Remember the Three Stooges? "Soitenly!"

The Three Stooges - Moe, Curly and Larry - were not afraid to appear dumber than their audience.

And now a page from our Sunday Morning Almanac ... June 19th, 1897, 114 years ago today, the launch of a zany comic tradition.

For that was the day Moses Horwitz was born in Brooklyn, New York.

As a young man with a bowl-shaped haircut he drifted into vaudeville ... and adopted the stage name Moe Howard.

In the 1930s he hit the big time when he and his younger brother Jerome - stage name "Curly" - and fellow vaudevillian Larry Fine won a Hollywood contract as "The Three Stooges."

Over the years, the Stooges slapped and poked and wise-guyed their way through nearly 200 comic shorts with a no-holds-barred style that was all their own.

Moe's older brother Shemp took Curly's place in 1946, and with a few other changes the Stooges soldiered on.

In 1973, Moe and his signature haircut even made an appearance on "The Mike Douglas Show."

Moe Howard died in 1975 at the age of 77. But the Stooges live on to this day in reruns ... not to mention in a "Three Stooges" movie due out next year, directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly. The film will feature "24" star Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe, "Will and Grace" star Sean Hayes as Larry, and "MAD TV" comic Will Sasso as Curly.

Fans of the Stooges never tire of their heroes .... and at a convention we attended back in 1991, one fan tried to explain the attraction:

"People identify with them, I think, because they make you feel smart. When you sit back and watch these guys, you think: 'Thank God there are at least three people in the world that are dumber than me!'"

If you wonder why the fame,
Of this trio so huge is,
It's 'cause we hope we're smarter than,
Moe and his fellow Stooges.

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