Monday, November 25, 2013

The Stooges and me...

 It's that time of the year again and hundreds of people are preparing for Saturday, November 30th. I and some friends will be gathering at the Alex theater for none other than the 16th "Three Stooges Big Screen Event".

We're not talking about Lady Gaga (whose costumes often feel inspired by the Stooges) nor bad comedians like Dane Clark... nor Iggy Pop and the Stooges.

 We're talking about the real 3 Stooges.

I haven't attended each event but at least half of them and always enjoyed it. So what happens at the 16th annual Stooge event?

First of all, the event draws fans from everywhere and even women show up, more each
year. There's an issue about women here; it's mostly accepted that the Stooges are for men while women shake their heads and wonder what the attraction is.

I've always said that there are two things women dislike; air conditioning in a car and the 3 Stooges. Their quota of eye gouges and banging heads together just isn't their piece of pie. BUT in recent years women began showing up in larger numbers and when the host asks for the traditional "Woo, woo, woo" (a Curly expression), the women's side is often louder than the men as they proudly shout out.

It all began the the Stooges black & white short films that played in my hometown when Ii was about 8. These were mostly with Shemp rather than Curly. Curly, the bald one, is everyone's favorite (audiences felt for him as he was always the one picked on and the one who was more innocent). Believe me, there is a lot of psychology to what the Stooges did.

Later when I moved to the city I saw Curly for the first time and he was my favorite. Living across the river from Detroit, I watched Stooges three times a day and even my younger brother became a fan.

The Stooges were the remnants of the vaudeville entertainers who worked the circuits of theaters across America, this was mostly before movies but even after movies began there was always the vaudeville entertainers.

The entertainment was always pretty raw, pretty girls, jokes and slapstick which included slapping, tripping and anything else that looked dangerous.

The Stooges were also considered not as artistic as Chaplin or Buster Keaton who were truly experimenting in film. But the Stooges managed to keep going year after year and produced hundreds of short films that were shown before the movie in theaters everywhere.

Then, around the late 1950's, they resurfaced as TV began to show the Stooges among a dozen or so other forgotten vaudeville entertainers. And that's where a new fan base occured - us baby boomers.

I have gone to all four graves of the 3 Stooges here in LA. They were Moe, who had the moptop haircut, Larry, with long curly hair and then Curly and Shemp, who were brothers. Shemp replaced Curly after he passed away early in life.

My brother always said that everything you needed to know about life, you could find in a 3
stooges short film. They were always looking for a job and they made fun of the rich. They even mocked Hitler in one of their shorts.

It was a rite of passage for most of my friends, we all loved the Stooges because in some ways, they expressed a lot of what real life would become for us, looking for work, making mistakes, trying our hardest and just finding a place for our world. 

The Stooges continue to entertain people in 2013 and all over the world. I know a woman from Guatamala who watched the Stooges in her country, not needed to understand the language, the Stooges visual language was and still is universal. She said her mother used to call her Larry, after her own curly hair.

And here's
a photo here where my brother and I duplicated a scene from a Stooge film in which Larry carries up an ice block up a long stairway. We discovered the real stairway and it looked pretty much the same as back in the 1940's.

So, I'm looking forward to another shot of my childhood that stayed with me. I'm a true "knucklehead" as we're known.