The New Three Stooges: Complete Cartoon Collection (DVD)

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I’m a proud Three Stooges fan, raised by two comedy loving parents that taught me to appreciate the classic vaudevillian trio. From Shemp, and Curly, to Curly Joe, I really love the Stooges and their antics. In 1965, Cambria Studios took advantage of their teaming with Curly Joe DeRita, and produced a two season long animated series for the Stooges. Though the animated series has very crude animation, and tones down the physical gags immensely, it’s still a fun and charming little vehicle for the trio of comedy legends.

When I was a kid and wanted to indulge in the Stooges, I’d break out my Video Treasures VHS of the Stooges cartoon and enjoyed what they had to offer as kids entertainers for a brief time. The theme song still brings wonderful nostalgia to me, even if the series has shown considerable age. The show brought audiences over 150 animated shorts, while the stooges filmed forty live action shorts. Many of which were re-run in the later episodes. The show’s transfer to DVD isn’t as good as it could be, as most of the episodes just seem transferred over from the VHS releases and public domain cash grabs. In either case, the Three Stooges cartoon show is very much in the tradition of their classic shorts, even if not as funny.

Sadly, you can see the aging trio of comedians struggling to keep a wacky pacing through their live action segments. Especially poor Larry. That paired with Cambria toning down the physical comedy for the kids, and it’s not as fun seeing the trio of goof balls interacting. There’s very limited physical shtick as they interact in menial jobs as busboys, bakers, and gold diggers, and Moe usually pays with most of the physical punishment. When Moe isn’t picking up the slack for the other guys, there’s always a poor sap on the receiving end. This leads in to the animated segments that are still pretty darn entertaining if you can appreciate the group’s comedy without the largely physical portions.

Most of the time it’s the trio on misadventures, or on small jobs that lead in to something huge. In one episode they’re archaeologists who end up coming face to face with mummies in a pyramid, and in another episode they’re mountain climbers battling a mischievous mountain lion that seems anxious to thwart their expedition. Though the series is lacking in production flair, it’s still a fine bit of Stooges entertainment for hardcore fans, or animation completists. For fans that enjoy the new Stooges, the set also comes with a Christmas CD filled with eleven Christmas Sing Along songs by the Stooges!

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