Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Stoogeum

Film critic Leonard Maltin visits The Stoogeum.

This article appeared in a recent issue of AntiqueWeek:

The Stoogeum

by Brett Weiss

“Dewey, Burnham, and Howe.” “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.” “Moe! Larry! The Cheese!”

If the above phrases don’t make you chortle, chuckle, grin, or guffaw, you have no soul. Okay, that’s more than a little hyperbolic, but even those who don’t quite “get” the pinching, poking, pummeling antics of The Three Stooges will have to admit that the tussling trio is one of the most popular comedy teams of all time, arguably more well-known than such dynastic duos as Abbot and Costello and Laurel and Hardy.

Originally a part of the vaudeville comedy team Ted Healy and His Stooges, which began performing in 1925, the Stooges didn’t officially became The Three Stooges until 1934, when they broke away from Healy and signed with Columbia pictures. During their 23 years at Columbia, the Stooges starred in five features and 190 film shorts.

Remnants from the Stooges’ Columbia days and much more are on display at The Stoogeum museum, a three-story, 10,000-square-foot facility billed as “the world’s first and only museum of Three Stooges memorabilia.” In addition to such offerings as a research library, an 85-seat theater, and a 16mm film storage vault, the museum boasts nearly 100,000 pieces of Three Stooges artifacts, from games to toys to movie props to costumes to artwork to rare photos (spanning 50 years of Stooges history).

The Stoogeum is home to a number of unique items, including Joe Besser’s passport, Larry’s driver’s license, and Shemp’s discharge from the United States Army. One of the coolest one-of-a-kind items currently on display at the Stoogeum is a custom Three Stooges pinball machine, which was built and designed by Eric Strangeway. The pinball is set up on free play, as is a 1984 arcade game manufactured by Mylstar. There’s even a Three Stooges slot machine customers can try their luck on.

Regrettably, unlike most museums, The Stoogeum does not keep regular hours. Rather, they are only open approximately one day per month (admission is free, but visitors should feel free to make a donation). To find out when you can get your “nyuks” on at The Stoogeum, check their website.


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