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Messages - Mark The Shark

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I think Shemp certainly would have added to the later features if he was still around to be part of them. But I guess they did all right. Just like with Joe Besser, it isn't really Joe De Rita who makes those later feature films something less than their vintage films. They were older for starters, and they were now making movies more deliberately aimed at children. De Rita's energy level seemed to fit in that context.

It is interesting that the last short the Stooges actually filmed ("Flying Saucer Daffy") was a completely original film, aside from I think one shot pulled from an earlier short.

Hard to say how Shemp would have been received by kids at the time. There were some shorts with Shemp in the first TV package, but only a very few. But he would have been long-established in his role as a Stooge, having been there since 1946 as well as having been an original member of the team when they started.

I wonder if those who love Curly and "hate" Shemp ever think about the fact that (1) he was the original third Stooge, and (2) he was Curly's BROTHER.

I’ll admit that some of the Besser shorts are better than some of the later Shemp recycles (notably OIL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, A MERRY MIX-UP, and QUIZ WHIZZ). However, as bad as many of the recycles can be, usually I just find them more forgettable than anything else. Some of the Besser era shorts can be traumatizing in how bad they are. While I don’t think Besser fit in well with the Stooges, I won’t necessarily blame him for how bad some of these films could be. Remember that these were being written by people who had become accustomed to only writing about 5 minutes of new material, most of which was just recycled routines anyway. While most of the later Shemp originals were still pretty good, I highly doubt even Shemp could have made the horse epics any good.

An interesting thought that had never occurred to me until I read your post: If Shemp had not died in 1955, aside from the likelihood that at least one of the "fake Shemps" might otherwise have been a completely original film...

Obviously we'll never know, but I wonder if the Stooges would have done more or less the same final 16 shorts, only with Shemp instead of Joe Besser. And how would that have worked? I'm thinking they might not have remade the fairly recent "Corny Casanovas" and "He Cooked His Goose," unless there would have been significantly more newer material in them.

Joe Besser was Joe Besser. He was no Shemp or Curly. But as "lesser" as the Besser films can be, they have their moments. Larry defying Moe in "Hoofs And Goofs" ("Ask me nice!") is a great moment, as is the crowbar-up-the-nose bit in "Muscle Up."

Someone could try and ask Mr. Roberts, if you dare. From things he has posted, it looks like the answer is basically, "it'll come out when it comes out. Now sit down and shut up."

The "missing 60" refers to 60 Stooge shorts dropped from the syndicated TV package in the late 1990s. They came up with a formatted half-hour show, including bumpers with trivia, and the "magic TV syndication number" of 130 half-hour "episodes."

Later, AMC picked up the same 130 shorts but they were able to get clean copies of the complete shorts without all the other silliness. One time they slipped and ran a short that wasn't in the package (illegally, I guess). Me-TV in Chicago later was able to get all 190. I don't know the status of the shorts on TV nowadays, whether all 190 are generally shown or not, but since they are all on DVD, it doesn't really matter.

Stooges DVD/VHS/Home Video / JFK and the Three Stooges
« on: October 17, 2017, 07:22:55 AM »
Years ago I remember seeing a Stooge-related piece on an old Goodtimes VHS tape called "Blushing Bloopers." I laughed out loud the first time I saw this, but acknowledge that it may be considered in extremely bad taste. Essentially, someone intercut the Zapruder film of the JFK assassination with a clip from the Stooge short "Three Pests In A Mess" where the Stooges are wrestling with a rifle, the gun goes off, a stray bullet hits a mannequin and Moe yells, "you shot that guy!" "And killed him too," adds Larry. I could swear (or affirm) that I saw this on a DVD at some point, but I can't remember where. Can anyone confirm? Anyone even know what I'm talking about?

