The Annual Stooge-a-Thon

The Original Thee Stooges: Larry Fine and Moe and Curly Howard

Today, Martine and I attended the Three Stooges 22nd Annual Big Screen Event at the Alex Theater in Glendale. I think that the two of us have attended some 16 or 17 of the annual screenings over the years, missing only those years when I we nt off to South America in November. This is probably the only Stooges event where all the films shown are 35mm prints direct from Sony Pictures, which owns the rights to the Columbia Pictures screen archives.

The Stooges shorts are much more fun to watch with a large, enthusiastic audience—and attendance filled about 95% of the seats this afternoon. (We usually attend only the matinee performances.) Shown, in order, were the following Stooges shorts, all produced by Columbia:

  • “Pardon My Scotch” (1935)
  • “Saved by the Belle” (1939) directed by Charley Chase
  • “So Long Mr. Chumps” (1941)
  • “Studio Stoops” (1950) with Shemp Howard
  • “Three Pests in a Mess” (1945)
  • “Dizzy Pilots” (1943)

Between the two of us, Martine is the big Stooge fan. I was surprised to see that up to 40% of the audience consisted of women, who appeared to be as enthusiastic as the men.

For Martine, it was an opportunity to have some great chicken. For lunch, we went to Sevan Rotisserie Chicken on Glenoaks and, for dinner, Elena’s Greek and Armenian Restaurant on Glendale Boulevard.



The Stairs of Silverlake

One of the Stairs of Silverlake

One of the Stairs of Silverlake

This being Labor Day Weekend, Martine and I attended the Cinecon film restoration show in Hollywood. To me, the highlight of this show was how three comics of the 1930s and 1940s used the stairs of Silverlake, a hilly area just west of today’s Dodger Stadium. The stairways still exist, and I would not be surprised  if hundreds of student films took advantage of their cinematic qualities.

The three films in the so-called “Silverlake Steps Trilogy” were:

  • The Music Box (1932). The best of the three, starring the inimitable Laurel & Hardy, who try to wrestle a player piano up the steps. (See illustration below.)
  • An Ache in Every Stake (1941), with the Three Stooges. Larry, Curly and Moe try to deliver ice blocks on a super-hot day up the steps, only to have them turn into cubes once they get up top. The film ends with the three acting as chefs at a birthday party at the house where they deliver the ice.
  • It’s Your Move (1945), with Edgar Kennedy hefting a wash machine up the steps.
Billy Gilbert with Laurel and Hardy in “The Music Box”

Billy Gilbert with Laurel and Hardy in “The Music Box”

The above films are not only in chronological order, but also in descending order of quality. By the time It’s Your Move was released, the big studios were less interested in short programs, especially as television was looming over the horizon.