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Forgotten Films: Stop, Look, and Laugh by ED Tucker
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Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1974) by Jason Fetters
Passing On .... Rock And Roll Honors .... How Much Money Can I Make From These Movies - Let's Find Out .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf by Mike Smith
In 1958, Columbia Pictures dusted off their short films starring The Three Stooges and unceremoniously dumped them on television stations across the country, hoping for nothing more than a quick buck from an outdated format. Local stations were eager for product in those days to fill the early morning and afternoon hours when children would be their primary viewers and what self respecting child didn’t love The Three Stooges? Most stations either incorporated the shorts into their existing kiddie show programs or created new ones specifically for them. This was a time when almost anything shown on television was thought to require some original content so studio employees were often tapped to create colorful characters to introduce cartoons, educational films, or whatever other material could be used to fill an hour or two of children’s entertainment.
Just in case you forgot which Stooges you were watching.
Feature films, no matter how cheaply or quickly produced, still take time to make it in to theaters. Columbia was still not convinced that their newly revived cash cow would produce milk for long so their solution was a bizarre concoction of tenuously related material that they could pass off as a new product. Essentially the feature film equivalent of a Three Stooges kiddie television show, Stop, Look, and Laugh stars ventriloquist Paul Winchell in the host role where he is supported in various connecting sketches by his dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff. Toss in some Three Stooges antics and a bunch of talking chimpanzees and you get one hodge podge of a movie!
Paul Winchell and his irritating dummy Jerry Mahoney.
Knucklehead Smiff is the LAST person you want to see with a gun!
The Marquis Chimps in an early cameo as the Stooges ancestors.
Needless to say, Stop, Look and Laugh is not held in high regard by Stooge fans. Even the Stooges themselves took offense to Columbia rehashing their shorts without their consent and legal action was threatened. Fortunately an agreement was reached, the Stooges continued to make films for the studio and Columbia never again tried to make a feature out of their shorts. This mosaic of mirth has softened a bit with age and now seems like an oddball one shot swept into the corner of classic comedy. This film probably remains the most recognizable piece on the resumes of both Paul Winchell and the Marquis Chimps. In a strange twist of fate, Winchell would go on to host his own children’s show, Winchell-Mahoney Time, a few years later and then find success doing voiceover work in cartoons, most notably as Tigger in the Winnie the Pooh films for Walt Disney. The chimps seem to have fallen into obscurity after this and likely went on to either television series like Lancelot Link or scientific research. While the Stooges were not properly represented in their portions of the film, their comedy genius still manages to shine through and this feature may have introduced them to a younger generation who hadn’t discovered them on television yet.
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