Whether you remember their movies from your childhood, or watching their shorts on Saturday mornings, the Three Stooges brought laughter to generations of people with their signature slapstick antics.
Their time in the spotlight has come and gone, but the laughs they brought us will last forever. They left behind a HUGE body of work (keep reading to learn exactly how big it is) and a lifetime of classic gags.
But how well do you really know the Stooges? See if you already know any of these 9 surprising facts about the Hollywood funnymen – we promise not to throw a pie in your face if you don’t!
1. The movies were very, very cheap
Columbia Pictures, who made most of the Stooges’ short films, were famously tight-fisted. The Stooges weren’t paid much, most of the film sets were recycled from other movies, and the crew would even sweep up the cream from cream pie fights to re-use it in the next take.
2. It wasn’t all fun and games
It’s hard to believe, with all the cartoon sound effects, but the stooges would often injure themselves for real while doing their slapstick routines.
Broken ribs, noses and sprained ankles were very common, and Larry once got a fountain pen stuck in his forehead. All in a day’s work!
3. Curly’s famous walk is from a childhood accident
One of Curly’s signature gags was his “shuffle,” his unusual limping walk. It even inspired its own song. There wasn’t much creativity behind this joke, just a bad accident.
When Curly was young he shot himself in the foot. He was too afraid to visit the doctor, so his limp was never fixed. What a stooge!
4. Moe, Shemp and Curly were brothers
The Howard brothers grew up in Brooklyn, New York. The three were obsessed with show business from a young age, but only Moe and Shemp were original members of the Stooges. Curly would replace his brother years later.
Click the next page to learn which famous actress starred alongside the Stooges!
5. A major star got her big break with the Stooges
Recognize the actress in the picture below? It’s Lucille Ball from I Love Lucy. One of Ball’s first big breaks in show-business was a part in the Stooges’ short Three Little Pigskins.
Even though hundreds of actors and actresses performed alongside the Stooges, only a handful had successful careers. In fact, fans often mention the “curse of the Stooges,” where actors who appear in their movies seem to die young or have their careers cut short.
6. The Stooges almost won an Oscar
Yes, they have a reputation for being childish and silly, but you can’t deny the Stooges are true artists, because they almost won an Academy Award.
Men in Black, the short where they played clueless doctors, almost earned the comedians an Oscar for best comedy short film.
7. There were WAY more than 3 Stooges
Even casual fans know that their are 4 main “3 Stooges” – Larry, Curly, Moe and Shemp – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The Stooges split up, made their own groups and were recast multiple times. Depending on who you include, there are anywhere from 6 to 20 actors who could rightfully be called Stooges.
8. Moe’s haircut was real
It seems unbelievable that anyone would willingly walk around with that bowl cut on their head, but it was very important to Moe.
His mother had wanted a girl, so as a child she kept Moe’s curly hair long and flowing, which he was teased for. One day he had enough and chopped it off himself, creating the signature hairdo he’s famous for.
9. They made LOTS of movies
All in all, there are an incredible 220 Three Stooges movies, 190 of which were shorts. But the funnymen also had their own cartoons, TV shows, video games and even a licensed restaurant, Stoogeburger, owned by Larry and Moe.
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