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Messages - Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

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Music That Sucks / Re: #9: Fleetwood Mac
« on: October 20, 2017, 02:25:55 PM »
I've always wondered who did the vocals for "Go Your Own Way" and "Second Hand News" and one or two other tracks.
Lindsey Buckingham, in both cases named.

Music That Sucks / Re: #35 Paul McCartney A.B. (After Beatles)
« on: July 13, 2017, 06:48:48 AM »
As one who's not a big fan of the Beatles' solo work, I only have one album by an ex-Beatle, and it's not one you'd probably guess: "Hayman's Green" by the Pete Best Band. It's actually quite a good album, though almost certainly not due much to Pete's involvement!

General Discussion / Re: The Worst Stooge Shorts There Never Were
« on: April 27, 2017, 08:00:48 AM »
Meanwhile, Sitka spends much of the episode wearing a geisha and white makeup.
I find this bizarrely easy to visualize.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962)
« on: January 09, 2017, 11:00:01 AM »
Once again the historical context provided by Big Chief is appreciated.

It's tough for me to find time to watch a whole feature in order to give a detailed review (which all of you might not want to read anyway), but I will say this: I got a kick out of the ending as well, particularly one line of Dimsel's which I think was "I didn't know Priscilla was married!" It implies that Dimsel has had a whole adventure of his own, which of course is left to the viewer's imagination.

General Discussion / Re: Actor's Names ... and all that
« on: December 20, 2016, 10:44:46 AM »
I realize that our boy's adopted the last name of "Howard" only because the decidedly English speaking public they were presenting themselves to could not say "Horowitz" in the proper Jewish dialect, or that it was just a mouthful of consonants, who knows what goes thru directoral and produceoral  minds. The same can be said for Larry Fine's name ... his was Feinberg. In his defense, I think he was just wanting to have his name be tripping easily off the tongue.
And I guess Joseph Wardell just thought his mother's maiden name sounded better.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Sappy Bull Fighters (1959)
« on: December 19, 2016, 09:58:02 AM »
Going out with a whimper rather than a bang...

This short -- like the Besser era in general, and like Joe himself -- just makes for too easy of a punching bag. But I'm not going to approach it that way.

Sure, this is an inferior remake of a short from the classic Curly era. The initial plot setup is lame and uninspired, both in writing and performance. Greta, whatever her physical attributes, gives a dull and flat performance. The shots of Joe "riding the bull" -- with a completely stationary background -- may be single the worst thing ever to happen in a Stooges short. We have Curly (or a dummy/stuntman for him) visible in various reused footage, and he's even briefly audible going "woo-woo-woo." The whole bullfighting segment, as someone has pointed out, wasn't that great to begin with, and it's certainly not improved upon here. Even the title is lame.

That said, Joe still manages to have some good moments, including:
"I'll go!"
"There isn't room in there for the both of us."
"Squeak squeak."

He also takes some abuse:
- gets eggs on face
- gets hit on head with suitcase
- gets an eyepoke (although he doesn't really act like this hurts)
- gets knocked on the head (along with Larry)
- gets hit on head with own hat
- gets hit on head with rock
- gets darts in the behind
- hits head on bar while being carried away

(He also does his one and only Stooges "bark" here, but someone earlier said this was lip-synched from Curly's. I wouldn't know.)

What Joe often gets criticized for, at least here, is not saying certain lines (especially the "haunt a house" exchange) the way Curly did. But this raises the question: Why would he say them the same way? He wasn't a Curly imitator; he was an original character (albeit one that had a hard time fitting in with the Stooges). Some fans say he "ruined" the old Curly lines; I say he often made them funny in a different way. I also say that he wouldn't be criticized that much about how he handled those lines if we hadn't heard Curly saying them first.

Take that "haunt a house" exchange. Curly was always portrayed a loony character who simply said and did loony things; his straight-faced, rapid-fire delivery of these lines was funny, and it fit his persona. Joe -- at least in this short -- is portrayed as a wise-cracker who enjoys getting under Moe's skin; his delivery of these lines, while it may not be quite as funny as Curly's, fits that persona. This is underscored by the way Larry busts up along with him afterwards, like one boy high-fiving the other for sassing the teacher. Joe doesn't "ruin" the lines; he just makes them fit his own character. The same is true of "Well, turn around -- I'll kiss her behind your back."

