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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Now Kids, Remember. The Stooges Are Trained Professionals.

That's what Officer Joe Bolton, who entered the set swinging his billy club on each episode of
the Three Stooges reruns on WPIX, Channel 11 in New York, would say to all the kids who were watching.
Many of whom took matters into their own hands by attempting to poke each other's eyes out.
This would take place after witnessing the Stooges do it in their films.
It was primarily a matter of nobody wanting to get sued.


I'm certain that much damage was done along the way.
But that generation for the most part survived.

Hey Porcupine!

Now, a new movie is going to be opening really soon, that seems to be claiming to be in exactly
the same spirit as the originals, except without the original Stooges, all of whom are long since dead.

Spread Out!

Is this a good idea?
I suppose that it depends on what you thought of the Three Stooges to begin with.
I never thought much of them.

Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!

It has often been maintained that the Three Stooges always appealed far more to men than they did to women.
This makes sense.
Men seem to be much more attracted to gratuitous violence.
I guess my feminine side emerges here.
I never found the Three Stooges to be appealing or remotely funny.
So why did I watch it as a teenager?
Because it was the least objectionable programming.
That's why I ever took a gander at "My Little Margie".

Moe, Larry, the cheese!

When you don't find them to be remotely funny, the violence that was inflicted primarily
and invariably by Moe upon the others seemed literally painful.
Accentuated by quite jarring sound effects.
It all just seemed mean-spirited for it's own sake.

Why, you numbskull!

The Three Stooges always seemed to be funnier when you talked about them and what they did, than when you actually saw them.


So is the movie actually a good idea?
Perhaps not aesthetically, but there are soitenly a lot of 14 year-old boys who love them, and are,
of course, after all, the motion picture industry's main target audience.
So it seems to be a good idea at least financially.

I'm a victim of soicumstance!

And it might even be funny.
It has oft been said that the Stooges never met a script that they would turn down.
This thing is helmed by the Farrelly Brothers.
Maybe no one would turn it down.

I try to think, but nothing happens!

Larry David and Jane Lynch are appearing in it.
That's quite an imprimatur.
The Brady Bunch Movie proved that in the right hands, something that was never funny CAN be.

Rrrowf! Rrrowf!"

There are purists out there who think that this is sacrilege.

That nobody should dare play the Stooges except the originals.
This is nonsense.
I saw a Broadway Show in the 80's called "A Day In Hollywood/A Night In the Ukraine".
The entire second half was devoted to a new Marx Brothers Musical.
I welcomed the notion, and had no trouble accepting new actors playing Harpo, Chico, and Groucho.
Except for the fact that the actor playing Groucho, David Garrison, sounded nothing at all like
Groucho, but instead sounded exactly like Edward G. Robinson.
But it still worked.


Moe and Curly are probably the most singularly famous names there are.
How many other Moe's do you know?
How many does anybody know?
Moe Greene from "The Godfather"?
That's stretching things a bit.
Curly from the musical "Oklahoma"?
There are plenty of Larrys, but no Curlys and no other Moe.
Except maybe Five Guys Named Moe.
That's also stretching things a bit.
And of course, there has never been another Shemp.

Okay, I guess Curly was funny. But Shemp, like the others, never was.
Quoting the Three Stooges is funny.
Which is probably why I've interspersed this essay with their quotes.

So maybe a Three Stooges Movie is a good idea. Maybe not.
I leave you with one thought:

B-A-bay, B-E bee, B-I biddy bye, B-O bo, biddy bye bo B-U boo,biddy bye bo boo!


My book,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
You might want to check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you like one, contact me at



  1. I never found the Stooges funny, but I did think they were watchable, especially back in the Dark Ages when there were only a handful of channels anyway. And they did have crack comic timing. With better material they may have been funny. Of course, they never seemed to care or even REALIZE their material was substandard. I've heard the reason there are so many Stooges shorts isn't that they were all that popular when they were making them (1930s-1940s), but because Harry Cohn, the head of Paramount thought they were hilarious. When TV came along and material was needed to fill the airwaves, those hundreds of shorts the Stooges made came in handy. Only then did they become household names.

  2. ...what about Curly from City Slickers? When that movie appeared, people were doing Jack Palance quotes to beat the band. If you look at someone and say in a raspy voice, "I crap bigger'n you", there's always a bit of recognition.

    I'm just saying, is all.

  3. When I saw "City Slickers", I never thought of Jack Palance as Curly.
    I just thought of him as Jack Palance.
    It wasn't until they attempted that godawful sequel, "City Slickers 2, The Legend of Curly's
    Gold", that I was even aware that Palance's name was Curly.
    Then that picture mercifully tanked, and the only context where that title is mentioned is in
    mocking it. So that's another example of stretching things a bit.

  4. Harry Cohn, Head of COLUMBIA. Stooges = COLUMBIA studios their whole lives. If Paramout ever had a comedy team it was Martin & Lewis in the '50s.

  5. @Anonymous--OOPS! I stand corrected. I have no idea why I said Paramount. But let me at least partially redeem myself. Along with Martin and Lewis, Paramount did have at least two other comedy teams. The Marx Brothers made their first five movies there in the late '20s and early '30s, and the Hope-Crosby Road pictures of the '40s and '50s. In fact, Hope and Crosby and Martin and Lewis made cameo appearances in each other's movies. H&C in SCARED STRAIGHT, and M&L in The Road to Bali.

  6. OOPS again--The Martin and Lewis movie was Scared Stiff. Scared Straight was a prison documentary.

    1. Scared Straight is actually a documentary about a group of prisoners trying to scare some juvenile delinquents into changing their ways. it doesn't usually work. there have been a lot of parodies, though. see!#In_popular_culture



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."