The Three Stooges said children would attack them in public

A nine-year-old thwacked them with a cane on the boardwalk.

Read to Me

Pies, pokes in the eyes, knocks on the noggin, hair-pulling — The Three Stooges truly put the "slap" in slapstick comedy. It was a physical as physical humor gets. Unsurprisingly, considering the wild west days of Hollywood in which they worked, the trio suffered injuries on the set.

Perhaps most famously, while filming 3 Dumb Clucks in 1937, Curly Howard took a vicious hit to the head. In a stunt-heavy scene, henchmen toss Curly down an elevator shaft. The actor smacked into a 2" x 4", which ripped his scalp open. A studio doctor quickly stitched up the gash. According to Moe Howard's biography Moe Howard and the Three Stooges, "fresh hair" was glued over the wound and Curly was back to work.

A decade later, in 1947, Curly had stepped away, and the new threesome of Moe, Larry and Shemp were doing press for a fresh slate of two-reelers for Columbia Pictures. Journalist Erskine Johnson sat down with The Three Stooges to promote the upcoming comedies.

"Beating up each other is the Stooges' chief stock in trade. But, they never seem to get hurt," the reporter wrote. He must not have heard about the stitches.

Still, there are some interesting anecdotes about injuries sustained by The Stooges, as seen in the Statesville Daily Record on October 11, 1947.

"I got a broken nose once," Shemp admitted. Moe was quick to point out that it was an accident not from stuntwork, but rather… taking a bow during applause.

"Larry was taking a bow on the stage of the theater and his elbow came up and hit Shemp's nose," Moe explained. "Even when it started to bleed we didn't believe it — we thought it was a gag and the blood was only chocolate." Shemp's howls of pain proved it was no gag.

Even stranger was when the trio was attacked by, well, a stranger. A strange child, to be exact. The author noted this was fairly common, that children expected The Three Stooges to not only endure but welcome physical attacks in public.

The three were walking down the Atlantic City boardwalk when a starstruck nine-year-old recognized them, strolled up, and "cracked them over the head with a heavy cane." 

"If that kid had been an inch taller," Moe joked. "I would have kicked his teeth right down his throat."

The Three Stooges® is a registered trademark of C3 Entertainment, Inc. ©2019 C3 Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Watch The Three Stooges on MeTV!

Two Full Hours


*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Post a comment
UTZAAKE 6 months ago
Reminds me of the restaurant doorman dressed in a suit of armor in Jonathan Demme's Married to the Mob who was either punched or slapped by every entering mobster patron.
harlow1313 6 months ago
I always empathize with the misfits and black sheep.

I would make an excellent real life Stooge. I've got the patience of Moe, the brains of Curly, and the looks of Larry. Ladies, I'm quite the catch!
cabugi harlow1313 6 months ago
😆 chicks dig nerds
heymoe3 harlow1313 6 months ago
You sound like a dream boat!!!
harlow1313 heymoe3 6 months ago
Part my hair in the middle, splash on the Ice Blue Aqua Velva, slip into my double breasted shark skin suit, and you'd better hide your daughters, hide your wives.
JHP harlow1313 4 months ago
The blues bros

"How much for the girls? - the little girls"

can you imagine today what that line would stir up?

so damm funny

Michael 6 months ago
But isn't this kind of a variant of the gunslinger coming to town in Westerns, and everyone wants to challenge him?

stephaniestavr5 6 months ago
I don't remember the names of the shorts, just the injuries that were sustained while The 3 Stooges filmed them. One was with L/C/M. They were supposed to be carpenters, {I guess that would have been their job description.} There was a scene where Moe was standing on top of this table doing something on the wall. Believe me, I've seen it a # of times, just details are vague.} Curly/Larry had a plank of wood they were sawing, they ended up sawing through the table. Moe turned around, took a step and fell off. It looked like a typical prank, but it wasn't. Trooper that he was, Moe finished the scene, then later he found out he had broken a couple of ribs.
Another one was with L/S/M. Shemp played a dead uncle, I believe, {it was sort of of take on "It's A wonderful Life, they were always spoofing movies.} In order do earn his wings he had to do a good deed. Anyway....Larry and Moe met up with these people in hope that they would buy their pen that writes under whipped cream. Before shooting the scene where they demonstrate the pen, Larry noticed that the pen wasn't attached to the beater right, and he felt certain that he was going to get hurt. He told Moe about this, Moe talked to I think it was the producer, but he said everything was fine. The scene is shooting, the beater goes around a few times, like Larry said, the pen flew off and impaled itself in Larry's forehead. So whenever you see that short, more particularly that scene, Larry wasn't pretending to be in pain, he was.
Dario stephaniestavr5 6 months ago
That was Pardon My Scotch from 1935, the one where they are carpenters who have pose as Scottish liquor distributors after the guy in the pharmacy asks the Stooges for a "pick-me up"(a term for a medicinal drink) and after drinking it says that it's Scotch. 😁
vinman63 stephaniestavr5 6 months ago
I think Moe broke his ankle in self made maids

15inchBlackandWhite 6 months ago
When I was a kid our local TV station that ran Stooges shorts faced protests from mothers who were afraid their kids were going to hurt each other by mimicking Stooge stunts like eye-pokes and blows with a hammer. My mom was among them. Not surprising then that they got attacked by kids who thought it was all a joke.
I remember reading about how worried parents were about kids and the Stooges. Reading this, reminds me of when Dark Shadows was on. A lot of parents didn't want their kids to watch it, because they felt certain they would have nightmares. "Experts" said if they weren't experiencing nightmares before seeing DS, chances are they wouldn't if they did see it. I realize this isn't exactly what happened about the
3 Stooges, I'm only saying they are similar in that it will/won't cause a reaction that others feel might happen. Some kids became violent when watching T3S and some didn't. Just like some kids had nightmares from watching DS and some didn't.
I of course don't know, but there could have been someone out there whose violent streak could be traced to DS/T3S. It takes all kinds to make up this world. {Sad to say, but true.}
hermanstein2015 6 months ago
Such a great story, they had such a hard life. Didn't get paid for their work like they should have either. The biography is a must read!
Which biography are you talking about? There have been a # of books written about them. Moe's children Joan and Paul each wrote one, {Paul even did a dvd documentary about them. He was also a really good artist, which his work is somewhat showcased in the dvd.} I Think one of Curly's daughters wrote one, Larry's nephew/son did {I need to double check, but I am at least 40% sure about this. It's been a while.} I have also read books by fans/experts on the Stooges and their category in general. So you can't just say there was only one biography or definitive one. To me, the definitive ones are the ones written by the Stooges children or those that were closest to them. They really loved and respected their parents/friends so much, and it shows through their writing.
I didn't say there was a definitive one, I didn't specify which one. I've also read several but I was referring to Moe's book, "I Stooged to Conquer." He talks about that scene on the boardwalk and he also specifies that only Curly was hit in the head with the cane. I've also read the book written about Curly's life by Joan.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?