Learn more about Three Stooges
The Three Stooges were an American comedy slapstick act in the 20th century. Commonly known by their first names, Moe, Larry, & Curly (sometimes spelled "Curley"); Moe, Larry, & Shemp; and other lineups became famous for their work in movies and starred in many short features that consisted of masterful ways of showcasing their extremely physical brand of slapstick comedy.
 Ted Healy and His Stooges
The Three Stooges got their name and their start from a vaudeville act called Ted Healy and His Stooges (previously called "Ted Healy and His Southern Gentlemen" and "Ted Healy and His Racketeers"), which was founded in 1922. Brothers Harry Moses Howard (Moe) and Samuel Howard (Shemp) (original last name Horwitz) were later joined by violinist Larry Fine (born Louis Feinberg). Shemp acquired his name from his mother's attempts to pronounce his name, "Sam", in spite of her thick accent. By 1930, Ted Healy and His Stooges were appearing in Hollywood feature films, such as Soup to Nuts. Shemp left the act in 1931 for a career in feature films, notably as trainer Knobby Walsh in the Joe Palooka films, and in The Bank Dick with W.C. Fields.
When Shemp left the act, Ted and the two remaining stooges (Moe and Larry) needed a third stooge, so Moe suggested his youngest brother Jerry (Jerome Lester Howard). Ted took one look at Jerry, who had long black locks and facial hair, and stated that Jerry did not look like a character, as did Moe and Larry. Thus, Jerry left the room and returned moments later with a shaved head and face; thus, 'Curly' was born. (There are varying accounts as to how Curly actually came about. Some publications maintain that Moe, Larry, Ted Healy, and even Shemp actually came up with the concept of shaving Jerry's head and dubbing him 'Curly.') According to Moe Howard in his autobiography, Moe Howard and the Three Stooges, the Stooges split with Ted Healy in 1934 once and for all because of Healy's alcoholism and abrasiveness.
 Columbia Short Subjects, 1934-1959
The same year, the Three Stooges (as the Howard brothers and Fine renamed their act) signed on to appear in two-reel comedy short subjects for Columbia Pictures at just a few hundred dollars a week. The Stooges went on to star in 190 film short subjects over the next twenty-three years, the longest such series in history. Del Lord directed more than three dozen of the Three Stooges shorts. Jules White directed many others, and his brother Jack White directed several under the pseudonym "Preston Black."
According to a published report,<ref>Newspaper article about the anti-fascist short You Nazty Spy</ref> Moe, Larry, and director Jules White considered their best film to be You Nazty Spy! (1940). This 18-minute short subject starring Moe as a Hitler-like character satirized the Nazis in a period when America was still neutral and isolationist about WWII. You Nazty Spy was the first Hollywood film to spoof Hitler, and was released nine months before the more famous Charlie Chaplin film The Great Dictator.
Curly suffered a stroke on May 6, 1946, during the filming of Half-Wits Holiday, curtailing his Columbia output at 97 shorts. Brother Shemp reluctantly rejoined the act to take Curly's place. Curly did make one brief cameo appearance (doing his dog barking routine) in the third film after Shemp returned to the trio, Hold That Lion!, in an effort to boost his morale. It was the only film that contained all three Howard brothers on screen simultaneously. (Curly's cameo appearance was recycled in the 1953 remake Booty and the Beast). According to The Three Stooges Journal, a scene was written for 1949's Malice in the Palace, in which Curly was to appear as a chef.
Shemp Howard was hesitant to rejoin the Stooges, as he had a successful solo career going at the time of Curly's untimely illness. However, he realized that Moe and Larry's careers would be finished without the Stooge act. Shemp wanted some kind of assurance that his rejoining was indeed temporary, and that he could leave the Stooges once Curly recovered. Unfortunately, Curly's condition grew worse: he died in January 1952.
With Shemp on board, the Stooges went on to appear in 77 more shorts and a mediocre feature entitled Gold Raiders (1951). During this period, Moe, Larry, and Shemp also made a pilot for a Three Stooges television show called Jerks of All Trades in 1949. The series was never picked up, although the pilot is today in the public domain and is available on home video, as is an early TV appearance from around the same time on a vaudeville-style comedy series starring Ed Wynn. Shemp and Joe Besser appeared together in the 1953 release of Abbott and Costello's, "African Screems". Video markets now promote the film as having "two of the three stooges", though Besser was not a stooge until Shemp's passing.
The quality of the Stooge shorts declined starting in 1952 when director Edward Bernds was fired from Columbia Pictures. Bernds took producer Hugh McCollum with him, and Columbia Short Subjects head Jules White was left to both produce and direct the remainder of the Stooge shorts. Remakes of earlier Shemp shorts occurred on a regular basis as a cost-saving tactic.
Death paid the Stooges another visit just three years after Curly's demise. Shemp Howard died of a sudden heart attack (or stroke, or cerebral hemorrhage, depending on the publication) at age 60 on November 22, 1955. Archived footage of Shemp, combined with new footage of his stand-in, Joe Palma (filmed from behind or with his face hidden), were used to finish the last four films on Shemp's contract.