Questions and Answers / Roast-Beef And Movies
« on: August 30, 2017, 07:45:25 PM »
Just a question, I thought I had read something about this and maybe I did years ago in an old Journal, but I don't remember and a search of this forum comes up empty. But I'm curious about the "Roast-Beef" short which teams Curly with ethnic comic George Givot and telegram boy Bobby Callahan. I just wonder how those three guys ended up being cast together -- it seems I remember reading "somewhere" that those roles were originally supposed to belong to Moe and Larry but (1) I can't find any documentation of this, and of course, while this might seem obvious now, (2) in 1933-1934 they were not the iconic "Three Stooges" but three lesser-known performers compared to their later career. Also (3), why is Ted Healy not in this? Is this post-split? Are shooting dates for the M-G-Ms available? I remember reading (I think in "The Complete Three Stooges") that while "The Big Idea" was the last of the M-G-M shorts released, it has a low production number and might have been one of the first ones filmed. I guess I'm fascinated with this part of their career, which still might not be fully documented.

If Moe and Larry had been in "Roast-Beef," I wonder if it might have been a funnier film. I am not sure it would have mattered much.

General Discussion / Re: Eddie Cantor with Moe, Larry & Shemp
« on: August 20, 2017, 03:08:21 PM »
Yes, but since it was a syndicated series, wouldn't it have been filmed in advance? (Given the era and technology of the time.) Kinescopes would have been used for live network broadcasts.

Questions and Answers / Re: The Stooges on Epic Records???
« on: August 19, 2017, 02:17:24 PM »

Columbia owns the films it produced.  It has never owned the intellectual property "The Three Stooges." 

"The Three Stooges" was always the property of the act, formalized with the founding of Comedy III in 1959.  Norman Maurer Prod. managed the licensing business of Comedy III from 1959 - 1994, and yes, it is believed that Norman did send a "cease and desist" to Epic when that 45rpm came out, but I am not aware of any extant document.

And yet, in "The Three Stooges Scrapbook," co-authored by Joan Howard Maurer, this single is mentioned in the chapter on the Stooges' records with no details about the recordings themselves and no mention.of the fact that it's not Larry, Moe and Curly-Joe.

General Discussion / Re: Eddie Cantor with Moe, Larry & Shemp
« on: August 19, 2017, 10:48:14 AM »
Speaking of Eddie Cantor, the first place I read about the Stooges being on his show was in the Jeffrey Forrester book "The Stooge Chronicles" where it stated they appeared on "The Eddie Cantor Comedy Theatre" and it was "broadcast in color." It also said this was a syndicated series as opposed to airing on a network. Yet the clips I have seen are black and white. Could the author have been mistaken that it was in color?

Thanks for posting that video.  I tried watching it to see what Curly was watching (although that was a 1953 episode, I'm sure it was similar to what Curly watched when he was alive), but it was pretty painful to watch.  I'm guessing that Janie got more of a kick out of it than Curly did. 

Yeah, most likely he watched it with Janie, just like my mom used to watch Bozo and Ray Rayner with me when I was a kid. It is kind of stagey, like TV of that era. Later they made an animated series out of it:

(There is one episode involving IIRC, a creature called the "Three-Headed Threep," which sports the heads of Moe, Larry and Curly. I didn't find it doing a quick You Tube search. I have a fondness for these characters having watched them on local Chicago TV as a kid.)

I also found this, what is billed as "Jackie Gleason's first TV Show" in October 1949: 

I know Curly had a massive stroke in the beginning of 1949 but I would bet that he watched the very episode above, and perhaps some of those that followed.  I watched a few minutes and it was actually kind of funny.

Thanks for the Riley link. I had not seen The Life Of Riley before. It was based on a radio show with an actor named William Bendix, with Gleason playing the role in the TV series. Later, they did a second TV version with Bendix.

I would have guessed if Curly appreciated Gleason, he may have seen him on Cavalcade Of Stars, but then I remembered he wasn't the original host of that series. He took it over in 1950 -- I don't know the exact timeline of Curly's health decline, but I would doubt Curly ever saw "The Honeymooners" as the first skit was performed only a couple months before he passed away.

It's interesting to watch stuff that some of our favorite performers watched, and imagine how it might have influenced them.

It was "Time For Beany" -- created by Bob Clampett, featuring the voices of Stan Freberg and Daws Butler:

Clampett later brought them back in the animated series "Matty's Funnies With Beany & Cecil" (sponsored by Mattell Toys)

I think it would depend if he was going out to the movies at that point in his life. What I've read suggests he watched television and had his favorites, but the Stooge shorts wouldn't have been on television at that point. Of course, over time his condition got worse and I wonder if he was even watching television. I remember seeing quotes from a letter Moe wrote to Curly about Shemp filling in for him, and Moe said something like "it may encourage you, and in a way delight you, to know..." so I would guess Curly was glad to know his brother stepped in and the Stooges were able to continue (for what was considered officially at the time) temporarily until his return.

