Generations pass, but The Three Stooges remain one of the biggest comedic influences of all time. The group’s iconic pokes, jabs and slaps turned old fashioned vaudeville slapstick into an art form, and their reach can be seen in just about every form of comedy from the small stage to the big screen.
On Saturday, the Canton Palace Theatre will host its annual Three Stooges Film Fest by screening four of the iconic trio’s film shorts — “Cactus Makes Perfect,” “What’s the Matador?,” “Matri-phony” and “Three Smart Saps” — in addition to holding a “Curly Shuffle” competition during the intermission, where fans will have the opportunity to do their best Curly impressions on the Palace stage.
Early Three Stooges plots satirized and poked fun at greed and high society, health care, economic depression and even Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party.
In anticipation of Friday’s event, Ticket has compiled some Three Stooges trivia. Here are some fun facts about the comedy team culled from various Three Stooges internet fan sites.
Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard made up the most famous and well-liked incarnation of the Three Stooges, but there were six Stooges in all from the group’s 1928-1970 run. The cast also included Shemp Howard, Joe Besser and “Curly Joe” DeRita.
Curly got his signature walk after accidentally shooting himself in the foot. According to Moe’s only daughter, Joan Maurer, Curly accidentally shot himself at a young age and refused to get surgery because the procedure scared him. He ended up walking with a limp, but he masked it in his films by exaggerating the trademark walk Stooges fans have become accustomed to.
FIRST MAN OUT
Shemp was the first odd man out in the group, not Curly. The original group was called “Ted Healy and the Southern Gentlemen” and later “Ted Healy and his Stooges” and consisted of Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Shemp Howard. Healy was the creator of the Three Stooges, and Shemp, who initially left the cast to pursue a solo acting career, would re-join the group following his brother Curly’s debilitating stroke in 1946.
SELF CONSCIOUS CURLY
Curly was reportedly very self conscious about having to shave his head for the act, and he ended up becoming a heavy drinker. He felt he was unattractive to women, and liquor gave him the courage to approach the opposite sex.
LARRY AND HIS VIOLIN
Larry Fine started playing the violin at a young age after suffering a serious accident that severely burned his left arm. Fine’s father worked as a jeweler and had some very corrosive chemicals in the store that Larry accidentally spilled on his left arm. The acid burned it from the skin to the muscles, and Larry took up boxing to regain full movement. His father didn’t approve of the dangerous sport, so, at his mother’s suggestion, he took up the violin and became a gifted musician. He played with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age 9 and took his famous fiddle with him into his show business career.
MOE’S CURLY HAIR
As a child Moe actually had long curly hair because his mother loved the look since she always wanted to raise a girl. His hair attracted teasing in school, and one day he got fed up and cut off his curly locks resulting in the spittoon look that made him famous.
Moe and Larry were devoted family men. When not working, Moe could often be found at home gardening or barbecuing. Larry often traveled to gigs with his wife and kids. Moe was married for 50 years, and Larry was married for 41. In fact, all of the Stooges, with exception of Curly, had envious marital track records. Shemp Howard was married for 30 years. Joe Besser was married for 56 years, and Joe DeRita was married for 30 and 26 years respectively, remarrying following his first wife’s death.