Joe Besser replaced Shemp in 1956 and 1957, appearing in 16 shorts. Besser, noting how one side of Larry Fine's face seemed "calloused", had a clause in his contract specifically prohibiting him from being hit too hard (though this restriction was lifted as Besser's tenure continued- ironically, Besser was the only "third" stooge that dared to hit Moe back in retaliation and get away with it on a regular basis; Larry Fine was also known to hit Moe on occasion, but always with serious repercussions). Unfortunately, the market for short subjects had all but dried up by the time Besser joined the trio. Television was the new popular medium, and the Stooges were practically dinosaurs. Columbia Pictures, the last studio still producing shorts, unceremoniously fired the trio in 1957 at the end of production of their final short, Sappy Bullfighters. Because of a production backlog, Sappy Bullfighters, did not reach theatres until June 4, 1959.
See also List of Three Stooges shorts.
In 1959, Columbia syndicated the entire Stooges film library to television (through its TV subsidiary, Screen Gems), and the Stooges were rediscovered by the baby boomers. A "Stooge fandom" quickly developed, and Howard and Fine found themselves back in demand again with the public. Besser's wife had had a heart attack, however, and he withdrew from the act. Moe quickly signed Joe DeRita as his replacement; DeRita shaved his head and became "Curly-Joe" because of his resemblance to the original Curly Howard; "Curly-Joe" also made it easier to distinguish him from Joe Besser, the previous Stooge called Joe.
This version of the Three Stooges went on to make a series of moderately popular full-length films during the late 1950s and through the 1960s. The trio also filmed 39 short comedy skits that were broadcast as introductions and closings for The New Three Stooges, an animated television series based upon the comedy team. Throughout the 1960's, The Three Stooges were one of the most popular, and highest paid live acts in the country.
In 1969, the Three Stooges filmed a pilot episode for a new TV series entitled Kook's Tour which would have been a combination travelogue and sitcom that would have seen the "retired" Stooges travelling around the world, with the episodes filmed on location. During production of the pilot, Larry suffered a paralyzing stroke, ending his acting career, as well as future plans for the TV series. A 50-minute version of Kook's Tour was edited together from usable material and initially only made available for the home movie market (years before the popularity of home video); it has subsequently been released to DVD, though unrestored.
 Later years
Larry Fine suffered another stroke in December 1974. The following month, he suffered a more serious stroke, and slipped into a coma. Fine died on January 24, 1975, aged 72. Devastated by his comrade's passing, Moe decided that long-time Stooge supporting actor Emil Sitka would replace Larry, and be dubbed "The Middle Stooge".
Several movie ideas were considered, including one called Blazing Stewardesses according to Leonard Maltin, who also uncovered a pre-production photo (the film was ultimately made with the last surviving Ritz Brothers). However, life-long smoker Moe had fallen ill with lung cancer, and died on May 4, 1975. With Moe gone, it was inconceivable that the Three Stooges continue without a Howard, although Curly-Joe did do some live performances with a new group of Stooges in the early 1970s. It is interesting to note that in 1975, the world not only lost both Larry and Moe, but also Moe's wife of 50 years, Helen.
Joe Besser died on March 1, 1988, followed by Curly-Joe on July 3, 1993, and Emil Sitka on January 16, 1998, making him the last "Stooge" (he never appeared on film as a member of the trio, only in a few publicity shots) to die. Curly-Joe often stated that his time with the Three Stooges were the 'best years of his life.'
Throughout their career, Moe was the heart and soul of the troupe, acting as both their main creative force and business manager. Comedy III Productions, Inc., formed by Moe, Larry and Curly-Joe DeRita in 1959, is today the owner of all of the Three Stooges' trademarks and merchandising (the company is currently operated by DeRita's two stepsons and Larry Fine's Grandson Majority Owner Eric Lamond).
In Spring of 2000, long time stooge fan Mel Gibson produced a TV movie about the life and careers of the Stooges. It was produced for and broadcast on ABC. This movie was based on Michael Fleming's authorized biography on the Stooges, The Three Stooges: From Amalgamated Morons to American Icons. The film regularly runs on the AMC (American Movie Classics) channel.
Some of the Stooges films have been colorized by two separate companies. The first colorized DVD releases, distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, were prepared by West Wing Studios in 2004. The following year, Legend Films and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment colorized the shorts Malice in the Palace, Sing a Song of Six Pants, Disorder in the Court (which was colorized again by West Wing in 2006), and Brideless Groom. Four more DVDs will be released by Legend in 2007; episodes to be announced.
- Sitka was officially named a member of the Stooges following Larry Fine's stroke, but never got to perform with the group.
Although The Three Stooges are best known for their physical comedy, the group's dialogue is also highly quotable, with many of their lines (or signature nonverbal vocalizations) having become popular catchphrases. Here are some examples:
- "Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!" (Curly laughing)
- "Why I oughta..." (Moe)
- "What's the big idea?" (Larry)
- "Eeeb-eeeb-eeeb-eeeb!" (Shemp)
- "Woob, woob, woob, woob, woob!" (Curly)
- "I'll murderize ya!" (Moe)
- "I'll moyder you!" (Moe)
- "Hey, that hurts!" (Joe)
- "Not so ha-a-a-ard." (Joe)
- "Soitenly!" (certainly) (Curly)
- "You imbecile!" (Moe, to the others)
- "I'm a victim of soicumstance!" (circumstance) (Curly)
- "Spread out!" (Moe, to the others)
- "I'm sorry, Moe! Please forgive me!" (Larry)
- (Stooges on phone) "Yes? Yes, yes? Yes, yes, yes? ...NOOO!"