I picked up the DVD some time ago and watched it, I think just once.

It was OK. Not great. I was expecting to hate it, but I didn't hate it. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it.

As was mentioned earlier in this thread though, this is not a Three Stooges film in the sense of "a film with the real Three Stooges in it." This film is to the Three Stooges what For Love Or Mummy is to Laurel and Hardy, i.e. a tribute or homage, or ripoff if you prefer.

Two things that stand out for me -- it's been quite some time since I watched it -- first, after watching it for a while, the thought crossed my mind that instead of watching this, I could just watch the real Three Stooges.

The second thing -- if you make it all the way through the end, maybe it's just me but I laughed out loud at the performance of the Spinners' "It's A Shame" with the Curly character doing the high falsetto part. It was worth watching for that alone.

It was fun, nothing great. I kind of liked the idea of the Moe character being on Jersey Shore (even though I've never watched Jersey Shore myself).

This movie's existence doesn't threaten the legacy of the "real" Stooges. The 190 shorts (and more) are safe and sound on my shelf, available to be watched any time.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Malice In the Palace (1949)
« on: July 26, 2015, 05:46:11 PM »
Summer 2003 -- Issue #106 of The Three Stooges Journal arrives and contains Brent Seguine's article providing additional clues.  Most importantly, the article highlights two lines of dialogue written for a chef character in the original script.  These include "Fix it yourself...I'm going to lunch" and " don't think I'd eat in this dump."   Based on this, it is pretty clear that a small chef role was part of the original plan, and based on the publicity still, that role was intended for Curly.

Back in 1989 there was an article in The Three Stooges Journal called "Notes from a meeting with Moe Howard"

I don't have it in front of me, but from memory the author took several notes during one of Moe's lectures in the early 1970s. The author mentioned this was before any books had been written on the Stooges (aside from a chapter in one or two Leonard Maltin books) and Moe spoke of Curly's illness and retirement. From memory -- Moe had said after Curly's retirement, he "appeared twice later -- on a train, and as a chef who left to go somewhere else to eat." This absolutely corroborates the above. Now, whether it was actually filmed or not, who knows -- and since the footage went unused and was presumably junked, I guess it doesn't matter.

Last couple of years -- Various issues of Three Stooges Journal have included candid photos of Curly in the post-stroke era.  Most show him seated, with a cane.  Seeing these photos is wonderful.  But they do make clear that Curly’s glory days were behind him by this point in his life.  Also fueling the Malice debate has been a series of photo comparisons, showing the facial features of the chef in the publicity still versus the facial characteristics of Curly taken from other sources.  In my opinion, these comparisons make clear that the chef in the publicity still is indeed Curly.

2015 – When I look at the Malice publicity still now, I see it in a very different light.  I look at the piece of furniture directly behind Curly (to me, it appears to be flush against him) and see it as a support system providing stability so Curly doesn’t fall backwards.  Similarly, I see Curly’s left hand on Larry’s head as being a means of maintaining Curly’s balance, with Larry serving as the anchor.  Lastly, I wonder if the apron around Curly’s lower body conceals something providing additional support to him, like a brace.

The things that come with the passage of time!

The above makes a lot of sense. I'll have to go back and watch the relevant parts again, but there are a lot of clips from Howard family home movies in the recent Hey Moe! Hey Dad! documentary miniseries, and I recall at least one that appeared to be "post-retirement" Curly (maybe Joan's wedding, or his own wedding?) where he appeared to be in better shape than is generally described. But then, (1) whether it's from 1947 or 1949 probably makes a big difference in his health, and (2) whatever I saw had to have been only a seconds-long clip. I think the brothers are standing together and Shemp walks over to Curly and kisses him. One would "like to think" that Curly would have been up to saying two lines, but the scene in question wouldn't have been scrapped for no reason...

