So I finished volume 8 of "The Three Stooges Collection" and have come to the conclusion that the three men pictured above always get a bum deal when it comes to Three Stooges fans.
Originally, I was going to call this column "In Defense of Joe Besser" (center) because after re-watching his shorts for the first time in over 30 years, I realize that they are not that bad. There were a couple of bum ones, but certainly they tried harder with these 16 shorts from 1957-59, than the latter day Shemp ones from 1953-1956, where they depended too heavily on stock footage. And "gay" Joe Besser is fine with me, because Moe needs to be socked once in a while. Yapple Dapple!
Joe DeRita (right) is my least favorite Stooge, but he was the right man for the job for the time. I don't think that Larry and Moe could handle someone like a Curly as they entered into their 60s and 70s, as they were slowing down, so Curly-Joe's easy-going "Buddy Boy" style was perfect for their more laid back 60s films. (BTW, when IS "Have Rocket, Will Travel" coming out on DVD, anyway?)
My favorite Stooge is Shemp (left). My favorite Stooges short is "Brideless Groom". Don't get me wrong, because I love Curly, Moe and Larry as well, but there's something about Shemp that just makes me laugh no matter what he does, even when he's not with the Stooges. (See "Africa Screams" with Abbott & Costello (and Joe Besser) to see what I mean.)
As a result, I feel the best years for Stooges comedies was 1947-49 for their overall consistency and humor. Shorts like "Who Done it?" and "Malice in the Palace" are among my favorites.
With Curly a lot of times, the short was only as good as he was, and so sometimes the short failed on those terms, but I love things like "Micro-Phonies" and "Dizzy Pilots" among many, many others. (BTW, can anyone tell me if Curly's cameo footage in "Malice in the Palace" still exists besides photos?)
Anyway, cheers to the SIX Stooges...