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Messages - Tony Bensley

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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Pest from the West (1939) - Buster Keaton
« on: February 17, 2018, 04:27:43 PM »
Perhaps it was just my mood, but I found this short to be good, but not great.  I was actually already familiar with one of its highlights, the "In A Little Spanish Town" bit, as it is included in the TCM Original Documentary ADDED ATTRACTIONS: THE HOLLYWOOD SHORTS STORY (2002), that's on my Laurel and Hardy TCM Archives Collection (2006) DVD set.

So, Lorna Gray and Lupita Tovar (Who played essentially the same roles!) lived a combined 205 years.  Interesting that Lorna apparently wasn't Latina, although she sure looked convincing to this gringo!

PEST FROM THE WEST gets 7 out of 10 Ukelele Strings.

CHEERS!  [pie]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Snow White and the Three Stooges (1961)
« on: February 17, 2018, 10:25:03 AM »
By the 40 minute mark, I was dying of cancer and gave up.  What a sack of shit.
I did find that it picked up somewhat in the second half.

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Snow White and the Three Stooges (1961)
« on: February 17, 2018, 06:33:29 AM »
While I too, don't despise this film as much as some others, I also recognize that SNOW WHITE AND THE THREE STOOGES basically falls somewhat short on nearly all counts.

I will expand a bit regarding one in which there was arguably some improvement.  Yes, Prince Charming is decidedly more involved in this edition than in the Disney animated feature, whereas the 1937 animated feature had very little of the Prince.  However, the reason for this was because during SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS production, it was found that too much Prince Charming was proving problematic, which was why Disney kept stripping his scenes.  Would SNOW WHITE AND THE THREE STOOGES have been better with more, or less of Prince Charming?  Debatable.  Mostly, it would have been better with more of The Three Stooges doing their thing.

It also has occurred to me that the about face in the spiraling budget that kept the film from making a profit in its initial release may have been an early indicator of poor decisions that would lead to 20th Century Fox's near bankruptcy state by the mid '60s, pre SOUND OF MUSIC (1965).

Anyway, enough of the history lesson. This feature doesn't appear nearly so dreary as most of the lesser Besser shorts.  It gets 5 out of 10 Magic Mirrors.


Quiz Corner / Re: Trivia
« on: February 15, 2018, 10:35:12 PM »
What were the first, and the last Three Stooges shorts to feature the "A Columbia Short Subject Presentation" tagline within the opening credits?

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Oil's Well That Ends Well (1958)
« on: February 11, 2018, 03:45:36 PM »
Admittedly, when viewing the Besser era shorts, laughter was often replaced by eyerolls! ::)

Of course, the late Shemp era stock footage specials sometimes produced similar results.

For me, HORSING AROUND (1957) was the absolute nadir of The Three Stooges long, long running Columbia Short Subjects series, with TRIPLE CROSSED (1959) running a not too distant second, and HOOFS AND GOOFS (1957) getting a dishonorable mention!

Thankfully, a few bright spots, such as the Space Trilogy (Yes, I do have a soft spot for schlocky 50's Sci-Fi!), made the general viewing of the final 16 a bit less eyeroll inducing.

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Triple Crossed (1959)
« on: February 10, 2018, 07:02:38 AM »
Maybe Ainslee moved away. The Larry Mondello character on Leave It To Beaver was written off the show because the child actor's father moved the family to the East Coast so he, the father, could accept a better job.
Not much is said in Mary Ainslee's online bios, but HE COOKED HIS GOOSE (1952), from which her stock footage for this short was drawn, appears to have been her final cinematic appearance, barring her 2 Three Stooges stock footage specials.  Mary died in New York City in the early '90s, but whether or not her relocating there at some point was due to a parent or spouse (none are listed in her wiki/imdb bios!) accepting a better job, is apparently unknown. ;)

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Sappy Bull Fighters (1959)
« on: February 09, 2018, 11:52:48 PM »
Regarding SAPPY BULL FIGHTERS, I really don't have much to add.  I thought the first reel leading up to the Bullfight was OK, and Greta Thyssen certainly wasn't hard on the eyes. 

