go back in time, and consider how things might have developed in the history of the Three Stooges.  I'm glad it's not MY debate....   :P

Questions --

Fillem -- Discuss the idea of how much that things would have changed historically with just the original 3 Stooges appearing on film, with no roster changes -- Specifically, their now-perceived "level of rememberance," had only Shemp / Larry / Moe appeared in these shorts / films.  (How much DOES that change the team's place in history?)

S & C -- Yep, it looks like it's "Conjecture Day" at the ol' fan web site.......Shemp's extensive solo appearances in film history suggests to me that, had the 3-S stayed as just their original threesome,. they MAY have moved into feature films FAR earlier than they eventually did.  Careful, here, my friend, when you answer this question -- If this had in fact occured (the quicker jump OUT of shorts, and into feature-length films), how would this have changed the history of the 3-S as we now know it?

Offline Giff me dat fill-em!

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2009, 10:23:46 PM »
Wow, i'm having quite a hard time with this one.....This truly IS a tricky debate, as it asks all of us to go back in time, and consider how things might have developed in the history of the Three Stooges.  I'm glad it's not MY debate....   :P

Fillem -- Discuss the idea of how much that things would have changed historically with just the original 3 Stooges appearing on film, with no roster changes -- Specifically, their now-perceived "level of rememberance," had only Shemp / Larry / Moe appeared in these shorts / films.  (How much DOES that change the team's place in history?)

If I understand your question correctly, I could re-write it as such: ‘How much would have changed historically if it was just Moe, Larry and Shemp, as compared with their current popularity by virtue of the added talents of Curly?’

It’s my feeling that Moe, Larry and Shemp would have never achieved the “level of remembrance” that was Curly’s legacy. It was partly due to the high level of popularity Curly was responsible for that Shemp’s return to the team was as seamless as it was, as far as the public may have viewed the transition. Had he never left, and as such there would be no wonderful Curly-isms and the like, it would have become what we see on the screen now, with, as I mentioned before, Moe, Larry and Shemp as a very good comedy team that worked well together. But there are contemporaries of Moe, Larry and Shemp with those same credentials - and being good together or cohesive may not be enough to lodge the MLS team firmly in the public’s memory. Curly was the rocket ship that thrust the Stooges into high memorableness, and the Stooges with Shemp is the locomotive that does its job day after day, in a reliable and dependable pattern.
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stooged and confused

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2009, 01:14:04 PM »
I will answer the last question presented by WIO and then I'll wrap up my debate with a summary of all points/questions asked.

When Shemp was a solo performer, he was usually put in features as a supporting player and/or comic relief. If he had never left the act, as the question for this debate was worded, and the same path in history was to take place where they signed at Columbia, it is doubtful that Harry Cohen would have moved them to features.

Once again, the debate subject is: "If Shemp never left"...my opponent has not succesfully answered this question. As I stated before, for the purpose of this debate, we have to assume that Curly would never enter our minds because he would not have existed. So, the work of M, L and S in the shorts have to be judged on their own. They do hold up and they are fondly remembered. If you never heard a N'yuk before, you never would have missed it. All of the classic bits of the Stooges would remain in only Shemp shorts existing--all of the fast pacing; cartoon violence; more action and less "plot"; great sound effects; all of those Stoogeisms and snappy one liners. If "eeps" only existed along with Shemp's wise cracker character, you'd never miss the high squeaking and bark like a dog mannerisms of Curly. Just because chocolate ice cream was invented doesn't mean vanilla tastes bad. If you only knew from vanilla, you'd NEVER miss chocolate.

To prove my point further, how many film and TV franchises bit the dust when key characters were replaced or simply left? "News Radio" comes to mind--when Phil Hartman was gone and they replaced him with Jon Lovitz, it was never the same. When Ron Howard left "Happy Days," it sank like a stone.

However, when Shemp was re-introduced, they never skipped a beat. They continued their popularity. Even my opponent sites Shemp as his favorite. If we are going down the "compare" road, each 3rd Stooge had their classic and weak films. There are enough classic Shemp shorts to have cemented them in pop culture. If those were the only shorts running 5 days a week after school, then I know we'd still be rushing home to see them, and I did. The Stooges (with or without Curly) were the closest thing we saw that resembled live action cartoons. The 17 minute running times kept you focused and didn't lose steam with romantic sub plots and gooey, dated musical numbers.

So, WIO: I hope it doesn't seem like I'm brushing off your question, but for the purpose of this debate, we have to go with what unfolded (sans Curly). The shorts became their savior. Those numerous in-and- get-out 2 reelers helped cement them in history. The shorts were like great pop songs--repeated viewings made them all the more familiar to us and made them quotable. Had the Stooges made features, they would have most likey fallen into the same category as Abbott and Costello. And that would have happened with or without Curly. You'd remember classic bits (like A&C routines) but they wouldn't have been seen as often as the shorts, which fit better in the sitcomesque format.

But the debate is asking if history stayed the same and they went down the 2 reeler path at Columbia with ONLY Shemp, would they be remembered? And the answer is yes. All of you who have posted with excitement about Volume 6 have proven my point.

Offline shemps#1

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2009, 11:56:01 PM »
The floor is now open to any questions from the general public. The floor will be closed on 1am EST Wednesday.
"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 WhyIOughta

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Re: TMD V: The Final Chapter (?)
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2009, 12:59:37 AM »
Is that the buzzer I hear?