Soitenly
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Author Topic: Stooge props  (Read 3999 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

  • Birdbrain
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
  • Gender: Male
  • "Pleese! You zit!"
    • View Profile
Stooge props
« on: November 19, 2010, 09:35:23 PM »
Does anyone know anything about the construction of the props that the Stooges used for doing violence to each other---the crowbars, hammers, saws, chisels, monkey wrenches, pipes, broomsticks, pistols, rifles, and so on that they applied to each other's crania to such hilarious effect? (Just writing out that list of implements makes me laugh at the associated recollections. :D) There is one short in which Moe has hold of a baseball bat that is so obviously made of rubber that he has to hold it in two separate places to keep it from visibly bending, but that seems to me quite exceptional. In the great majority of cases, the various Stooge instruments of violence look to me very like the real thing. I am especially puzzled by the broom and mop handles that often go into Moe's mouth or eye before he retaliates against the perpetrator by rapping him on the forehead with them: I don't understand how a material can have sufficient rigidity for the trick without having enough mass and hardness to hurt the person who gets poked or struck with the instrument.

Offline Boid Brain

  • Birdbrain
  • ****
  • Posts: 579
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 11:52:01 PM »
Does anyone know anything about the construction of the props that the Stooges used for doing violence to each other---the crowbars, hammers, saws, chisels, monkey wrenches, pipes, broomsticks, pistols, rifles, and so on that they applied to each other's crania to such hilarious effect? (Just writing out that list of implements makes me laugh at the associated recollections. :D) There is one short in which Moe has hold of a baseball bat that is so obviously made of rubber that he has to hold it in two separate places to keep it from visibly bending, but that seems to me quite exceptional. In the great majority of cases, the various Stooge instruments of violence look to me very like the real thing. I am especially puzzled by the broom and mop handles that often go into Moe's mouth or eye before he retaliates against the perpetrator by rapping him on the forehead with them: I don't understand how a material can have sufficient rigidity for the trick without having enough mass and hardness to hurt the person who gets poked or struck with the instrument. 
This may be a job for the Mythbusters! Actually, I'm surprised that they haven't had some Stooge related tests.

But your guess is as good as mine on your question.

Offline TXShemp

  • Grapehead
  • *
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2010, 12:12:50 AM »
I am thinking they were mostly made of some very soft material, mesh or some type of rubber. The sound effects brought the Stooges to life. If you have seen them on a live show, there are either no sounds or the sound effects were done by a tech or musician, and not exactly on cue. Its very different than watching a short. The sound of hitting someone on the head with a broom handle would not actually have the sound of two iron skillets clanging together, for example. When you punch someone in the stomach, you shouldn't hear a bass drum either  :D
When you see fights in movies, punches are usually made more realistic with a punching type sound effect. Without this, and the right camera position, you could easily tell the guy taking the punch jerks his head in perfect sync as the other guys fist "almost" makes contact.

Offline TXShemp

  • Grapehead
  • *
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2010, 12:15:18 AM »
Also, in many Stooge films, when they hit someone with a hammer, you hear a loud bang or "dong." Then when they drop the tool you hear nothing  :D

Offline Boid Brain

  • Birdbrain
  • ****
  • Posts: 579
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2010, 12:44:24 AM »
I saw them at the Arena in St. Louis as the closing act of the circus. When Moe slapped, a guy would hit a cymbal! It was horrific....plus, they were old as hell. We told our G Mother it was OK to go and get a jump on the exiting crowd.

Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

  • Birdbrain
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
  • Gender: Male
  • "Pleese! You zit!"
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2010, 08:50:33 AM »
I am thinking they were mostly made of some very soft material, mesh or some type of rubber. The sound effects brought the Stooges to life. If you have seen them on a live show, there are either no sounds or the sound effects were done by a tech or musician, and not exactly on cue. Its very different than watching a short. The sound of hitting someone on the head with a broom handle would not actually have the sound of two iron skillets clanging together, for example. When you punch someone in the stomach, you shouldn't hear a bass drum either  :D

I can imagine that the heads of the hammers that they hit each other with were of rubber, but the crowbars and broom handles were clearly of a more rigid material.

Certainly the sound effects are crucial to the comedy. One of my favorite Stooge gestures is the head-conk (especially, of course, when preceded by the ritual brandishing of a fist and utterance of, "See that?" :D), but it would not be funny without the sound that they used for the impact.

I started the thread in the hope that somebody knew of an interview or an article somewhere that gave the inside story on these props. If not, then we are just left to speculate. I'm surprised that nobody ever asked the Stooges about it while they were alive.

Offline Boid Brain

  • Birdbrain
  • ****
  • Posts: 579
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2010, 10:21:52 AM »
Like you said: a soft rubber for the shots, and a stiffer one for the prods. Things that shatter are made of crystallized sugar that simulates glass. If painted it can be used for a number of other things: beer bottles, steins, even globes filled with chalk dust for a dictator to smash over his Field Marshall's head.

Offline TXShemp

  • Grapehead
  • *
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2010, 11:21:47 AM »
They called the breakaway bottles "candy glass."  You could eat it like candy, and I think its still used in some form. If you have ever seen Popeye with Robin Williams, Paul L Smith as Bluto is pissed and proceeds to eat his tea cup. I am sure that was some form of candy glass.

