Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Three Stooges in Ancient Times

The Three Stooges began as a vaudeville act, "Ted Healy and his Stooges" in the mid-1920s. The "Stooges" were Moe and Shemp Howard and Larry Fine. The four made a feature film titled Soup to Nuts, after which Shemp left to start a solo film career. Younger brother Curly Howard took his place. Two years later, the trio left Healy and began to make short subject comedies or "shorts" for Columbia Pictures. Between the years of 1934 and 1946, they made over 90 short films. In 1946, Curly dropped out due to health reasons and Shemp took the role as the third Stooge once again until his death in 1955. Curly died in 1952.

The Three Stooges were usually set in "modern" times - the Depression, WWII - but they also covered everything from Cave Men to Cowboys, often utilizing sets from historical films being made at Columbia at the time. The two shorts below are set in "Ancient" Times. I hope you enjoy them!

Matri-Phony (1942) - Ancient Rome

Mummy's Dummies (1948) - Ancient Egypt

All in all, the Stooges (including later replacement Joe Besser and Joe DeRita) made a total of 190 shorts, all which have been released recently on dvd. Since hitting the airwaves in 1958, The Three Stooges has been a staple on television, even to this day.

I will leave you with this excerpt from the Ted Okuda and Edward Watz book The Columbia Comedy Shorts:
Many scholarly studies of motion picture comedy have overlooked the Three Stooges entirely – and not without valid reasoning. Aesthetically, the Stooges violated every rule that constitutes "good" comedic style. Their characters lacked the emotional depth of Charlie Chaplin and Harry Langdon; they were never as witty or subtle as Buster Keaton. They were not disciplined enough to sustain lengthy comic sequences; far too often, they were willing to suspend what little narrative structure their pictures possessed in order to insert a number of gratuitous jokes. Nearly every premise they have employed (spoofs of westerns, horror films, costume melodramas) has been done to better effect by other comedians. And yet, in spite of the overwhelming artistic odds against them, they were responsible for some of the finest comedies ever made. Their humor was the most undistilled form of low comedy; they were not great innovators, but as quick laugh practitioners, they place second to none. If public taste is any criterion, the Stooges have been the reigning kings of comedy for over fifty years.
This post is part of The Sword & Sandal Blogathon hosted by Moon in Gemini. The subject may be ancient, but the posts aren't!


  1. So the big difference between ancient Rome and ancient Egypt is you would be thrown to the lions in one, and thrown to the crocodiles in the other. :)

    Thank you so much for sharing these and for participating in the blogathon! I'm so glad someone chose to cover something comedic.

    1. Thanks so much for hosting! I had intended to do a longer post but my laptop decided it was a good time to stop working so I couldn't watch them and take screenshots :/