Then, in reel two, the disjointed, schizoid stock footage nightmare begins.  Unfortunately for me, I believe that the WHAT'S THE MATADOR? (1942) predecessor was one of the shorts that I fell asleep during a part of, including a good chunk of the Bullfight, so I don't really have that to compare to.  That said, between the constant bouncing around from the 1942 and 1957 footage, in which Joe clearly never really encounters anything resembling a real bull, topped off with the original short having stock footage of an actual Bullfight, the second reel is a real mess!  Besides the shots of Curly, what was with the footage of a dark haired Matador standing and clearly not performing any stunt, who is clearly neither Curly Howard nor Joe Besser?  YEESH!!!!

Due to the schizophrenic nature of SAPPY BULL FIGHTERS, my rating will be split for each reel:

Reel One - 3 out of 5 Hubba Hubbas.  For me, one highlight was Jose mistaking Larry for his Bombshell wife, Greta!

Reel Two - 1 out of 5 Schizoid Stock Footage Nightmares.  In my opinion, the disjointed mess that's the final reel of the final released Three Stooges short symbolized the deterioration of what is nevertheless still, to this day, the most successful, longest ever running comedy themed Short Subject Series! 

Thankfully, for Moe Howard and Larry Fine, this wasn't the end of their Stooges legacy, as in the twilight of their longtime partnership, The Three Stooges (With new Stooge, "Curly" Joe Derita!) would soon finally experience the sweet smell of success in the realm of Feature Length Comedy adventures, which heretofore, had been elusive!  The first of these, the outer space themed HAVE ROCKET~WILL TRAVEL (1959), would be released within less than two months after SAPPY BULL FIGHTERS!

Obviously, I had a bit more to say than I thought! ;)

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Triple Crossed (1959)
« on: February 09, 2018, 05:36:52 PM »
YIKES!  This reconstructed remake sure is a mess!

In my opinion, TRIPLE CROSSED isn't quite as bad as HORSING AROUND (1957), but it's pretty darn close!

At least some of Shemp's brief appearances were quite noticeable to me, including his yell from within the fireplace, and the brief appearance of one of his forearms.  However, the most glaring instance of all comes at about the 14:12 mark of the film, when dressed like Santa Claus, Shemp's "bearded" face, and much of his left side is quite visible from behind the door in the old HE COOKED HIS GOOSE (1952) footage!

Out of 10, TRIPLE CROSSED gets 3 Triple Crossed Buns, and I'm being a bit generous!

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Oil's Well That Ends Well (1958)
« on: February 09, 2018, 01:41:44 PM »
One thing we do get in the Besser era that was lacking during much of the latter part of the Shemp era is a few outdoor scenes.  Of course, in my opinion, this didn't save either HOOFS AND GOOFS (1957) or it's miserable sequel, HORSING AROUND (1957).

Thankfully, OIL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL fares much better, and in my opinion is one of the better late era Three Stooges remakes.  Yes, Joe meshes with Moe and Larry much more than usual in this short.  It's too bad that they didn't make more shorts like this one!

Regarding metal's observation of the boys being a little too excited about the prospect of being rich while their dad might be terminal, I recall it was the dad who wrote that the riches from the uranium could help in his medical treatment or something along that line.  I will say that it's a bit odd that the dad doesn't get mentioned subsequently, however!

Anyway, OIL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL is apparently the last of the decent Three Stooges shorts to be released, with the final two being pretty much universally panned stock footage specials. 

OIL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL gets 8 out of 10 gushers from me!

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Flying Saucer Daffy (1958)
« on: February 09, 2018, 12:13:33 PM »
I agree that FLYING SAUCER DAFFY plays more like a Joe Besser solo than a Three Stooges vehicle, and in my opinion, a pretty good one.  Ironically, Joe takes the most abuse in this short by far, and in my opinion, his character is at his most sympathetic and appealing throughout Besser's 16 stooges shorts stint!