One other thing...I wonder health-wise, if by the time of filming Hold That Lion! Curly was in better or worse shape than he'd been when filming his last shorts. Again, it probably doesn't matter...

General Discussion / Re: Our Gang/The Little Rascals thread
« on: July 16, 2015, 12:35:36 PM »
Wow, thanks! It surprises me that at this stage of their career, a reviewer would make note of a change in Healy's Stooges/Racketeers/Southern Gentlemen/Gang personnel, especially just one of them. But I'm glad someone did, since that nails it down.

So where did that story of Sanborn "filling in" (as first mentioned in, IIRC, The Three Stooges Scrapbook) come from then? I also note that when he first steps on stage during Plane Nuts, Curly seems to be doing some of Sanborn's schtick. Next time he comes out, he's essentially Curly.

Who would have thought that at this late date, so many of these questions pertaining to relative minutae could be answered.

Now you've got me wanting to go searching for any kind of ad that might back up the Howard, Howard and Howard story.

I just looked at the ad again. So you're saying Shemp performed with the act one night, and BAM! Curly replaced him the next night? I would have thought there would have been some "down time," but given they were brothers, maybe Shemp stuck it out until everything was covered.

General Discussion / Re: Our Gang/The Little Rascals thread
« on: July 11, 2015, 05:51:58 PM »
Ref., Mickey Rooney

After the "McGuire" series ended, and before Mickey arrived at MGM renamed Mickey Rooney, he made personal appearances at theaters around the country as 'Mickey McGuire.'  One of those appearances was at Cleveland OH's RKO Palace Theater on August 28, 1932.  On the bill with Mickey were Ted Healy & His Stooges.

August 28, 1932... the day Jerome 'Curly' Howard premiered in the act.  This was the act's next gig after Shemp quit on August 19 in NYC.  It's interesting that up until just 1 year ago, an eyewitness to that milestone was still alive.

I know I'm late responding to this, but I want to thank Brent for posting this ad.

I just wonder though -- I know you know your stuff, and if you say "this happened at this location on this date" I would tend to believe you -- but I'm just curious how you nailed those dates down for Shemp's final appearance (until the 1940s) and Curly's debut. Then what of the supposed period where Fred Sanborn would have stepped in between the two?

And furthermore -- who are those three other names listed as Racketeers beneath Howard, Fine and Howard?

Also -- in his book One Fine Stooge, author Steve Cox mentions that Larry Fine's notes cite a one-off performance (on an unknown date, at an unknown venue, under an unknown group name) of Moe, Shemp and Curly (apparently without Larry and without Ted Healy). Has anyone ever found anything to substantiate this?

I've never seen PHONEY CRONIES. I wonder what gives with the generic title cards.

That's the standard intro for Official Films, a home-movie reissue company, dating from the 1940s I believe. I also have seen a version of "Glove Slingers" with that title format, and several of the Hal Roach Little Rascals shorts circulate with that intro. I wonder how much of the Columbia stuff they released, and if any "still missing or unaccounted for" titles could be found that way?

Stooges DVD/VHS/Home Video / Re: Myrt And Marge
« on: July 08, 2015, 07:55:09 PM »
That would be great -- one of the few pieces that are still missing, or at least MIA as far as an official video release. I'd be glad to see it come out.

On the second disc, towards the end of episode 5 ("Good Night And Good Nyuk") -- about 45 minutes in -- there is a brief clip of what looks like a color home movie shot on the set of Three Little Pirates. Moe and Curly are in costume with Moe's wife, Helen (at least I think it's her) -- is that Shemp walking around from behind them? (The whole thing is just a few seconds long.) I guess that would make sense, seeing how he was working at Columbia doing his own shorts at the time.


They really didn't.  A hefty fee was paid to Sony, and it remains to be seen if sales at that price point will generate a return.

Well, I highly recommend it. There have been a lot of documentaries on the Stooges, and a lot of "anniversary" type releases which just regurgitate the same public domain stuff. This ain't one of those. They did a very nice job. Hopefully it will pay off and encourage more quality stuff. Not that there's all that much that hasn't been released by now. You know what would be cool, if they released Three Stooges Scrapbook. Or maybe that would involve playing ball with whoever has the elements? Other than that, what else is left (that C3 would own)?

