Starting out in the 1920’s as Ted Healy and His Stooges, the act consisted of Healy, Moe Howard, Moe’s brother Shemp Howard and Larry Fine. They made one film with Healy, Soup To Nuts.
Here’s a taste:
Shemp got tired of Healy’s abuse and left the group for a career of his own. Here he is with Abbott and Costello:
Shemp was replaced with Curly, the youngest of the Howards and made several shorts with MGM. Here’s one of them, in not-so-living color:
The group also appeared in several feature films for MGM, mainly as comic relief.
When their contract with MGM expired, the trio of Moe, Larry, and Curly split with Healy and signed with Columbia, making two-reel comedy shorts. These were shown before the main features in movie theaters in the ’30s and ’40s. Their first was Woman Haters:
They got so popular that the studio used them to get some of their more less-than-memorable movies into theaters.
In the Mid-40s, Curly’s health had deteriorated to the point that he could no longer perform and Moe convinced Shemp to come back to the group. They continued making shorts with Shemp until he died suddenly in 1955. They kept going with a couple more replacements, until Larry could no longer perform. Moe was working on reviving the group, but sadly, died before he could get it going. Here is one of his last performances on the Mike Douglas Show
I’ll find some more gems this week and post them for you.