Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 14-Brought to You By the Letter 'M'

June 19, 1897 (BL-Before Larry)-May 4, 1975 (AL-After Larry)
    “Looks like you got a ‘Moe’.”

    If you knew what I was talking about, congratulations.  You’re familiar with American culture.

    And probably a guy.

    The “moe” is a type of bowl haircut made popular (popular being a relative term) by a man named Moses Harry Horwitz.  You know him better as “Moe,” leader of the Three Stooges and master of the eye poke.

    Moe was born in Brooklyn, New York, at the turn of the 20th century.  A quiet fellow, he was also pretty slow.  How else to explain the fact he gave himself that haircut?

"Sieg Heil this and Sieg Heil that!
I had the damn thing first!"
    Still, as eccentric to modern eyes as his new coif looked, though, it could’ve been worse.  Could’ve been Charlie Chaplin.  You know, that “funny guy with the Hitler mustache.”

    His youth was filled with various odd jobs from working in the mines (made even more difficult by the fact there were no mines in New York City) to fundraiser for the fledgling German Anti-Defamation League (that didn’t turn out so well).  As tirelessly as he worked, though, none of these energized the youngster from Brooklyn.

"Seriously, though, would it kill you to move
your fat ass over so I can get out
of this frikkin' freezing water?"
  So, when a promised position as cabin boy on the Titanic turned up, Moe eagerly jumped at the chance.  But, when that fell through, he made a fateful career decision:  the stage.

    Enjoying a modicum of success playing a variety of roles, both serious and comedic, Moe soaked up the energy from his audiences like a sponge.  A little sponge with a bad haircut.  However, after he hit the lead in the head with a hammer during a production of “Henry V,” those around him knew Moe was meant for something more.

Ted's the guy sitting down.
Yeah, I know.
Who cares?
    Teaming up with his brother, Jerome (who later became ‘Curly.’ More on him later) and some guy named ‘Ted’ (who we really shouldn’t care about), Moe became part of a slapstick band of comics who relished being the fall-guys for attractive people: the Three Stooges.

The funniest stooge.
Why, soitenly. 

Woo woo woo woo woo woo woo
    Ted was later replaced (I don’t feel like looking up ‘why’) by another of Moe’s brothers, Shemp (you know him as the “sucky stooge”).  Eventually, Shemp left due to embarrassment (he had a worse haircut than Moe) and Larry joined the group (they were down a Jew).

"Well, I may have a shoe polish mustache, 
but at least I don't have a dorky hairdo."
    Together, Moe, Curly, and Larry became the stooges we all grew to love (well, the guys anyway).  Their bumbling antics delighted legions of fans who appreciated their comic genius.  And weren’t able to get tickets for that Marx Brothers movie.  They became a staple of the movie magic which was to enthrall movie audiences from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Curly also suffered from hearing loss.
    Unfortunately, health issues began to plague the trio.  Once Curly left the group due to health reasons (his nose was pulled by pliers once too often), Shemp rejoined the group.  But, one-time fans began to stay away in droves whenever word got around that the Bijou was “showing a Shemp.”
Larry and Moe desperately looking for the exit.
Shemp points out to Larry the nearest Rogaine store.
    Besides, a Marilyn Monroe double feature was at the drive-in.

    Misery followed misery as Shemp was finally canned (or died.  Not sure anyone noticed).  He was followed by Joe Besser who was then followed by Joe De Rita (aka “Curly Joe”).  Or the other way around.  Seriously, though, who cares?

    Even though Moe and Larry were still around, they all sucked compared to Curly.

    Oh, wait, this isn’t about Curly.


As you can see, Yoko was
plenty busy enough, thank you.
    After the abysmal “The Three Stooges Meet the Martians” (or some other such crap as that), the group was near its end.  Even though Yoko Ono was widely blamed for the break-up, I personally feel it had more to do with the passing off of Curly’s corpse as one of the martians (he was still wayyyyy better than Shemp, though).

    In 1965, the Three Stooges officially disbanded.  And the Vietnam War was escalating.  Coincidence?

"That frikkin' Donna Reed! 
Why, I oughta....."
    Anyway, having lost his brothers to death and Larry to wetting himself, Moe turned to minor roles on television (for instance, he appeared briefly on My Mother, the Car as My Uncle, the Toaster) and even tried his hand at Real Estate (the used car business going to the cast of The Donna Reed Show).

    Shortly before his death due to lung cancer in 1975, Moe briefly appeared on The Mike Douglas Show.  Originally intending on finding the Mens’ Room, Moe played along when Mike asked his audience if they could guess who the septuagenarian on his stage was.

    Supremely confident that his “moe” would be a dead giveaway, the confident Horwitz confidently sat back, prepared to relive some of the glory days of his cinematic youth.

    Instead, when one of the audience replied, “Shemp,” Moe relived his days as a Shakespearian actor:  he hit him in the head with a hammer.

    Moses “Moe” Harry Horwitz, last of the Three Stooges.

    Rest in peace.

    Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.
Not so tough now, are ya?


