My Family (a long time ago)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Three Stooges

I recently saw the “The Three Stooges” movie, which I wanted to see from the time I saw the first trailer. It wasn’t an inspirational film, didn’t have any deep message and was fairly predictable. Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed it with three of my friends. We laughed so much at some points in the movie that we missed four or five lines of dialogue. However, it didn’t really matter, because this was, after all, The Three Stooges. No line of dialogue, no one scene was going to be the key to the movie. The key to the movie was the ridiculous slapstick comedy that went on between the three of them and sometimes others.

Here’s the one surprise of the movie. At the end of the movie the Farrelly brothers, who directed the movie, had a quick scene. They explained for the audience that the props used to smash someone over the head or in the face were just rubber or Styrofoam. They showed how they were used and how by putting in sound effects it seemed like they were real sledgehammers and crowbars. Seriously, you have to put that at the end of the movie? Why?

We watched the Stooges all the time when I was growing up. They were on every day after school on the new local UHF TV station (those of us around before cable know what UHF was) and we watched at least some of them, if not all of them, while having a snack. They were probably on TV on Saturday afternoons, too. Back then we would rather have spent our time outside doing stuff than sitting in front of the TV, but the Stooges were special. We made exceptions for them.

We could quote lines from the various episodes and do whole scenes. If we didn’t know them exactly, it really didn’t matter. We weren’t doing Shakespeare. For all the times we watched “The Three Stooges”, we never believed the hammers, pipes, crowbars and any other devices that were used to hit someone were real. In addition, when we imitated the Stooges and used real devices, we didn’t actually hit the other guy with them. No, we were smart enough to know that you could really hurt someone with them, so we faked hitting someone. I don’t know of anyone who ever did what the Stooges did, but with real tools, hammers, etc., and hurt someone else. Even though we were warned by teachers, parents and other assorted adults that “someone is going to get hurt”, no one that I know of was ever hurt in any way.

For all the so called violent shows we watched, we were not violent kids. We didn’t try to blow up somebody like in the Looney Tunes cartoons, or hit someone over the head like the Stooges, or shoot someone like they did in the cowboy movies that were on TV. Sure, we pretended to do all that stuff and even added in sound effects and a little drama as we slowly died. I just can’t imagine the directors of Looney Tunes taking a moment to tell us not to put a bomb under someone or to not put dynamite down someone’s pants, that it was all just for entertainment and not to try it at home. I believe that was something that parents did back then. I know my parents made sure we weren’t really beating on each other and knew that it was not acceptable to be violent toward someone else.

“The Three Stooges” hold many good memories for me, times of hanging out with my brothers and laughing until it hurt. The movie did the same for me and my friends. We laughed so much we had tears running down our faces and our stomachs hurt at times. Much to the annoyance of our families, we quoted the movie for a couple of weeks and laughed at nothing readily apparent when something reminded us of the movie. However, let it be known that none of us have hit anyone over the head with a sledgehammer or poked them in the eyes, even without a warning from the Farrelly brothers.

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