- "Waah, w-ohh!" (Shemp, which was a wolf-whistle towards women that sounded like a steam whistle)
- "Yauauaua!" (Curly)
- "La-la-la, la-la-la..." (Curly, humming)
- "Mmmmmmmmh!" (Curly) (when frustrated; difficult to transcribe exactly)
- "Rrrowf! Rrrowf!" (Curly) (when angry or defiant)
- Other attempt: (Ruff! Ruff!)
- (Sometimes Moe on some Shemp and Joe shorts)
- Other attempt: (Ruff! Ruff!)
- "You knucklehead!" (Moe, to others)
- "Hey Moe! Hey Moe!" (Curly)
- "Hellooooo (1st Stooge)...Hellooooo (2nd Stooge)...Hellooooo! (3rd Stooge) ... Hello! (All Stooges)"
- "You chucklehead!" (Moe, to the others)
- "You chowderhead!" (Moe, to the others)
- "Whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop!" (Curly, when frightened. He sometimes runs around or away when saying this and variations exist.)
- "I'll lead the way. Go ahead." (Moe, usually to Larry)
- "Yaadadeeee, Yaadeda" (Curly, high pitch singing. Usually while concentrating on something such as cooking.) (Moe does this on at least one Shemp short Flagpole Jitters.)
Slapstick was a mainstay of Stooge humor. The key was that, no matter how hard anyone was poked, slapped, punched or prodded, the pain immediately went away, and no one was ever really hurt by it. Even Moe dragging a handsaw across Curly's head would result only in a momentary "OH! OH! OH!" and then a "Oh, LOOK!" as they gazed at the bent and/or dulled teeth of the now completely useless saw. Moe would inevitably blame Curly for the damage... "You and that iron head o' yours. You've ruined the saw!"
Examples of archetypical Stooge slapstick:
- One pokes the other in the eyes with the first and second fingers of one hand. After a while, the other Stooge catches on and holds his palm perpendicular to the edge of his nose to block this. The first Stooge then uses the index finger of each hand to jab both eyes at once.
Here is an example:
- Moe: (holding out his hand) Pick out two.
- Curly: (pointing out Moe's first and second fingers) One, two!
- (Moe immediately pokes Curly in the eyes.)
- Curly: YEOW!!
Another Example (From Ants in the Pantry):
- Moe: (pokes Larry in the eyes)
- Larry: Ow! I can't see! I CAN'T SEE!
- Moe: (Concerned) What's the matter?
- Larry: I got my eyes closed.
One stooge, usually Moe, strikes his own outstretched fist with his other fist. After being struck, the hand revolves downward, back and onto another Stooge's head. This move is known as the "Around-The-World Bop".
- Moe: See that?
- Larry: (jeering) Ahhh.
- (Larry slaps Moe's hand, which flies up and knocks Larry's head.)
- Sound effect: *BONK!*
- Larry: (in pain) Ow!
In a variant of this maneuver, one Stooge strikes his own outstretched fist with his other fist; usually, it is either Curly or Larry who is the one that does this, except after being struck, the clever trick backfires as the hand revolves downward, back and onto Curly's or Larry's own head.
- Curly: See that?
- Moe: (jeering) Ahhh!
- (Moe slaps Curly's hand, which flies up and knocks himself on the head.)
- Sound effect: *BONK!*
- Curly: (in pain) Owowow!
The triple slap: a straight man slaps the faces of all three Stooges in one energetic sweep.
- Sound effect: *SLAD-DA-DAP!!*
One Stooge, typically Moe, grasps another Stooge's nose then vertically strikes the grasping fist, making the sound of a honking horn-like device.
- Sound effect: *HONK!*
Other side-aching classics include:
(Three Stooges are cops)
- Moe: Next time you handle a gun, shoot yourself in the head.
- Curly: (Pulling out a pen and pad of paper) I'll make a note of it. How do you spell head?
- Moe: B-O-N-E Head.
- (He hits Curly on the head with the gun)
- Curly: (Painfully) Ow! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh... look!
- (The butt of the gun is smashed)
(Three Stooges are in a shop. They manage to tick off Moe as always)
- Moe: (Laughs with the humor)
- Curly/Larry: (Both laugh too)
- (Moe slowly puts his hands on their shoulders, then claps their heads together)
- Sound effect: BONK!
(While building a room, Curly as assigned, takes an electric saw and cuts a piece of wood by six inches, but cuts it on the table Moe is standing on while measuring the ceiling base line)
- Moe: Give it to me.
- (Takes one step towards the end of the table, and the whole thing collapses, with him crashing on his back. He gets up as though nothing happened, and walks to the left end of Curly and Larry)
- Curly: What happened?
- Moe: Nothin.
- (Slaps them both)
- Sound effect: LOUD SLAP!
- Moe: Fools!
