Three Stooges FAQ (excerpt)
This entertaining and informative study of the Three Stooges, available now in honor of the act’s 75th anniversary, focuses on the nearly 190 two-reel short comedies the boys made at Columbia Pictures during the years 1934-59. Violent slapstick? Of course, but these comic gems are also peerlessly crafted and enthusiastically played by vaudeville veterans Moe, Larry, Curly, Shemp, and Joe – arguably the most popular and long-lived screen comics ever produced by Hollywood.
In 1934, at the beginning of the Stooges’ tenure at Columbia—and for one film only—executives were not completely sure of how to showcase them. As we’ve seen, Columbia was a “minor major” that hadn’t the resources to make use of the boys’ talents in the MGM manner. But Columbia had established a “Musical Novelty” shorts series in 1933, and had the services of a vivacious blonde starlet named Marjorie White.
A Canadian native who stood just 4’10”, White had energy and screen presence to spare. (She also had a wisecracking, New York-style attitude that belied her Canadian origins.) During 1929–31, she’d been under contract to Fox Film Corporation, appearing in nine pictures. White sang and danced, and knew her way around a page of dialogue. She’d had leads and second leads in comedies and musicals at Fox, and found similar success later in pictures for First National, Universal, Paramount, and RKO.
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David J. Hogan has written about film since 1973. He has contributed essays to numerous multiauthor books and is a prolific magazine reviewer. A onetime entertainment journalist formerly based in L.A., Hogan has worked on the editorial side of Chicago book publishing for more than 25 years, conceiving, editing, and co-writing books on history, aviation, vintage cars, popular music, the military, politics, television, and yes, movies. He lives with his family in Arlington Heights, Illinois.