I have to say, when Joe does his own rendition of "I can't see! I can't see!" (with a nudge and a wink, differently from Larry) and then does the hand-in-Moe's-face bit ("oo-oo-oo-oo!!"), I feel like I'm seeing him -- however briefly -- being a valid part of some authentic Stooges chemistry. But then he does a version of "Oh, look!" that doesn't quite work (the "Oh, look!" should be what actually interrupts Moe's abuse, but it isn't) and the moment's gone... and I'm left wishing I could have seen more like it.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Triple Crossed (1959)
« on: December 10, 2016, 08:34:21 AM »
Now we're down to the last two Stooges shorts released, both of which are close remakes of shorts from better times. One has to wonder why these particular shorts were saved for last, long after the Stooges had been canned from Columbia. Maybe Columbia wasn't initially sure they'd even actually release all the shorts filmed by the Stooges, and a couple of the weaker entries were held until they'd decided to?
TRIPLE CROSSED is a remake of HE COOKED HIS GOOSE that adds little to the original; there is about as much new footage here as one would find in a Fake Shemp short. As such, TRIPLE is more pointless than anything.
Some things that put this short in the "Stooges Hall of Shame" along with the Fake Shemps:
- Shemp himself is glimpsed a few times (although one has to really pay attention to spot him).
- We get Connie Cezan unconvincingly playing the part of "Fake Mary," with back turned and face obscured.
- Moe doesn't show up in any new footage until just a few minutes before the end, and even then he doesn't appear in much of it.
- When Moe fires up the chimney (in old footage) where Joe is supposed to be (per new footage), we hear Shemp's yell from the original short. Clearly no one cared about getting things right at this point. (Of course, maybe they didn't dub in a Joe yell in post-production because the Stooges were long gone by the time there was any post-production.)
The new footage featuring Joe generally doesn't make the best use of him. His introductory scene with Angela Stevens isn't bad ("hit it with my car"), but it seems a bit out of place. The previous scene has Larry accusing Joe of being a "playboy," but when we first see Joe he basically looks like Elmer Fudd getting ready to hunt "wabbits."
Joe's scene in Larry's office is pretty good; the hanky gag is amusing, and it's interesting to see Joe dishing out some abuse to Larry here (as well as later on).
Joe's underwear modeling and his acting like Santa are also amusing in their own right (especially when he's unmasked, I mean unbearded, by Moe: "Merry Christmas. Merry- Merr- MeMeMeMe-"), but Shemp's corresponding bits in the original were funnier.
The best new part of the short, by far, is Moe and Larry's exchange at the end. ("I can't say philanderer!")
Joe doesn't take a lot of abuse here, especially with the Stooges' usual trio dynamic being absent; he just gets punched accidentally by Moe. He also accidentally hits himself in the chin with his suitcase when he opens it.
Atypically, this is one case where a latter-day Stooges remake arguably has a better title than the original.

I think there are many when, once past the opening credits, they don't use any names at all, aside from insults like Porcupine and  Puddinhead.
In that case, I guess I'm asking, "in which shorts does one or more of the Stooges go solely by a character name other than Moe/Larry/[third Stooge]?"

UNCIVIL WARRIORS: Operators 12, 14, and 15
RESTLESS KNIGHTS: Baron of Greymatter, Duke of Durham, Count of Fife
MATRI-PHONY: Curlyque, Mohicus, Larrycus
Good ones!

