The Three Stooges—Larry Fine, Curly Howard and brother Moe Howard were the most famous incarnation—“nyuk! nyuk! nyuked!” their way through 220 slapstick movies in a career that spanned the heyday of vaudeville to the 1970s.
They elevated the double cheek slap to a fine art, made the nose tweak a signature move and threw more pies than the busiest pastry chefs.
They also made an impact. Mel Gibson worked Stooges references into all the Lethal Weapon movies and Quentin Tarantino inserted a clip of the Stooge classic the Brideless Groom into Pulp Fiction. Iggy Pop named his band The Stooges in tribute and in 1983 the Jump ‘N the Saddle Band had a hit with The Curly Shuffle. There’s even a Philadelphia museum devoted to them—named The Stoogeum, of course—which attracts thousands of people yearly.
This weekend a new trio says “Hello! Hello! Hello!” in The Three Stooges, a Farrelly Brothers directed comedy starring Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes, and Will Sasso as Moe, Curly and Larry. Its vintage Stooges so expect head butts, the occasional hair pull and assorted slaps, all with a new twist.
To see classic Stoogisms, however, check out these movies:
The story of Hoi Polloi was so effective the trio recycled it twice more in the films Half-Wits Holiday and Pies and Guys. The Pygmalion-esque plotline of a professor who claims he can turn the Stooges into refined gentlemen features a dancing scene voted by fans as their favorite Stooge moment of all time.
Disorder in the Court casts the boys as star witnesses at the murder trial of their friend, a nightclub dancer. The film’s most famous scene, Curly taking the witness stand oath, was borrowed almost in its entirety from the Buster Keaton movie Sidewalks of New York.
Curly’s favorite film was A Plumbing We Will Go which featured the guys as plumbers hired to fix a leak in a mansion. They mix and mingle the electrical and plumbing systems causing havoc in the house. The result? A woman turns on a TV report from Niagara Falls and a wave of water pours out of the set.
Also recommended are Violent Is the Word for Curly, featuring the classic Swingin’ the Alphabet song and Grips, Grunts and Groans, which gave birth to the famous Stooge stunt of attempting to escape a room only to wind up running in circles.