Biography

Stooges: The Men Behind the Mayhem (23 Dec. 1994)

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For six decades, the Three Stooges ran amuck in a riotous frenzy of eye-poking, ear-slapping, kicks, jabs, punches and frying pans to the cranium. Now Laughsmith Entertainment and A&E offer... See full summary »

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Title: Stooges: The Men Behind the Mayhem (23 Dec 1994)

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For six decades, the Three Stooges ran amuck in a riotous frenzy of eye-poking, ear-slapping, kicks, jabs, punches and frying pans to the cranium. Now Laughsmith Entertainment and A&E offer fans of the Moronic Maestros a chance to relive the Golden Age of Stoogery. Through rare recordings, exclusive interviews and outtakes of behind-the-scenes antics, "Stooges: The Men behind the Mayhem" tells the pure, uncensored Stooge story--from the early vaudeville years with Shemp and Ted Healy, through the golden years at Columbia Pictures with Curly, to the final feature films with Curly Joe DeRita, "the last Stooge." Whether you're fascinated by the unrestrained id, or just enjoy the good, clean humor of pliers applied to the nose, you'll find something to love in this in-depth look at America's most beloved madcaps The Three Stooges! Written by <LAUGHSMITH@aol.com>

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23 December 1994 (USA)  »

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Moe, Larry, Curly and Shemp Need No Introduction
2 May 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jack Perkins (uncredited) narrates this account of the collective career of those who would be Stooges: Ted Healy, Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Shemp Howard, Joe Besser, Curly Joe DeRita and Emil Sitka.

* Ted Healy (born Charles Ernest Lee Nash) forms the group on Vaudeville during the 1920's with various actors as Stooges filling the roles along the way as Healy's employees. (Ted's neatly-rendered caricatures of Hollywood stars are also spotlighted on this episode.)

* Moe Howard (born Moses Harold Horwitz) has known Ted since childhood and would join Healy on the Vaudeville circuit as an early Stooge.

* Shemp Howard (born Samuel Horwitz) also joins with Ted and Moe (Shemp's brother) and would become one of the first to film in the Fox Studio (pre-20th C-) production of "Soup to Nuts" (1930).

* Larry Fine (born Andrew Louis Feinberg) has studied concert violin from his youth, and during a Comedy/Musical performance in Chicago, Shemp spots Larry on stage and suggests Larry to join the Stooge act.

* Curly Howard (born Jerome Lester "Jerry" Horwitz) enters the act when Ted and Shemp exodus to return to Broadway for "A Night in Spain" (1933).

The Stooges (Moe, Larry and Curly), break from Ted Healy's management to contract themselves as supporting players at MGM Studio.

Ted Healy collects a new set of Stooges for his act, while Moe, Larry and Curly bill themselves as "Howard-Fine-Howard."

In 1934, the three sign with Columbia Studio after their MGM contract expires, and for the first time, they are billed as "The Three Stooges," and cast in an average of nine Short subject pictures a year, filming for 40 weeks, and touring to promote their films for the remaining 12 weeks of the year.

For the next 25 years, Columbia doesn't offer the Three Stooges a raise, but pays them the same figure throughout the 1940's and 50's as it does from the onset of their contract.

* Joe Besser becomes the Third Stooge toward the end of the Columbia contract, when the Studio forges a 1958 deal with ABC-Television to run "Three Stooges" shorts on a daily basis.

During a 1959 publicity tour, Moe, Larry and Joe arrive at the Pittsburgh Depot, to a large reception of fans, causing the Stooges to wonder who the celebrated upon the train might be, never realizing their fame created by television, recognition which has otherwise eluded them for the past three decades.

* Joe "Curly Joe" DeRita (born Joseph Wardell) joins Moe and Larry as the Third Stooge, now dubbed "Curly Joe" because of his resemblance to Curly and Joe before him. Together, they branch into feature films after Columbia renews their contract because of their newfound fame created by television broadcasts of their vintage Short Subjects.

* Emil Sitka, a supporting player in many "Three Stooges" vintage films, is recruited to fill in for Larry, who recuperates from a stroke, during the stage run of "Kook's Tour" (1970), but with Moe's health also in decline, none of the "Moe, Curly Joe, Emil" projects reaches fruition.

Interview Guests for this episode consist of Lyla Fine-Budnick (Larry Fine's Sister), Janie Hanky (Curly's Daughter), Lola Jensen (Actress), Ted Healy, Jr. (Ted's Son), Nate Budnick (Road Manager/Sound Man/Husband of Lyla), Actors Paul "Mousie" Garner, Adam West, Billy West, Dave Knight (Curly Impersonator) and Gary Lassin (Fan Club President).

Archive footage includes Ted Healy, Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Shemp Howard, Joe Besser, Joe DeRita, Julie Gibson (Actress), Edward Bernds (Director), and Emil Sitka (Actor, "Seventh Stooge").

Archive audio interviews with Moe Howard (1974) and Joe Besser (1985) are also presented.

Film Clips include a screen glimpse of the Stooges through the years, in scenes from "Disorder in the Court" (1936), "Ted Healy's New Stooges" (c. 1933), "Sing a Song of Six Pants" (1947), "The Outlaws Is Coming" (1965), other unidentified Short films, plus home movie footage and coverage from a personal appearance tour.


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