The Three Stooges Part Two
This might be your first experience with The Three Stooges, and I just made you a fan, or this was your last experience, because of my blog, either way, I’m doing The Three Stooges Part Two, and you can’t make me stop, however I can’t make you stay either. Either the case, I’m doing The Three Stooges Part Two, if nothing else because I like them, or this blog may make me dislike them. but since I started it, I might as well get done with it. Now here’s The Three Stooges Part Two, enjoy, or don’t, for the world half loves them and the other hates them(especially women)
Ted Healy and his Stooges (1928–34)
The Three Stooges began in 1928 as part of a raucous vaudeville act called “Ted Healy and His Stooges” (also known as “Ted Healy and His Southern Gentlemen”, “Ted Healy and His Three Lost Souls”, “Ted Healy and His Racketeers”, and “Ted Healy and His Three Stooges”.) Moe Howard (born Moses Harry Horwitz) joined Healy’s act in 1921, and his brother Shemp Howard (Samuel Horwitz) came aboard in 1923. In 1928, violinist-comedian Larry Fine (Louis Feinberg) and xylophonist-comedian Fred Sanborn also joined the group. In the act, lead comedian Healy would attempt to sing or tell jokes while his noisy assistants would keep “interrupting” him, causing Healy to retaliate with verbal and physical abuse.
Ted Healy and His Stooges (including Sanborn) appeared in their first Hollywood feature film, Soup to Nuts (1930), released by Fox Film Corporation. The film was not a critical success, but the Stooges’ performances were singled out as memorable, leading Fox to offer the trio a contract minus Healy. This enraged Healy, who told studio executives that the Stooges were his employees, and the offer was withdrawn. Howard, Fine, and Howard learned of the offer and subsequent withdrawal and left Healy to form their own act, which quickly took off with a tour of the theater circuit. Healy attempted to stop the new act with legal action, claiming that they were using his copyrighted material. There are accounts of Healy threatening to bomb theaters if Howard, Fine, and Howard ever performed there, which worried Shemp so much that he almost left the act; reportedly, only a pay raise kept him on board.
Healy tried to save his act by hiring replacement stooges, but they were inexperienced and not as well-received as their predecessors. Healy reached a new agreement with his former Stooges in 1932, with Moe now acting as business manager, and they were booked in a production of Jacob J. Shubert’s The Passing Show of 1932. During rehearsals, Healy received a more lucrative offer and found a loophole in his contract allowing him to leave the production. Shemp, fed up with Healy’s abrasiveness, decided to quit the act and toured in his own comedy revue for several months, and then landed at Vitaphone Studios in May 1933, appearing in movie comedies produced in Brooklyn, New York, for the next four years.
With Shemp gone, Healy and the two remaining stooges (Moe and Larry) needed a replacement, so Moe suggested his younger brother Jerry Howard. Healy reportedly took one look at Jerry, who had long chestnut red locks and a handlebar mustache, and remarked that he did not look like he was funny.Jerry left the room and returned a few moments later with his head shaved (though his mustache remained for a time), and then quipped “Boy, do I look girly.” Healy heard “Curly”, and the name stuck. (There are varying accounts as to how the Curly character actually came about.)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) signed Healy and his Stooges to a movie contract in 1933. They appeared in feature films and short subjects, either together, individually, or with various combinations of actors. The trio was featured in a series of musical comedy shorts, beginning with Nertsery Rhymes. The short was one of a few shorts to be made with an early two-strip Technicolor process, including one featuring Curly without Healy or the other Stooges, Roast Beef and Movies (1934). The shorts themselves were built around recycled film footage of production numbers cut from MGM musicals, such as Children of Pleasure, Lord Byron of Broadway, and the unfinished March of Time (all 1930), which had been filmed in early Technicolor. Soon, additional shorts followed (sans the experimental Technicolor), including Beer and Pretzels (1933), Plane Nuts (1933), Jail Birds of Paradise (1934), and The Big Idea (1934).
Healy and company also appeared in several MGM feature films as comic relief, such as Turn Back the Clock (1933); Meet the Baron (1933); Dancing Lady (1933) with Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Fred Astaire and Robert Benchley; Fugitive Lovers (1934); and Hollywood Party (1934). Healy and the Stooges also appeared together in Myrt and Marge for Universal Pictures.
In 1934, the team’s contract expired with MGM, and the Stooges parted professional company with Healy. According to Moe Howard’s autobiography, the Stooges split with Healy in 1934 once and for all because of Healy’s alcoholism and abrasiveness. Their final film with Healy was MGM’s Hollywood Party (1934). Both Healy and the Stooges went on to separate successes, with Healy dying under mysterious circumstances in 1937.