Friday, March 20, 2009

“Copped a sneaker, eh?”

A short trip up to the rows of many mailboxes in my “apartment complex” and I find that Amazon.com has sent me my DVD order of The Three Stooges Collection: Volume Five 1946-1948. I haven’t checked out the inner contents yet, but I was intrigued by something on the cover: a picture of “Shemp” accompanied by the words “Includes Shemp Howard.”

What the hell is that supposed to mean? Is it some sort of warning or admonition? “Caution: This product may contain Shemp…” I detect a distinct pro-Curly bias here, and, really folks, it’s time to set the record straight. Shemp was funnier than Curly. Period. End of report. I know it’s going to take a while to grasp this concept—you’re even going to go through the full gamut of Kübler-Ross (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance)—but it’ll be much easier if you just deal with it and move on. Many of the Stooges’ best comedies are in this collection, all of them featuring Shemp: Fright Night (1947), Out West (1947), Hold That Lion (1947), Brideless Groom (1947), Squareheads of the Round Table (1948), The Hot Scots (1948), Heavenly Daze (1948) and Crime on Their Hands (1948). (Volume 6 will be even better, for it will feature such gems as Who Done It? [1949], Fuelin’ Around [1949], Vagabond Loafers [1949], Punchy Cowpunchers [1950], Dopey Dicks [1950], Studio Stoops [1950], Three Arabian Nuts [1951], Scrambled Brains [1951] and Pest Man Wins [1951].)

I ordered this from Amazon.com when it was priced at $16.99, and even though the price was later lowed to $15.99, I received the discount to their low-price guarantee. Which makes me optimistic that I’ll get the Room 222: Season 1 set I ordered for the $10.99 price.

8 comments:

Craig Zablo said...

I'm not sure that Shemp was funnier than Curly. I won't debate the point because I've always -- and I mean ALWAYS said that CURLY was my favorite and funniest stooge -- and I'm afraid you may be right.

I will proudly say that I'm a SHEMP fan and felt that he was the second funniest stooge of all... and the MOST under-rated.

Nyuk-Nyuk-Nyuk!

Scott C. said...

Sorry, Ivan, I usually agree with your judgments, and always respect them, but in this I must register a principled objection: Shemp was 2% Moe, Curly Olestra, the Imitation Ice Milk of Early Stooges. (“Caution: This product may contain Shemp…” made me laugh more than Shemp ever did.)

comicsnstories said...

The Ed Bernds directed Shemp shorts are far and away the funniest Stooges shorts. In fact, most of the rest of them just aren't very good.

Flickhead said...

I've always kind of felt that Curly was the finniest guy in movies. As in EVER. Shemp's chic, but Curly... well, I'd get more laughs watching him than Chaplin or Keaton any day.

Hal said...

They were both hilarious. There is no wrong answer in Curly vs. Shemp. It's like Bon Scott vs. Brian Johnson IMO. Shemp was also really funny in non-Stooge films like HELLZAPOPPIN'.

Chris Riesbeck said...

While I'm also a fan of Shemp, and I don't see him as another Moe, I do think he didn't bring the level of energy to the team that Curly did. I think the Stooges would be far less remembered today had there never been a Curly.

Anonymous said...

Curly and Shemp were both funnier, but in different ways, and while Curly's broad caricature took his role into "cartoonish" territory, I prefer the more restrained and (Dare I say? Dare! Dare!) cerebral approach of Shemp. - Philip Schweier

Jason said...

I think Shemp's reputation suffers in part because so many of his later Stooge comedies are inferior "remakes," top-heavy with recycled footage from his early Stooge shorts. He also had the misfortune to join the trio at a time when budgets constraints were becoming more and more obvious and when talents such as Del Lord were retiring, leaving Jules White to helm way too many of his films.

The Curly shorts on volume 5 were difficult to watch. It's hard to enjoy them when it's obvious that the man was not well.