When the original Three Stooges aired in 1930, it was obviously going to be a big hit. It aired in almost every movie theater (Three Stooges were only shown in movie theaters for the first few years) across the country. Three Stooges had begun to air on television, and had multiple spinoffs (Including "The Three Stooges, with Moe, Joe, and Larry," or "The Three Stooges, with Moe, Shemp, and Larry"), but everyone's favorite was probably the Three Stooges with Curly Howard. Opinions began to change when almost every Three Stooges fan was exposed to one of the most shocking episodes yet.
It was 1947, and the episode "Half-Wits Holiday" was about to come to theaters. This episode marked the end of the Moe, Larry and Curly era, as Curly had suffered a major stroke on set. Surprisingly, the episode only aired in two or three theaters in the US, and only a few people had attended the screenings for it. On the fourth day of its release, the film aired at a small suburban neighborhood shopping center.
The shopping center had a theater with the latest films of the generation. According to police, only three or four individuals had arrived in the theater to watch a simple screening of what they thought would be "Half-Wits Holiday". It was later revealed that it was much more than that.
The episode started off normally as any regular episode would; the title frame slowly faded into view and remained on screen for a good minute. This is when things began to go awry; the title frame began to shake violently, then disappeared altogether. Viewers were shown a white screen for a good five minutes, and reported, "Quite a ruckus, possibly a struggle of an individual."
An alternate title frame slowly faded into view, and was simply labeled:
"THE THREE STOOGES".
In a similar font, except without the faces of the main actors and the music playing in the background. The title frame faded out, and the name of the episode was widely printed across the screen. The words read, "DED DUNDERHEDS," for a split second, then abruptly transferred to, "DEAD DUNDERHEADS," then simply just to "DEAD". The screen quickly transferred to the actual episode.
A camera faced a room with no furniture, with the exception of some tarp on the ground and a ladder in the background. It apparently looked as if a room was being remodeled. A man dressed up as Moe waddles onto the screen reluctantly, wearing a cheap bullcut wig that looked like as if it was about to fall off. A tag is clearly seen in the back of the wig, whether it was for entertainment purposes or not. The man had a worried look in his face, his eyes darting around the room nervously, his fingers constantly fidgeting. He appeared to be waiting for someone to come on screen.
Small murmurs are heard in the background, and after about thirty seconds, a so-called "Curly" is apparently pushed on screen. "Curly" was an overweight man with a black eye and multiple cuts on his cheeks and scalp. His mouth was slanted in a downward position, and he too looked nervous. He told Moe to go check the flooring on the other side of the room in an unprofessional way; quietly with a couple of words slurred. Moe shuffles off camera, and as soon as he leaves the sight of the camera, a so called "Larry" walks onto the screen.
This had to be the worse of the two; it was a female with her hair messily cut and styled to represent the original Larry from the original Stooges. During lines she would occasionally sob or mispronounce a word or two. Curly tells her that he needs to fix the roof and points to the ladder. By now, tears are clearly visible streaming down Larry's face as she hesitates to walk over to the ladder. She finally seems to build up enough courage to climb up a few steps on the ladder and pretends to work on the roof with a wrench.
Curly then bends down and pulls out a toolbox. He reveals that he has multiple sharp, dangerous tools with him and lays them out on the tarp. For a few minutes, everything seems too normal. Around the three minute mark, Moe walks onto the screen, stares at the ladder that Larry is working on, and heaves a sigh. He slowly walks by the ladder as the camera zooms in on his feet.
One of his feet gets caught on one of the legs of the ladder, and the ladder is swept from underneath Larry. Moe hits the ground hard, as the ladder comes crashing down. Larry falls down onto the ground on top of the ladder, along with the wrench, which hits Moe in the back of the head. Moe appears to spew blood on the ground, but by the next frame the blood is gone and Moe is cleaned up.
A look of pain comes onto the face of female Larry. He struggles to stand up, and it appears that he had landed on his wrist. He clenches his wrist tightly as he walks over to Moe, waits for him to stand up, and pokes him in the eyes rather aggressively. Moe cries, "Ooh!" and falls to the ground, his hands covering his eyes. He quickly works himself up, gives Larry a death glare, and says a chilling line.
"If you want a war, you'll get a war."
He smacks Larry upside the head, leaving Larry distorted and in pain. He pushes Curly out of the way, who has finished laying out all his tools. Moe bends down and picks up a screwdriver. He trudges over to Larry, who is still hunched over in pain. He taps on Larry's shoulder. Larry looks up, and Moe drives the screwdriver into Larry's eye.
By now, three of the four audience members have gotten up and left the theater, children crying, women shaking with fear. The only remaining audience member was a male in his twenties, an amateur movie maker studying the art of movies and television shorts so that one day a film could be in the theaters. Sure, he was disgusted; but he had no idea that it was real. He continued to take notes about the film's violent nature.
The three audience members report to the staff, who assume that the wrong movie is playing, and also assume that everyone has left the theater, so they leave the film running.
Moe lets go of the screwdriver and puts his bloody hands over his eyes, appearing to block the violence away from his vision. The camera now focuses on Larry, now crying, blood running down his face. Larry drops to the tarp, and passes out from shock. It is unknown if Larry is even alive by now, but if it even matters, Moe bends down and yanks the screwdriver out of Larry's eye. The screwdriver possibly penetrated the brain, leaving Larry motionless on the tarp. Moe faces the camera, and mutters:
"You heartless, sick ba-"
The film is obviously edited out, because a puddle of blood had now formed underneath Larry, and Moe had multiple bruises and cuts on his face now.
