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The 3 Stooges Movie You DIDN’T See

The 3 Stooges Movie You DIDN’T See

The new Three Stooges movie that opened this weekend was in the works for the better part of a decade, and went through many casting changes. What’s more, it wasn’t the first time someone thought of reviving the Stooges on the big screen with new actors taking the place of the original comics. (I’m not even thinking about the time when Moe and Larry were still alive and planned to recruit longtime supporting player Emil Sitka as their “third stooge.”) In going through my files I came upon this 1984 press release from Columbia Pictures, longtime home of the comedy trio, proudly announcing the launch of a James Bond parody intended to feature the Stooges. This one was the brainchild of Norman Maurer, Moe Howard’s son-in-law who produced and directed their last big-screen appearances in The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze and The Outlaws is Coming. He also supervised the “New 3 Stooges” TV cartoons, with their live-action wraparounds, and the TV pilot film known as Kook’s Tour.

The question remains whether Maurer, who knew the Stooges and their work as well as anyone in Hollywood, could have found ideal replacements for Moe, Larry and Curly, and hearkened back to the silent-film-oriented slapstick of their heyday. After all, by the time he worked with “the boys” they were much older, and while they were still troupers through-and-through, they couldn’t perform the kind of physical comedy that had made them famous. But it’s certainly interesting to speculate about what might have been.

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Norman Maurer did a wonderful job steering the Stooges into kids' feature films, and if 003 Stooges had in fact happened, we might not have had the Naked Gun and Austin Powers series, which to my mind were very Stooge-like. You never know what will age best: comedy styles or comedy characters.

mike fontanelli

Maurer was a gifted cartoonist. His best work from the 1950s and '60s resembles the cartooning styles of Will Eisner and Dick Briefer, (graphically, if not in content.) The original Jubilee/St John THREE STOOGES comics are being collected in hardcover and in color. The first volume just came out this week.


That osunds like something I would have watched. I remember watching the last 10 episodes of Curly. It really saddened me, how he would have some of his spirit in some, and be listless and seem just old in others. When he had the stroke, and Shemp came in, I switched gears. First I had to get over not disliking him because he wasn't Curly. But then, I kept wanting him to have the same manic energy. I started to just realize, even as a kid watching these, he was just a different style comedian, and Moe and Larry were slowing up. While I really can't watch either Joe much, not just because of them being not Curly or Shemp now.. heh.. Moe and Larry were seeming as tired as Curly was towards his end. But, the stooges still had that sense of fun, even in the later ones, and their comic timing, no matter how much they over acted. I have all the dvds available, and all the movies I could buy. I've even been to the Stooges Museum in Pa, which is kinda near my home. Wish all the other comedy teams had just as many toys and collectables that the stooges have out. Closest are Laurel and Hardy in their long line of stuff. Would have loved to have had cool Martin and Lewis toys… (only have seen not too flattering puppets). Anyways, I have no idea why I love this style of humor, but when the Airplane/Naked Gun/Scary Movie/Dumb and Dumber stuff started Coming out, I was in heaven. I don't know if I may want to see another film of the new Stooges, but I sure enjoyed going back in time watching them. They were sure better than the awful Laurel and Hardy update one. [rolls eyes]

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