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Offline Shemp_Diesel

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Shemp....
« on: August 07, 2014, 11:34:34 AM »
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  • I apologize in advance if this subject has been brought up before--but I did a search and couldn't find anything, so here I go...


    Since the weekly episode discussions have a lot of us talking about the stooges again, I wanted to throw out the question: How long have you been a Shemp fan; or maybe I should ask, when did you first start to like Shemp?

    My own personal experience, from watching the stooges; I liked Shemp pretty much from the very beginning as a young kid--I never looked at Shemp as being inferior in anyway to the great Jerome Howard. As I've said before on other websites, there's more than one way to be funny--Curly had his way and Shemp had his own unique style.

    But I know from reading other people's comments on various message boards and the back issues of the Journal, that an appreciation of Shemp came at a later stage in life--so when did your love of Shemp begin...


    Now you ask me if I believe a man can become a wolf. Well, if you mean can he take on the physical characteristics of an animal, no, it's fantastic. However, I do believe that most anything can happen to a man in his own mind.

    Offline Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #1 on: August 07, 2014, 11:54:47 AM »
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  • As soon as I started heavily checking out Stooges films about 7 years ago.
    "Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day." -- Samuel Goldwyn

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    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #2 on: August 07, 2014, 04:55:38 PM »
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  • Good topic.  It's funny, because when I was in the shower this morning, you know, the place where you have your deepest thoughts, I was thinking that it will be about 6 or 7 months before we get to Shemp.  As much as I'm looking forward to talking about a lot of the upcoming Curly shorts, I'm really looking forward to FRIGHT NIGHT and beyond.

    As a kid, I liked Shemp, but nowhere near as much as Curly.  I lost touch with the boys as a teen, and my first step getting back in my early twenties was a VHS tape with the four PD shorts.  I was initially disappointed only one Curly to three Shemps, but I quickly didn't mind as I learned to love the Shemp shorts.  I have no preference between the two, but find hardcore Stooge fans who post on message boards tend to enjoy both, maybe Shemp a little more.  It's the general public who like Curly more.  You'll find this exact same phenomenon with Black Sabbath singers, Ozzy being Curly and Dio Shemp.
    "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 Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #3 on: August 07, 2014, 05:03:41 PM »
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  • Yes, the "Shemp army" appears to be pretty big on the internet, but as far as the general public at large is concerned, I think Shemp is still looked upon as being in Curly's shadow.

    It reminds me of something that happened to me in a public library years ago, while browsing some 3 stooges site, I had a picture of Moe, Larry and Shemp up on the screen; a guy walks by and says "Oh, the stooges" then he takes a look at the picture and in a disappointed tone says "Oh, it's Shemp" then walks off....  :-\
    Now you ask me if I believe a man can become a wolf. Well, if you mean can he take on the physical characteristics of an animal, no, it's fantastic. However, I do believe that most anything can happen to a man in his own mind.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #4 on: August 07, 2014, 05:09:06 PM »
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  • Yes, the "Shemp army" appears to be pretty big on the internet, but as far as the general public at large is concerned, I think Shemp is still looked upon as being in Curly's shadow.

    It reminds me of something that happened to me in a public library years ago, while browsing some 3 stooges site, I had a picture of Moe, Larry and Shemp up on the screen; a guy walks by and says "Oh, the stooges" then he takes a look at the picture and in a disappointed tone says "Oh, it's Shemp" then walks off....  :-\

    Well, the good news for Shemp is because of guys like the one you ran into at the library, he dodged the Farrelly treatment!
    "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 JazzBill

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #5 on: August 07, 2014, 05:24:01 PM »
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  • Here's how it went for me. I was a kid in the late 50's when the boys started airing in Chicago. I would go home after school and turn the Stooges on. If it was a Curly short I would sit and watch it. If it was a Shemp short I'd probably watch it unless there was something  better to do. If it was a Besser short I would turn off the TV and go play outside. I never gave Shemp much credit till I was an adult and started paying more attention to him. Then one day it hits and I said to myself, this Shemp guy is really pretty funny. I now believe some of Shemps shorts stand up to some of Curlys best.   
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    Offline Giff me dat fill-em!

