October 5 is the birthday of Larry Fine, the frizzy-haired “middle” member of the Three Stooges. And while Larry was too frequently overshadowed by Moe and Curly, there is enough of Larryisms to enable the celebration of his birth.
Here are five memorable Larry moments to savor:
1. Larry Sharing Ted Healy’s Spotlight: During their stint as the foils for funnyman Ted Healy, the slapstick had yet to establish the personalities that shaped their act. In the 1933 short “Plane Nuts,” Larry muscles his way into Healy’s center stage domain while Moe and Curly engage in some utterly ridiculous shenanigans:
2. Larry And Joan Crawford: Healy and the Stooges turned up in the 1933 feature “Dancing Lady” as stagehands who have unfriendly run-ins with aspiring dancer Joan Crawford. Larry has more screen time than his comrades as the pianist responsible for Joan’s auditions.
3. A Tarantula!: In “Disorder in the Court” (1936), Larry was able to sneak in one of his most celebrated scenes when he unwittingly removed a court bailiff’s toupee while playing the violin:
4. Larry As The Center Of Attention: For the first short made by the Healy-less Stooges for Columbia Pictures, the 1934 “Woman Haters,” Larry was the center of attention as a newly-married man trying to hide his wife from his bachelor-proud pals. After this, the act began to reconfigure with Curly as the dominant force, Moe as the exasperated leader and Larry often as the bystander to the mayhem.
5. A Final Appearance: Larry was in New York City to publicize WPIX-TV’s broadcast of the Three Stooges shorts. This home movie footage is among the last-known off-screen appearances made by Larry prior to suffering a stroke while on location for the film “Kook’s Tour”: