4/14/12

FOR THAT MATTER, WHAT DO WE REALLY KNOW ABOUT MOE AND LARRY?

Here's a terrific 1960 interview with the Stooges--more accurately with Moe and Larry--conducted by Jack ("not Art") Linkletter. It's always odd to see actors who only ever appear as one character suddenly appear as themselves and Moe especially comes off as different as he could be from his screen persona: thoughtful, articulate, giving considered and measured answers to questions he must have been confronting for the first time. (I doubt very much that in all the years of their Columbia short-stardom they ever did press like conventional celebrities. The Stooges were like the mutant child who is kept locked in the upstairs closet, to be trotted out for the guilty pleasure of sadistic visitors). Among the subjects discussed are how Larry's hair got that way, how Moe commits violent acts on his cohorts but doesn't really hurt them (you get a complete education in the eye-poke--a Moe specialty) and a reflective moment wherein Moe discusses his lost theatrical past as a legit actor. Indeed he gets a little misty eyed and says that, in effect, he did the comedy for the money but would have preferred to be a "real" actor. Sigh. Does any man know when he has it well off? Finally there's a clip from a Mike Douglas TV show with Moe--spry and grey haired in his late seventies--performs the "Niagara Falls" routine with the host. Apropos of the Stooges not really hurting each other when they did all those pokes, slaps and socks: I was once talking with my late friend Ed Bernds (who directed and wrote at least two dozen of the Stooges best post 1945 shorts) about the violent gags. I guess I'd heard this bit about how well it was all faked and said: "It's amazing that they never got hurt while doing all those things." Ed laughed and said "Oh they got hurt plenty."

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