THE THREE STOOGES STILL RULE.
Over the last two years, Sony has released the 190 Columbia shorts
starring The Three Stooges in chronological order in eight volumes. They
have all been completely remastered looking like they were appearing at
movie theaters for the very first time and the sound has been
completely restored to perfection.
Those of you who originally
grew up watching The Three Stooges on TV starting in 1959, know that
you were watching prints that circulated to TV stations all over the
country. You were just a little kid so the wear, scratches, editing,
pops, clicks, distortion and holes punched for commercial insertion, did
not bother you.
By the time VHS came along, the same horrible
prints had been hastily thrown onto the new medium. There was slight
improvement for DVD, but still nothing worthy of the funniest comedy
team in world history.
Sony, which owns Columbia studios and all
their film and TV content, heard the pleas of Stoogephiles worldwide.
And finally responded beginning in late 2007.
Having watched all
190 over the last couple years, I can now make the following bold
"Shemp's work is on par with Curly's and even
surpasses it in many ways."
Like millions of baby boomers, we all
disliked the Shemp episodes.
When Shemp episodes came on WGN in
Chicago, there must have been a surge of electric power as refrigerators
opened during this "break" while we waited for Curly to return.
could Shemp even compare to Curly? Curly was physically funny,
unpredictable, hilarious and made all those funny noises. Shemp seemed
dull, average and a poor substitute for his zany brother.
I as many of you have probably retained that perspective for many years,
only catching an episode of the group from time to time.
are all grown up now and through the miracle of film restoration, I ask
you to pick up at least two of the restored volumes, one with Curly and
one with Shemp, and reconsider.
Shemp brings something to his
Stooge role that was not obvious to you as a kid--a whole layer of
sophistication and occasional dignity. Shemp is inventive, has an
outstanding range and does also give you everything that Curly gave you
including slapstick when called for.
I hope you will give Shemp a
chance at being idolized like Moe, Larry and Curly.