where the writers are
My Lost "Three Stooges" Screenplay

I'm  a grown man actually looking forward to the Farrelly brothers new homage to those psychotic, hyperkinetic knuckleheads from New York, The Three Stooges ... 

My inner 8-year-old, who's still down there somewhere inside me after all these decades, is yearning for more of the Stooges' impossibly idiotic brand of glorious juvenile insanity.  While not a scholarly Stoogist,  (yep, there are Stooge "scholars" -- at universities, even),  I do suffer from a mild form of Stoogemania that causes me to break out in peals of mindless laughter while watching the best of the 200 or so short films they made that are actually pretty damn funny all the way through. The truly fanatical Stooge aesthetes will disagree, of course, but there are maybe only five of those creaky two-reel comedies that are consistently hilarious, deeply rewarding and fully realized works of art, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk. The kind of beautiful creations that quite literally bring tears to one's eyes.

And how many of you weisenheimers know that Moe, Larrry and Curly were the first -- yes, before Charlie Chaplin -- to lampoon Adolf Hitler on the screen?  Everyone else in showbiz was too scared or pretending to stay neutral, apparently. But not those ballsy, courageous nitwits!  Check out "You Nazty Spy!"  

After learning this odd little cinematic factoid a number of years back, and then researching the Stooges tough, New York Jewish background, I was inspired (yes, inspired) to waste several weeks of my life writing a screenplay that's still floating around somewhere in the trash bins I call my filing cabinets. 

Anyway, the working title was "Get Moe." I subsequently changed it to the far more tasteless "Adolf and Moe" after the movie "Get Shorty" came out. That hit comedy, starring John Travolta,  was based on an Elmore Leonard novel. Not that my Stooge enterprise ever had a chance anyway; I once read that something like 13,000 screenplays are sent to a handful of Hollywood studios every year. Obviously only a few ever get made.

But I still have a fondness for "Get Moe" -- so here's the pitch while I continue digging around for the lost screenplay: 

Berlin, 1940. 

Exterior shot of the starkly lighted Reichstag building at night.  A red-and-white Nazi flag with giant swastika is draped over the front of the headquarters' brutalist facade. 

The streets are empty but suddenly a young, jackbooted SS officer is seen hurrying  up the Reichstag steps. He goes inside, brushes past the guards, and heads down one corridor after another in the immense and labyrithine building.

 Finally, at the end of one long dim corridor we see a silvery light playing on the wall. The officer strides down the corridor and turns into a dark room, where a film is in progress. The sound is in a garbled, distorted English and only an occasional word is clear.

The camera hasn't cut to the screen yet. Instead, it pans the room, which is filled with Nazi brass in full uniform -- but they all seem extremely uncomfortable. In fact, they all have looks of abject horror on their faces and their eyes are full of fear; it's clear they are straining, straining, to keep from bursting into gales of laughter.

At least one of them is punching his own leg to keep the guffaws from escaping.

The camera cuts to the screen, where we see Moe acting as a moronic Hitler look-alike ...

Suddenly, someone jumps up in the front row and is silhouetted against the screen as he rants and gesticulates all the while screaming German epithets, which show up as English subtitles.

Camera zooms in on ... Adolf himself, who is apoplectic and beside himself with rage.

He madly yells again at the top of his lungs in German. It translates to subtitles as:

"I want him dead. Dead. Get him. Get Moe!"

Cut to:

Exterior. Morning. Hollywood Boulevard, palm trees, sunshine.

A tootling sound in the distance and a little black Volkswagen bug comes into view, driving along the boulevard.

Interior. Cramped Volkswagen. The driver is a huge blond Aryan-type with an ugly dueling scar on one cheek. The passenger could be Peter Lorre; a small, dandyified dark-haired man who is ooh and ahhing as they drive, pointing out the homes of different stars. 

The driver only grunts and it's apparent he's a born killer. But it's clear the other guy loves Hollywood and the movies.

They are, of course, assassins sent by Hitler to murder Moe.


Okay, I love those scenes, what can I say?

After that, rest of the screenplay is a little murky.

I remember I wanted the real Stooges to actually be pretty much like the Stooges in the movies. In truth, the brothers Moe, Curly and Shemp (a neurotic bedwetter in real life), were close and looked out for each other, according to various bios. I'd also read that their mother was a real estate wiz who'd made a lot of money and wore the pants in the family, while their dad was something of an ineffectual wimp.

And I'd read that their parents visited the Stooge's Hollywood studio, and that battle-axe mom was unimpressed. So they were great characters and I had built mom and dad Stooge into the story, with the first attempt to assassinate Moe taking place in the studio while his folks were there.

Then there was a scene set out in the Mojave Desert, south of L.A., where a Nazi operative coordinating the assassination was posing as a wackjob California radio evangelist. He was building a church and hot-springs spa in the desert for the rich (this was based on an actual religious nut who had a similar setup in Zzyzx, California). 

Except that the church steeple under construction was really just a shell that was hiding an early version of a V-1 rocket; the steeple mechanically opens up, and the rocket appears. It's aimed at L.A., with the Stooges' studio as it's destination. So it's a two-fer; get Moe and blow up Hollywood ... heh, heh.

The Stooges, led by Moe of course, have to short circuit the plans and win the day for the good old USA -- and tinseltown.

Cue the "Pop Goes The Weasel" Stooge theme music ....

I know, I know, I'm ridiculously immature. But you see, it's really that 8-year-old kid who's to blame; he made me do it -- God bless the little punk.