The Three Stooges

The Three Stooges, American comedy trio, best known for their short films that feature slapstick humor. The triowhich experienced a number of personnel changes over the yearsstarred in 190 films from 1930 to the late 1960s and became the longest-lasting comedy team in Hollywood history.

The original version of the Three Stooges

The original version of the Three Stooges consisted of Larry, Moe, and Shemp. Larry Fine (born Louis Feinberg, 1902-1975) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Moe Howard (born Moses Horwitz, 1897-1975) and Shemp Howard (born Samuel Horwitz, 1895-1955) were brothers, both born in New York City. The parents of all three were Jewish immigrants. The trio began working together in vaudeville acts in the mid-1920s. In 1930 they appeared in their first film, `Soup to Nuts,` a full-length feature. Shortly after this, Shemp was replaced in the act by his brother Curly Howard (born Jerome Lester Horwitz, 1903-1952). In 1934 Larry, Moe, and Curly began making short films under contract with Columbia Studios.

The trio`s formula for comedy contained

The trio`s formula for comedy contained a heavy dose of violent slapstick, filled with eye gouging, face slapping, and pie throwing. Moe, the bowl-haircut leader of the group, asserted his authority with threats and aggression. Curly, the bald-headed chubby oaf famous for his quick feet and signature Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk, was usually the recipient of Moe`s abuse. Larry, the frizzy-haired intermediary, tried to stay passive but inevitably got caught up in the roughhousing.

Critics never favored the Stooges` excessively

Critics never favored the Stooges` excessively violent and unsophisticated comedy, but their simple humor was extremely popular. Some of their many famous shorts include `Men in Black` (1934), which received an Oscar nomination for best short film; `Three Little Pigskins `(1934); `Mutts to You `(1938); `You Nazty Spy` (1940), the first anti-Nazi Hollywood film; and `Sock-a-Bye Baby` (1942).

The three actors worked together until

The three actors worked together until Curly had a stroke in 1946 and Shemp was brought back to take his place. The reunited trio made more than 70 Stooges shorts and one feature film, `Gold Raiders` (1951). When Shemp died of a heart attack in 1955 he was replaced by veteran comic Joe Besser (1907-1988) for four years. The last comedian to fill Curly`s spot was Joe DeRita (born Joseph Wardell, 1909-1993), who replaced Besser in 1959.

In 1958 Columbia released its archived

In 1958 Columbia released its archived Stooges films to television and the comedy team developed a large fan following. As established stars, the trio made mostly feature films toward the tail end of their career, such as `Have Rocket, Will Travel` ` `(1959). They made their last feature film, `The Outlaws Is Coming! `in 1965. Television reruns over the ensuing decades have continually renewed the trio`s popularity and resulted in Stoogemania, an obsessive following that includes fan film festivals and a heavy trade in Stooges memorabilia.

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