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Recap / The Three Stooges

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The Ted Healy years (1930-1934)

Before becoming "The Three Stooges," the trio was part of a Vaudeville act with entertainer Ted Healy. Healy and the Stooges starred in a feature film for Fox and five shorts for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Shemp left the Stooges after Soup to Nuts and was replaced by Jerome "Curly" Howard.

The Curly years (1934-47)

When Columbia offered them a contract to appear in theatrical shorts, The Stooges parted ways with Ted Healy and became their own act. This was the time they started officially going as "The Three Stooges."
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     1934 

     1935 

     1936 

     1937 

     1938 
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     1939 

     1940 

     1941 

     1942 

     1943 
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     1944 

     1945 
This is the year that Curly's health problems begin to become serious, as his subsequent performances (including the feature film Swing Parade of 1946) were generally marred by slurred speech and slower timing, which new director Edward Bernds had to work around. Columbia Pictures president Harry Cohn, after hearing that Curly's absence had temporarily halted production on the shorts, prohibited him from taking any more time off. This... didn't end well, though some people speculated that this likely didn’t happen.
  1. Three Pests in a Mess
  2. Booby Dupes
  3. Idiots Deluxe
  4. If a Body Meets a Body
  5. Micro-Phonies

     1946 

     1947 
During the Filming of "Half-Wits Holiday" Curly suffered a stroke that forced him to retire from performing with the Stooges. He would make one last appearance in a cameo in "Hold That Lion!"
  1. Half-Wits Holiday

The Shemp years (1947-56)

Shemp returned to the Stooges as a temporary replacement for Curly. Once it was realized that Curly wasn't going to recover, Shemp permanently rejoined the Stooges so Moe and Larry's careers could continue.
     1947 

     1948 

     1949 

     1950 

     1951 

     1952 
In 1952, Columbia began to scale back their Shorts division. As a result, the quality of the Stooge shorts began to decline at this point.
  1. A Missed Fortune
  2. Listen, Judge
  3. Corny Casanovas
  4. He Cooked His Goose
  5. Gents in a Jam
  6. Three Dark Horses
  7. Cuckoo on a Choo Choo

     1953 
By this point, a lot of the Stooge Shorts began incorporating footage from earlier shorts to speed up and reduce the cost of production further.
  1. Up in Daisy's Penthouse
  2. Booty and the Beast
  3. Loose Loot
  4. Tricky Dicks
  5. Spooks!
  6. Pardon My Backfire
  7. Rip, Sew and Stitch
  8. Bubble Trouble
  9. Goof on the Roof

     1954 

     1955 
By this point, it was obvious that they were now going heavy on recycled footage, with lots of the shorts being remakes of previous shorts mostly consisting of recycled footage with the occasional new scene included.
  1. Fling in the Ring
  2. Of Cash and Hash
  3. Gypped in the Penthouse
  4. Bedlam in Paradise
  5. Stone Age Romeos
  6. Wham-Bam-Slam!
  7. Hot Ice
  8. Blunder Boys

     1956 
  1. Husbands Beware
  2. Creeps
  3. Flagpole Jitters
  4. For Crimin' Out Loud

After the filming of "Flagpole Jitters," ("For Crimin' Out Loud" was filmed earlier, but released later) Shemp abruptly died of a heart attack. However, Columbia has promised exhibitors eight Stooge shorts for 1956. Therefore, the last four shorts of the year were remakes of Shemp-era shorts and mostly contained recycled footage; any new footage had supporting actor Joe Palma as Shemp, almost always from the back.

  1. Rumpus in the Harem
  2. Hot Stuff
  3. Scheming Schemers
  4. Commotion on the Ocean

The Joe years (1957-59)

After Shemp's death, Moe considered disbanding the Stooges, but Columbia still had them under contract. They picked Joe Besser as the new third Stooge, and the shorts continued. However, by the end of the year, the market for theatrical shorts had dried up, so Columbia let their contract expire and later fired the Stooges. Columbia would release the last of the Stooge shorts over the next two years, though not in the order they were produced in.

     1957 

     1958 

     1959 

The Curly Joe years (1959-70)

In the interim after Columbia Pictures ended their contract with the Stooges, Joe Besser's wife suffered a heart attack, causing Besser to withdraw from the act. In the meantime, Columbia's TV Division, Screen Gems, released their backlog of Stooge shorts to television, which generated demand for the Stooges. Joe DeRita was recruited as the new and final "third stooge" and, playing off his resemblance to Curly, shaved his head and went by the name "Curly Joe."note  "Larry, Moe, and Curly Joe," as they came to be called, made a number of feature-length films, as well as a short-lived animated series. This was the last incarnation of the original Three Stooges.

Larry Fine suffered a stroke during the filming of the pilot for Kook's Tour, and had to retire. He would later die of a cerebral hemorrhage. There were plans to replace him with Emil Sitka, portraying Larry's "brother" Harry, but then Moe Howard was diagnosed with lung cancer and later passed away not long after Larry. "Curly Joe" DeRita tried to continue the act by recruiting other actors and going on tour as "The New Three Stooges," but the act failed to catch on and DeRita retired, bringing the original Three Stooges act to an end.

Supporting roles and cameos (1933-1968)

  • Turn Back the Clock
  • Broadway to Hollywood (Neither Larry nor Ted Healy appear)
  • Meet the Baron (with Ted Healy)
  • Dancing Lady
  • Myrt and Marge
  • Fugitive Lovers
  • Jailbirds of Paradise
  • Hollywood Party (with Ted Healy)
  • The Captain Hates the Sea
  • Start Cheering
  • Time Out for Rhythm
  • My Sister Eileen (1942 film version)
  • Rockin' in the Rockies (1945 hour-long film starring the Three Stooges, not to be confused with their 1940 short subject of the same name)
  • Swing Parade of 1946
  • Gold Raiders (with Shemp Howard)
  • Stop! Look! And Laugh!
  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (with Curly Joe DeRita)
  • 4 for Texas (with Curly Joe DeRita)
  • Star Spangled Salesman (with Curly Joe DeRita)

The Revival (2012-)

Years after the Three Stooges act came to an end, the Farrelly Brothers directed a movie based on the comedy trio. It featured Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes, and Will Sasso as Moe, Larry, and Curly, respectively.


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