Image

6:05 PM / Wednesday July 6, 2022

22 Jan 2010

Winter Wanders

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
January 22, 2010 Category: Travel Posted by:

By Renée S. Gordon

Larry: “Oooh I can’t see I can’t see!”

Moe: “What’s the matter?”

Larry: “I’ve got my eyes closed”.

–from the Three Stooges short “Ants in The Pantry”

T. S. Eliot said that April was the cruelest month but I think most east coasters would disagree. January and February can be pretty mean-spirited with seemingly perpetual gray skies and ever-present snow warnings. Fortunately, the Philadelphia area offers a host of one-day excursions that are affordable or free and within a thirty-mile radius.

 

Among the most outstanding of these one-day wonders is the “Stoogeum,” a museum featuring Gary Lassin’s Three Stooges memorabilia, the largest collection in the world. Lassin, though a fan from his youth, wed a grandniece of Larry Fine and began his collection after being given a few family pieces. More than 19,000 objects and 50,000 photographs and clippings later, he opened a specially created museum in 2004 to share his love of the Stooges with the world.

 

This is a museum that defies you not to have a great time and the hilarity begins as you enter. The moment you step inside you are welcomed with the Stooges traditional, “Hello! Hello! Hello! Hello!” Displays are on three levels, all handicapped accessible, and visitors take the “Stairway to the Stooges” to begin on the second level.

 

Guests are given an opportunity to test their knowledge at an interactive station aptly called “Stoogeology 101.” A second computer station is dedicated to the biographies of the supporting players. One of the most interesting players was Dudley Dickerson, an African American who appeared in ten different shorts including “A Plumbing We Will Go.” Also on this level is an 85-seat theater, the “Hall of Shemp,” Stooge-themed arcade games and hundreds of Three Stooges products including glasses, figurines, magazine covers and posters.

 

On a landing leading to the lower level, you meet the Stooges themselves, or at least an incredible likeness. The three life-sized wax figures are exact copies of a photograph from the 1944 production of “Idle Rumors.” The riotous trio are garbed as bellhops.

 

The history of the Three Stooges begins in vaudeville in the 1920s with straight man Ted Healy whose act was constantly disrupted by three raucous guys. Healy’s partners, Moe and Shemp Howard and Larry Fine, were never referred to as Stooges but took the name later. They went on to make 190 short films, the largest body of work of this type.

 

It should be noted that there were different Stooges at different times. His brother Curly who he then replaced in 1946 after Curly had a stroke replaced Shemp. Shemp died in 1955 and several others stepped in until they finally settled on Joseph Wardell who assumed the role of Curly-Joe. Philadelphia’s own Larry Fine’s career as a Stooge spanned fifty years.

 

The galleries on the lower level are absolutely fantastic. Display cases are placed so that visitors wind in and out and are totally immersed in the experience. Here you encounter personal items, posters, costumes, props, photographs and mass-marketed novelties based on their films and characters. Highlights of this area include Lobby Card Lane, sound effects instruments, the original puppet from Snow White and a showcase dedicated to their international fans. In this “Stooge-A-Holic” photographic display are Buddhist monks and African tribesmen.

 

The third floor gallery is filled with artistic depictions of the Stooges. The most notable pieces are a mural on the ceiling of Moe, Larry, Shemp and Curly peering at their fans from heaven and a print by noted “Playbill” illustrator Al Hirschfield. My personal favorites are a large triptych of the three as Roman gods and the breath-taking stained glass office door created by actor Stanley Livingston, Chip of “My Three Sons.”

 

Fans can join 2,000 members in The Three Stooges Fan Club, Inc. while visiting. Lassin is the president and membership privileges include a quarterly newsletter and an invitation to the annual convention. The club began in 1958 and is one of the oldest fan clubs in the nation.

 

This award-winning museum, voted “Best of Philly” in 2008”, is open one day each month and admission is free. Upcoming dates are February 28, March 13, and May 8th, from 10 AM to 3 PM. The Stoogeum is located at 904 Sheble Lane, just off Bethlehem Pike.www.stoogeum.com

 

Larry Fine was born in 1902 at 3rd and South Streets. In 1999, a 20-foot mural was unveiled at the site. In 2005 it was removed and the following year it was repainted this time with Larry playing the violin. In homage to his Central HS attendance in October of 2009, he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.

 

Each of eight of the Brandywine Valley’s best attractions will be hosting their annual free Open House on the 23rd of January. The museums include Brandywine River Museum, Delaware Art Museum, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Delaware History Museum and the Read House & Gardens, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Hagley Museum & Library, Rockwood Museum and Winterthur Museum & Country Estate. This is a wonderful opportunity for a family winter excursion. Information on individual sites, addresses, directions and hours of operation are available online. www.brandywinetreasures.org

 

“Entertainment Weekly” deemed “Becky Shaw” one of the top ten stage productions of 2009 and noted that it is one of the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. The play, penned by Gina Gionfriddo, is currently on an extended run at Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater and tickets will be available until February 7th. Regular tickets are priced from $36-$65. Some student tickets may be purchased for $10 and senior discounts are also available. (215) 546-7824. 265 S. Broad Street. www.wilmatheater.org.

 

Image

No matter what the season there are always adventures. Embark on any one of these excursions and I guarantee it will lift your spirits.

 

I wish you smooth and hilarious travels!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Education

Congress approves free student meal extension through summer

July 6, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: First graders, from left, Kendal Kates and Ryan Kenney are excited...

Commentary

SUNrise: cj speaks…  You Are Okay — a poem

July 6, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Do not allow others to misguide you to do something that you know...

Go With The-Flo

Simone Gordon of The Black Fairy Godmother Foundation shared her story on “The Kelly Clarkson Show”

July 6, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABIOVE PHOTO: Simone Gordon (Photo: theblackfairygodmother.org) By Flo Anthony After a year of...

Color Of Money

How to improve cash flow for small businesses

July 6, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT The last few years have been rocky times for the 32.5 million...

Style

Your weekend, your time: Five great tips for shaking the Sunday blues

July 6, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT Do you sometimes find yourself feeling less than optimistic as your weekend...

Food And Beverage

What’s Cookin’? Vegan Chocolate Cake with Fruit Compote

July 6, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Tweet Share Pin Email Related Posts What’s Cookin’? Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff