If you’re victim of ``soicumstances’’ and usually find yourself fending off a battery of verbal attacks, including nitwit, numbskull, lamebrain, ignoramus, while having to endure your fair share of face slaps, a sharp poke in the eye, and an occasional banana cream pie thrown in your face, you might want to check out ``The Three Stooges,’’ the modern adaption depicting the American Vaudeville and comedy trio of the mid-20th Century, who never lost their cult status with millions of Stoogeoligists.
The film was directed and produced by two brothers: Bobby and Peter Farrelly, the same dynamic duo who gave us``Dumb and Dumber,’’ ``Hall Pass" and "Fever Pitch.’’ The film opens in theaters nationwide on April 13th.
The producers reportedly courted mega box office stars Jim Carrey and Sean Penn to star in the film before settling on relative newcomers: Will Sasso (Curly Howard) Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe Howard) and Sean Hayes (Larry Fine).
In case you might want to brush up on how the Stooges first originated and their rise to instant fame before heading to the theater, I prepared some fast facts and a historic overview of one of the most influential slapstick comedy teams of American culture.
And if you do go to the theater, and ask for a ticket to the ``Three Stooges’’ don’t be surprised if the person behind the window responds: ``Soiteny!’’
Three Stooges Feats, Facts, and Historic Firsts:
• Moe Howard (born Moses Harry Horwitz ) and Shemp Howard (born Samuel Horwitz), brothers from Brooklyn New York, began their comedy careers acting separately in Vaudeville acts. By 1916, they first teamed as a comedy act performing a blackface routine.
• Beginning in 1922, Moe and Shemp team with comedian Ted Healy.
• After the trio discover comedian Larry Fine (born Louis Feinberg) performing in a comedy act, the ``Haney Sisters and Fine’’, they convince him to join their comedy troupe and call themselves ``Ted Healy and his Three Southern Gentleman’’, later ``Ted Healy and the Three Stooges.’’
• Healy, Moe and Shemp Howard along with Larry Fine make their film debut in 20th Century Fox’s ``Soup to Nuts’’ in 1930.
• Shortly after the release of Soup to Nuts, Moe and Shemp Howard and Larry Fine break away from Healy.
• Shemp Howard left the Three Stooges in 1931 to pursue a solo acting career.
• Jerry ``Curly’’ Howard (born Jerome Lester Horowitz), replaced his brother Shemp in 1932 on the condition he shave his head.
• March 19, 1934, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, and Moe Howard sign a contract with Columbia Pictures for a single two reel comedy for $1,000 with an option for an additional 8 two-reelers at a similar salary and officially become known as the Three Stooges.
• The trio of Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard made 97 films between 1934 and 1947.
• Between July 1, 1936 and May 15, 1937, Columbia Pictures paid the trio a total of $21,000.
• The Stooges appeared in 10 original feature length movies, more than 200 short films and more than 3,000 personal appearances on behalf of Columbia Studios.
• In 1934, the Three Stooges received their first and only Academy Award nomination (for Best Short Subject) for ``Men in Black’’ but failed to come away with the Oscar, losing to a cartoon, ``La Cucaracha.’’
• Beginning in 1941, the Stooges add the pie fight to their repertoire, their victims usually members of the upper class.
• Curly Howard suffered his first major stroke in 1945.
• The last film Curly Howard appeared in was ``Half-Wits Holiday’’ which was released on January 9, 1947.
• By 1950, Curly Howard was confined to a wheelchair after suffering a second stroke. In February, 1951, he was placed in a nursing home, suffering another stroke, his third, a month later. In April, 1951, he was admitted to North Hollywood Hospital and Sanitarium and died January 18, 1952 at the age of 48.
• In an effort to replace Curly, hundreds of actors test for the part, but none to the studios liking, prompting Shemp Howard to rejoin the Stooges in 1946.
• A young rising comedian, Buddy Hackett, was considered as a replacement for Curly.
• The first Three Stooges comedy featuring Shemp Howard after rejoining the Stooges was ``Fright Night’’ (1946).
• Shemp suffered a stroke, shortly after filming ``Loose Loot’’ (1953); and on November 22, 1955 suffered a cerebral hemorrhage followed by a massive heart attack, dying almost immediately at the age of 60.
• Joe Besser, a comedian, who appeared as ``Stinky’’ in the Abbot and Costello television show, joined the Stooges, replacing Shemp and first appears in ``Hoofs and Goofs’’ (1957).
• By 1958, Besser tires of the Three Stooges and is replaced by Joe DeRita (born Joseph Wardell), who officially becomes the sixth member of the Stooges and the third Curly. DeRita originally wore his hair long, parting it down the middle.
• In 1959, Larry, Moe, and CurlyJoe take in more than a million in income before taxes; and by the winter of that year were commanding a hefty fee at theaters and nightclubs, mostly standing room only venues.
• CurlyJoe (DeRita) makes his movie debut in ``Have Rocket Will Travel’’ (1959).
• The Stooges had a cameo in Stanley Kramer’s madcap blockbuster, `It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World’’ in 1963.
• The film, ``Kook’s Tour’’ released on February 5, 1970 would be the last Three Stooges film. Before filming was completed, Larry Fine suffered a stroke, paralyzing the left side of his body. Fine died on January 24, 1975 at the age of 72.
• Moe Howard died on May 4, 1975, age 77, from lung cancer while working on his autobiography, ``I Stooged to Conquer.’’
• On March 1, 1988, Joe Besser, the comedian hired to replace Shemp Howard, died at the age of 80.
• CurlyJoe DeRita, the last surviving member of the Three Stooges, died on July 3, 1993 at the age of 83.
• In all, the Three Stooges made 217 films, including 190 15-minute shorts for Columbia Pictures.
• 23 of the Stooges 190 films contained military themes, eight directly related to World War II.
• December 17, 2002: The National Film Preservation Foundation selected the Three Stooges two-reel comedy ``Punch Drunk’’ (1934) for preservation in the Library of Congress.
April 12, 2012
Source: ``The Three Stooges: The Triumphs and Tragedies of The Most Popular Comedy Team of All Time’’ By Jeff Forrester and Tom Forrester; ``The Three Stooges: An Illustrated History, from Amalgamated Morons to American Icons: ``by Michael Fleming