Knowing that this was the final Three Stooges short produced (And indeed, the very last short subject for Columbia before that department was shut down!) I can't help but wonder whether some of the casting and party scene setup might have been intentionally geared toward this being the last farewell, so to speak?  I think it's a nice thought, at any rate!

This was veteran actor Billy Engle's last film appearance (Although Billy lived until November, 1966.), according to his IMDB listing.

FLYING SAUCER DAFFY gets 7 out of 10 Besser Knockabouts! 

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Sweet and Hot (1958)
« on: February 09, 2018, 10:54:09 AM »
This short did seem to rather spotlight Muriel Landers, and was otherwise not very Stoogelike.

I do like musicals, which helps.  However, for me, the music in SWEET AND HOT was mostly meh.  I also found the flashback scene a downer.  The nightclub bit near the end was nice, and Muriel did look classy.

Moe's Dr. Hugo Gansamacher was fine, but his not appearing in what was supposed to be a "Stooges" short before the 5 minute mark seemed like sacrilege.

SWEET AND HOT gets 4 out of 10 Hugos. ;)

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Pies and Guys (1958)
« on: February 08, 2018, 09:24:47 PM »
Call it remake viewing fatigue, call it what you will, but to me, when a series has reached the point of churning out 3rd and 4th remakes, it's seriously time to call it a day!

That said, as latter day Stooge reduxs go, there were worse ones than PIES AND GUYS, which gets 5 out of 10 slurps.

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
« on: February 08, 2018, 08:08:58 PM »
FIFI BLOWS HER TOP was basically middle of the road for me.  Below are what I consider some of its pluses and minuses:

Pluses -
- Using the stock footage as 'flashbacks' meant no awkward editing or continuity issues.  The old scenes from LOVE AT FIRST BITE (1950), especially with Moe and Christine McIntyre, were also fun to revisit!
- The Girl hiding in a trunk bit, though less effectively done than in Laurel & Hardy's UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE (1929) and BLOCK-HEADS (1938), was still fun for me to watch.  I also enjoyed the part when the boys discover that Fifi isn't safely concealed in the trunk when her jealous husband returns to their apartment.

Minuses -
- The supporting cast isn't all that hot. 
- For obvious reasons, Joe and Fifi don't look any younger in Joe Besser's 'flashback' scene.  His toupee wasn't great, but didn't look notably bad to my eyes, either.

"Fifi" gets 5 out of 10 blows.  >:D

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Quiz Whizz (1958)
« on: February 08, 2018, 02:19:56 PM »
For me, QUIZ WHIZZ was just OK.  The main bit that didn't work in my opinion, was with Joe getting sick eating the Cigar.  Mostly, I found it just dragged on too long without any payoff.

Apart from that, the supporting players were basically there, and not much more.  The recently passed on Greta Thyssen was no Christine McIntyre in this short, and she wasn't helped by her voice being looped with no lip movement after the cake was shoved in her face.  Ms. Thyssen was eye candy, to be sure!

That said, Joe, Larry and Moe seemed to interact well in this short, and Joe does get knocked around like the other two.  I was also able to accept their being dressed as babies in the context of this story, though I generally agree that men in their 50s/60s dressed like babies is usually just plain weird.  For me, it just seemed to work in this instance, despite the previously mentioned inconsistencies.

QUIZ WHIZZ doesn't quite hit the jackpot, but I give it 6 out of 10, or 9 out of 15 grand, which I'll pay with Consolidated Fujiyama California Smog Bags stock options!  ;D

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Outer Space Jitters (1957)
« on: February 07, 2018, 09:23:33 PM »
That would be "Creeps" (1956) which was a reworking of "The Ghost Talks"

For some reason, I have a hard time associating a lot of the later Stooge shorts with their specific titles, if that makes any sense!  :-[

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Outer Space Jitters (1957)
« on: February 07, 2018, 09:14:35 PM »
At least with the Stooge Space Trilogy, we're spared the dreaded "Recycled Stooge Footage Fatigue Syndrome!"  ;)
(I'm assuming there's none in the final FLYING SAUCER DAFFY entry!)

