This week, the oddest DVD to appear on release lists is:
“The New Three Stooges: Complete Cartoon Collection”
The original Three Stooges were about as close as any live actors ever got to being living, breathing cartoon characters. So it seems paradoxical that one of their last gasps on TV came on a slapdash animated series seeking to capitalize on the boys’ surprising popularity among baby boomers. That series, “The New Three Stooges: Complete Cartoon Collection,” is due out on DVD Tuesday.
Airing for one season in 1965, the show’s 17 episodes feature original Stooges Moe Howard and Larry Fine along with Joe DeRita (the so-called “sixth” Stooge) as Curly Joe voicing their cartoon doubles.
Over the course of 156 cartoon shorts – introduced by brief, live-action wraparound skits featuring the live Stooges – the show recycled many of the boys’ best-known bits of shtick. So we see the cartoon Stooges dressed in cowboy duds and dueling it out of a “fair dame,” or tackling various odd jobs (like being bumbling policemen or clumsily mining for gold), or engineering crackbrained schemes (like inventing a flying bicycle), or messing up the simplest daily task (mistaking glue for pancake syrup).
Naturally, there’s a fair share of their signature eye-poking, head-slapping, nose-gouging and other physical abuse, but given the ostensible adolescent audience the show was aiming for, those are toned down from the mock-brutal mayhem of the Stooges’ heyday.
The collection also includes a bonus CD featuring 12 kids’ sing-along songs and 11 Christmas songs performed by the Stooges.
Setting aside the fact that these three Stooges were well past their sell-by dates and that Curly Joe was a tepid substitute for the antic, nyuk-nyuk-nyuk genius of the late Curly Howard, the show simply comes across as a wheezy effort to squeeze a few last bucks out of a moribund franchise that in its live heyday was a brilliant blending of numbskull ineptitude and daring, dangerous slapstick.
“The New Three Stooges: Complete Cartoon Collection” is not rated and is presented on five discs. It’s being released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
- Dennis King
16 Week Curriculum With Instructions, Lesson Plans & CNG Conversion Kit