Stooge-O-Rama: The Men Behind the Mayhem - and Even More Mayhem
Kit Parker/Sprocket Vault/MVD Visual Blu-ray (3 discs) $59.95 - Street Date 7/11/23

If you are on this website, you know who the Three Stooges are (and if not, or you want more info, get Sgt. Bill Cassara’s books on Ted Healy and Vernon Dent). From Healey’s knock-abouts in the 1920s and early 1930s (Ted, Moe, Larry, and Shemp, with Shemp replaced by Curly), the long-running (1934-1959) theatrical 2-reeler series from Columbia pictures (Moe, Larry, and Curly, with Curly replaced by Shemp and then Shemp replaced by Joe Besser) and the 1960s feature films (Joe Besser replaced by “Curly-Joe” DeRita), the Three Stooges have proven durability you can only build up by enduring a steady stream of slaps and eye-pokes. A complete set of all 190 Columbia shorts is available on DVD, with a couple of dozen of those available on Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator; Mill Creek has a couple of sets of Stooges feature films on Blu-ray, too.

Stooge-O-Rama: The Men Behind the Mayhem - and More Mayhem can be called “The Rest of The Story,” a cornucopia of Stooge oddities, rarities, and ephemera with more than 8 hours(!) of Stooge mayhem, led off on disc 1 by an extended version of the documentary once a staple of A&E Biography detailing the Stooges’ story, much of it supplied by Larry Fine’s sister. Bonuses on this disc include outtakes, extra interviews, and Stooges memorabilia.

Disc 2 begins with a long (about 9 min.) newsreel outtake featuring Moe and Shemp frolicking with bathing beauties in 1929(!), and the big takeaway is that the Howard bros.’ haircuts look exactly the same wet or dry. The rest of the disc is highlighted by several 1950s-60s TV shows, including a full show with Moe, Larry, and Shemp on the Ed Wynn program; a gonzo, cigarette-smoke heavy program with comedians (including Moe, Sid Melton, and Alan “Fred Flintstone” Reed swapping jokes, Art Linkletter’s son Jack interviewing the Stooges at a family outing to learn what they’re “really like” (turns out Curly-Joe has no idea where those haircuts came from), and B&W and color home movies, including color Stooge tootage and the last footage of Laurel & Hardy together, 1956. Best of all are the theatrical shorts, including one for the Stooges hawking an unusual “hold it and crank it” movie projector with Stooges clips, Shemp as a funny drunk in a Van Beuren live-action 2-reeler (he's the only good thing in the film), and an all-star featurette to promote savings bonds.

Disc 3 may be my favorite, with a long roster of original Stooges theatrical trailers (including Dancing Lady, Have Rocket Will Travel, Stop! Look! and Laugh! among many others) and a lengthy roster of audio treats, mostly radio interviews with the Stooges over the decades. This disc also includes some funny Stooges commercials from the 1960s and some special surprises, one of which features Curly's grandson.

Put together from various sources, with many you-can't-find-it-anywhere elsewhere films upgraded and polished as well as they could be, Stooge-O-Rama is remarkable vault of rarities, and I cannot imagine anybody who loves the Three Stooges in any of their various incarnations not being absolutely 100% delighted with this mix of Stoogeography, rarities, and laughs.

Highest recommendation for fans. It's no bomb, Curly!