The Three Stooges were a comedy trio that was so popular that they have been reintroduced with new members nearly 90 years after their introduction. The trio has also involved different characters, though the most used three were Moe, Larry and Curly. These three characters were replaced with new actors for the 2012 film of the same name.
The Three Stooges began as a vaudeville act in 1925. They had several different names before becoming The Three Stooges. They originally consisted of Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Shemp Howard. They were joined by Ted Healy, who acted as an antagonist and bully for comic effect.
The Three Stooges hit the big screen in 1930 with Soup to Nuts. Ted Healy, the group's creator, was dropped from the act thanks to a subsequent movie contract that cut him out. Ted Healy came back again for a time, but Shemp Howard left because Shemp supposedly could not work with Healy. He was replaced by his brother Curly Howard.
The Three Stooges were officially severed from Ted Healy in 1934. From then on, they handled their own business. They continued their success with the Curly character being a worthy replacement. In fact, he proved very popular among young fans.
The shtick of The Three Stooges has always been slapstick. It started with Healy being comically abusive. Then, Moe became the abusive character, though he was just as bungling as his partners. All three were injured often in every one of their performances.
Another part of The Three Stooges theme was awkward situations. In their roughly 220 films, Moe, Larry and Curly took numerous roles, such as firemen and patsies. All of them were hit in the face, gut, groin, head or whatever it took to make their endeavors in each performance funny. It was the very basest of comedy styles and audiences loved it.
Moe Howard was the self-appointed (when in character) leader of The Three Stooges. He was a bully and often beat his companions. However, he was distinctly part of the group, acting with the others and often protecting them. Aside from his bullying nature, his messy bowl haircut was his most memorable feature.
Larry Fine, unlike Curly, had a mass of curly hair. He often wore a hat, but it became clear that he was bald on top whenever he removed it. He tended to be the reactionary character that the audience needed to level out the other two characters. He was also the most reserved.
Curly Howard was like a big kid. He had a big, likeable personality. He also had a big, tough head that was completely bald and was struck often. Sadly, several strokes led to the actor's early death at age 48.
Shemp Howard's character was much like Curly. He was the first childlike member of the trio. However, he was not as over the top as Curly was. Shemp came back to The Three Stooges when his brother Curly started having strokes. However, he too died while still a member of the group and needed to be replaced.
Joe and Curly Joe were the replacements for Shemp when he died unexpectedly. Joe was a whiner and not much like Shemp or Curly at all. Curly Joe was a bumbler like Curly, but he had a rebellious attitude toward Moe that both Shemp and Curly lacked.