In A MERRY MIX-UP, not only were there Larry, Moe, and Joe, but also Luke, Morris, and Jeff, along with Louie, Max, and Jack.
Right, but this doesn't count because there were still Moe, Larry & Joe.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Oil's Well That Ends Well (1958)
« on: December 03, 2016, 08:45:23 AM »
This short has the distinction of featuring only the three boys, with no supporting actors, extras, or even multiple Stooge roles (a la SELF MADE MAIDS). Can you say "low budget"? It's a remake-but-not-really of OILY TO BED, OILY TO RISE, from which it uses a couple of plot elements and a little bit of footage. (Wait... does Curly in the old footage count as an "extra"?)
As Besser shorts go, this one is usually relatively well spoken of, as we've seen here. I think it may actually be a bit overrated. There really isn't a lot of chemistry between Joe and the others here, except for one notable part: the bed scene, where the boys truly function well as a trio.
Good Joe moments:
- "Maybe it gives chocolate flavor!" / "Tastes the same!"
- "Flattery will get you nowhere."
- Rapidly moves his finger in front of Moe's face. ("OooooooooooOOH!")
- Gets his leg in Moe's pajama pants.
- "You can't lift... a little me."
- "Oh, you're just saying that."
Joe takes the following abuse in this short: A nose flick (from Larry) that he oddly fails to react to; 2 eyepokes; a rock on the head; a smack on the head; and a double-slap (with Larry). He also gets smoke blown in his face (by Larry) and milk squirted in his face (by Moe).
Miscellaneous observations:
- Larry atypically plays the part of the "mean" Stooge, at least at the beginning. It's as if the writers were trying to pair Moe and Joe more than usual.
- It's lame that they didn't reshoot the part where Joe forgets a line ("He steals from everyone") and Moe has to say it for him.
- Watching this and OILY TO BED back to back, it's clear to me that the Besser era just can't be compared to classic Curly; it's two different worlds -- not just because of who the third Stooge is, but also the scripts, the budgets, and the team's overall energy. That said, Joe puts his own stamp on old lines like "it's bear-ly possible" and "I'm a successful cork"; to me, his rendering of the latter is actually funnier than Curly's. (Sorry, Percy.)
- Joe seems to be sitting quite still in the closeups of him on top of the "geezer," and it looks wrong.

Obviously, most Three Stooges shorts feature characters named Moe, Larry & Curly/Shemp/Joe. But not all of them.

In WOMAN HATERS, the characters are Tom, Jim & Jack.
In GOOFS AND SADDLES, the characters are Will Bill Hiccup, Just Plain Bill & Buffalo Billius.
In SWEET AND HOT, they're Dr. Hugo Gansamacher, Larry & Joe.

Are there any others?

(I'm disregarding feature films because they're another matter altogether, especially where the Stooges have brief cameos as unnamed characters. ROCKIN' IN THE ROCKIES may be worth a mention, though, with Moe being called Shorty Williams.)

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Flying Saucer Daffy (1958)
« on: November 30, 2016, 06:55:52 AM »
This is the last Stooges short filmed, but for whatever reason it wasn't the last one released. Given the split between Joe and the others, this kinds of plays as half Besser solo film and half "Two Stooges" outing.

What may be most remarkable about this one is the amount of abuse Joe takes. It's certainly the most he gets in any Stooges short. If one wanted to make the case that Besser really didn't avoid taking slapstick, at least in the long run, this would be the short to use. He gets:
- A cake in the face.
- Slammed with a door (off-camera).
- In quick succession (from Moe): 2 double-handed slaps, an eyepoke, a punch in the belly, and 3 nose flicks.
- A bottle broken on his head.
- In quick succession (from Auntie): 2 double-handed slaps, an eyepoke, a punch in the belly, and a kick in the rear (that puts his face into a punch bowl).
- A duck falling on his head.
- In quick succession: 2 punches in the belly (from Larry), a bop on the head (from Moe), and 2 simultaneous punches in the face (from Larry & Moe).

Note that this is the first short, in release order at least, where Joe takes an eyepoke.

At first Joe plays the "he-Cinderella" in a whiny and annoying manner, but as the short progresses he starts getting some good moments:
- Has no nuts to give the squirrel so he tosses it some chewing gum.
- "You do everything I tell you to."
- "Coming!" (crash!)
- Sneaks some money from the wheelbarrow as it gets pulled away.
- "Not so haaaard!" (after being pinched by himself)
- Loses everything that he's just wrapped in the blanket.

