The Three Stooges started in 1925 and reached a marginal audience over the following decades. By the 1950s, The Three Stooges were more than just struggling. There fate was left to television, and it is credited to Paul Shannon for their rediscovery.
As a vaudeville act, The Three Stooges featured Moe Howard, his brother Shemp Howard and friend Larry Fine – who was a classical violinist. By 1930, they had made their first film “Soup For Nuts.” Although the film did not have a promising response, Hollywood had hopes for the trio and their slapstick comedy. During their Hollywood years, they had made over 200 short-subject films and recorded radio shows even when key players were constantly changing due to career directions and illness.
At one point, Shemp had been replaced by Jerry Howard – Curly was his Stooge name. It was the death of Jerry in 1952 that brought Shemp back into the act. Three years later, Shemp passed away. Moe and Larry made one last attempt to keep The Stooges together and hired Jo DeRita who became “Curly Joe.” A stroke forced Larry to retire and The Three Stooges ended. When Columbia Pictures released their films to television, the shorts reached Pittsburgh, PA where there was a show called “Adventure Time” hosted by Paul Shannon. Among the other shorts he ran, The Three Stooges were the most popular and reintroduced them to a brand new audience. From there, their fame grew once more.
Upon their triumphant return, “Have Rocket, Will Travel” (1959) was their first feature film. They continued to make more films, including “Snow White and The Three Stooges” (1961) which featured Olympic gold medalist Carol Heiss in the starring role. Financially, “The Three Stooges Meet Hercules” (1963) was their most successful film. In order to thank Paul Shannon for his contribution to their resurgence in popularity, they cast him in “The Outlaws are Coming” (1965) as Wild Bill Hickock. Out of their newfound success, comic books, television spots and a Kook’s Tour was established. Although Moe and Larry passed away in 1975, The Three Stooges are renowned everywhere as icons of comedic genius.