The New Three Stooges
|The New Three Stooges|
|Created by||Norman Maurer
|Directed by||Edward Bernds|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||156 individual cartoons (list of episodes)|
|Running time||5 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Normandy Productions
|Original release||September 1965 – October 1966|
|Preceded by||The Three Stooges|
|Followed by||The Robonic Stooges|
The New Three Stooges is an American animated television series that ran from 1965 to 1966 starring the Three Stooges. The show follows the trio's antics both in live-action and animated segments. The cast consisted of Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Joe "Curly Joe" DeRita, with actor and close friend Emil Sitka co-starring, as well as Margaret Kerry.
41 live action sequences were executively produced by cartoonist Norman Maurer, Moe's son-in-law, who was their film agent at this time. Edward Bernds, who had directed the team at Columbia Pictures from 1945 to 1952 during most of the Shemp era, was also hired to write and direct the series. Emil Sitka, who had appeared in many of the Stooges comedies over the years, was slated to appear in these wraparounds as straightman to the Stooges.
Cambria Studios produced 156 short Stooge cartoons under the supervision of Lee Orgel. Four cartoons were produced to correspond thematically with 40 of the live-action Stooge opening and closing sequences, so that one live-action sequence could serve as a wraparound for four different cartoons. Joe DeRita later commented that this presented something of a problem for viewers:
|“||There were 156 cartoons and we made only 40 live-action segments. So after they ran the whole 40, they'd just start over by using these same introductions on new cartoons. This turned out to be misleading because viewers would say, 'Oh, I've seen this one before.' and they'd turn off the television. They didn't know it was a new cartoon.||”|
Most of the cartoons ended up with the trio fleeing a scene after accidentally causing havoc at their current jobs. The cartoons were unusual for Cambria in that they did not use Syncro-Vox, Cambria's patented technique which used filmed footage of the voice actors' mouths over top of still frames. The pilot cartoon, "That Little Old Bomb Maker," featured a unique live-action wrap around that was not reused on other cartoons.
Some of the cartoons featured a recurring character named Badman, a jerky supervillain with a Batman get-up who is actually a 5-year-old boy that is nice and kind. The boy can only transform to Badman if he ever hears or says the word "Bad", and for Badman, vice versa for "good". In the episode "Badman of the Briny", the two finally find out that they are the same person in several scenes.
To avoid any licensing problems, Cambria did not use any of the past Three Stooges theme songs, including "Three Blind Mice", or "Listen to the Mockingbird", even though both had lapsed into the public domain at the time. (Likewise, the on-screen title used a numeral 3 to avoid infringing on Columbia Pictures's trademark on the phrase "The Three Stooges.") Several of the musical pieces used on the show were also used for the Bozo's Big Top series in the 1960s and early 1970s.
This was actually not the first attempt at an animated version of "The Three Stooges", nor was it the last. During the late 1950s, Norman Maurer attempted to sell Stooge Time, a partially live action, partially rotoscope animation half hour series to television. In 1960, Maurer and the Stooges filmed a pilot for a half hour series The Three Stooges Scrapbook, which featured a five-minute Stooge cartoon. The Three Stooges would later return to animated form in two episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies and The Robonic Stooges.
The New Three Stooges was well received upon initial airings, despite the use of limited animation. However, the boys were visibly aging during this time (Moe was 68, and Larry was 63), so the slapstick was subdued in the live action segments. Orgel later stated that the Stooges' penchant for slapstick violence was kept to a minimum due to the concerns of parental groups. In addition, Larry's health was in decline, resulting in several lines of dialogue being slurred. This resulted in much of the comedy being divided between Moe and Curly Joe, with Larry only chiming in when necessary. The color television series lasted successfully from 1965 to 1966. Although animated portions of the show were last aired in syndication on WGN-TV in the Chicago area in the early 1980s (& later the early 1990s), repackaged and distributed at the time by Harmony Gold USA (then DiC Entertainment) and Jeffrey Scott Productions, it is occasionally seen on Boomerang and Me-TV. It aired on Japan in TV Tokyo. Several episodes are currently available on VHS and DVD (often in cheap "dollar packages") because the majority of the series fell into the public domain. An example of an episode that is not in the public domain is "The Tree Nuts".
The New Three Stooges became the only regularly scheduled television series in the Stooges' history. Unlike other film shorts that aired on television like Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry and Popeye, the Stooges' short films never had a regularly scheduled national television program to air in, neither on network nor syndicated; the film shorts, at roughly 20 minutes apiece, were of ideal size to be run as a stand-alone television series in and of themselves. When Columbia/Screen Gems licensed the film library to television beginning in 1958, local station aired the shorts when they saw fit, either as late-night "filler" or marathon sessions.
Using the original 16mm acetates, Rhino Entertainment issued a restored version of the majority of the series on DVD in 2002. In 2004, EastWest DVD released a slim case volume of episodes. In 2007 and 2008, Mill Creek Entertainment released a number of episodes as part their Ultimate 150 Cartoon Festival, also their Giant 600 Cartoon Collection and their 200 Classic Cartoons - Collector's Edition Label formats.
On October 15, 2013, Image Madacy Entertainment released The New Three Stooges: Complete Cartoon Collection on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time. The 5-disc set features all 156 cartoons and 40 live action sequences on 4 discs and the bonus disc is a CD by the Stooges.
The series proved to be a financial headache for the Stooges. In accordance with their contract, Cambria Studios' distributor was supposed to forward quarterly statements to the trio to keep them abreast of the show's profits. Norman Maurer recalled receiving only one or two statements over a five-year period, ultimately leading to a lawsuit. Ironically, the judge presiding over the case knew little about the film or television industry and ruled in favor of Cambria. The Stooges would appeal the decision in 1975, leading to a victory in their favor. However, it changed nothing in regard to the distributor's failure to provide the necessary profit statements to Normandy Productions, and by the time the case was decided, both Larry and Moe had died.
- List of The New Three Stooges episodes (Includes full program credits)
- The Three Stooges Scrapbook
- The Robonic Stooges
- The New Scooby-Doo Movies
- Laurel and Hardy (animated series)
- The Abbott and Costello Cartoon Show
- Hoppity Hooper
- Howard Maurer, Joan; Jeff Lenburg; Greg Lenburg (1982). The Three Stooges Scrapbook. Citadel Press. pp. 170–171. ISBN 0-8065-0946-5.
- The Three Stooges - Cartoon Classics, Vol. 1
- Forrester, Jeff (2004). The Three Stooges: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Most Popular Comedy Team of All Time. Donaldson Books. p. 162. ISBN 0-9715801-0-3.
- New 3 Stooges - Syndicated Program Elements, Circa 1984 - YouTube, accessed on January 26, 2013.
- "The New Three Stooges DVD news: Announcement for The New Three Stooges - Complete Cartoon Collection". tvshowsondvd.com. Retrieved September 7, 2015.