Overall, I liked OUTER SPACE JITTERS (1957), which I give 7 out of 10 ZAPS!  Yes, I do enjoy a bit of cheesy Sci-Fi every so often, which helps!

A few observations related to this short:
- One of the female Sunevians was an actress (Harriette Tarler) who also appeared in SPACE SHIP SAPPY (1957) as one of the three alien bombshells who tried to tickle the boys to death!

- Larry's plug for PAL JOEY (1957) came across to me as a bit of crass promotion on Columbia's part, but at least it was brief.

-  The death by water gag used in OUTER SPACE JITTERS dated back to at least THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939), in which Dorothy Gale unwittingly killed the Wicked Witch of the West by throwing water in her face from a bucket, although it wasn't intended as a gag, in that case!

- The storytelling ending looked very similar to an earlier short that featured Shemp, though I don't recall which one it was, at the moment!

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Rusty Romeos (1957)
« on: February 07, 2018, 07:58:45 PM »
Of all things, I found the different Jackets on old footage/new footage Moe during the opening reel rather jarring.  Plus, we don't see the rip in the jacket in the older footage.

I didn't notice the photo of Shemp in the old footage during the second reel.  That definitely should have been spotted!  Much of this short also seemed more like a Larry and Joe show, especially during the second half.  Also, as all of the main players (Apart from Shemp, of course!) were available for the new footage, along with the sets, why didn't they just shoot everything from scratch, instead of doing so much patchwork quilting of old and new footage?  OK, I know the answer, but still!

Still, RUSTY ROMEOS was for me, much better than the stinking pile, aka HORSING AROUND (1957), and Connie Cezan's character getting her just desserts with the tacks in her rear was, in my opinion, a nice way to end this short!  I give this one 5/10.

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Horsing Around (1957)
« on: February 07, 2018, 07:38:18 PM »
Tony, it's cool reading these Besser thoughts, but revisiting this thread and some Shemp remakes and reviewing Keaton MGM lately, I've come to a conclusion...the lowest of Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Marx Brothers, and just about any other great comedian, never sunk as low as The Three Stooges at their worst.

I mean, Keaton's FREE AND EASY is pretty bad, but it's a masterpiece next to HORSING AROUND.
I viewed FREE AND EASY (1930) a few years back, and I agree with you.  HORSING AROUND is one big pile!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Horsing Around (1957)
« on: February 06, 2018, 06:31:12 PM »
A full 6 decades before the upcoming ROSEANNE continuation, in which the last season of the original series is reputed to being ignored (Which, I believe included the death of Dan Conner!), HORSING AROUND totally ignored the "It was only a dream" conclusion of its HOOFS AND GOOFS (1957) predecessor.

The title of this short seems to sum up the state of The Three Stooges short subject series at this stage!  Did Columbia green-light this pile to fulfill some contractual obligation with Tony, The Wonder Horse's owner?  I sure can't think of any other reason for making this sequel that makes any modicum of sense!

SHITE IS RIGHT!!!!  0/10 for this short that's devoid of any horse sense, and more importantly, of laughs!  [pie]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Guns A Poppin! (1957)
« on: February 06, 2018, 05:03:29 PM »
I found the repetitive older-to younger-to older Moe shifts quite jarring, and it took me out of the film!

On the other hand, I still preferred GUNS A POPPIN' to HOOFS AND GOOFS (1957). Thus, it gets a slightly higher score of 5/10.

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
« on: February 05, 2018, 10:41:04 PM »
An interesting, and in my opinion, decent reworking of OUR RELATIONS (1936), with the added three sets of triplets twist.  I do agree that a reel and a half was too short for A MERRY MIX-UP to realize its full potential, but at least, it doesn't wear out its welcome either, and at this stage, that is indeed, a very good thing!

Here's a fun fact regarding a MERRY MIX-UP and its OUR RELATIONS ancestor:

Betty Healy, who was married to Ted Healy, played Stan Laurel's wife in the latter feature.  Of course, Moe Howard and Larry Fine did a bit of work with Mr. Healy!  ;)

Insofar as Larry and Joe's characters interacting with each other on all three exposures, no doubt that was done in order to simplify what must have been a rather challenging shoot, not to mention what is now commonly referred to as post processing!

In the non composited shots, "Fake Larry" rather stood out in my eyes, though "Fake Moe" also caught my eye.

This short gets 8/10 from me.

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
« on: February 05, 2018, 09:02:08 PM »
MUSCLE UP A LITTLE CLOSER was indeed, a huge step up from HOOFS AND GOOFS.  I also liked Joe's interaction with Maxine in this short.

That said, the cheapness of the sets is also rather apparent by this stage.  Nevertheless, I give this short 7/10.

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Hoofs and Goofs (1957)
« on: February 05, 2018, 03:09:57 PM »
I have to take the word of you better-informed viewers that Joe Besser was good in something. I only know him from Stooge shorts like this one that he so foully stank up. Moe, Larry, Curly, and Shemp may have been frequently immature in their behavior, but it was the immaturity of rowdy boys, not of whiny little sissies.

The only observation that I have to add about this short is that it is amusing to see that when Tony, the Wonder Horse is in profile, somebody is always standing just forward of the hind legs, to maintain the illusion that "Birdie" is a mare.

I thought she sounded like Christine McIntyre. In any case, not a plausible she-Stooge voice.
Having Joe Besser as a third stooge is a bit like the extremely nerdy Eugene replacing Kenickie or Doody in GREASE (1978), had that bizarre scenario ever taken place.  Come to think of it, some of their antics with Putzie in that film were compared to The Three Stooges at the time, as I recall! 

The concealment of Tony's "manhood" was, no doubt, also necessary to satisfy the Board of Censors, which was still in force (Albeit, probably in a somewhat watered down state by 1956-57!) at the time.

I really didn't pick up on who might have voiced Birdie.  As Christine McIntyre had completely retired from film and TV work by the time HOOFS AD GOOFS was made, I'd say it's safe to rule her out as a possibility for having provided Birdie's voice.

I agree that Moe's not being able to retaliate for Joe's sissified fisticuffs was a rather jarring moment, not to mention Joe's sissified fisticuffs themselves, which I've seen play far better in other comedic situations, such as those with Lou Costello. 

Audio looping seemed to be more common in the shorts by this time.  In this short, I noticed an instance in which Larry's voice can be heard, even though Larry's lips don't move one iota!  It's a rather painfully easy spot, at that!

I do agree that Moe's bit with Benny Rubin was pretty much HOOFS AND GOOFS' highlight!  This short gets 4/10 from me.

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Commotion on the Ocean (1956)
« on: February 04, 2018, 06:44:14 PM »
I found the repetitive "new-old-new" footage shift during the second scene rather jarring.  Ditto for the "Shemp's disappeared" device.

Still, I found COMMOTION ON THE OCEAN at least a bit better than RUMPUS IN THE HAREM (1956), though definitely not up to SCHEMING SCHEMERS (1956) standard.

I give Shemp Howard's stock footage swansong 5/10.  He deserved a better sendoff, though!

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Scheming Schemers (1956)
« on: February 04, 2018, 04:19:43 PM »
I'm in the I found SCHEMING SCHEMERS to actually be an OK short despite its Mutt status in utilizing footage from 1940 and 1949.  Unlike the first two Fake Shemp efforts, the new footage works pretty well for me, and I found the face concealment by way of carrying a load of plumbing tools, by the briefly used Joe Palma was cleverly done, and didn't seem contrived.  The ending with Shemp stuck in the pipes also wasn't the worst one for a Three Stooges short, in my opinion.

By the way, does anyone know the name of the actress who played the back of Christine McIntyre's head?  I did pick up on that thankfully brief bit when viewing this short.

SCHEMING SCHEMERS gets 7/10 from me.

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

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