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My life as a knucklehead

On Saturday morning, I was standing in the kitchen with my wife, Diane. We were talking about this and that when I glanced over at the TV on the counter and there were The Three Stooges on American Movie Classics. From that point, anything that Diane was saying to me became a low rumble.

It was a Stooge episode I had seen many times over. "Hold That Lion" was only a mildly amusing short that featured Moe, Larry and Shemp. But this one was distinguished by a special cameo appearance.

"Diane," I said, interrupting whatever she was saying. "Look at this."

Moe, Larry and Shemp were running through a train looking for someone. When they came upon a man with a derby over his face, they lifted it up to see who was underneath. It was Curly.

"See," I pointed to the screen, "this is the only time the four Stooges ever appeared together on screen."

Diane looked at me as if I had just arrived from one of the moons orbiting Jupiter.

It was just one of those instances where I couldn't help myself. I've been a fan since I was a kid. I was, as Moe once pointed out, one of those kids who watched the Stooges on TV after school until I was unconscious.

Critics have always dismissed the Stooges as lowbrow. Perhaps, but many of us like lowbrow humor. Look at Jim Carrey today. At least the Stooges never made jokes about bodily functions.

The big knock against the trio was the "violence." Moe would slap, poke and otherwise inflict all kinds of mayhem on the other two. And I must say, it did have an effect on an impressionable kid like me. I once poked my brother, Dennis, in the eyes. But I felt bad about it afterward.

I think that is why Moe was taken to task so often. He never felt remorse. He would poke Curly in the eyes and think nothing of it. For Moe, slapstick meant never having to say you're sorry.

And to describe what he did as violence was hyperbole. No one ever bled or suffered broken bones. They could fall down a dumbwaiter shaft and manage to get up and walk away. Never did they feel a need to call 911.

My admiration for the Stooges stems mainly from the fact that they're still as funny today as they were in 1934. To me, that is a sign of genius.

I can imagine 100 years from now, when archeologists unearth a copy of the Clarksburg Exponent from Oct. 12, 2000, they are likely to say: "Who is this Logue guy? But, hey, he's writing about the Stooges. Cool."

News editor James Logue can be reached at 626-1031 or by e-mail at jlogue@exponent-telegram.com.

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