Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Sean Paul Murphy, Writer
Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Three Stooges: An Analysis

The following is my final paper from my "Film In Culture" class at Towson State University circa 1983.  The class was taught by Professor Barry Moore and dealt mainly with films from the French New Wave and with iconoclastic American directors of the 1970s like Robert Altman.  Therefore, Dr. Moore was not pleased when I told him my film paper would be about interpersonal communication within The Three Stooges comedy team.  He told me he would fail me if I wrote this paper.  Being an iconoclastic student of the 1980s, I did it anyway.  Here it is, with errors intact, but photos have been added.   (BTW, the paper was heavily footnoted, but since I lost the attribution pages, I will not be including the footnotes here.)



THE THREE STOOGES

by Sean Murphy

Introduction

The Three Stooges were unique.

Leonard Maltin devoted a chapter to The Three Stooges in his book Movie Comedy Teams and opened it with this quote from an article from a 1937 issue of The Motion Picture Herald:  "The public, upon which the screen depends for its existence, appears  . . . to be roughly divided into two groups, one composed of person who laugh at The Three Stooges and the other made up of those who wonder why."  This quote is, as Maltin observes, as accurate today as the day it was written.

Between 1930 and 1965, The Three Stooges appeared in no fewer than two hundred and twenty motion pictures.  That is a feat unparalleled by any other comedy team or comedian in the history of American sound films.  In fact, I believe that the end of their film career was caused more by their age than a lack of public acceptance of their material.

In 1930, Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, Fields, the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy and The Three Stooges were all actively involved in the film industry.  However, by the 1960s, The Three Stooges were the only members of that group still starring in motion pictures for a living.  Over those long years, the United States experienced tremendous shifts in social attitudes, mores and tastes.  Those changes destroyed the careers of many top comics in the film industry.  However, The Three Stooges, mainly because of their television exposure, ended their career more popular then they were at the peak of their powers in the late thirties.  In the United States today, I feel that it could be argued that the work of The Three Stooges is far more familiar to the average American than the work of such undisputed comic geniuses as Chaplin and Keaton.

In spite of their long and productive career, The Three Stooges have received practically no serious attention from critics or students of film.  Even Leonard Maltin, who wrote about the Stooges in at least two books, kept his writings mainly limited to their history and filmography.  The main reason why most critics ignore The Three Stooges is the fact that they specialized in a low form of slapstick humor, which is considered unworthy of serious study.  I do not believe by any stretch of the imagination that The Three Stooges were the most creative, inventive or funniest comedy team in the history of film.  However, I do believe that The Three Stooges became the undisputed masters of a very limited, but timeless, form of slapstick humor.

In this paper, I will attempt to discover why The Three Stooges were able to conquer a genre which only a few comedians could master.   I will attempt to explain the internal, interpersonal relationships in this team which makes the comedy work.  I will not do this by researching the opinions and interpretations of the critics, which would make this a very short paper.   Instead, I will intensively study four Three Stooges short subjects.  The films, "Hoi Polloi," "Pardon My Scotch," "Three Little Beers," and "Tassels In The Air," were all made between 1935 and 1938 and are, in my opinion, generally characteristic of The Three Stooges' style and work at the peak of their powers.  This paper will consist of three parts; a history of The Three Stooges, a study of the short subjects, and the conclusions that I will draw from the short subjects.

(Barry Moore notes, in red pencil: " Maybe you should write a long book on them is there is such a dearth of material on them."  Hard to tell if that comment was sincere or snark.  At the time, he was rumored to be writing a book about Paul Mazursky.)

History of The Three Stooges

The Early Years

The comedy team known as The Three Stooges evolved slowly in the vaudeville theaters of the teens and twenties.  Moe Howard, who was born in 1905, was the first member of the team to enter show business after he ran away from home in 1914.  Moe made his show business debut performing on a Mississippi riverboat and later acted in numerous troupes performing a wide variety of material including Shakespeare.  After World War I, Moe's brother Shemp, who was born in 1901, joined him in vaudeville and they formed a blackface act.

Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Shemp Howard, Ted Healy
In 1923, Moe and Shemp got a temporary job with a comedian named Ted Healy.  Moe and Shemp were hired to heckle Healy from the audience, but they got along so well together that the heckling became a permanent job.  In 1928, the group was joined by another vaudevillian named Larry Fine, who was born in 1911.  Larry started in show business at an early age like the Howards and was working in an act called The Haney Sisters and Fine when he joined the Ted Healy act.  The new act became known alternately as Ted Healy and his Gang, Ted Healy and his Southern Gentlemen, Ted Healey and his Racketeers, and Ted Healy and his Stooges, although only one title was used at a time.

This act became a top act in the vaudeville circuits and even appeared in Broadway Revues.  In 1930, the group made a film entitled "Soup to Nuts."  After making their film debut, the team went back to playing in the top vaudeville circuits and in Broadway Revues.  In 1933, MGM hired the team and they went to the West Coast to make movies.  However, by that time, Shemp had left the group to accept an offer he received from Vitaphone and was replaced by Curly Howard, who was born in 1911.

At MGM, Ted Healy and His Stooges appeared in a number of feature films, such as "Dancing Lady" starring Clark Gable and Joan Crawford, mainly in supporting roles.  The team also starred in a number of experimental color short subjects.  However, the Howard brothers and Larry Fine were, by 1934, prepared to break with Ted Healy and form their own act.  It was at that time that the Stooges caught the attention of Jules White, who was in the process of forming the short subject department at Columbia Pictures.

The Columbia Short Subjects

The finest films made by The Three Stooges were made during their years at Columbia.  The Stooges began their long and fruitful association with the studio in 1934 when they made a short subject called "The Woman Haters."  This film, told entirely in rhyme, wasn't particularly characteristic of their later work.  It was their third film that won The Three Stooges their long term contract with Columbia Pictures where they would keep making short subjects until 1957.

(Barry Moore, always a disciple of the auteur theory, asked here:  "Who wrote and produced them and how were they treated?")

The short subject in question, "Men In Black," was nominated for an Academy Award as the Best Short Subject of 1934.  This marked the first and last time that the Stooges would be nominated for an Academy Award.  However, the film was so successful that the team was offered a contract to make eight, eighteen-minute (later reduced to sixteen-minute) short subjects each year.  Moe Howard remembers "that the films were budgeted at $27,000 a piece."

Moe Howard also recalled that the group would devise the idea for a short by "thinking where the Stooges would be most out of place."  Later, when the budgets became very restrictive, the shorts were designed to make use of sets that were made for more expensive films at Columbia.

The Three Stooges themselves were an integral part of the writing of their shorts.  Director Edward Bernds described the process of writing a Stooge comedy as such:  "We'd usually have kind of a bull session in which the boys would wander all over the place, ad-libbing routines, reminiscing, and I would take notes.  I would borrow from old scripts also, but mostly I listened.  I would stockpile routines, devise some sort of a framework for them to hang onto.  I would then write a rough draft script and call them in.  They would go through the first draft; it would give them other notions, and I would make cuts and additions, and somehow hammer out a further draft so that it was pretty much agreed upon by the time it got into a final draft."

(Barry Moore, always the grammarian, advised:  "indent and single space long quotes.")

In 1946, after making 97 shorts for Columbia, the Three Stooges underwent their first change in personnel since the early 1930s.  Curly Howard had been ill for sometime.  It was becoming very noticeable in the films he made so he decided to retire.  Curley was replaced by his older brother Shemp, who had managed to to achieve success in short subjects and supporting roles in feature films such as W.C. Fields' "The Bank Dick" after leaving the Healy act.

Shemp remained a member of the team until 1955, making 78 shorts, before his untimely death forced his removal from the act.  Shemp was replaced by Joe Besser, who appeared in the last fifteen shorts that the Stooges made.  Unfortunately, by the time Besser joined the team, the quality of the films had sadly deteriorated.  The later films lacked the energy of the earlier shorts.  Also, budget restrictions limited creativity and forced the Stooges to make films that could employ stock footage from their earlier pictures.  Some of the last short subjects made by The Three Stooges were filmed in less than a day.

By 1956, the Stooges were the last group making short subjects for Columbia.  The Three Stooges finished their last short in January of 1957.  However, the team had made so many films that Columbia was able to continue releasing new shorts until 1959.  Within a year after the Stooges' contract expired, the short subject department at Columbia was disbanded.

