Sunday, February 26, 2012

Laff Lit: One Fine Stooge

Written by Stooge superfans Steve Cox and Jim Terry, One Fine Stooge: Larry Fine's Frizzy Life In Pictures is a handsome volume that covers the entire life of the man in the middle. It's loaded with hundreds of never before seen photos, and provides an unique peek behind the curtain for Larry fans.

As a kid, watching the Three Stooges was a part of my early morning routine pretty much every day before school. Different cartoons came and went, like Tranzor Z, The Great Space Coaster, Tom and Jerry, and Superchicken. But the Stooges were a constant. And to this day, I will still occasionally pop in a dvd and watch an hour or two of the Stooges.

The great thing about the Stooges is that they are the Ramones of comedy. Throughout their whole career, they never changed much. And much like the Ramones, you don't want them to change. You can watch a short from 1935, and a short from 1945, and you won't see much difference. There may be a different Stooge here and there, but the routines remain the same.

The two constants of course, were Moe and Larry. One of the things mentioned in the book was that Moe made sure that he and Larry were paid the same. And be that as it may, Larry died broke in a Hollywood nursing home for the stars, while Moe had millions in the bank.

So clearly, even though they worked together for decades, they had different ideas on how to spend their time. And this book gets into that. It's doesn't provide a super detailed look at the nitty gritty of the rise and twilight of the Stooge's (although it doesn't go out of its way to skimp on details either), but it does provide a portrait of the man behind the smacks and pratfalls.

Just like any human being, Larry had his share of tragedy in his life. And in my opinion, it is a little too detailed as far as his final years are concerned. But these guys worked until they literally dropped. And in reading One Fine Stooge you feel you really get a sense of what it was like to be on the road with these knuckleheads.

Personally, I couldn't put the book down. It's imminently enjoyable, and a breeze to read. The photos are a treat. If you are a Stooge fan, you should pick this up.


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