Although the idea of three actors impersonating The Three Stooges in a big-screen, big-budget Farrelly Brothers comedy sounds less than promising, I’m sure the original trio (quartet if you count Shemp Howard as an official Stooge, which I do …OK Curly purists ?!?! ) wouldn’t disapprove of the effort to extend the “brand” into the new millennium.
After all, Moe Howard and Larry Fine kept the act going as long as they could by plugging in names like Joe Besser and Joe DeRita after the untimely deaths of the remaining Howard brothers. As true veterans of Vaudeville, they would probably be pleased to know “the show goes on” even years after they passed beyond the mortal coil.
(Doesn’t mean the new movie will be any good, but still …)
During his lifetime, Moe Howard licensed the Stooges name for a wide variety of merchandise that provided income for the act even after the comedians themselves were no longer able to perform their famed brand of no-holds-barred slapstick. Such merchandise included comic books that were published by many companies over the years, like St. John Publications and Gold Key.
The comics were often written and drawn by Norman Mauer, brother of St. John editor Leonard Mauer and – more importantly – husband of Joan Howard, Moe’s daughter. Mauer’s association with the Stooges ensured the comics were of high quality and his artwork – which appeared to be influenced by Don DeCarlo and Will Elder – fit the tone of the humor quite nicely.
From Three Stooges #4 (St. John, March 1954), here’s Moe, Larry and Shemp in “Up An’ Atom.” It is written and drawn by Norman Mauer.