The Later Years

After the team's contract at Columbia expired in 1957, no other studio was interested in signing them to a contract.  This is not surprising since the genre the Stooges worked in, short subjects, was almost entirely extinct.  Instead of retiring, the Stooges decided to embark on a personal appearance tour.  However, before the tour began, Besser decided to leave the act to be with his wife, who was seriously ill.  At this point, while The Three Stooges were unknowingly on the verge of rebirth, they talked of disbanding the act.

Rebirth for The Three Stooges came when Columbia released 78 of their shorts to television in 1958.  Success was immediate.  Within a year, 156 television stations were playing their films.  The demand for the shorts was so great that Columbia decided to release all 190 Three Stooges short subjects to television.

The Three Stooges, now joined by veteran comic Joe DeRita, who was nicknamed Curley Joe, found their personal appearance tours extremely successful.  The Three Stooges became so popular that Columbia decided to rehire them to make feature films in 1959,  The first film they made, "Have Rocket, Will Travel," proved successful and they made ten more features (eight in starring roles) before making their last film, "The Outlaws Is Coming," in 1965.

The Three Stooges continued to tour and make appearances on various television shows until the death of Larry Fine forced the disbanding of the act.

A Study of the Shorts

Introduction

In this section, I will study the relationships between the members of the team, as well as the way in which each member relates to the outside world.  I will graph the interactions by watching the shorts and recording their interactions on a communication chart.  I will use a communication chart with four circles; one for Moe, Larry, Curly and the outside world.

All of the circles will be connected by various lines.  The two outer lines represent verbal communication between the person where the line begins to the person where the line points.  The inner lines represent physical contact between the members of the group including punches, slaps, pokes, kicks, etc.  The numbers written on the lines indicate how many times the members communicate with each other in that form.  The outside world will be connected to the individual Stooges with only one line in each direction which will record all contact.

(Barry Moore asked in red pencil:  "Where did this idea come from?"  The answer:  A communication class I was taking concurrently.)

I will also record the number of times each member of the group solos.  I will define a solo as a comedy bit or routine that is executed without the assistance of the other two members of the group.  I will also record each time a pair forms for the purpose of comedy, without the assistance of the third member of the team (though the third person may be present in the frame at the time.)

(Barry Moore added in red pencil:  "This is a form of criticism very close to what is known as structuralism.")


"Pardon My Scotch"



"Pardon My Scotch" was released on August 1, 1935.  It was the ninth short subject that The Three Stooges made for Columbia.  The film was directed by Del Lord, a comedy veteran from the Mack Sennett Studios who directed a great number of films by The Three Stooges.  (Incidentally, Jules White re-discovered Del Lord, who ended up selling cars after his Mack Sennett days.)  The supporting cast in this film includes Billy Gilbert, a fine supporting comic who work with some of the best comedians of the 1930s.

The film opens with the Stooges working as carpenters for a druggist.  The druggist is upset because Prohibition is about to end and his supplier can't fill his liquor order.  He leaves the Stooges in charge of the store as he leaves to look into the matter.

When the liquor salesman drops by, the Stooges mix him a fixer-upper and the salesman mistakens it for scotch.  The salesman decides to pawn off the Stooges as Scot distillers to his boss.  The Stooges are invited to a dinner party at the boss' house and the predictable chaos ensues.

The Communication Chart:


(Barry Moore remarked:  "Needs a better looking graphic.")

Remarks:

It is obvious from the chart that Moe talks the most and that he is responsible for the vast majority of the physical contact.  The chart also shows that Larry speaks the least, and does not have physical contact with any of the other members of the team.  I would like to add that four of the six times Moe struck Larry, he also struck Curly.

Concerning contact with the outside world, most of the Stooges' communication was spoken in unison in response to questions from other characters.  However, in non-unison communication, Moe took the role of the straight man with non-Stooge characters and Curly used interactions with others for humorous results.

Solos:

(1).  Moe - None
(2).  Larry - Once - Larry prepared a meal of flowers while sitting at the dinner table.
(3).  Curly - Once - At the dinner table, he fought with the roll he was eating.

Remarks:

Although Moe did not solo, he struck each of the others after they did so.

Pairs:

(1).  Moe & Curley - Once - They couldn't agree on which direction was right.
(2).  Moe & Larry - None.
(3).  Larry & Curley - Once - They accidentally saw a table in half that Moe was standing on.


