Skip to comments.Curly of the Three Stooges: The Funniest Guy in the World
Posted on 04/11/2014 1:20:44 PM PDT by virgil283
"Curly's trademark excited yelps of 'woob woob woob, his dog barks, his compliant Soitenly, and his brisk face washes (where he is excited and smooths his hands up and down over his face, briskly, over and over) were loved- and happily expected- by his legions of fans.
Curly was what Moe called a "slow study, meaning he simply couldn't remember lines very well. One day, Moe watched as Curly forgot his line in a scene. As Moe recalled, "his eyes rolled back, he fell on the floor and started spinning around like a top." And thus, the Curly spin" was born........."
(Excerpt) Read more at neatorama.com ...
By the mid-1920's, Jerry had managed to score a steady gig conducting the Orville Knapp Band. It was a comedy bit of shtick, where Jerry would conduct the band, and as he did, bits of his clothing would fall off, until at last he was left standing in a big diaper. At the age of 29, he replaced his older brother Shemp", as the third stooge in the Three Stooges slapstick comedy act.
Shemp, Moe, and a frizzle-haired violinist named Larry Fine had made up a comic trio for several years, along with their leader at the time, a man named Ted Healy. But by 1932, Shemp decided he wanted to try making it on his own and left the act. Jerry was brought into the act.
Jerry had spent the early years of his life with thick, brown curly hair and a big mustache. When he joined the act, the first step was shaving off the facial hair and cutting off all his hair. The story goes that Jerry actually was crying when they cut his hair off.
If you want me, call me Curly, he said, and his lifelong (soon world-famous) monicker was set. Being the youngest of five children in the Howard household, he was known lovingly as Babe." Another version of the Curly" derivation story has Ted Healy seeing Jerry with a shaved head and saying, Don't you look girly. Moe misheard him and thought he said Curly' and the new nickname was soon adopted.
Curly's comic character became fully fleshed out and nothing quite like him has ever been seen on the movie screen- before or since. Curly was a surreal kind of man-child. To everyone's happy surprise, it was quickly discovered that Curly was a master of invention and was a virtuoso at slapstick comedy. He had a zest and enthusiasm for life and all of it's adventures. He was Moe's most frequent target for a slap, a poke in the eyes, or a pie in the face.....
By the mid-'50s the demand for short films had petered out. So, in 1957, Columbia unceremoniously announced they weren't renewing the Stooges' contracts. Moe and Larry were devastated. After 23 years, what else would they do? Moe was rich from real estate investments, but Larry was broke - which made it even harder. They decided to get a third Stooge (Curly and Shemp were dead) and go back on tour. Joe DeRita, "Curly Joe," was selected.
They started making appearances in third-rate clubs, just to have work. Meanwhile, Columbia, hoping to get a few bucks out of its old Stooge films, released them to TV at bargain prices. They had no expectations, so everyone (particularly Moe and Larry) was shocked when, in 1959, the Stooges emerged as the hottest kids' program in America. Suddenly the Stooges had offers to make big-time personal appearances and new films. And they've been American cult heroes ever since.....
Apparently he had some sad things in his life
If he were still alive he would probably be governor of California.
Many great comedians do. It’s what drives their creative genius.
The slapstick act of The Three Stooges was comic genius. It was so stupid that it was hilarious.
I don’t think modern stupid films are funny - the stooges were
Stupid is a genus with many species.
Yuk Yuk, bump.
Thanks. Excellent story.
They came up in Vaudeville, where you a) had to learn very quickly what appealed to “the common man” while, at the same time b) not crossing any of the boundaries of the much stricter social norms of the day.
So they learned how to play it just right. For the hoi palloi, but not offensive.
As compared to today’s entertainment aimed at low-info audiences.
I wish I could remember his/her name, it was an interesting insight into the personalities of other two stooges.
Mo! Larry! The CHEESE!
His best quote:
“I’m tryin’ to think, but nothin’ happens!”
My favorite is, “Well being as there’s no other place around the place, I reckon this must be the place, I reckon.”
Nyuk nyuk nyuk nyuk!
I love the Stooges. Back then you had to be talented to be an entertainer.
My favorite of Curly’s antics... Some guy unknowingly had a picture of Hitler stuck to his butt... Every time he bent over Curly would do the heil salute and say “Schicklgruber.”