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #6 on: August 08, 2014, 01:28:44 PM »
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  • Being the recently converted from Shemp fan ... I took Shemp's corner early in my TS.net days ... (WAY way back before 2002). But since then I can say that a Curly episode should be the first one any new Stooge fan sees ... that was their essence, nothing can replace the Curly we love and cherish ... Shemp however was in the original DNA of the Moe-Larry-Curly incarnation, and as such had just as successful a stint with Moe and Larry as Curly did ... its just that Curly's childish antics outshined Shemp's and Moe's most vivid slapstick dreams ... may I revise my status to a "Stooge" fan ... I love 'em all, even Larry, the punching bag for Moe!
    The tacks won't come out! Well, they went in ... maybe they're income tacks.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #7 on: August 15, 2014, 12:48:13 AM »
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  • Short answer: 1961.  For some reason, the station in Boston that ran the stooges almost from the beginning ( WNAC, I think, channel 7 ) ran the good Shemps for at least a year, maybe two, before the remakes and the clip-fests started showing up.  The good Shemps were as funny as the Curlys, so, though we kids wondered where the Hell he came from, and what the Hell his name was ( Shep?  In 1961, TV was so primitive that their names were cut off at the bottom of the opening credits - it took us a while as well  to figure out that his name was Curly and not Puddinhead, or Chowderhead, or whatever ), we didn't have a problem with him, and my father, a middlin' stooge fan, told us that Shemp was Curly's replacement, so we weren't in the dark for long.  It was somewhat later that the garbage started showing up, so my Shemp experience is probably the opposite of most: liked him fine to begin with, then things got worse and worse.  Then came the Bessers, at which point we all said, My God, they've stopped even trying, the same reaction you all had except thirty years earlier.  ( It's hard to believe the Bessers were only five or six years old when I first saw them. )   Mind you, this whole drama happened before I hit junior high.  We also learned that the good Shemps have "The Three Stooges" written in script in the opening credits, and the bad ones have printing.  The theme music changes too, but I think that's a little later.  If you saw the printing, it was time to go do some homework.


     

    Offline Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #8 on: August 15, 2014, 06:29:38 AM »
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  • Yes, the "Shemp army" appears to be pretty big on the internet, but as far as the general public at large is concerned, I think Shemp is still looked upon as being in Curly's shadow.

    It reminds me of something that happened to me in a public library years ago, while browsing some 3 stooges site, I had a picture of Moe, Larry and Shemp up on the screen; a guy walks by and says "Oh, the stooges" then he takes a look at the picture and in a disappointed tone says "Oh, it's Shemp" then walks off....  :-\
    Shemp is so underrated.

    One guy I work with is a Stooges fan, but he says "Curly only. No Shemp, no Joe." (I think he has trouble remembering that there were two Joes.)

    But Shemp is my favorite Stooge, and I don't have a problem with Joe. What I mainly don't like about shorts with them is the low budgets and all the recycling.

    I have to wonder what shorts have even been watched by people who don't like Shemp.
    "Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day." -- Samuel Goldwyn

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    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #9 on: August 15, 2014, 08:20:48 AM »
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  • Reading all this, it makes me wonder if a book about Shemp will ever be written? One day soon, before I'm gone from this mortal coil....


    Now you ask me if I believe a man can become a wolf. Well, if you mean can he take on the physical characteristics of an animal, no, it's fantastic. However, I do believe that most anything can happen to a man in his own mind.

    Offline Svengarlic

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #10 on: August 16, 2014, 11:19:00 AM »
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  • Shemp is so underrated.
    I have to wonder what shorts have even been watched by people who don't like Shemp.
     
     
    I can tell you that the first time I saw Shemp in the Killer Watson/Chopper Caine episode all I could think was "where's Curly?!!" But later I warmed up to him. What if it had been Curly that replaced Shemp in the Columbia shorts? Would Shemp be regarded as the favorite Stooge? And what if there had been no Larry?


     

    Offline PresidentWardRobey

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #11 on: August 17, 2014, 05:57:53 AM »
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  • For me, it took awhile to like Shemp and looking back on it, I think it was mainly due to lack of exposure more than anything else.  When I first started watching as a kid, most of the shorts they showed on TV were "Curlies".  Very few "Shemps" and on a rare occasion, a "Joe".  And I agree with Desmond about the recycling of material -- I can recall being disappointed and thinking "I've seen this already" or "I like Curly's version better" -- as a kid , you really don't know any better.  However, as I got older and started getting more into learning about the Stooges (watching, reading, etc.), my appreciation of their individual styles grew.  I still feel that I have a bias towards Curly as my favorite over Shemp, but it's more of a 1 and 1A ranking now rather than the 1 and a distant 2nd that it was when I first started watching.

    Offline Svengarlic

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #12 on: August 17, 2014, 01:15:38 PM »
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  • Welcome Mr. President!  [pie]

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #13 on: August 21, 2014, 05:11:38 PM »
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  • Since this is Shemp-related, I think this is the appropriate place to ask this question--What are the chances Shemp's 3 Monogram films with Billy Gilbert and Maxie Rosenbloom ever get released for public consumption?

    I think those 3 films are all that's left from the Shemp filmography that I haven't seen?
    Now you ask me if I believe a man can become a wolf. Well, if you mean can he take on the physical characteristics of an animal, no, it's fantastic. However, I do believe that most anything can happen to a man in his own mind.

