Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shemp Howard - the Fourth Stooge? Hmmmm.

Thursday, March 4, marks the birthday of Sam "Shemp" Howard. Born in 1895, Shemp would be 115 years old today. And I bet he'd still be funny!

sigh - One more time for anyone who didn't hear me ramble on and on about the funniest slapstick team in the business the first 100 times.

There were 6 Three Stooges, but only 4 of them count. Ted Healy started with 1, then added 1 and got 2, then added 1 more and got 3. Number 2 quit and a 4th was added to make 3 again. Those 3 left Ted Healy, but after 13 years, number 4 had a stroke so number 2 was brought in again. 11 years later, number 2 had a heart attack and died and a 3rd was needed to replace 2 and 4. 5 came in and wasn't very good and they lost their contract after about 3 years anyway. About 5 years later, demand was back and they added a 4th 3rd stooge (bringing the total to 6) and they hung around making features until number 3 had a stroke and they retired. Later number 3 passed away, then number 1, then number 5 and finally number 6.


OK. One more time.

Ted Healy worked in vaudeville in the early 1930's and needed a comic foil. He hired Moe Howard (1). Almost immediately they decided to add a second, Moe's big brother Shemp Howard (2). Soon there was room for one more and they added a friend Larry Fine (3).

Moe (1), Shemp (2) and Larry (3).

They banged around vaudeville awhile and eventually broke into movies. They made a few appearances as supporting characters (Healy and 1, 2 and 3) until soon, Shemp (2) grew tired of Ted's heavy handed and abusive ways and accepted a contract with Warner Bros. as a single comedian. Needing a third stooge, Moe (1) suggested his other brother Curly Howard (4).

Moe (1), Larry (3) and Curly (4).

These three made a few more appearances with Healy, but finally all got tired of Ted's ways and broke off on their own. Signing a contract with Columbia, they began their 25 year stint of Three Stooges shorts that we all know and love.

So even though Shemp was before Curly, we all see the films where Curly was there first.

In 1946, Curly (4) had a stroke leaving him unable to perform. Big brother Shemp (2) answered the call and returned to the Stooges.

Moe (1), Shemp (2) and Larry (3).

In 1955, Shemp was attending the boxing matches, and after a fun night out with friends, had a heart attack and died on the way to the hospital.

After that Joe Besser (5) came in to help live out their Columbia contract...but those shorts sucked. A few years into the 1960's, baby boomers rediscovered the Stooges and they returned, making a series of feature films with Curly Joe DeRita (6). These were also, not very funny. Hence #'s 5 and 6 of the Stooges don't really count.

And even through Shemp was #2, because of the films we are all exosed to, it appears he was #4...or the 2nd of the 3rd Stooges, replacing Curly (4) but in reality Curly (4) replaced Shemp (2) first.


Don't think about it then.

My point is, Shemp is often looked down on as a replacement for Curly and not as funny because he wasn't one fo the originals.

But he WAS one of the originals.

Curly was the embodiment of the human "id" and very childlike in his actions, he appealed to a lot of children who see him for the first time.

Shemp was a very different comedian. The comparison is unfair.

It sounds funny if you say it outloud...but as you mature, you really get an appreciation for Shemp.

Go ahead. Say it outloud in front of people. I bet it makes them laugh.

And THAT's the whole point of being a Stooge.

Thanks Shemp. You guys was funny!

Here's a compilation of some great Shemp moments. Watch them at work. It'll be funny!


Anonymous said...

Thanks Jeffy, Me and Rusty needed a good laugh today. This is the BEST ever!! - Miss our food chats.

Anonymous said...

mmm.. food

Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss too!

Jeff Overturf said...

Absolutely! I can't BELIEVE I missed the good Dr.'s birthday!!!

And as for food chats...how 'bout that green eggs and ham?!?


Anonymous said...

Nice article on sheep by the schemes family makes nothing off the stooges images. Comedy3 which was started in 1959 by Moe and Larry and curlyjoe. Larry complained and wanted curlyjoe to a full 1 third partner against moes wishes. So now in 2012 comedy3 owns the likenesses of the stooges ( mostly Moe Larry curly Howard) and that comed Good morning why are you up so early? y is run by curly-Joes stepsons! Larry's grandson works for them also and moes family makes a small part. So curly Joes family makes the most on the stooges now. Sheep and curly Howard relatives get nothing!

Anonymous said...

Why I oughta!!!!!!!

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