St. Louis Stooge


Baby Boomers who watched the Three Stooges on Channel 11 shouldn’t be surprised to learn there was a local connection to the comedy threesome. They were so St. Louis. In fact, for two years in the late 1950s, St. Louis native Joe Besser played beside Moe Howard and Larry Fine. He replaced Shemp Howard after Howard’s death in 1955. But before he would do it, Besser exacted a promise that he wouldn’t be the target of the painful whacks that Shemp and Curly Howard endured before him.

Fans of the Stooges can read all about Joe Besser in The Colorful Characters of St. Louis. Those who can’t wait to buy the book at its release party on Sunday Oct. 2 (2-5 p.m. at the Royale at 3132 South Kingshighway, but you know that) can get the below quick overview of Besser’s life from his obituary from the March 3, 1988 St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Joe Besser.jpg



Published by Jim Merkel

Reedy Press published four of my books, Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2010; Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans, 2012; The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch; and the Second Edition of Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2014. They're available in bookstores and online. For an autographed copy, send a check for $21.50 made out to Jim Merkel, to Jim Merkel, 4216 Osceola St., St. Louis, MO 63116.

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