In the last few weeks, I've had pretty much the same conversation with at least three separate friends...not the guys in the above photo but about them. There's a new movie coming out in which current actors portray the Three Stooges and these Stooge fans are worried it will sully the good name of Stooge. My attitude in response is like, "Really? You're concerned about the dignity of the Three Stooges?" I submit that if you think the Three Stooges ever had any dignity to lose, you don't "get" the Three Stooges.
Did the Three Stooges ever turn down a script? Did Moe ever say to their director, "My character wouldn't say that"? More to the point, did Larry ever say, "No, Moe wouldn't hit me with one of those"?
I knew Larry a bit. I briefly met Moe Howard, Joe Besser and "Curly" Joe DeRita but I spent a few hours of quality time with Larry Fine when he was living in the Motion Picture Country Home. If you mentioned one of their films to him by name, he'd display no recognition of the title but he might wonder aloud, "Is that the one where Moe hit me with the tire iron?" Oddly enough, I hear Dame Judith Dench asks the same thing if you quiz her about anything by Shakespeare.
I've told this before here but one of the saddest/strangest things I ever saw on a TV news show occurred the day Larry died. The local CBS crew rushed cameras over to Moe's house and interviewed him on his front lawn. Moe was crying and his lower lip was trembling so much, his mouth was literally out of sync with his own voice. He was sobbing and saying, "He was my best friend...he was like a brother to me...I loved him so." And as he was saying this, they began rolling footage of Moe smashing pottery over Larry's head, running a saw across his skull and ripping out handfuls of Larry's hair.
I loved the Three Stooges. I still love the Three Stooges. I will always love the Three Stooges and there's no movie anyone can make that will change that.
And one of the things I love about them is that they had absolutely no standards. They would do anything, anything. You know how freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose? Well, those guys were as free as a human being in show business could be. They had no standards to live up to or even down to. Someone would say to Moe, "Hey, how about in the next scene, you drop your pants, then stick your brother's nose in a light socket and electrocute him?" and Moe would just ask, "Okay, which side should I be on?"
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