    Offline Svengarlic

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #14 on: August 21, 2014, 06:00:53 PM »
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  • Since this is Shemp-related, I think this is the appropriate place to ask this question--What are the chances Shemp's 3 Monogram films with Billy Gilbert and Maxie Rosenbloom ever get released for public consumption?

    I think those 3 films are all that's left from the Shemp filmography that I haven't seen?
    Maxie was in a 30's short? Before he quit boxing? 


    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #15 on: August 21, 2014, 06:12:46 PM »
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  • Svengarlic, unless I'm missing something, the 3 films I'm referring to were full-length features made in the mid to late 1940s. I'm sure if you browse Shemp's filmography on the main site you will find more info....
    Now you ask me if I believe a man can become a wolf. Well, if you mean can he take on the physical characteristics of an animal, no, it's fantastic. However, I do believe that most anything can happen to a man in his own mind.

    Offline JazzBill

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #16 on: August 21, 2014, 11:07:57 PM »
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  • the 3 films I'm referring to were full-length features made in the mid to late 1940s.
    I have some bootleg copies I bought at the fan club meeting a few years ago. Unfortunately I don't know how to copy dvds, I tried to find a company that would make some copies for a friend here at TS.net but had no luck.
    "When in Chicago call Stockyards 1234, Ask for Ruby".

    Offline Shemp_is_Awesome78

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #17 on: December 10, 2014, 04:27:13 PM »
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  •  Well, I recall seeing Curly when I was about 6 or 7, and same with Shemp. I always liked Shemp better because I felt he was unique in his own way. Y'know, sometimes, you're watching a " Curly ", and you just start getting a little annoyed at how much times he says, " WOO WOO WOO" or " N'yuk n'yuk n'yuk". However, Shemp doesn't have as much catchphrases as Curly, so you don't get as easily annoyed at Shemp. That was my philosophy THEN.
      My philosophy when I grew a little bit older was that Shemp had to step in for Curly, and it wasn't his fault. He still did a very good job, except he could never replace THE late, great Curly Howard. At that time, I felt Curly was better because I had grown out of that catchphrase philosophy.
      My philosophy NOW is that Shemp had his own style of doing things, and Curly had his own style. Short and simple. Now, we need some humor in this philosophy message. A pie. A pie? [pie] That's better. Now, where's Moe? Where's Larry? Where's Curly?  [3stooges] Oh, right there. Wait, where's Shemp? Moe: You knucklehead, you! Curly: Yeah, mind your own business! ( all throw pies at me. I duck, and they hit Symona Boniface and Emil Sitka, which turns this message into an all-out pie fight.)
    Abbottt: Stop smoking in here, Costello!
    Costello: What makes you think I'm smoking?
    Abbott: You have a cigar in your mouth!
    Costello: I got my shoes on, but I'm not walking!

    Offline stoogerascalfan62

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #18 on: December 12, 2014, 09:37:04 AM »
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  • As long as I've been following the Stooges.

    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #19 on: December 12, 2014, 12:03:57 PM »
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  • I only started watching the Stooge when I was in my thirties. Of course, I had known of them since childhood, but only in a vague way: I did not know which one was called which, I did not know that the names that they used as characters were their own real names, and I did not know that different actors had occupied what I eventually learned to call the role of "Third Stooge." I got to know Shemp and Curly as I figured out who and what the Stooges were and what they did. I did not start out with any idea that the combination Moe-Larry-Curly had any sort of priority over the combination Moe-Larry-Shemp: I just saw, at first, that there were some shorts with Curly and some with Shemp. And for a long time, I preferred the latter for an entirely idiosyncratic reason.

    Even before I had learned that Shemp, Moe, and Curly were brothers, in that order of birth, Moe's treatment of Curly struck me as an exaggerated version of a tyrannical older brother's treatment of his younger brother. Having myself grown up under the tyranny of an abusive older brother, I found this sometimes painful to watch. It was not the physical abuse itself, which for the most part I found hilarious, that bothered me but rather Curly's impotent reactions to it, such as grabbing Moe's arm with both hands and agitating it while making a noise of anger and frustration or waving his hand in the air in front of him but not daring to retaliate with violence because Moe will always do worse to him. (There are, of course, exceptions to this, most of them collected in a thread that I started under the title "Revenge on Moe!") That impotent anger and the humiliation of being unable to retaliate was just too familiar to me to be funny. For a long time, I preferred the shorts with Shemp simply because Shemp did not occupy this same sort of inherently humiliated position.

