Northeast Times

Saluting the Stooges

Vis­it­ors to the Stoo­geum in Mont­gomery County get to en­joy the Three Stooges ex­per­i­ence as soon as they open the door.

“Hello, hello, hello … hello!” is the famed Stooges greet­ing that fans hear.

The Stoo­geum opened in 2004 in an of­fice park in Am­bler. It is billed as the world’s first and only mu­seum of Three Stooges mem­or­ab­il­ia.

The cur­at­or/dir­ect­or is Gary Lassin, whose wife, Robin, is the grand­daugh­ter of Stooge Larry Fine’s broth­er.

Lassin also is pres­id­ent of the Three Stooges Fan Club. Among oth­er activ­it­ies, mem­bers get to­geth­er for an an­nu­al meet­ing at the Stoo­geum. The mem­ber­ship list in­cludes Stooge re­l­at­ives and sup­port­ing act­ors, along with im­per­son­at­ors and de­voted fans.

In all, the Three Stooges en­ter­tained Amer­ic­an audi­ences from 1922-75. There were eight Stooges over the years, but the most fam­ous were Larry and broth­ers Moe, Shemp and Curly.

The group’s best-known works were its 190 short-sub­ject films. Typ­ic­ally, the trio would be hired for vari­ous jobs, with dis­astrous res­ults.

Moe was the boss of the trio. The mop-topped act­or would call his fel­low Stooges names, poke them in the eyes and whack them in the head.

Curly, who had a round, shaved head, was the pop­u­lar one with fans, who liked his boy­ish antics.

Larry, with googly eyes and hair re­sem­bling a Brillo pad, was part of the group for al­most 50 years.

He was born Louis Fein­berg on Oct. 5, 1902, in Phil­adelphia, and he lived near Third and South streets. He used the name Larry Fine in film.

A less­er-known Stooge, “Curly Joe” De­Rita, was also born in Phil­adelphia.

Shemp was the old­est of five boys of So­lomon and Jen­nie Hor­witz, of Brook­lyn.

The Stoo­geum fea­tures a 1902 fam­ily por­trait of the par­ents and sons Samuel (Shemp), Moses (Moe), Irving and Jack. Jerome (Curly) was born in 1913.

The por­trait is one of about 3,500 items on dis­play at the 10,000-square-foot Stoo­geum.

Fans can find fa­vor­ite pieces on three floors.

Over­all, Lassin has about 100,000 items, some of which are ro­tated onto dis­plays. High­lights of the tour in­clude in­ter­act­ive dis­plays, tele­vi­sion videos of shows and an 85-seat theat­er. 

The three in­ter­act­ive screens in­clude the his­tory and bio­graph­ies of the Stooges. To be­gin, just poke the pic­ture of Curly in the eyes.

No chron­ic­ling of the Stooges would be com­plete without a pic­ture of Moe grabbing Curly by the throat and Larry by the hair and call­ing them “knuckle­heads.” There’s also an etch­ing of Moe us­ing Curly’s head as a base­ball tee.

The Stooges were pop­u­lar among oth­er en­ter­tain­ers of the era, and act­or Stan­ley Liv­ing­ston (who played Chip Douglas on the TV series My Three Sons) de­signed a stained-glass door fea­tur­ing the im­ages of Moe, Larry and Curly.

In some of their fea­ture-length films, the Stooges shared the screen with some big-name act­ors. There’s a movie poster pro­mot­ing Three Little Pig­skins, which starred Lu­cille Ball, and act­ors’ chairs with the names of Moe, Larry and Curly.

Long­time fans of the Three Stooges and those not as fa­mil­i­ar with the le­gendary com­edy team can walk down “Num­skull Lane” this Sat­urday for the full ex­per­i­ence. ••

Hey Moe!

The Stoo­geum is at 904 Sheble Lane in Am­bler. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the fol­low­ing five dates in 2011: This Sat­urday, Sept. 3; Oct. 1; Nov. 25-26; and Dec. 18.

There is no ad­mis­sion charge, but dona­tions are ac­cep­ted. The Stoo­geum is wheel­chair ac­cess­ible. Pho­to­graphy is pro­hib­ited.

For in­form­a­tion, call 267-468-0810 or vis­it www.stoo­geum.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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