TNB Night Owl–Stoogemania

Wheel of cheese cut and stacked in front of a stone wall. Photo by Alexander Maasch.

The early 1980s saw a surge in popularity for The Three Stooges. Syndication brought a whole new audience to the comedy team’s shorts. The song “The Curly Shuffle” was simultaneously released in the US by Jump ‘N The Saddle and Canada by The Knuckleheads. On the coattails of “The Curly Shuffle” rode STOOGEMANIA (1985).

STOOGEMANIA tells the story of Howard F. Howard (played by Zero Mostel’s son, Josh). He grew up watching The Three Stooges at the kids’ matinee. His love for the comedy team continued through his adult life. His obsession with the particular brand of slapstick comedy has affected his work, his relationships, and his ability to find happiness. Desperate, Howard first seeks help with a Dr. Fixyer Mindyer (Sid Caesar), a psychiatrist specializing in Stooge Obsession. For a while the therapy works. His girlfriend’s family likes him, he’s able to make it through a day without physical humor. Life is going well, but the hunger is still there. Unable to fight his addiction any longer, Howard goes to the Red Light District where other Stooge addicts meet at underground arcades and watch films while women of ill repute court their odd desires.

Realizing he’s hit rock bottom, Howard desperately checks into a mental hospital specializing in Stoogemania. In 80s comedy fashion, they staff soon realizes that Stoogemania is not something to be cured but celebrated. Once Howard and everyone else learns to embrace their Stooge fandom everything falls into place and Howard lives happily ever after.

About half of STOOGEMANIA is original footage. The rest is taken from public domain Three Stooges shorts. Whether the new action or the old the physical comedy is well done. There isn’t much of a plot, but you’re not watching this for the storyline. You’re watching it because at one point you either loved, or currently love, The Three Stooges, and this movie allows you to revisit what it was about them that made you smile.

Question of the night: What’s your favorite comedy team?

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