From the vaults of Time Life comes one of the most amazing collections of comedy I will ever have the joy of watching again and again — “The Best of The Three Stooges.”
Let start by saying that as a kid, “The Three Stooges” was one of my most important introductions to comedy. Better than any Saturday morning cartoon, Moe, Curly and Larry could have tears running down my face within a few short minutes.
How did they begin? In the 1920s, vaudeville was huge and a source of amazing entertainment as Ted Healy and Moe Howard hit the stage. Shemp Howard, Curly Howard and Larry Fine would later become part of the group as well in their own time.
Within a few short years, “The Three Stooges” would begin making short comedies and between 1934 and 1946, Columbia Pictures would let the comedy trio do more than 90 short films. That is insanely incredible to make that many pieces in what I consider a short period of time.
There were many shifts in the group with illnesses and deaths, but that didn’t stop “The Three Stooges” from continuing well into the 1970s. In all that time, fans did not stop wanting to experience the fantastic comedy timing that “The Three Stooges” had to offer.
No one seemed to mind the changes in the line up as long as the line up was funny and entertaining. It seems audiences were more forgiving during that time than they are today.
What Time Life has managed to do, and I’m so thrilled they did it, was bring 13 discs — which equals 45 hours of feature films, vintage animated cartoons and a nine part documentary series — that had me completely riveted. I love knowing how my favorite actors, actresses and comediennes began, and it is all here.
With iconic lines such as “Well, I outta…..”, “Oh wise guy, eh?” and “Nyuk! Nyuk!,” which are still used today (and probably not known why by those young folk who use it), it is a staple in my family. “The Three Stooges” brought slap to slap stick with eye pokes, rotating shoulders, nose grabs, bonks on the head and, yes, they are still used today by us all.
The first disc includes the feature film “The Three Stooges,” “The Three Stooges Cartoons Bon Bon Parade” (1935), “Merry Mutineers” (1936), “A Hollywood Detour” (1942), Disc 2 contains “Shemp Howard Comedy Shorts with 14 Classics from the ‘30s and ‘40s,” “Joe Besser Comedy Shorts with 10 Side Splitters From the ‘40s and 50s,” “Joe DeRita Comedy Shorts with 4 Smackers from the ‘40s.” Disc 3 has “Have Rocket Will Travel,” “The Outlaws is Coming” and “Rockin’ in the Rockies.”
That isn’t all! Disc 4 contains “Documentary: Hey Moe! Hey Dad!” and “4 Episodes of A Trio Grows in Brooklyn,” “A Stooge is Born,” “Slap Happy” and “Eureka.” Finally, Disc 5 finished up with “Documentary: Hey Moe! Hey Dad!” and “Good Night & Good Nyuk!,” “Déjà vu All Over Again,” “Bum’s Rush,” “Curtain Call” and “A Son Also Rises.”
Time Life continues to bring never before released anywhere classic collections of television shows for fans to revisit and remember what has made television so special. Time Life has released “Mama’s Family,” “CPO Sharkey” and “The Tonight Show” and they now reminds of us of a time when sex and politics were up for grabs with “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.” For more of what Time Life has to offer fans of classic television visit www.timelife.com.
Here’s more amazing news — this is only Volume One of “The Best of The Three Stooges,” and it would have to be. This group of whacky and talented men lives a comedic life that was both hilarious and tragic at the same time.
“Have Rocket, Will Travel” has the group blasting off to Venus for a ride into the world of talking unicorns, aliens and giant tarantula’s and yes, those things are made for the boys to make fun of. “Rockin’ in the Rockies” has “The Three Stooges” prospecting in Nevada. Of course that couldn’t possibly be all especially with the era full of cattle rustlers and roulette wheels at the local casino saloon.
There are so many amazing reasons to have “The Three Stooges” as part of your home entertainment library and these two examples of laughs are only one reason. The comedy trio (even through the changes) are iconic in the world and are still copied today in many ways.
This past Halloween alone I saw people dressed up as Moe, Curly and Larry, and I couldn’t be happier about it. There is something sweet and nostalgic about a part of my childhood showing up from time to time to remind me of where my sense of humor came from.
Now, I have the opportunity to share with my family the hilarity and it is my 3-year-old granddaughter who follows in my footsteps in a fantastic way. She can’t stop herself from laughing hysterically at the antics of “The Three Stooges.” Time Life has gone in-depth gathering the films, documentaries and animated cartoons for what will be known now as fans of all ages.
In the end — they are “The Three Stooges” of mayhem and fun!