"Hoi Polloi"



"Hoi Polloi" was released on August 29, 1935, and was the tenth short subject that the Stooges made at Columbia.  The film was directed by Del Lord.  This film was remade twice as "Half-Wits Holiday" in 1947, and as "Pies and Guys" in 1958.   Stock footage from "Hoi Polloi" was used in the film "In The Sweet Pie and Pie" in 1941.

In this film, two professors argue whether being a gentleman is a product of heredity or training.  The professor who believes in training bets he can train anyone.  The Three Stooges become the subjects of this experiment with predictable results.

The Communication Chart:



(Barry Moore remarked, perhaps accurately:  "Besides communicative patterns, more is needed on the comedy style itself.")

Remarks:

This chart shows that "Hoi Polloi" is a much more violent film than "Pardon My Scotch."  As in the first film, Moe does the majority of the speaking and hitting.  In fact, Moe hits his fellow Stooges more than he talks to them!

Larry engages in more physical contact in this film than he did in the previous one.  However, all three of the times Larry hits Moe, he does so unintentionally in cooperation with Curly.  Larry's physical contact with Curly is also unintentional.

Solos:

(1).  Moe - Twice - Moe has short comedy routine while learning table manners.  Later, at a party, he has an encounter with a girl.
(2).  Larry - Twice -  Larry has a short comedy bit while learning table manners.  He also has a problem with his shoes while dancing.
(3).  Curly - Six - He engages in various encounters with the other characters in the film.

Remarks:

Moe and Larry share an equal number of solos, but Larry's solos are longer.  Curley solos the most by a wide margin.  The longest episode in the film occurs when Curly dances with a spring attached to the seat of his pants.

Teams:

(1).  Moe & Curly - Once - Moe catches Curly attempting to steal a bottle of champagne and some silverware.
(2).  Moe & Larry - Once - Larry loses his shoe on the dance floor and Moe repeatedly kicks him as he retrieves it.
(3).  Larry & Curly - Once - They accidentally toss a can of trash over the garbage truck and hit Moe.

Remarks:

As in "Pardon My Scotch," it seems that every time Moe and Curly team up, the encounter ends with Moe hitting Curley.  Also, it seems every time Curly and Larry team up, they inadvertently do something that affects Moe.


"Three Little Beers"



"Three Little Beers" was released on November 28, 1935.  It was the eleventh short subject the Stooges made for Columbia.  It was directed by Del Lord and written by Clyde Bruckman, who worked with many comedy greats including Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, W.C. Fields, Laurel & Hardy and even Abbott & Costello.  (Bruckman, who sadly wrestled with alcoholism, would later commit suicide using a gun borrowed from Buster Keaton.)  The film also featured a frequent Stooge nemesis Bud Jamison.

In this film, the Stooges are beer truck drivers who sneak onto a golf course.  Needless to say, the golf course will never be the same.

The Communication Chart:


Remarks:

In many ways, this short differs from the first two films, but the majority of the differences cannot be detected in the basic communication chart.  Some, however, do.  Notably, Moe strikes Larry almost as many times as he strikes Curly in this film.  Also, Larry does not initiate any physical contact with his cohorts in this film.

Solos:

(1).  Moe - Three - All of the solos involve his activities on the golf course.  The longest scene in one in which he makes hundreds of holes while he attempts to hit the ball.
(2)  Larry - Two - His solos are similar to Moe's solos.  His longest solo depicts him ruining a green by pulling up a root.
(3).  Curly - Four - His solos are much like his cohorts.  His longest solo involves him chopping down a tree to get a golf ball.

Remarks:

This is the first film examined in this paper in paper in which Moe has more solo routines than Larry.  However, like the earlier films, Curly's solos are the longest, most elaborate and the funniest.

Teams:

(1).  Moe & Curley - None.
(2).  Moe & Larry - None.
(3).  Larry & Curly - None.

Remarks:

The lack of teaming makes this short differ dramatically from the first two films  Instead of teaming, this film uses parallel editing between the various solos on the golf course.  This lack of teaming could also explain why Larry does not hit Moe throughout the course of the film.


"Tassels In The Air"



"Tassels In The Air" was released on April 1, 1938 and was the thirtieth short subject that the team made at Columbia.  This short was directed by the talented Baltimore-born comedian Charley Chase, who, though largely forgotten now, starred in a fine series of short comedies at the Hal Roach Studios.  This film is a partial re-working of his own 1933 film "Luncheon At Twelve."  This film also features Stooge regulars Vernon Dent and Bud Jamison.