Not C3 related, but as far as anyone knows, are the Stooges' appearances on Texaco Star Theatre and Colgate Comedy Hour extant?

I find it interesting that the closing end title music used in Horses' Collars was also used in many Charley Chase Columbia shorts.

I've watched quite a bit of it. It's very nicely done, and I actually have learned (or have a better understanding of) a few things I didn't know. Nothing like hearing the stories from someone who was there, or who knows family history. Also, from the preview I expected just the usual public domain B-roll clips, but there is a lot of great stuff in here, especially Howard/Horwitz family home movies and so forth. I was surprised to see that they managed to use clips of so many different Columbia and M-G-M films -- I wonder how they worked all that out without jacking the price up. I picked it up at Best Buy and it's a great deal.

Questions and Answers / Re: Odd thing in FIFI BLOWS HER TOP
« on: February 10, 2015, 09:04:56 PM »
Sounds to me like audio carried over into the next shot from the end of the previous take where Moe conks Joe on the dome. Sometimes Besser would add little things like that at the end of a scene or take, Like in Muscle up.. "Yeah, they're good snoopers! They're..." and you see he's still talkin' during the fade, but it is muted and the scene changes right over.

Re the "they're wonderful snoopers, they're..." thing:

There is another similar example in another short -- possibly "Brideless Groom" IIRC -- where Shemp is on the phone and he asks the operator to connect him to "Susquehanna 2-2-2-2." Right after he says the number, he continues talking with the audio muted and you can see he is repeating "2-2-2-2." I suspect this may have been a common device used in the production of the shorts: to repeat the last line of dialogue in a scene at the point where (in the final finished film) the scene fades out or transitions to the next scene, to give the impression that the conversation continues (if that makes any sense). It's kind of along the lines of a crowd of extras repeating "rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb" so it just sounds like random talking. I bet the "They're wonderful snoopers, they're..." instance was likely a case of someone being asleep at the switch and fading the audio down one word too late.

I'm really just guessing at this, but that's my theory.

Swap Meet / Re: Elusive Laurel and Hardy dvds..
« on: January 25, 2015, 06:41:39 PM »
These foreign language versions have some interesting stuff at times.  I remember the Spanish version of CHICKENS COME HOME being an hour long and having some strange and entertaining variety show type stuff, and I think Symona Boniface pops up in one of these that I recall, I want to say the Spanish version of BLOTTO.  She sits down on a wet seat and gets her dress all wet.  Don't have much to add on the Spanish PARDON US other then to say I would love to see it.

Going through those early shorts yesterday, I was reminded of that existing reel of NOW I'LL TELL ONE.  I have been doing research and can't seem to find it on DVD.  Do any of you guys know if it's been released?

IIRC it came out on an internet-only DVD from an outlet called LOOSER THAN LOOSE, run by someone from the Sons Of The Desert organiztion. Don't know if it's still available.

Swap Meet / Re: Elusive Laurel and Hardy dvds..
« on: January 25, 2015, 08:32:50 AM »
I would like to have this too. I stumbled on it almost by accident once a few years ago when I found a listing for it on some website from Spain, and when I discovered it, it was already sold out.

Did this air on TCM? If it did, I missed it. I know it was shown on American Movie Classics back in the 1990s, only one time if I remember correctly. Not only that, IIRC it didn't run at the time it was scheduled, it was delayed that night (or I messed up, which is more likely). And this was back in the VHS days, so I attempted to "time-record" it and messed up.

I know the fire scene from the ending was included as an extra somewhere, I think on the German DVD set.

One odd thing I remember: I picked up a VHS copy of this many years ago from A-1 Video (run by Alex Bartosh). The transfer was OK, not great, and had the A-1 Video logo in the corner throughout. But this really threw me: the print used had Film Classics titles with the plaque, with "Stan Laurel y Oliver Hardy." This means at some point in time (1940s?) this was either re-released by Film Classics or was going to be re-released; either way, they made a reissue intro for it. But weren't those Spanish Hal Roach films found in a vault at M-G-M in the 1980s?

I'm still not clear on why this didn't make the "Essential Collection." I vaguely recall reading some cryptic comments about some kind of legal issues. Maybe this came from some other source different from the "usual suspects?"

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