Offline TXShemp

  • Grapehead
  • *
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2010, 11:25:31 AM »
I saw them at the Arena in St. Louis as the closing act of the circus. When Moe slapped, a guy would hit a cymbal! It was horrific....plus, they were old as hell. We told our G Mother it was OK to go and get a jump on the exiting crowd.
Unfortunately, Moe passed away the year before I was born. I never got to see them in person. But I have seen recorded stuff like when they were on The Ed Wynn Show; some of the gags made no sense without the sound effects. Some of the timing was not coordinated just right either. Still, I have gave a standing ovation at the end if I had the chance to see them live.

Offline rmbolin

  • Porcupine
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2010, 06:32:12 PM »
I recently purchased a derby said to be worn by Shemp in "His Goose is Cooked", in 1952. The seller said he bought it from a man named Saul in Conoga Park, CA in the 1970's who worked with props on Stooges shorts, that was all the info he could provide. Has anyone ever heard of this "Saul" person? I bought the hat because I did not want to pass it up if it is real, any suggestions on how to authenicate this hat?

Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

  • Birdbrain
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
  • Gender: Male
  • "Pleese! You zit!"
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2010, 01:52:46 PM »
Here's another Stooge prop to wonder about: those filing cabinet drawers that Moe and others get banged on the head by. They certainly appear to be made of metal. It may be a normal metal drawer that Moe bangs the top of his head against in Hold That Lion (2:45 in the clip below), as that might not hurt very much if he's just hitting a flat metal panel. But look at 6:10 in the clip below from Hugs and Mugs, where Nannette Bordeaux opens a filing drawer squarely into the forehead of Kathleen O'Malley. That would seriously hurt if done with an unmodified metal drawer. But she is only struck by the handle, which could be made of some softer material.

[youtube=425,350]VYd42vdOb-k[/youtube]

[youtube=425,350]INHGUT92nTo[/youtube]

Offline Boid Brain

  • Birdbrain
  • ****
  • Posts: 579
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2010, 06:46:30 PM »
I had not seen that one in YEARS! I love it when the chicks get the business. :laugh:

Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

  • Birdbrain
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
  • Gender: Male
  • "Pleese! You zit!"
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2010, 07:08:32 PM »
I had not seen that one in YEARS! I love it when the chicks get the business. :laugh:
Yeah, it's more satisfying than Brideless Groom, where all the abuse goes in one direction, from the girls to the boys (who get clobbered without ever landing a single blow). The set-to between Shemp and Christine McIntyre, where he rips her lapels off and she retaliates by ripping off his sleeves, is a great moment---and it gets even better when she and Larry tear each other's hair out.  :D

Offline garystooge

  • Grapehead
  • Master Stooge
  • Puddinhead
  • ******
  • Posts: 311
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2010, 10:06:27 AM »
I recently purchased a derby said to be worn by Shemp in "His Goose is Cooked", in 1952. The seller said he bought it from a man named Saul in Conoga Park, CA in the 1970's who worked with props on Stooges shorts, that was all the info he could provide. Has anyone ever heard of this "Saul" person? I bought the hat because I did not want to pass it up if it is real, any suggestions on how to authenicate this hat?

That guy has been selling "Stooges" props and wardrobe for some time. Claims he got them from "the propmaster" who worked on the Stooges and "Our Gang" comedies.  Ignoring the fact that the two acts were shot at different studios or that props/costumes were generally not Stooge-specific but rather were part of the prop or wardrobe department's inventory, the fact that the seller can't authenticate them or even remember the alleged prop guy's last name speaks volumes.  If you were buying movie props with intentions of re-selling them down the road wouldn't you be sure to get something to help verify their authenticity for when you were ready to sell?
Gary

Offline Frank Rizzo

  • Porcupine
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2010, 10:30:43 AM »
They called the breakaway bottles "candy glass."  You could eat it like candy, and I think its still used in some form. If you have ever seen Popeye with Robin Williams, Paul L Smith as Bluto is pissed and proceeds to eat his tea cup. I am sure that was some form of candy glass.

I remember in one of the Stooges TV Specials (the one Alan Thicke hosted), there was a segment about how they went about making the props to clobber one another with, and Alan mentioned that the glass was made of "baked sugar" (another term for Candy Glass I reckon).

Offline TXShemp

  • Grapehead
  • *
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2010, 02:52:31 PM »
Christine McIntyre worked well with the Stooges because I've heard in interviews she was so lady-like you would never expect her to be in slapstick comedy. The classic cousin basil scene in Brideless Groom was shot several times and she was afraid to hit Shemp. Shemp coached her to let loose and really let him have it.

Offline simgershon

  • Porcupine
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2013, 09:48:13 PM »
To anyone who bought from this guy on ebay saying he has three stooges props form a person in Canoga Park.  Beware he is a fraud and so are his items!!

Offline ThumpTheShoes

  • Birdbrain
  • ****
  • Posts: 726
  • Gender: Male
  • Hot Dogs 10¢................... w/Muzzles 15¢
    • View Profile
Re: Stooge props
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2013, 02:25:28 PM »
You mean the one who sat and listened to the old prop master's stories for a full afternoon and left with a wealth of items.. None of which can he remember if were actually used on screen but, if pressed, he'll assure you that the items most certainly might have been used by someone during the production of some film or other...

Nah, he's good!  ;)
 [pie]
A jerk with a quirk may do the work. Or, a turk with a dirk may stick a clerk! Gut gesagt?