In this film, The Three Stooges are painters who are mistaken by a woman to be famous interior decorators.

The Communications Chart:


Remarks:

This film is very uncharacteristic for The Three Stooges.  Not only is it a partial remake of one of director Charley Chase's short films, but it also reflected his more verbal and situational humor as opposed to the knockabout slapstick the team specialized in.

The overall decrease in physical contact is very noticeable on the Communication Chart.  This is the least violent short examined in this paper.  The film is also notable for the increased interaction between Larry and Curly, both physically and verbally.   However, Moe's physical contact remains evenly divided between Larry and Curly.

Solos:

(1). Moe - None.
(2). Larry - None.
(3). Curly - None.

Remarks:

Aside from some short scenes in which each of the Stooges mistakens paint brushes and paint cans for food and drink, there were no solos during this film.

Teams:

(1).  Moe & Curly - None.
(2).  Moe & Larry - None.
(3).  Larry & Curly - Twice - The two play checkers on a tile floor with cans of paint.  Later, they have a verbal exchange when they argue which direction is right.

Remarks:

Although there was little actual teaming in this film, there is a stronger informal bond between Curly and Larry, with Moe acting as a mediator between the two.  Unlike the other films, when Curly and Larry team up in this film, Moe does not suffer as a result.

(Barry Moore remarked at this time:  "I think you need a greater sense of generality to put the Stooges into perspective here.")

Conclusion

It could be argued that it is impossible to uncover the inner workings of a comedy team which has made over two hundred films by examining only four films.  That is an understandable argument.  However, the information obtained by studying these four films I have chosen gives a great deal of insight into The Three Stooges.

One problem makes it difficult to ascertain the true screen characters and relationship between The Three Stooges.  The problem is that the characters played by Moe, Larry and Curly are not the most well-defined and well-rounded characters in the history of film.  There are undeniable generalizations and an undeniable hierarchical relationship.  However, after watching a number of Three Stooges films, one does not get the same sense of character and personality that one would get after watching a Laurel and Hardy film.

Although there were exceptions, Laurel and Hardy would rarely sacrifice their carefully-honed characters and relationships for the sake of a laugh.  The Three Stooges were not as solid in their characterizations.  The nature of their characters and relationships bend with the demands of the script and gag.  The shifts are not so great as to change the hierarchical order, but there are discernible differences.  These changes can be seen especially well in the way the Stooges relate to the other characters in the films.

Most people credit the resistance of many moviegoers have to the team to the crude, knockabout humor, I think the main problem is the shallow characterizations.  Chaplin, for example, relied heavily on the same style of humor, but he also gave the audience an character whose motivations could be understood.  The lack of character definition makes it difficult to understand the Stooges' overall motivations, since they have a tendency to differ from film to film.  These changes in motivation do not make the gags any less funny.  However, the changes work against audience identification with the group.  Without that identification, the audience never really sympathies with the Stooges.

(Barry Moore noted:  "Working in shorts can do this.  However, the silent comedians seemed to overcome this.")

The Characters:



Moe is the boss.  He is unquestionably the dominant member of the group.  He is the leader and the enforcer.  The other two follow his instructions or incur his wrath.  Moe does not allow any insubordination.

When dealing with non-Stooges, Moe is generally the straight man.  When he interacts with other characters outside of the presence of the other Stooges, Moe seems almost like a fish out of water.  Moe seems unable to deal effectively with women, probably because his character is a bully by nature and he realizes his normal behavior would be unacceptable against a woman.

Moe's response to non-Stooge men depends on the relative status of the person.  When the person is a servant, or holds a similar low status position, Moe will approach him from a position of dominance.  However, Moe does not talk back to, or attempt to dominant, men of higher social status.  He's not Groucho Marx, who was an equal opportunity offender.  Moe respects authority.

When dealing with Curly, Moe works to retain leadership even though Curly does not seriously challenge it.  He will strike Curly for little or no reason.   His relationship with Larry is less violent because he has nothing to fear from him.  Larry rarely stands up to him.

Moe's character is defined by dominance.  This perhaps explains why he has a tendency to solo less than the other two Stooges.  Without the presence of his cohorts, Moe loses his dominance and therefore his character loses its effectiveness.



Curly is the wildest and most free-spirited of the Stooges.  Curly Howard was a very versatile comic, and the character he plays reflects it.  His wide range of expressions and noises makes him ideally suited his solo episodes in the films.  His actual character is hard to explain.  Much like Harpo Marx, he seems capable of anything.

(Barry Moore added:  "Curly's a child, like Harpo.")

Curly is submissive to Moe, but that does not stop him from questioning Moe's ideas and rules.  Curly's questioning is generally innocent or good-natured.  He does not strive to upset the established hierarchal order.  When Moe strikes him, Curly generally responds first by making some sort of noise.  If Moe strikes him again, and he generally does, Curly will attempt to strike back.  However, Curly's attempts to hit Moe have a tendency to backfire.  In practically all of their encounters of this sort, Moe remains in the dominant position.

Curly's relationship with Larry is not as well-defined.  When the two of them are together for a prolonged period of time without Moe's supervision, Curly will attempt to dominate Larry.  However, for the most part, Curly and Larry tend to regard each other as equals.  Moe's total dominance places them in the same boat.  Curly and Larry will both attempt to defend each other if they feel Moe is being unfair.  The relationship between Curly and Larry is generally downplayed in the films.  That is a pity because "Tassels in the Air" shows that there was a lot of comic potential in that relationship.

Curly uses his encounters with non-Stooges to the fullest potential.  In conversation with outsiders, Curly is likely to make a humorous statement.  His crazy behavior is funniest against the backdrop of the normal world.


Larry is the hardest member of the troupe to define.  His individual identity is almost entirely erased by his submissiveness.  However, when he is alone, Larry's routines more resemble those of Curly than those of Moe, though they are not quite as wild.

Larry is extremely submissive to Moe and hardly ever strikes him knowingly.  In fact, most of the time he hits Moe, he does so accidentally with the assistance of Curly.  Occasionally, Larry will stand up to Moe, but such revolts are infrequent and short-lived.

When dealing with Curly, Larry shows more individuality.  He is not submissive to Curly, and perhaps even feels superior to him.  (This is the same way Curly treats him.)  However, Larry does not attempt to dominate Curly, except in conjunction with Moe.  Occasionally, Larry will attempt to intervene with Moe on Curly's behalf.

Larry's overall position and role within the team is unusual.  He seems to be the least essential member of the group.  In fact, he appears almost unnecessary.  But is he?  Would the shorts work as effectively without him?  I don't think so.

If Larry were removed from the team, and the basic relationship between Moe and Curly didn't change, the team would not work as effectively.  My study illustrates that when Moe and Curly join together in a solo pairing, the two end up exchanging blows.  Granted, the Stooges exchanging blows can be very funny, but if overdone, it loses effectiveness.  Unless Moe and Curly changed their basic relationship in Larry's absence, they would have to be frequently separated in the films in order to keep them from becoming repetitive.

In order to separate the two,   Moe and Curly would both have to solo more frequently.  This would be good for Curly, who excelled in his solo routines.  However, since Moe's character is based on dominance, his ability to solo effectively is limited.  Without Larry, Moe would be forced to fade into the background as Curly carried the films.

The films, and the team itself, would lose its sense of balance without Larry.  Larry, although his character is very weakly defined, is an integral and necessary part of the team.  He is the glue that holds The Three Stooges together.

(Barry Moore, disappointed, wrote in his trusty red pencil:  "Conclusion?")

The End

(In his conclusion, Professor Barry Moore wrote:  "An interesting and in-depth look.  I found the last few pages to be the best.  I didn't feel the communication charts were conclusive.  Overall, a very decent paper on a different subject.  B+)

Wow.  If you remember, Barry told me that he would fail me if I handed in a paper about The Three Stooges.  Winning him over on this subject was one of my greatest sales jobs during my college years.  (I certainly wasn't able to display the same skill in Amway, or with my college sweetheart for that matter!)

Looking back on this paper, and its subject matter, I am reminded how much of my love of film came from watching short comedies during my youth.  My favorites were Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy, but I also greatly appreciated the short films of Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, The Three Stooges, The Little Rascals and Charley Chase.  When I imagined myself in the film business at the age of twelve, I didn't see myself as an actor, writer or director.  I wanted to be a producer like Hal Roach and run a comedy factory.

It didn't quite work out that way, but I did manage to make a few films....

Be sure to check out my book The Promise, or the Pros and Cons of Talking with God.  It is available in paperback and on Kindle courtesy of TouchPoint Press.

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