Welcome Stooge fans to the Restless Knights-3 Stooges Fan Club web site! In my mind, the Three Stooges were the greatest comedy team of all time. And, I believe it is only fitting that the Pittsburgh region have it's own special 3 Stooges fan club, since the city played a key role in the amazing comeback of the Three Stooges in the late 1950's.
The Three Stooges Pittsburgh Legacy....
The Three Stooges 24-year contract with Columbia Pictures expired in December, 1957. In 1958, Moe and Larry were making plans for the Stooges to embark on a personal apperance tour, when Joe Besser informed them that he was leaving the Stooges to spend more time caring for his ailing wife. That's when Joe DeRita was recruited to take Besser's place as the "third Stooge". One of the Stooges first bookings with the new act was in Bakersfield, California. The booking was a dismal failure, and Moe seriously contemplated breaking up the act for good. But, something was happening back in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that would change the Stooges fortunes. WTAE-TV, Channel 4, went on the air for the first time on September, 1958. One of their first on-air personalities, Paul Shannon, hosted a daily children's show called Adventure Time which featured the Three Stooges comedy shorts. John Bertera, owner of the Holiday House in nearby Monroeville, Pennsylvania, was relaxing in his living room reading the evening newspaper, while his children were sitting nearby watching television. The children were roaring with laughter over the television program they were watching. Bertera, annoyed by the constant interruptions, finally looked up and inquired what was so amusing on the television. One of his children answered "It's the Three Stooges, and these guys are hilarious". Bertera then asked if they liked those guys, to which they exclaimed "Dad, the whole school's crazy about them!" Bertera decided to contact the Stooges agent, and a booking was arranged. The Stooges arrived in Pittsburgh, and made several guest appearances on Paul Shannon's Adventure Time program on WTAE-TV to promote the Holiday House appearances. Originally booked for one week, with an option for a second week, Bertera continued picking up the options until the Stooges played six consecutive weeks at the Holiday House with sell-out crowds at each performance! Finally, the Stooges had to move on as they were in great demand to make personal appearances all around the country.
The Holiday House Appearances - Monroeville, Pennsylvania
The Three Stooges made several appearances at The Holiday House in Monroeville, Pennsylvania from the late 1950's through the early 1960's. The Holiday House was a popular supper club in suburban Pittsburgh that featured many notable Hollywood celebrities, from comedians, to singers.
The above picture was taken at the Holiday House in Monroeville, PA, in 1959. All of the children in the photo were from nearby Greensburg, Pennsylvania. To Curly-Joe's right is Terry Lennon. I interviewed Terry for my book "My Friend Moe...Memories of a Stoogeboomer", to share his memories of what it was like seeing a live Three Stooges performance. To put the picture into the perspective of time passed Terry is now the same age as Moe Howard was when this picture was taken (62).
The above picture of the Three Stooges, with Pittsburgh television legend, Paul Shannon, was taken backstage of The Holiday House.
Paul Shannon 's Adventure Time - A Pittsburgh television classic!
I still have fond memories rushing home from school everyday to get my homework finished in time to watch Paul Shannon's Adventure Time on WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. WTAE debuted on Pittsburgh's television screens in September, 1958. One of the station's original on-air personalities was Paul Shannon. Prior to hosting Adventure Time, Shannon was a popular fixture on Pittsburgh radio. He gained immortality by hosting this daily children's television program. The show featured cartoons, such as Popeye, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Mr. Magoo, and years later, Kimba, The White Lion, one of the first Japanese hit animation shows. But the stars of the show were The Three Stooges. The daily showing of their classic comedies led to their booking at the Holiday House, and launched their amazing comeback nationwide.
Paul also created a wide assortment of various characters, such as Nosmo King. Baby-boomers will also remember the shows nearing Christmas when Paul would read letters to Santa mailed in by the young viewers. He would then load the letters into a rocket that launched from the WTAE studios, at least that's what all us dumb kids believed back then!
In the above photo, The Three Stooges, with Paul Shannon, greet members of the Adventure Time studio audience, in the studios of WTAE-TV.
Paul Shannon - Movie Star!
Paul Shannon, along with several other kiddie show hosts of The Three Stooges comedies nationwide, were invited by the Stooges to take parts of outlaws in what would be the Stooges final feature film, "The Outlaws is Coming", in 1965. Paul played the part of Wild Bill Hickock in the film.
In the above photo, Paul Shannon, in character as Wild Bill Hickock, is seated next to Moe.
The Three Stooges at Kennywood Park
Kennywood Park, is an old-style amusement park located in the Pittsburgh suburb of West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. The park has been designated as a national historic site. Most western Pennsylvania school children go there each year for their school picnic. The park hosts many local company picnics throughout the rest of the summer.
The above photo of the Stooges was taken at one of their appearances at Kennywood Park.
Moe and Shemp Howard in Jeannette, Pennsylvania
In one of Moe's first letters to me, he told me the story of when he and his older brother Shemp spent some time in my hometown of Jeannette, Pennsylvania. Jeannette, a small western Pennsylvania community 25 miles east of Pittsburgh, was once the industrial hub of Westmoreland County. Back in the first decades of the 20th century the city was the home of the Oakford Park amusement park. Oakford Park also had a theater and hosted many vaudeville performers throughout the summer. Moe and Shemp spent 1919 and 1920 in Jeannette performing with the Marguerite Bryant Players. Moe told me that he and Shemp also lived for a short time in Jeannette, above the Post Office on Clay Avenue. The manager of the theater, Jack Kinsey, and Moe became lifelong friends as a result of Moe's appearances at the theater. Moe would visit the Kinsey's at their home in Jeannette whenever The Three Stooges were making an appearance in Pittsburgh.
The above photo of The Marguerite Bryant Players was taken on the grounds of Oakford Park. That's Shemp in the back row leaning down, with Moe in the front row, wearing the straw hat.