Some other good moments from the short:
- Auntie: "Water?! Don't ever do that to me again!"
- Moe accidentally lights his nose instead of his cigarette.
- Auntie lifts her diminutive date for a kiss.
- Moe: "Get us a lawyer! A cheap one!"
- The card given to Joe by the space girl: "Phone: Bleep-Bluep-Blop"

Miscellaneous observations:
- Like some other Besser-era shorts, this has a title that seems to have had no thought put into it.
- Joe's out of the blue "You're a doll!" makes no sense and is a big hiccup in the short. It's like something got missed so Joe just skipped to the next thing he remembered.
- Gail Bonney is great as Auntie. She's easily the fourth star of the short.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Sweet and Hot (1958)
« on: November 21, 2016, 06:34:36 AM »
is that really Besser with the fancy footwork. I'm suspicious whenever they do that cut away camera thing to focus on the performer's legs.
I wondered about that as well. He does seem to be tap-dancing in the long shot but the close-ups do seem potentially designed to create an illusion.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Sweet and Hot (1958)
« on: November 19, 2016, 01:39:27 PM »
Let's see... there's a female co-star that gets heavily focused on, songs that have not aged well, and the Stooges aren't quite themselves. That may sound like WOMAN HATERS, but it's actually SWEET & HOT – the short that even Joe Besser said was a stinker!

What's bad about this short mainly comes down to the fact that the Stooges are mere co-stars to one Muriel "Tiny" Landers. The lame plot is all about her, and she brings hokey songs and a really annoying "little girl" act. Without these things, and in a smaller part, she could possibly have made a decent supporting player. As it stands... ugh. The pained reactions of the animals to "Let's Fall in Love" are appropriate, while "The Heat is On" is even worse; but her "little girl" act is worst of all.

It also doesn't help that the Stooges don't play a trio here, and Moe (who doesn't show up until over 5 minutes in) isn't even himself. He does a good job playing a different character, although I'm left feeling that Benny Rubin would have been better for the part.

Given all this, the Stooges actually do pretty well. Having not watched this in a long time, I was surprised how many funny bits they had (though maybe these just seemed better in contrast to the bad stuff?):
Larry: "Prettier than a spotted heifer."
Moe: "My time is liniment!" (It would have been better if he hadn't followed this line by correcting himself.)
Moe: "I don't want to walk in, I just want to look."
Moe: "Nothing, I just thought of something funny."
Joe: "Watch your language!"
Moe: "Sodium penta... truth serum."
Larry: "Artificial? For what you charge, you give him the real thing!"
Joe: "Mother! Oh, it's YOU."
Moe: "A mice!"

Even more surprisingly, Joe takes quite his share of abuse. He gets sprayed by the churn, has a bottle broken on his head (by accident), gets elbowed in the chest (by Larry), bonks heads with Moe (as does Larry), gets yanked by the ear (by Larry), and gets knocked over by Tiny (along with Larry).

While the flashback scene is mostly painful, Moe does a convincing job playing another different character – albeit one that doesn't even try to be funny. It actually kind of makes me wonder how Moe would have done in a dramatic part.

Things I wonder about:
What is it that Larry gets on his face from the bucket on his head?
Why does Larry's additional character in the flashback have a different name (Louie), while Joe's is still called Joe?
Is Tiny's screeching of "Three Blind Mice" meant as a tribute/reference to the song being used as the Three Stooges' theme music?

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Pies and Guys (1958)
« on: November 14, 2016, 07:02:28 AM »
It simply makes no sense why they don't practice manners with real food
Since when do Stooges shorts have to make sense?

Speaking of the table manners scene, though, I'd like to add this: In the original Curly specifically mentions his dissatisfaction with the "make-believe food" (being, in effect, the child pointing out the naked emperor), but I think it's funnier here (and more in keeping with Stooges "logic") when Joe says "I don't know why, but I'm still hungry."

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Pies and Guys (1958)
« on: November 11, 2016, 12:13:00 PM »
This is the first Joe remake of a Curly short, and it doesn't vary a whole lot from the original. In contrast to what others will probably say, though, I consider this to be one of the better Joe remakes. In fact, while Stooge fans commonly assume "Curly great, Joe bad," I'd go so far as to say PIES AND GUYS actually improves on HALF WITS HOLIDAY in some respects – though not so much because of Joe, and not in the way one would think HOLIDAY could most easily be improved on.

There are two main areas where I see improvement. The first is in how Moe and Larry play their parts here in comparison to their original performances. I see it the most with Moe: his new line "they must be crooks," how he pantomimes eating a noodle, his "cultured" speech at the party ("...if I may be so pedantic").

The other area is in the overall pacing of the short. The table scene, especially, seems to flow much more smoothly here than in HOLIDAY.

Where HOLIDAY could really have been improved on, though, was in the ending, where it had no participation from the third Stooge. But here Joe is not included in the big pie fight like he could have been (barring the inevitable budgetary considerations); instead, he just gets pastry in the face in a couple of quick shots added in the middle of old footage. (If I recall correctly, he doesn't get hit with pies in any other Stooges short.)

One area where PIES clearly does not improve on HOLIDAY is its co-stars. Still, while Ted Lorch is great in the original and Milton Frome is inferior in the remake, I wouldn't say that the performances of Vernon Dent and Barbara Slater in the original are outstandingly good, or that those of Gene Roth and Greta Thyssen in the remake are outstandingly bad.

To judge poor Curly's performance in the original isn't really fair, of course; but, while he had his moments, for the most part he was (understandably) rather lifeless. And since this was not one of Curly's great Stooges roles, Joe seems to be able to step into it without too much difficulty, even adding a little energy to it in the process. He does some new things and also handles some re-done things well:
- "I never ate one of those."
- Jumps when lipstick pops up.
- Puts professor's torn-out hair on his own head. (This makes more sense, and IMO is funnier, with bald Joe than with shaven-headed Curly.)
- "If that means what I think it means..."
- Sneaks fingerful from pie that Moe has just taken from him.

In this short Joe gets a quick 1-2-3 in the belly, head and back (along with Larry); a karate chop in the neck; and bitten on his nose. He also gets ashes in his mouth, lipstick on his tongue, a kick in the rear (which doesn't really count because only the bottle gets hit), and pie (first part, then a whole) in the face.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
« on: November 08, 2016, 01:19:24 PM »
I always chuckled at Shemp's scene in the original as he's hoisting a beer with his lady friend and she says something in French along the lines of "Have you been here a long time"?  And his response is "I don't know...a fly went in mine too (as he scoops it out with his hand), but drink up, kid".

A classic Shemp ad-lib!
I guess that scene is better if you know French...

Actually, Shemp's flashback leaves me feeling like he and his "Fifi" aren't really hitting it off yet, and she might even still be annoyed with him.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
« on: November 05, 2016, 09:17:40 AM »
OK, others might disagree with my opinions on this one. Shoot, I might even disagree with my own opinions.
This one's a little odd, first of all, in that it's not a direct remake of a specific earlier Stooges short, but it does use a fair amount of footage from one (the very different, and mostly superior, LOVE AT FIRST BITE). In my opinion the flashbacks from Larry and Moe are rather cute (especially Moe's, with Christine McIntyre and her character's bad English), and this short does a good job of giving them a new context that somewhat changes their meaning.
Shemp's flashback in the original was rather brief and, in my opinion, wasn't as cute or memorable as the other two. Joe's new flashback here is hard to compare to it, though, because it serves a very different plot function. A few observations:
(1) I find it interesting how Joe is given "hair" here to look younger. (In real life, of course, Joe Besser was already bald by the time when this is set!)
(2) To me it seems wrong, and out of character, for Joe to check out the waitress while he waits for Fifi.
(3) As we all know, the reused footage, with Shemp's legs, shows an outdoor cafe while the new footage shows an indoor one.
Overall, the short doesn't really have much in the way of funny moments, and neither Moe nor Larry seems to be trying very hard. But I kind of like it anyway. It's certainly not a typical short from our stars of "Stage, Screen & Radar." The straightforward heartbrokenness of Joe's character here is an unusual emotion for the Stooges; I have trouble imagining it in the hands any of other Stooge. The situation with Fifi – a long lost love, now married to an unappreciative jerk – also seems very different from the usual role of women in Stooges shorts.
Besides the flashback scenes, I note that a brief scene of Moe pulling gum from his face is also reused from BITE, and is very smoothly incorporated here.
In this short Joe gets roughly as much abuse as Larry does. He even gets abuse from three different people. Larry bangs him in the head with the shaker, Moe bonks him on the head twice, and Fifi smacks him at the end. (He also gets gum on his face, gets pinched by Moe, and falls when trying to lean on Moe who has walked away.) And here we get introduced to a Joe catchphrase: "That's good for him!" (gets bonked) "That's bad for me!"
Overall, a silly, contrived, sitcom-type plot, with a happy ending that's not overly out-of-the-blue. Not great, but I don't think it's all that bad either.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Quiz Whizz (1958)
« on: October 28, 2016, 07:11:27 AM »
While I was aware of the Stooges by the time I was about 10 (early 1970s), my earliest definite memory of actually seeing Stooges shorts comes from about 1980. I was at a friend's house with a bunch of other friends, and two Stooges shorts played on TV. I didn't watch them closely and ended up only remembering small parts of them.