The man watching the film later complained to authorities that the "film began to get fuzzy and distorted, giving me a headache."
A headache, indeed. The film appeared to be damaged at this part in the film reel, as the screen flashes white and black rapidly, leaving the next series of events illegible for the next few minutes. After the flashing stops, the audio appears to not work anymore, as it appears Moe is saying something to Curly, but it is impossible to hear what they are saying. Since the beginning and the end of the white flashing, Moe appears to have new cuts and Curly appears to have a sliced lip.
Larry is now obviously dead, but the actors take no notice to him. Moe now appears to be sawing some wood with a rusty old saw, and Curly is hammering some nails into the wall for no apparent reason. As Curly walks across the room to get some more nails off screen, he slips on one of the tools he laid out and reaches for Moe to help him. He accidentally grabs for the saw, scratching his hand vulgarly as he hits the ground with a thud. The audio abruptly begins to work again here, and Curly is now heard whimpering as he crawls off screen, leaving a trail of blood.
"You fool, someone could've gotten hurt!" Moe shouts.
He scolds Curly when he walks back onto the screen by giving him a sturdy punch in the stomach. A strange look comes upon Curly's face as he bends over and vomits up a little fluid. Small chuckles and snickers are heard in the background as Curly returns to punching nails in the wall, now breathing heavier as if he was about to burst into tears.
About five minutes pass, and Curly asks for some help from Moe to nail some more nails into the wall. Moe holds the nail as Curly hammers the nail more and more into the wall. You'd expect Curly to hit Moe on the thumb with the hammer, but it luckily doesn't happen. Instead, when Moe walks back to sawing more wood, he asks Curly for some help. Curly holds the wooden plank for Moe, who messily cuts and deliberately lets the saw blade graze Curly's fingers.
Curly quickly draws away with a furious look in his face, picks up his hammer, and swings the hammer into Moe's genitals. As Moe falls to the floor, blood and semen leak out of his pants. He gasps for breath as he grabs Curly's leg and begins to bite. Curly gives another swing of the hammer to Moe's hand, leaving it dislocated with the bones snapped. Moe crawls over to the saw, now on the floor, and throws it at Curly. The saw blade penetrates Curly's big, round belly as blood oozes out of both his stomach and mouth. He lets go of the hammer, which falls upon his toes, making a large, echoing cracking sound.
Curly begins to mumble gibberish and slurred sentences about toys and sports, then rude remarks about his mother and his genitals. As he talks and faces the camera, blood often manages to shoot out of his mouth and onto the lens of the camera. During the middle of one of his sentences, he collapses to the ground, barely even alive, and manages to grab the hammer, still mumbling on and on about nonsense, and heaves it with his last bit of strength at Moe, who is now unconscious. The hammer slams into his back, shattering his spine. Curly manages to laugh a little bit, but then passes out from blood loss.
Loud laughter is now heard as the film reel decays, leaving a plain white screen. The laughter soon fades out, and the one man in the audience is left in awe.
The police arrive a few minutes later, who manage to seize the film and evacuate the theater from possible threats.
Aftershock and Analysis
When police entered the room where the film was being projected onto the screen, they found a man, supposedly the one who was originally supposed to air Half Wits Holiday, tied up and intensely beaten. The man remembers little, and is worried that the man who tied him up might come back and kill him if he gives any information to the police. It is obvious that the wounds that the man had taken were not self inflicted, but he is still a major suspect in the case. The man who had made the film reel is said to be a sadistic filmmaker who was addicted to the Three Stooges. The police have no information on him at all, apart from some evidence from the film.
Police have three things to work with in the film; for a few seconds, a shadow appears of the man holding something similar to a clipboard. The shadow then goes out of sight. The second piece of evidence is a few mistakes he had with the film, as he had accidentally revealed his tone of voice with a few snickers he had let escape out of his mouth multiple times.
His voice is deep and hollow, and it seems to belong to a white man in his fifties. The third piece of evidence is visible when the man appears to signal for something to come to him, letting his hand come onto the camera. His hand had multiple scars, wrinkles and freckles, signaling that he is in his late fifties when the film aired that day.
The actor for Curly was actually an autistic man kidnapped from the mental hospital when he wandered out the front door and down the street.
The actor for Moe was a businessman who was addicted to drinking alcohol and doing drugs. He was kidnapped on his way home from work.
The actress for Larry was a cheating wife who had four husbands. She was kidnapped while walking to her job.
The three had no relations in any way. But what the police did discover is that they each had flaws in their lives, and the police assume that the madman wanted to make life more "perfect" by erasing all flaws from the human race.
The film was shot on location in a local abandoned office building. The actor for Moe was pronounced dead, the actress for Larry was also pronounced dead, but the actor for Curly was in critical condition and was on the verge of death. He slowly recuperated, and managed to live for a few more years until committing suicide. He did not tell the police much, but what he did tell was rather helpful.
"The bad man ran out the door and drove away. He told one of his friends that he was going far, far away."
Police have been on the lookout all over the country, but there has been no luck. The reward for capturing him has been raised to five million.
Columbia Pictures was notified about this event, but refused to comment on it. A couple of workers quit from Columbia shortly, believing that one of them possibly could've been the sick person that wrote this.
As for the amateur filmmaker? He came to be my grandfather, who happened to tell me this whole story. He has been questioned by the authorities as well, and is also another major factor in this.
The man who had filmed the film, though, is probably dead. If he was in his fifties, seventy years ago, the case can be dismissed and all can be at peace.
Well, I'd love to tell you more, but I have to leave. Someone was talking to me about starring in an independent film.
Written by TacoExpress