- (He grabs a 2x4 and chases after them, but cannot get through an unfinished door with the 2x4 in his hand, so he tosses it to the floor)
- Moe: Shut that door!
- (Curly does so, but it collapses on Moe)
- Moe: Help!! Murder!!
- Curly: (With Moe yelling angrily) Where is he?
- Larry: (Pointing to door on ground) He's in there!
- Moe: Get me outta here!
- (Carelessly, Curly stands on the door)
- Moe: Ow! Get this door open!
- (Curly gets off, tries to open it, but it's locked)
- Curly: I can't, it's locked! I ain't even got a key!
- Moe: Get the saw!
- Curly: Move your head, Moe! I'll have you out of this in a jiffy!
- Moe: Hurry up!
- (Again, Curly does so, and cuts a body hole in the door, barely missing Moe, but cuts a hole in the floor as well. Larry gives the hole piece a few taps, and Moe falls through the floor and on to the bottom next one.
- Moe: (Screaming as he falls to the bottom floor)
- Sound effect: CRASH!
- (They look as Moe pushes the wood and rubble off of him down below)
- Curly: What're ya doin' down there?
- Moe: (Gesturing them with his index finger to come down there) C'mere...
- Curly: (To Larry) I think he wants ya.
- Moe: Both of ya!
- (After they reach the bottom floor)
- Curly: (Helping Moe up) Hey Moe! It was an accident! It'll never happen again, we couldn't help it!
- (Moe punches them both in the stomach, and with them both bent forward from the punch, he hits them in the forehead)
- Sound effect: BOUNCE... BONK!
- Larry: Hey, you only fell 14 feet! Why are ya gettin sore?!
- Moe: (Pretending to be surprised) Is that all it was?
- Larry: Yeah!
- Moe: (Now pretending to be sorry) Aw, well I'm sorry, fellas. (chuckles)
- (He puts his hands on their shoulders as though he's making amends, but then claps Larry's and Curly's heads together)
- Sound effect: BONK!
- Moe: Why you rat!
In some brief scenes for certain episodes, Moe would be seen with his hair standing straight in fright as he yelled in terror. This was done with an air hose off-camera (usually below as it takes an extreme close-up of him) blowing his hair upward as he yells. His voice was later dubbed in.
Other bizarre events frequently occurred, including a scene in which Moe sits in a chair that has a bear trap set in it, which immediately clamps down on Moe's butt. He runs around the room with the trap on screaming, "Larry! Larry! An octopus has got me!"
- See Three Stooges Online's Slapshtick for more examples.
 Social commentary and satire
Although the Three Stooges slapstick comedy was primarily arranged around basic plots dealing with more mundane issues of daily life, a number of their shorts featured social commentary or satire. The Stooges were often anti-heroical commentators on the class divisions and economic hardships of the Great Depression in the United States.. They were usually under- or unemployed and sometimes homeless or living in shanty towns.
The language used by the Three Stooges was more slang-laden than that of typical feature films of the period and deliberately affected a lower class status with use of crude terms and ethnic mannerisms.
One important area of political commentary was in the area of the rise of totalitarianism in Europe, notably in the directly satirical You Nazty Spy! and I'll Never Heil Again, both released before United States' entry into World War II despite an industry Production Code that advocated avoiding social and political issues and the negative portrayal of foreign countries.
 Sound effects
The use of clever sound effects was important to the overall effect of the action. A good example would be Moe whacking one of his fellow Stooges on the head with a hammer. Typically, the sound of a hammer striking an anvil or a block of wood was used, suggesting the characters were "hard-headed" in more ways than one. A blow to a kettle drum accompanied blows to the stomach, and for pokes to the eye, a plucked violin string made the sound, or sometimes a high pitched piano sound. When appendages such as fingers, noses, toes, etc. were pinched, crunched, vice gripped, etc. a noise like a cracking nut generally accompanied.
For unknown reasons, sound effects were not used in the Jerks of All Trades (1949) television pilot. Some believe that this is the main reason their pilot failed to sell. The silly sound effects made the hitting, poking and punching come across as a joke. Without the clever sound it came across as just violent.
Several instrumental tunes were played over the opening credits at different times in the production of their short features. The most commonly used themes were:
- "Three Blind Mice", beginning as a slow but straightforward presentation, often breaking into a "jazzy" style before ending. Another version was played fast all the way through.
- The verse portion of "Listen to the Mockingbird", played in a comic way, complete with sounds of cuckoo birds and such. Ironically, the actual song is mournful.
The Columbia short subject “Woman Haters” (1934) was done completely in song. It was sixth in a “Musical Novelties” short subject series, and appropriated its musical score from the first five films. The memorable “My Life, My Love, My All,” was originally “At Last!” from the film “Um-Pa.”
“Swinging the Alphabet” (B-A-bay, B-E-be, B-I-bicky-bi…) from the 1938 “Violent is the Word for Curly” is perhaps the best-known original song performed by the Stooges on film.
The “Lucia Sextet” (Chi mi frena in tal momento?), from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti (announced by Larry as “the sextet from Lucy”), is played on a record player and lip-synched by the stooges in “Micro-phonies” (1945). The same melody re-appears in “Square Heads of the Round Table” (1948) as the tune of “Oh, Elaine, can you come out tonight?”
“Micro-phonies” also includes the Johann Strauss Jr. waltz “Voices of Spring” (Frühlingsstimmen) Op. 410
The Moe-Larry-Curly Joe version of the Three Stooges recorded several musical record albums in the early 1960s. Most of their songs were adaptations of nursery rhymes. Among their more popular recordings were "Making a Record" (a surreal trip to a recording studio built around the song "Go Tell Aunt Mary"), "Three Little Fishes", and "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas".
 Feature motion pictures
The Three Stooges also made appearances in many feature length movies in the course of their careers:
- Soup to Nuts (1930)
- Turn Back the Clock (1933)
- Meet the Baron (1933)
- Dancing Lady (1933)
- Myrt and Marge (1933)
- Fugitive Lovers (1934)
- Hollywood Party (1934)
- The Captain Hates the Sea (1934)
- Start Cheering (1938)
- Time Out for Rhythm (1941)
- My Sister Eileen (1942) (Cameo)
- Good Luck, Mr. Yates (1943) (scenes deleted)
- Rockin' in the Rockies (1945)
- Swing Parade of 1946 (1946)
- Gold Raiders (1951)
- Columbia Laff Hour (1956)
- Have Rocket, Will Travel (1959)
- Stop! Look! and Laugh! (1960)
- Snow White and the Three Stooges (1961)
- The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962)
- The Three Stooges in Orbit (1962)
- The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze (1963)
- It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) (Cameo)
- 4 for Texas (1963) (Cameo)
- The Outlaws Is Coming (1965)
- Kook's Tour (1970)
In addition to the unsuccessful television series pilots, Jerks of All Trades (1949) and Kook's Tour (1970), the Stooges appeared in a short-lived television show called The New Three Stooges which ran from 1965 to 1966. This series featured a mix of thirty-nine live action segments which were used as wrap-arounds to 156 animated Stooges shorts.
An episode of Hanna-Barbera's The New Scooby-Doo Movies aired in the early 1970's featuring animated Stooges as guest-stars. Due to this guest appearance there was a short-lived animated series, also produced by Hanna-Barbera, entitled The Robonic Stooges featuring Moe, Larry, and Curly as bionic cartoon superheroes with extendable limbs, similar to the later Inspector Gadget.
The Stooges were brought back to life (so to speak) in a 2000 TV movie. Moe was played by Paul Ben-Victor (who also had a small role as a fan who thinks he's Moe in 'StoogeMania'), Larry by Evan Handler, Shemp by John Kassir, and Curly by Michael Chiklis. The executive producer was Mel Gibson.
- The Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon episode "The Altruists" is almost entirely a homage to The Stooges, a fact creator John Kricfalusi confirms on the DVD release of this episode. The episode was an attempt to recreate the Altruistic nature of The Stooges, and takes many comical cues from classic Stooges episodes. Other homages in the episode include a version of Three Blind Mice being played prior to the cartoon and borrowed plot elements and gags. The character Stimpy's voice has always been an impresion of Larry Fine's stooge character.
- The song "Hairstyles and Attitudes" by Timbuk 3 describes scientific research which "categorize[s] us into three basic types based on which of the Three Stooges we most closely resemble."
- In 1983, the very first film documentary about the lives and career of The Three Stooges debuted at The Gordon Theatre in Hollywood. Produced by Mark Gilman, the film was later released to television under the name of STOOGE SNAPSHOTS: 50 YEARS WITH THE FUNNIEST GUYS IN THE WORLD. It was later re-released on home video with added footage as LOVE THOSE STOOGES. It was hosted by comedian Steve Allen and included filmed interviews with producer/director Jules White, writer/director Ed Bernds, writer Elwood Ulmann, actors Emil Sitka, Jock Mahoney, Julie Gibson, Ted Healy's Three Stooges (Mousie Garner, Dick Hakins and Sammy Wolfe) and Curly's ex-wife Elaine and daughter Marilyn.
- Jules White, the producer of the 1934 Columbia short Men in Black (1934), was nominated for an Oscar in the Short Subject (Comedy) category of the 7th Academy Awards. This was the only Oscar nomination for the Three Stooges series. That same day, radio host Gary Owens introduced the Hollywood Walk of Fame star featuring the names of all six Stooge comics. While Besser and DiRita were the lone survivors, only Besser and Larry's daughter did the unvieling.
- The 1984 song "The Curly Shuffle," recorded by Jump N'The Saddle Band, expressed admiration for the Stooges and included several Curly imitations in the chorus.
- In the television show Friends in Joey and Chandler's apartment there is a small statue which contains the Stooges' heads.
- The 1985 film, Stoogemania tells the story of an obsessed Three Stooges fan, and includes clips of their classic Shorts.
- The Evil Dead film series has a number of stooge inspired moments. Among these: the blood flowing in the basement in Evil Dead (an homage to 1940's A-Plumbing We Will Go), the fight with his hand in the kitchen in Evil Dead 2, and the fight with the skeleton hands and with the little Ashes in Army of Darkness.
- The 1992 Seinfeld episode "The Suicide" features Jerry's reference to The Three Stooges to his very enamored neighbor, Gina. Gina: "Who are these Stooges you speak of?" Jerry: "They're a comedy team." Gina: "Tell me about them, everything" Jerry: "Well, they're three kind of funny looking guys and they hit each other a lot." Gina: "You will show me these Stooges?" Jerry: "I will show you these Stooges."
- In John Badham's movie Short Circuit, Johnny 5, while watching TV, sees the original Three Stooges in their first short for Columbia Pictures, Woman Haters, made in 1934 at Stephanie's (Ally Sheedy) house. He later reprograms three of the Nova Robots into a breed of the Three Stooges, almost in their likeness.
- The 1994 Song, "Two Reelers" by Frank Black tells the story of the four "original" stooges and Jules White, and protests the dismissal of the Three Stooges as mere low-brow slapstick: "If all you see is violence/Well then I make a plea in their defense/Don't you know they speak vaudevillian?"
- A 1987 computer game by Cinemaware, The Three Stooges, has the stooges trying to save an orphanage where they engage in wacky adventures and engage in some of their classic comic scenes. The game was also ported to the NES in 1989 by Activision, and then to Game Boy Advance in 2002 by Metro 3D.
- In the 1995 computer game Space Quest 6, there was a minigame called Stooge Fighter, which was a parody of Street Fighter starring the stooges.
- In the computer game remake of Quest for Glory 1, three guards attempt to kill the hero in the Brigand fortress. These three guards are none other than the three stooges
- In an episode of the cartoon Pinky and the Brain entitled "Pinky & The Brain And... Larry", Pinky and The Brain are inexplicably joined by a third wheel Larry in their plan to get into the White House posing as wallpaperers, whose unwelcome addition to the team causes Stooge-style antics to ensue.
- The King of the Hill episode "A-Fire Fighting We Will Go" contains several references to the Stooges.
- The independent comic book Cerebus contains an homage to the Stooges as the "Three Wise Fellows" in the graphic novel Latter Days. The three comically kidnap the main character, convinced that he is the messiah (Also parodying the Torah), and, while waiting for him to speak the "Word of Truth", engage in hijinks such as clamping pliers on one another's noses over theological arguments.
- The Super NES RPG Final Fantasy VI features as bosses the "Three Dream Stooges" (also named Larry, Curly and Moe), who entered Cyan Garamonde's mind while he was facing his inner demons in Doma Castle.
- Homer Simpson from the TV show The Simpsons imitates Curly occasionally, while character Mr Burns suffers from 'Three Stooges Syndrome', where he has every disease known to man (and several only found inside him), but survives because they all cancel each other out. Also, when George HW Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter appear in a season 14 episode, they imitate the Stooges.
- Tribute to a famous trio by...another famous trio: the legendary Canadian rock group Rush. The Stooges television series theme music, a derivative of "Three Blind Mice", was used by Rush as introductory music during the Signals through Hold Your Fire tours, and again for the Vapor Trails tour. A picture of the Stooges and their names is included in the Counterparts linernotes, and they are included in the "assistance, inspiration, comic relief" listing.
- Doctor Zoidberg, from the animated series Futurama, makes Curly's trademark "Whooping" sound when "evading enemies" (sometimes after squirting ink), and sometimes makes Shemp's trademark "Heep, heep, heep" sound when frustrated.
- In 1999's The Mummy, Rick O'Connell uses Moe's eyegouging gag on one of the revenant mummy swordsmen in the the chambers underneath the statue of Anubis in Hamunaptra .
- In Louis Sachar's children's novel The Boy Who Lost His Face, a group of three children (one of which being a girl called Mo) is nicknamed after the Stooges.
- The Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Carbon Creek" features a group of Vulcans stranded in a small American town in the 1950s. One of the Vulcans is annoyed at being nicknamed "Moe" because of his resemblance to "something called a 'Stooge'". Another Vulcan, who is depicted as being familiar with human pop culture, agrees with the assessment.
- An episode of MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch featured the Stooges being brought to the present age via a time machine invented by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to battle the Three Tenors.
- The folk trio Modern Man perform the song "Moe" (written by pianist/singer George Wurzbach), about a boy whose father looks like Moe Howard.
- The appearance of the Second Doctor in the British science fiction series, Doctor Who, played by Patrick Troughton, was often compared to that of Moe Howard (due to his hairstyle), although it's not known if this was intentional.
- In the English version of the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, the three characters Shinji Ikari, Toji Suzuhara and Kensuke Aida are collectively referred to as 'the three stooges' on several occasions.
- The Berkeley band Funky Nixons used the Stooges' musical "hello-hello-hello" routine to open their shows for many years, and the song "Criticize" included a tribute to the Stooges
- The DVD version of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace has three pit droids squabbling during the podrace, meant as homage to the Stooges.
- In The New Batman/Superman Adventures cartoon, the Joker has three henchmen named Mo, Lar, and Cur. Mo has the black bowl cut, Lar has the ring of brown hair, and Cur is bald.
- In the cartoon Animaniacs, the Warner brothers and sister (Yakko, Wakko, and Dot) often do the musical "hello-hello-hello" routine when they enter a scene.
- In the opening sequence of the SpongeBob SquarePants television series, SpongeBob uses his nose to play the same end-notes that are used in the opening of the Stooge shorts.
- The firmwares of D-Link products such as routers are notorious for containing the following hidden data string (probably as a joke from the programmers):
- Hey Moe, it don't woik. NYUK NYUK NYUK NYUK *bop* Owww!
- In 1979, Ral Partha released a 25mm figure released a "Three Headed Troll" figure. Each of the heads was one of the Three Stooges.
- The youthful protagonists of the Captain Underpants series of books attend Jerome Horwitz Elementary School.
- In Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Dracula (played by Stooge fan Leslie Nielsen) is finally defeated by the eyepoke.
- In an episode of The Simpsons, Bart must aid Principal Skinner in stargazing late at night. As Skinner points out a myriad of star constellations, he points out one saying "Look, it's the Three Wise Men", in actuality the Three Stooges.
- In the first episode of the second season of The Pretender, Jarod (Michael T. Weiss) pretends to be Dr. Howard, a University anatomy professor, while working with Dr. Fein, the head of the department. One of their students calls to them, "Dr. Howard, Dr. Fein, Dr. Howard!"
- In 2002, during an episode of the sitcom Titus titled "Insanity Genetic: Part 2", an FBI interrogator asks if Christopher Titus has ever physically abused any of his family or friends, to which his brother Dave immmediately begins sobbing as several flashbacks are shown in which Christopher is seen slapping Dave upside his head several times, stomping on his feet and even flat out tackling Dave to the ground in the midst of a fight. During the flashbacks the Three Stooges theme is played.
- In 2004, Big Idea added a short to their movie, Sumo of the Opera. Mr. Lunt is Moe, Jerry the gourd plays Larry, and Larry the cucumber plays Curly. The three have to push a player piano up a large, steep flight of stairs.
- In the series Home Improvement, Brad, Randy and Mark all dress up as Moe, at a Halloween party in tribute to Moe.
- In the Jackie Chan Adventures episode "Sheep In, Sheep Out", when Daolon Wong sends the Shadowkhan after Jackie, Jade, and Uncle, Jade says, "Larry, Moe, and Curly must be on vacation!"
- In the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX episode "Champion or Chazz-been", Reggie guesses that Chazz's facedown card involves the Ojamas, and when Chazz asks why, Reggie replies with "You built your entire deck around The Three Stooges!" as one of his ways of making fun of the Ojama cards throughout the duel. Chazz later refers to the Ojamas as the Stooges when they keep bugging him in "I've Seen the Light".
- In The Simpsons episode "Large Marge", Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush imitate The Three Stooges by hitting each other with tools.
- Also in another episode of The Simpsons, Homer is watching a version of the Three Stooges in their late years. This scene involves Moe slapping Curly with Curly replying that he hit him on the paralyzed side of his face and after being slapped on the side he feels pain exclaims "I don't want to do this anymore Moe."
- In Disney's Gargoyles episode entitled "Turf", Brooklyn, Broadway and Lexington (commonly known as "the Trio") are fighting over a female gargoyle, Angela. While Lex and Broadway argue, Brooklyn steps between them, pushes them apart and says "Knock it off, muttonheads!"
- "Jon's," a bar/restaurant on South Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, features several likenesses of Larry Fine, who was born at the establishment's current location at 3rd and South Streets, in its decor, most notably an exterior mosaic of the actor.
- In an episode of M*A*S*H, Dr. Winchester is disgruntled when Col. Potter orders him to show three buddhist about medicine. During the tour of the O.R., Dr. Winchester calls the 3 buddhist Larry, Curly, and Moe. One monk asks why he keeps calling them that. Winchester answers that the in his country, they were 3 highly respected philosophers. In the end of the episode, it is revealed that the buddhist knew of the Three Stooges all along.
- In a sketch for MADtv, the Three Stooges are spoofed as drug dealers along with David Faustino as the cartel.
- In the film Conspiracy Theory, Mel Gibson's character Jerry Fletcher disguises himself in medical scrubs to elude capture. He introduces himself as Dr. Fine, a clear reference to the Three Stooges film Men in Black.
- In one Full House episode, Danny, Jesse, and Joey all dress up as the Three Stooges.
- In a Halloween episode of Roseanne, Dan dresses up with a mask that has two of the Stooges' heads beside his own.
- The eclectic group NRBQ recorded an instrumental entitled "Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard" on their first LP, Boppin' the Blues (with Carl Perkins) in 1970 as an homage to the Stooges' famous hospital routine.
- The South Park episode, "Hell on Earth 2006", has a recurring parody of the Stooges, featuring Ted Bundy in the role of Moe, Jeffrey Dahmer in the role of Larry, and John Wayne Gacy as Curly.
- Meatloaf's "Back into Hell" album contains the song "Wasted Youth" proclaiming "the three men I admire most are Larry, Curly, Moe!"
- In the 1981 film Stripes John Candy impersonates Curly during the mud wrestling match with the bikini clad and nude women.
- In the Cheers episode What's Up Doc?, Sam is distressed when a female doctor thinks sex is his whole life and everything he cares about is a means to sex. Rebecca reminds him of his adoration of the Three Stooges. When Sam realizes he has an interest that has nothing to do with sex, he suddenly perks up.
- Legend has it that the eye poke started when Shemp accused Larry of cheating in a card game, and Shemp poked him in the eyes. Moe, watching all this, laughed so hard he fell off his chair and through his patio glass door. Larry's eyes were reportedly tearing for days after the incident.
- Stooges folklore has it that the Soviet government asked permission for the aging Stooges shorts to be shown on Soviet TV, and that the Stooges declined, their theory being that the Soviets planned to use the Stooges as Cold War propaganda, i.e., evidence that the American people were pathologically violent and/or stupid.
- The legend of the Sword of Damocles gets mentioned in Half-Wits Holiday (1947), when a pie gets thrown up and stuck to the ceiling during a party. One of the guests (Stooge female stalwart Symona Boniface) starts talking with Moe Howard, who is getting increasingly nervous as the pie starts coming loose. Finally the guest asks, "Young man, what's wrong? You act as if the Sword of Damocles was hanging over your head", to which Moe replies, "Lady, you must be psychic!" and walks away. She comments, "I wonder what's wrong with that young man?" as she looks up, and gets the pie right in the face.
- The contact point of the "eye poke" was actually the brow bone, not the eyes. The illusion looked real on television. In the 1950s, after numerous complaints by parents of children imitating the Stooges' eyepoke, they went on TV to demonstrate how exactly they did it safely.
- In later years, during live performances, when one Stooge would go to poke another in the eyes, or slap, or whatever, the Stooge on the receiving end (usually Moe) would stop the offender and say, "Ah, ah, ah...we don't do that anymore, remember?"
- The stooges break the fourth wall in the episode Rhythm and Weep (1946), when Larry says to the camera (while hugging his sweetheart) "This I like, and I get paid for it, too."
- In the 1947 short, Hold That Lion!, Curly makes a cameo appearance - WITH HAIR - as a sleeping train passenger, with a clothespin on his nose. This was the only time there were four Three Stooges in one scene (Moe, Larry, Shemp, and Curly). This scene was later re-used in the remake of this short, Booty and the Beast in 1952, premiering in theaters shortly after Curly's death.
- Much of the "Gibberish" that the stooges sometimes spoke was actually the Jewish language of Yiddish. The most famous example of this occurs 15 minutes into the 1938 short "Mutts to You". Moe and Larry were impersonating Chinese laundrymen in an attempt to fool the local cop. While being questioned Larry says "Ech Bin A China Boychic Frim Slobatkya-Gebernya Hak Mir Nisht Ken Tshaynik And I Dont Mean Efsher". This translates as "I'm a china boy from Slobatkya Gebernya (Jewish European City in the 19-20th century) stop annoying me and I don't mean maybe."
- The big shots and mucky mucks in the Three Stooges shorts often had names with the initials A.K. which was slang for Alter Kocker. Alter Kocker (Lit: elderly defecater) is a Yiddish idiom which means an old man or woman of diminished capacity who can no longer do the things they used to do.
- In the Stooge film All the World's a Stooge, the boys dress up as children, Larry playing the only girl. His/her name was Mabel, the same name as Larry Fine's real life wife.
- In the video game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney there is a circus clown who's real name is Laurence "Moe" Curls.
 Further reading
- Moe Howard and the Three Stooges; by Moe Howard , (Citadel Press, 1977).
- The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion; by Jon Solomon , (Comedy III Productions, Inc., 2002).
- The Three Stooges Scrapbook; by Jeff Lenburg, Joan Howard Maurer, Greg Lenburg (Citadel Press, 1994).
- The Three Stooges: An Illustrated History, From Amalgamated Morons to American Icons; by Michael Fleming (Broadway Publishing, 2002).
- One Fine Stooge: A Frizzy Life in Pictures; by Steve Cox and Jim Terry , (Cumberland House Publishing, 2006).
- Curly: An Illustrated Biography of the Superstooge (Citadel Press 1985.
 External links
- Official Three Stooges Website
- Freely downloadable Three Stooges episodes
- Freely downloadable Three Stooges cartoons
- Three Stooges Forum
- Larry Fine.com
- Emil Sitka.com
- The Three Stooges at TV.com
- C3 Entertainment
- Spike TV's Three Stooges page
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq5m_OpH7cI&NR - (Best Moments video)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3s8sEYzHWQ - (From How High Is Up?)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8Pk1UYkB3I - (From Violent is the Word for Curly)
- IMDb links:
- Moe Howard at the Internet Movie Database
- Curly Howard at the Internet Movie Database
- Shemp Howard at the Internet Movie Database
- Larry Fine at the Internet Movie Database
- Joe DeRita at the Internet Movie Database
- Joe Besser at the Internet Movie Database
- Emil Sitka at the Internet Movie Database
- Ted Healy at the Internet Movie Database
- You Nazty Spy at the Internet Movie Database
- The Three Stooges (2000) (TV) at the Internet Movie Database
- Brideless Groom - Free to Download Public Domain short in Windows and Real Media format
 Public domain shorts
- Disorder in the Court (1936)
- Malice in the Palace (1949)
- Sing A Song of Six Pants (1947)
- Brideless Groom (1947)de:The Three Stooges