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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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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.
  1. Three Pests in a Mess
  2. Booby Dupes
  3. Idiots Deluxe
  4. If a Body Meets a Body
  5. Micro-Phonies

This is the year that Curly's health took for the worst. After coming back from a performance tour in New York and after hearing that Curly's absence had temporarily halted production on the shorts, Columbia Pictures president Harry Cohn prohibited him from taking any more time off. This... didn't end well and it likely proved to be one of the leading factors that led to poor Curly having a stroke while filming for "Half-Wits Holiday", though some people speculated that this likely didn’t happen.

  1. Beer Barrel Polecats
  2. A Bird in the Head
  3. Uncivil War Birds
  4. The Three Troubledoers
  5. Monkey Businessmen
  6. Three Loan Wolves
  7. G.I. Wanna Home
  8. Rhythm and Weep
  9. Three Little Pirates

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.





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

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


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

  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) 60-year-old Shemp abruptly died of a heart attack while on his way back from a boxing tournament on November 22, 1955. 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.




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.

In 1970, 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 on January 24, 1975. There were plans to replace him with longtime costar Emil Sitka, who was to portray Larry's "brother" Harry; but unfortunately, Moe Howard was diagnosed with lung cancer and later passed away on May 4, 1975, not long after Larry’s death. "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.