In addition to A-list actress Lucille Ball, TV’s Adam West, widely known for his role as Batman in the popular 1960s television series, also made his mark on the Three Stooges, appearing in their film, “The Outlaws Is Coming”. Released in 1965, during the movie, West played the role of a Boston-based magazine, Kenneth Cabot, who after researching a buffalo slaughter, with some help from the legendary Annie Oakley, became an editor-turned-sharpshooter/town sheriff.
With the help of the Three Stooges, West’s character is able to successfully force a rambunctious gang of outlaws to surrender. This film—the Stooges’ final feature-length film—would go on to earn a whipping $1 million in box office sales: a truly grand lump of money in that day and age. This was the first of the many successful, highly ranked movies West would take part in throughout his fruitful acting career.
Show Titles - ‘Moidering the King’s English’
Similar to many television shows of the present and past, several of the episode titles of “The Three Stooges” play on a number of commonly known phrases and expressions. Some of these episode titles include, Cactus Makes Perfect (Del Lord, 1942), and witty wordplay titles like G.I. Wanna Go Home (Jules White, 1946). Additionally, a number of other Stooge episode titles were based on movie titles from that era in cinema, such as “Jail Birds of Paradise,” “Disorder In The Court,” and “Yes, We Have No Bonanza.”
As verbal humor was one of the Stooges’ main comedic tools, like many of the clever Stooge episode titles, a majority of The Three Stooges shorts were also filled with endless puns and malapropisms. Parallel to their slapstick style of comedy, the Stooges’ trademark style of verbal humor was widely known to be extremely crude and edgy, and was hilariously accented with the trio’s noticeably strong Brooklyn accents.
Starting Salary - Splitting the Check
Though upon signing their first film contract at the beginning their career, the Stooges were overjoyed to hear they would earn a weekly salary of $1,000, this excitement quickly turned to dismay upon learning that this check would be split between the three actors.
Thankfully, as the Stooges gained popularity, they were eventually able to sign a 7-year contract, which guaranteed them $60,000 annually. However, after their Oscar nomination for “Men in Black” later on in their career, their salary would increase to $7,500 a week, which again had to be split between all of the Stooges.
Moe’s Later Years
Though extremely popular among Stooges fans in the height of their success, he wasn’t always as well liked. Especially as his acting career drew to a close, Howard became particularly worried over the state of his finances. In an attempt to stabilize his income, in an unexpected twist, Horwitz turned to the real estate industry as a means of supporting himself and his family. Though he never truly ended his acting career, frequently returning to acting time and time again, following his official retirement from acting, by the end of his life, most of his time was dedicated to his career as a real estate agent.
As he grew older, Moe’s primary source of income was surprisingly not acting, but in fact the world of real estate. In 1973, Moe would make his last and final movie appearance in the 1973 film, “Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls.” Soon after, following a long battle against lung cancer—a disease he was (not surprisingly) diagnosed with after a life of heavy smoking—Horwitz passed away on May 4, 1975, at the age of 77. Though he began writing his autobiography, “I Stooged to Conquer,” sadly this Stooge was never able to finish telling his story, and passed away before the book was completed.
A Romantic At Heart
While Moe revealed a highly detailed, compelling account of his professional life as a multi-talented comedian, it was his wife, Helen Schonberger, who revealed the uncharacteristically softer, loving side of her husband. According to Schonberger, this Stooge was a lifelong romantic, one who managed to go above and beyond to express his overwhelming love for Schonberger, even when they were oceans apart. The unconditional love the comedian had for his wife is perfectly illustrated in Schonberger’s account of a romantic surprise she once received from Moe, while he was away in London.
Despite being five thousand miles away from his wife on their anniversary, Moe still managed to express his love for her, hiring a professional singer to serenade Schonberger on their special day. A statement she backed up with the story of the couple’s 10 year wedding anniversary. This story is told by Schonberger in the book, “The Three Stooges Scapbook”: [T]he phone rang and a strange voice on the other end asked me if I would take Moe Horwitz for my lawful wedded husband. The voice then proceeded to perform the entire wedding ceremony, with me on one end and Moe (the mystery voice) on the other… at the end of the ceremony, in a beautiful baritone voice, he sang ‘Oh Promise Me,’ the song sung at our wedding.”