In later years, having become interested in Stooges history, I wanted to identify these shorts. I found that the first one would have been either SING A SONG OF SIX PANTS or RIP, SEW AND STITCH. I thought the second one was a Curly short, so I looked for it in that era. To my surprise it turned out to be QUIZ WHIZZ, a Joe short.

QUIZ WHIZZ kicks off the second half of the Besser era. All the shorts from this point on were released after the Stooges had already been unceremoniously fired from Columbia.

The second half of the era has as many ups and downs in quality as the first half did. I consider QUIZ to be a definite "up"; this is easily one of the best Bessers. Joe has a part that's suited for him and he does a good job.

The first half of the short is the best part:
- Moe describing the "missing" Joe on the phone while looking at him ("5 foot 5 by 5 foot 5! Color of hair? Skin!").
- "Consolidated Fujiyama California Smog Bags… filled with smog!" (What are those supposed to be, anyway?)
- "That was sold last week." (Moe bites coffee cup.)
- "Did he introduce you to Pocahontas?" "Somebody told ya."
- "Incidentally, do barbecue have pits?"
- Moe tries to grab the others by their hair, but Joe doesn't have any to grab.

Many Stooges shorts have first halves with lots of mayhem that brings laughs but doesn't advance the plot. It is to this short's credit that the first half is still funny and has a lot going on, but the story never stops moving along.

The second half isn't quite as good, although it does hearken back to the crime-related stories of the Shemp era. The ending, with the check "divided" between them (and with "income tax" taken out) is a classic of Stoogian logic. But, as has been pointed out, the whole idea of the Stooges playing "kids" to be adopted is a big, whopping non sequitur; how was that supposed to address the issue of their stolen money?

In QUIZ Joe gets nearly as much abuse as Larry. He gets double-slapped (with Larry), bonked on the forehead, grabbed by the nose, and kicked in the rear (all by Moe). He also crashes into the blinds (with the others) and gets fed cigars by Mr. Montgomery.

Ah, yes, the infamous cigar-eating scene. Not to fault Joe's performance on this part, but I personally don't consider it a comedic highlight of the short. Joe does a good job with the facial expressions, etc., but I imagine that one of the others would have done even better; I could picture Larry, especially, going to town with this part. Note, though, how subtly Joe's fondness for cigars is established near the beginning, so that his excitement over finding one later makes sense.

Miscellaneous thoughts:
- Why is Larry wearing a "gentleman" hairstyle while Moe isn't?
- There's one rather strange exchange between Moe and Joe near the beginning: "Why didn’t you tell us you were home?!" "I’m no snitch." Moe shouldn't have to ask since he saw Joe come in, and Joe's response doesn't really make sense either.
- Joe’s "root-doot-doo" as the boys skip into the room is an improvement over his similar vocalizing in MUSCLE.
- I find it interesting that it’s "childish" Joe whose very adult vice (cigars) threatens to blow the Stooges' (nonexistent) cover.
- It doesn't make sense for Greta Thyssen to say "Oh, that's a kids' game" when she's pretending she thinks the boys are kids.
- Greta's squeals after getting the cake in the face don't match her movements, and go on too long.
- I think this is the first Stooges short where Joe's last name is said and/or shown.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: The Good Bad Egg (1947) - Joe Derita
« on: October 26, 2016, 07:54:21 AM »
One thing I always say about Derita is the man can take a fall, better than any other Stooge, actually.
Wow, Derita was the best Stooge at something? Who knew?

I'll have to see this one again sometime if I can. I saw it once years ago and don't remember it well.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Outer Space Jitters (1957)
« on: October 21, 2016, 01:46:08 PM »
This is kind of like The Three Stooges meet Ed Wood... except that Ed Wood moves are unintentionally funny and this is unintentionally unfunny...

Because I find the Besser era interesting, and because it didn't produce very many shorts, I'm likely to watch any given Joe short relatively often. But OUTER SPACE JITTERS is one that I watch very rarely. I consider it to be easily the worst of the "space trilogy." Shoot, even the title appears to have been the result of no thought at all (or maybe even less).