    Over time, though, I got used to the status quo between Moe and Curly, and also developed an appreciation of Shemp and Curly both as characters in their own right. I like to say, only about three-quarters jokingly, that Shemp brings a certain suavity to Stooge humor. He doesn't do as much as Curly, but he is more humanly believable. I now grant that Curly works better with Moe than Shemp does, because Moe's violent tyranny is much freer in his treatment of his little brother than in his treatment of his big brother. But I find Shemp's interactions with inanimate objects (ironing boards, cameras, etc.) and non-Stooge humanity (women and tough guys) funnier than Curly's. And I think that Shemp has the funniest howls of pain of any of the Stooges.

    I don't say that Shemp is any "better" a Third Stooge than Curly—just that he's more my kind of Stooge.

    Offline Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #20 on: December 12, 2014, 02:13:13 PM »
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  • I can tell you that the first time I saw Shemp in the Killer Watson/Chopper Caine episode all I could think was "where's Curly?!!"
    I personally find it hard to imagine Curly being in FRIGHT NIGHT instead of Shemp. I can't imagine Moe saying "There goes Curly with a haymaker! There goes Curly!", or Curly being the one doing the "little brother this high" bit.
    "Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day." -- Samuel Goldwyn

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    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #21 on: December 12, 2014, 05:42:44 PM »
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  • I like both Curly and Shemp pretty equally.  Curly was better at the slapstick, but Shemp was better at the verbal.  I am pretty much a fan of not-Joe-or-Curly-Joe.
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    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #22 on: December 12, 2014, 08:49:25 PM »
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  • Paul Payne, your last sentence is enigmatic.

    Offline Seamus

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #23 on: December 13, 2014, 07:49:38 AM »
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  • Over time, though, I got used to the status quo between Moe and Curly, and also developed an appreciation of Shemp and Curly both as characters in their own right. I like to say, only about three-quarters jokingly, that Shemp brings a certain suavity to Stooge humor. He doesn't do as much as Curly, but he is more humanly believable. I now grant that Curly works better with Moe than Shemp does, because Moe's violent tyranny is much freer in his treatment of his little brother than in his treatment of his big brother. But I find Shemp's interactions with inanimate objects (ironing boards, cameras, etc.) and non-Stooge humanity (women and tough guys) funnier than Curly's. And I think that Shemp has the funniest howls of pain of any of the Stooges.

    This pretty much nails my thoughts on Curly versus Shemp.  Watching Shemp's Vitaphone shorts for the first time this year convinced me that Shemp is every bit as talented as Curly (not that I needed any convincing on that score), but his style of comedy worked best outside the Stooge format.  As you said, he was more verbal.  One of the delights of his solo work is watching him ad-lib those little Popeye-like asides during a scene.  He did this constantly (more so in his younger days with Vitaphone than with the Stooges), and it showed what a spontaneous and creative performer he was.  No wonder he intimidated Lou Costello whenever he made an appearance in an A&C movie.

    And his slapstick chops - in his pre-Stooge days anyway - rivaled Curly's in my opinion, it was just a different approach.  Compare the scene of Shemp stuffing a turkey in PEACH OF A PAIR with the same scene done by Curly in ACHE IN EVERY STAKE.  Shemp unequivocally blows Curly out of the water (good example of your assertion that Shemp is better with inanimate objects).

    And unlike Curly (or any of the other Stooges for that matter), Shemp's slightly more down-to-earth characterization and dominant personality gave him the power to carry a short on his own.  Shemp is great as the third Stooge and I'll always love the Shemp-era Stooge shorts, but his comedy style wasn't really designed to work within the context of the Stooge's face-slapping eye-poking format, and it feels a little awkward seeing Shemp take the submissive role under Moe.  I'd rather see Shemp take a hit from an attractive woman than from Moe.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Shemp....
    « Reply #24 on: December 13, 2014, 08:44:26 AM »
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  • You guys in general have some wonderful observations of Shemp, and they're much more intelligent than mine.  Part of the problem is doing this weekly review thing, I have been very strict with this one short a week viewing, so it probably has been a year and a half to two years since I've seen a Shemp Stooge short!  I don't exactly have a fresh perspective. Needless to say, I'm going to be really antsy the days leading up to FRIGHT NIGHT!

    Concerning the Vitaphones, I do have to say there was a short or two where I found Shemp's character to be a bully, almost like he was playing the Ted Healy role.  It was a little off putting, but that's only a short or two.  I do like the observation, Seamus, of Shemp's asides being Popeye like.  I never thought of it that way before, but you're absolutely correct.

    You know, there are still a few of those Joe Palooka shorts I haven't gotten around to yet.  I think I'll watch them today.

    Oh, and as far as Hugo's observation that Shemp reacts better with women, that is something I will look for.  Still, with Curly, think of that thing he does when he meets a pretty girl, takes his hand, and kind of rubs/tickles under her chin (as an example, he does this to Joe Palma, dressed as maid, in IF A BODY MEETS A BODY).  Think about how bizarre that behavior is, especially to a stranger.  Funny stuff.
    "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

     


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