In Search of
|We turned into a residential area just off of Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood headed
toward Moes house. This was big stuff to a couple of guys who had graduated from
high school in Texas only two month's before. Bob had been writing Moe for several years
now. This is how we found our way from Dallas to Hollywood and on our way to the home of
the Head Stooge. We continued driving up Doheny Drive, which was on the side of a very
steep hill just above the Sunset Strip. As a matter of fact, we passed a mail truck in
time to see the clutch burn out on it's way up the hill. It looked more like a James Bond
smoke screen than a mail truck.
As we climbed the hills and rounded the turns, I wondered what type of house a Stooge lived in. Shouldnt it be a musty old castle with a couple of old suits of armor clanking around or something? Judging from the neighborhood, Moe was a good businessman as well as leader of the most popular comedy team in film history. It looked as though he had done quite well for himself.
|We finally came upon the house. Fortunately, Moe had given Bob directions over the telephone a few days before. It was an immaculate contemporary house sitting on the side of a canyon slope. The place was not huge but it was comfortable. This was one of those areas where you knew a house was going to be worth triple the price of the same house anywhere else in the country, just because of the location. After all, this was the Hollywood Hills, just above Sunset Blvd. This neighborhood was probably full of people in the entertainment industry. The house was a modern design with straight lines and big glass windows and a lawn that would have made an excellent putting green! The place was pristine like a park. Even the bushes were sculptured.|
|At the end of the driveway was a
carport with a spotless '68 Cadillac Sedan DeVille and a late model Mazda RX3. Remember,
this was 1973. I am not sure what kind of car you pictured Moe driving but we soon
discovered that the RX3 was his. Later that afernoon, he shared a quick story with us when
we asked him if he was often recognized in public. He told us that only two weeks prior a
little boy had recognized him at a stoplight and screamed " Mommy! Theres
Moe!" Moe gestured back with the old two-fingered poke-in-the-eye routine. The light
changed and he sped off. Picture that. Only in Hollywood. ...Back to the story.
Moe's wife, Helen, let us in when we arrived. The house was as neat on the inside as it was on the outside. It was tastefully furnished with no expense spared.
|There were no suits of armor hanging around, no broken plumbing pipes spewing water and as far as I could tell, no evidence of a pie fight. Then Moe walked in. The first thing I noticed (beside the fact that this was indeed Moe), was that his hair had turned silver and he wore glasses. But, best of all, this was taking place in color, not in black and white! I had eaten breakfast almost every morning for the past thirteen years with Moe, Larry, Curly, Shemp and Joe while getting ready for school. Now he could answer some questions. When he spoke, all doubt was removed. This was indeed the same guy I had seen a thousand times before. We asked Moe about his start in show business and he related his time in vaudeville to us. You couldnt name a city he hadnt played in. He confirmed what we had heard about Curly forgetting his lines. In Moes words, Curly was a "bad study," having a weakness for wine and women. He never studied his lines. Curly would show up, go to work, then disappear afterwards. When you see him drop to the ground, turnaround in circles on his side with his familiar "whoop, whoop, whoop...you guessed it! He had forgotten his lines. Lucky for us that he did. He invented a classic routine.|
|We asked if anyone had ever been hurt in the films. He said no, never...not if you don't count cracked ribs, chipped teeth and an occasional broken finger. A relief when you listen to the sound effects. Moe said that even he was surprised now and then at the sound effects. Like everyone else, they had to wait until the films were finished to hear them. I asked Moe why the Stooges played doctors, detectives and other professional characters in their earlier films. Later on they appeared to play plumbers, cooks, deliverymen and so on. Moe said that when they first started making films, only the more affluent audiences could afford going the movies. He felt that is where the audience was. As times got more prosperous, Moe felt the audience changed somewhat. He was doing demographics and marketing!|
|It is a big understatement to say that Moe was an all
around nice person. Would he have been like that today? I am sure he would, but the times
would make it more difficult. The letters that he had written to Bob would probably not
happen with todays film stars. Arguably, not without reason. It's hard to imagine a
film star today saying, "Sure, give me a call when youre in town." That is
laughable today. Luckily for Bob and me, the times were right and the person was right.
Some people think the Stooges are too violent. It is difficult to compare them to todays television comedy for kids. I give you Bevis and Butthead, Ren and Stimpey, Ed, Edd and Eddie or I.R. Baboon etc. Compared to these characters, the Stooges look like Shakespeare! One night as I put my six year old son to bed after watching a Three Stooges short, he looked up at me chuckling and said, "Dad, I dont know why I think those guys are so funny." About all I could say was, " Er, uh, yeah, well me too." But I think I know why.
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