Shemp of the Dead

Shemp Howard, a.k.a. Sammy Horowitz, will always be the true third stooge. Not only do I consider him to have the best comic timing, but he formed the original act with Moe and Larry on vaudeville, and was replaced by Curly after he chose to pursue a very lucrative solo career. After Curly's death, Shemp felt obligated to temporarily help out his brother Moe by appearing in a few films. To his chagrin, he ended up keeping the job for the rest of his life. In 1955, he died suddenly and painlessly in the back of a taxicab, while lighting a cigar, on his way home from a boxing match. He was 60. However, the Three Stooges were under contract to deliver four more shorts to the studio. Bring in "Fake Shemp".

Joe Palma, a longtime bit player in Stooges shorts, unconvincingly filled Shemp's shoes, as this video will attest. I can't find a picture of the guy online. This footage doesn't even hint at what he might have looked like; he's only shot from behind. But he sure is tall. That's why he's walking around like a hunchback. In his first two appearances in this collection of clips, he uses his actual voice. In the rest, Shemp's voice is dubbed in post-mortem.

These films were terrible, but it only got worse: when it came time to renew their contract, Moe and Larry braved on with the awful Joe Besser ("Joe") followed by the dreaded, horrible Joe DeRita ("Curly Joe").

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