Overall, there's just not much to say about this one. It's strange, and not funny. The boys do what they can with the material, which isn't much. Joe isn't bad (except that his repeated "Let's get outta here" near the end gets a bit annoying), but it really doesn't matter who the third Stooge is; none of them would have been any help here. I find even HORSING AROUND more enjoyable than this.

Joe's best moments (such as they are) include: putting gems in his mouth, as if he's looking for a snack rather than wealth; and losing his pants after weighing them down with gold bricks. The only abuse he gets is being hit on the head with the water bottle by Moe. (At least there isn't a part where he annoys Moe but Moe doesn't do anything.) Larry gets the bulk of the abuse later, including the cringe-inducing (and, IMO, rather out of place) "head-sanding."

Everything involving the Sunevians is just weird and kind of nonsensical. On the other hand, Phil Van Zandt's "death scene" (getting "shorted out" by water) may deserve a better adjective than "cheesy" (see Metaldams' review above). As for "Don" Blocker's part... well, the less said about that, the better.

As bad as this is, though, there still remains one to come that's even worse...

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Rusty Romeos (1957)
« on: October 13, 2016, 12:59:15 PM »
My assessment is somewhat different from Metaldams'...

The original, CORNY CASANOVAS, was a good old-fashioned Stooges short with lots of violent slapstick. So this milder version is inevitably going to suffer some in comparison. Still, as Besser remakes go, it's not bad. In my opinion, RUSTY may be the best Besser short that's a direct remake (i.e., as opposed to just incorporating some old footage in a new plot).

So it's kind of ironic that Joe himself is not as good here as he could be. Sure, he has some good moments – polishing his head; distractedly putting ketchup on his pancakes (and eating them anyway) while staring into space; and "I can't, it's too slippery!" He even adds some energy to parts that Shemp originally did rather blandly – "bicycle-focals" (although the way Shemp said it was worded better), fighting with Larry over the gun, and "income tacks."

But here, more than in any other short so far (except for HOOFS), he comes off as the "sheltered Stooge." I rarely think "come on, Moe, hit him!" when watching Besser shorts, but with this one I think that more than once. Sure, he gets a smack on the head, a fist to the forehead (in a quick one-two with Larry), and a flower pot on his noggin. But the first smack should have been a hit with a hammer, doggone it! And Moe letting him fend that off with a "no!" is really lame.

Joe also falls short here in an area that's usually a strength for him: looking funny. He doesn't look funny with the "bicycle-focals" on, getting the flower pot on the head, or in that picture he gives the girl.

Ah, yes, that picture. Shemp's picture in the original was both funny and believable. Joe's is neither; it's so bad that one wouldn't expect even a Stooge to be dumb enough to frame it and give it to someone.

Other observations:
- In this short Joe heavily uses the "belly bump" as his main way of expressing anger, and it suits him fairly well. The limp-wristed Joe slap isn't seen at all.
- I've never been sure whether Joe's "cough sideways" is funny or not, but having him say it twice (with a cut in between) makes it less funny and comes off like an editing goof.
- Is it just me, or does a line like Larry's "jokes at a time like this" seem a little out of place in a Stooges short? I think it would have been better left out. The third Stooge is supposed to be making a comment like "income tacks" because he's dumb, not because he's joking.

Overall, RUSTY incorporates the old footage smoothly – with, of course, the glaring (and unintentionally hilarious) exception of having Shemp's picture clearly visible for a long two seconds! Really, how hard would it have been to edit that part better?

The new footage at the beginning, while lacking the heavy slapstick of the original, still gives us some amusing stuff. The oddly shaped pancakes are a nice touch, as is the idea of the girl having given each of the boys a different name for herself.

Atypically for this era, this short even has a title that wouldn't have been out of place in better Stooges times.

The ending, with Joe's revenge on the "three-timing Jezebel," isn't quite as funny as the ending of CORNY, but it does make for a good variation on the overall plot. Bringing the tack gun back in at the end – thus tying together the two halves of the short – actually shows a bit of thought.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Horsing Around (1957)
« on: October 10, 2016, 08:22:18 AM »
There are so many nasty things that can be (and have been) said about this one. I don't need to add too much to that, but… really, what were the production people thinking? Not only do they make a sequel to the lamest Joe short so far, but they disregard its key plot point (it was only a dream)!