  1. "A little sponge with a bad haircut."

    Giggled so loud I worried the dog a little. Not surprised to learn he was the longest lasting stooge what with that exoskeleton on his head blocking out so many harmful elements.

  2. trip back to my childhood there. Saturday afternoon movies on the tv.
    A learning experience as well as entertainment. The Stooges and this post.

  3. Great post Al, it's awesome to learn more about the Three Stooges. Damn I really want to watch the film now, don't be surprised to see me post about it my experience of watching it soon.

  4. It's kind of like the Little Rascals with the wrong Buckwheat. I grew up watching the reruns and I didn't give a shemp for him either.

  5. Dont forget the brief cameo in It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. A few silent seconds that made the movie.

  6. They were so silly, but who could resist them? Not me, for sure!

  7. I watched many a repeat and yeah when Curly went I had to jump Shemp. Oh that sounded bad, jump ship, better.

  8. The 6th degree today is (and I now you've been salivating for me to ask so you can show off your movie prowess): Micky Mouse to Kevin Bacon. If you succeed, a photo of you will be taken (tying your shoe) in front of a national, symbolic, architectural or cultural icon of the country of your choice.

    1. Mickey Mouse-Bugs Bunny-Bill Murray-John Belushi-Kevin Bacon
      Mickey Mouse who was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit with Bugs Bunny who was in Space Jam with Bill Murray who was on Saturday Night Live with John Belushi who was in Animal House with Kevin Bacon.
      Shoe tying? Wait until 'S'.

  9. @tattytiara: Exoskeleton on his head! LOL
    @Mynx: Those Saturday morning shorts were the best, weren't they?
    @Matthew: If you do, please post a review. I heard one this morning which said that it would be a good short. As far as a movie length feature? Not so much.
    @Bushman: I hated the Little Rascals when they "jumped the shark" and Spanky just looked like an awkward teenager and they had that positively dreadful Froggy dude. As far as that hideous movie? It was a nonstop suckfest.
    @CW: I'm gonna go check it out.
    @Eva: You're one of the few women that would admit that. I knew there was a reason I liked you!
    @Pat: A bad Curly would always beat the batsnot out of a good Shemp, for sure.

  10. I just don't understand it. I'm sorry. My husband, my two boys, they think The Stooges are hilarious. I have tried and tried and tried again. Sadly, I just can't get find the humor in slapstick. I love Abbot and Costello.....

  11. They never really caught on over here. Laurel and Hardy were funnier.

  12. nuh uh, I'm not a guy and I not only know who the Three Stooges are but still can let go of my VHS tapes of them.

    Nice to meet you.

  13. @Elsi: I like them and I can't explain why. I actually prefer Abbott and Costello, though, too.
    @Tony: Laurel and Hardy were fantastic!
    @Journaling: Well, at least you had VHS. I bought Beta.

  14. Yoko just could not keep her annoying self out of anything, could she?
    Yes, it was her.

    1. I think she was responsible for the Cuban Missile Crisis, too.'d you make out with all those GD storms? I know iowa is a big state and all, but, still....

    2. I got lucky. The really bad storms weakened before they got here. In Knoxville, about 15 miles south there was a lot of damage and Des Moines, about 20-30 miles northwest had damage.
      Thanks for being concerned.

    3. I watched the news this morning and am amazed at the strength of people who live there. Makes me feel real petty when I bitch about a wet backyard.

    4. People bitch here too when it's too dry or too wet. Just when storms like this hit, everyone just does what needs to be done without thinking.
      You might not think you would do the same, but you would.
      You'd also realize that at least you are still around to do it.

  15. Replies
    1. Part of the reason I liked them was that their comedy was clever. The Baseball Sketch only the most obvious example.

  16. This is a nice tribute to a worthy comedic entertainer, Al. Yet I agree, Curly was the funniest.


  17. My younger son's hair was always straight as a pin. Unless it was shellacked in hair gel it would fall into bangs. His barber even said that his hair grew like an umbrella. Hence, we was my blond "Moe." Thanks for the nyuks! Julie

    1. He was not we was, though wee was he. Goodnight Al!

    2. Hey, better he was known as "Blond Moe" instead of Buster Brown. Free shoes just wouldn;t be worth it.

  18. Enjoyed this post, Al! Loved watching the Three Stooges on TV as a kid--that was before parents got all angsty about eyes getting poked out. Stupid TV stations took them off the air.

    Anyway, Curly was always my favorite. I hated the Joe Besser and Joe De Rita years, but also felt sorry for them because, really, how could anyone ever replace the original, adorable Curly? Shemp was better than either of the Joes. I've seen a couple of different trailers for the new movie and it doesn't seem like they've been able to capture the magic. :-/

    1. Very good point about the new Joes vs. Shemp. I would always prefer Shemp over those two humps. Same dopey TV stations took off the classic Looney Tunes infavor of those limp ass ones after the 70s.

  19. I think he inspired Joey Ramone's haircut. I would see a lot of punks with this hair out in Berkeley. Killed my sex drive completely. Justin Bieber has a modern version of it, too.