Interesting. I’d never known there was ever a connection between Curly and Orville Knapp’s band. Knapp died in a plane crash in 1936. His sister, Evalyn Knapp, was a leading-lady in a lot of early-mid-1930s b-films.
The Stooges shouldn’t have been surprised or caught off-guard when Columbia ended their short-subject department. All other studios had pretty much axed theirs long before. The writing had been on the wall for many years. I’ve sometimes gotten the notion that the Stooges were actually a little oblivious to how they’d become such a popular staple for the kiddie-matinee audience at the cinemas in the post-war years. Quotes always seem to indicate they still somehow thought they were playing to the same old-time 1920s/30s vaudeville-going ‘adult’ crowd. Which time had passed by. They were even trying some kind of Vegas show/revue in the late-50s (which apparently was a big flop). Seemed to finally wake up, when reruns of the shorts got monster ratings with the kid set, and they started making feature-films specifically geared for them, in 1959-65.
I was in a teenage friends driveway many years ago when a lady pulled up and asked where Water St. was. With extremely quick wit, one of my friends replied, ‘turn on anything, you’ll get it”.
As a hard core stooges fans, we were cracking up.
Joe was in the pee-wee league, compared to Curly and Shemp.
Personally, I favor Shemp over Curly. Curly was great but Shemp is really wacky.
I don’t like your post. I’ m contacting my law firm- Dewey,Cheatum and Howe!
“I’m a victim of circumstance!” (((ping)))
Moe to Curly: “Remind me to murder you later.”
Curly was magnificent....I love the Stooges...and I can’t decide whether the funniest was Curly or Shemp....all I know is that they make me forget all the unfunny shit in this world...and I split my sides laughing!!
“Is it closer to here or to Cleveland or by bus?” I think I got that right....he and Shemp were unbelievably funny...God bless them!!
The Stooges were comedy geniuses.
I’m a huge Stooges fan, but the stuff they did after the thirties and forties was pretty bad. No, Shemp was not Curly, but Shemp was pretty funny as well. Sometimes acts have to realize when it’s time to quit. Maybe some of the Stooges needed the money, but virtually all their routines from the fifties on were dreck.
One other thing that I learned in time was to watch their expressions (especially Larry) when the action wasn't specifically on them.
Curly Howard would be a gigantic step up from Governor Moonbeam.
“Every time you think, you weaken the nation.”
Curly: “I’ve got an uncle in Cairo.”
Moe: “Oh yea?”
Curly: “He’s a chiropractor. Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk.”
I’ll never forget how my kitteh...who’s nearly 11 now, imbibed some catnip when he was a kitten and did the Curly spin...
I view Shemp as being a fine wine, subtle in its qualities, but ultimately well-appreciated by the connoisseur.
Where’s your dignity- Where’s your dignity!
I’m in agreement, basically. The Stooges shorts’ hit a great stride in the mid-to-late-1930s, with the development of their characters and the slick, streamlined production quality of their shorts. By the mid-40s, they were already losing steam somewhat, and the shorts becoming rather slipshod, becoming just a meandering series of gags. But, when Shemp joined, he did perk things up a bit for a few years in the late-40s, especially those shorts directed by Edward Bernds, which were very well structured, almost like little mini-movies. Didn’t last too long though, unfortunately. Things got pretty dire after that.
I’m also fairly fond of Columbia’s Andy Clyde short-subjects from that same mid-to-late-1930s window. Very well done, for the most part. Other Columbia series tend to be pretty hit-or-miss.
I hated them and EVERY woman I ever met hated them too.
“....Oh, a wise guy, eh “Why you...You nitwit!”...
That’s because women have no sense of humor.
(ducking to dodge thrown shoe)
I wish I could find the blog - sadly I can’t - but several years ago I read one of the best things I ever saw on the internet . . . and it was about the Three Stooges.
Whoever the author was, he said we admire different stooges in different phases of our lives.
When we’re little kids we love Curly because he’s just a big kid who wants to have fun.
When we’re teenagers we secretly identify with Moe because he’s a bossy teenager at heart who can’t get the world to bend to his wishes.
When we’re adults we quietly sympathize with Larry because he, just like adults, just wants everyone to get along and be happy with the nice, little things in life.
I wish I could find that blog.
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