Even more so than with HOOFS, the writing here barely even tries to be funny. It's more of a "cute" kiddie thing, not far removed from the worst of the Curly-Joe era. Most of the time, even where there are gags, no one really seems to be able to make them work – not Moe, Larry or even Emil (who certainly seems to be trying). Once again, Joe is really not the problem; often he actually seems less hamstrung by the material than Moe and Larry do. He gets my favorite line in the short: "Make bigger circles."

One thing that keeps this from being totally like Curly-Joe era stuff is that there is still some Stoogian abuse. Surprisingly, during the first part of the short, Joe gets virtually all of it. First, he gets smacked in the hand (with silverware?), hit on the shoulder and hit on the head – all by Larry who, oddly, takes on Moe's persona for a minute. Then he gets smacked in the head with a chicken leg and conked with a big bowl (both by Moe). (He also accidentally head-bonks with the others and gets liquids splashed/sprayed at him in various ways.) Once we get to the cabin scene, though, it's Larry's turn to get the abuse; all of this happens in one short sequence where Moe’s bullying truly seems mean rather than funny.

Some have called HORSING the worst Stooge short, but in my opinion the worst is still to come!

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Guns A Poppin! (1957)
« on: September 30, 2016, 07:05:21 AM »
Sorry, but I'm not going to be as tough on this one as others have been.

Up until now every Besser short has been totally original, but now we're getting into the (inevitable) remakes. These are kind of a mixed bag, and while they tend toward being among the lesser Bessers, they're really neither the best nor the worst of the era. And of course they range from being scene-for-scene rehashings of the originals to just using a few excerpts from them.

GUNS A POPPIN' is a fairly direct remake of IDIOTS DELUXE, though with a good bit of simplification (there are almost no outdoor scenes) and a new plot addition. Most of the old footage is incorporated fairly smoothly, although it's a little jarring when we first get a close-up of 1956 Moe after starting out seeing 1944 Moe.  (This is based on the actual filming dates.)

The Stooges basically function as a trio here, but the plot calls for a distinct separation between Moe and the others (as did the plot of original).

Joe's not terrible here, but for the most part he only does so much with material that's not particularly tailored to him. I find it interesting how much of the time he takes over Larry's role from the original, while Larry takes over Curly's role.

My favorite Joe moments in this short:
- "Sunny side over and don't turn 'em down. This guy is nuts!" (Joe's word swapping is listed in the Filmography as a goof, but I rather doubt it was. Either way, it's a definite improvement over just repeating Moe's line!)
- Cracking the eggs in the pan with a hammer (funny in a different way from Curly's similar action in the original)

[Side note: In my opinion there are some things (be they ever so small) that Joe just doesn't get enough credit for. One of them is his ability simply to look funny, especially in a hat. Think coonskin hat in this short, Jughead hat in MUSCLE or sailor hat in SPACE SHIP. (Not to mention wearing a wig in QUIZ WHIZZ or modeling underwear in TRIPLE CROSSED.)]

A few things in GUNS that I consider minor improvements over the original:
- The call of the wolf (with Larry howling);
- The others giving Moe his medication (especially the way Larry shakes Moe's head);
- Less time is spent showing the bear eating the honey.

The new addition to the plot, of course, involves the bandit and the sheriff. Others here have criticized it, but I think it may make for a sharper ramp-up to Moe's final meltdown than the events of the original. Too bad the actual ending ("My nerves!") is so much weaker.

Moe gets a lot of abuse here but doesn't put out a whole lot. Interestingly, other than getting bonked with the ax at the very end, Larry doesn't get any more abuse than Joe. What Joe gets is a trombone slide wrapped around his neck (along with Larry), salt on the tongue, spaghetti thrown in his face, head bonked (with Larry), and having the bandit's gun-firing hand on his head (which apparently "HURTS!").

Overall, not the best Besser short (or Besser remake), but not the worst either.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
« on: September 29, 2016, 12:52:32 PM »
Well, that definitely won't be the case for the next Besser that's due up in the weekly discussions. Man, do I have a tirade waiting for that one....
It's not time for SWEET AND HOT already, is it?  :) :o :P

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