Is everyone excited about the new upcoming Three Stooges movie? Is anyone excited? Are you excited? I’m trying to stay positive about the whole thing, but … pretty much everything except for the original shorts has been pretty awful. The Three Stooges movies were pretty awful, The New Three Stooges television show was pretty awful, the made-for-television 2000 film about the Stooges was pretty awful … so even through the trailer for the new Three Stooges movie looks pretty funny, I’m still viewing it with reserved optimism.
As a kid I used to watch the Stooges every night on “Comedy Court,” a half hour show that followed Benny Hill and showed two Three Stooges shorts. Both my Dad and moreso my Uncle were/are fans of the Stooges, which is probably where my love for the group came from. Over the years I’ve collected several Three Stooges-related books. Here are a few of my favorites.
My all time favorite Three Stooges book is Moe Howard & The 3 Stooges, written by the man himself, Moe Howard. This book contains a ton of behind the scenes pictures of the Stooges both on and off the set. It is filled with trivia and anecdotes, and tells the story of the Stooges starting with Moe and Shemp hitting each other as small children and going all the way through the Stooges’ retirement and eventual passing. If you’re remotely a fan and can only afford to buy one book covering the Stooges, this is the one I would recommend. New copies of this out of print book command a premium, but used copies can be had for $5-$10. (Amazon Link)
My second favorite Three Stooges book is The Three Stooges Book of Scripts, compiled by Joan Howard Maurer, Moe’s daughter. The book contains scripts for only a few Stooge shorts (my favorites are “Men in Black,” “Punch Drunks,” and “Three Little Pigskins”), but also contains several pictures of personal artifacts (photographs and notes) and more anecdotes. It’s presented more like a reference book than a book you would read from cover to cover like Moe’s autobiography, but it’s still a great book to have around. According to Amazon a sequel (Volume 2) was released, which appears to have all the same scripts with new information added. If you can track down a copy of either one at a reasonable price, I’d pick it up.
This is The Official Three Stooges Encyclopedia, which I believe I got as a gift several years ago. The good news is, this encyclopedia contains a lot of facts about the Stooges and the shorts they starred in. The bad news is, if you’re a Stooge fan at all, you probably know everything contained between this book’s covers. The worse news is, everything in this book can be found via Google. Perhaps if you live in Shmowland or Slap Happia and don’t have Internet access you will get some use out of this book, but anyone else should probably pass.
Stoogemania contains puzzles, pictures, and a price guide to some collectibles. This book was released before any of us had heard of the Internet, and I can’t imagine rebuying it now. (Link)
There are a few other Three Stooges books I’d like to pick up. I have heard good things about the Three Stooges Scrapbook, One Fine Stooge: Larry Fine’s Frizzy Life In Pictures, and The Three Stooges: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Most Popular Comedy Team of All Time. If you’ve read any of those (or would like to send me your old copy!), please let me know.