the American comedy team known as The Three Stooges came
together in 1925, they were doing stooging for stage and
vaudeville comedian Ted Healy. The team consisted of Healy's
lifelong friend Moe Howard, who'd unsuccessfully pursued
a dramatic acting career in his youth; Moe's brother Shemp,
who'd previously teamed with his sibling in a fifth-rate
blackface act; and Larry Fine, fresh from a vaudeville turn
in which he played the violin while doing a Russian dance.
Healy preferred his stooges short, stupid-looking and adorned
with bizarre hairstyles Moe, Shemp and Larry fit
the first two qualifications naturally, meeting the third
requirement by having Moe wear a Beatles-style trim, Shemp
an unkempt mop of hair split down the middle, and Larry
a frizzy Einstein-like hairdo.
Healy and his Stooges hit Broadway in the late 1920s in
Earl Carroll's Vanities, and when Healy made his first film,
Soup to Nuts (1930), the Stooges appeared (with a fourth
member, Fred Sanborn), as "the Racketeers." Shemp
disliked Healy and dropped out of the act to become a solo.
He was replaced by younger brother Jerry, who'd been doing
a comedy "orchestra" act. Casting about for a
distinctive haircut for Jerry, Healy decided to shave his
new stooge's hair to the bone; thereafter, Jerry was known
as Curly. Continuing to work with Healy in films and on
stage until 1934, Moe Howard decided to strike out with
Larry and Curly in a separate act. As "Howard, Fine
and Howard," the threesome signed with Columbia Pictures'
short subject unit in 1934 as "The Three Stooges."
They'd stay with Columbia to make 190 slapstick comedies