Joe DeRita

(July 12, 1909 - July 3, 1993)

Joe DeRita had contractual obligations otherwise he would have followed Shemp as the third Stooge. After Joe Besser's stint he came on to take the third wheel. They had already had a Stooge named "Joe", and Joe DeRita kind of looked like Curly, so his name became, "Curly Joe". They broke in their "new" act at the Holiday Inn in Bakersfield, CA. It was six miserable shows in three days. Moe longed for Curly and Shemp. The second night of the shows, the manager tried to back out of the deal, or give them a cut in pay. Moe, being the guy he was, made them perform all the shows for the original monetary agreement. Night clubs were no longer for the Stooges brand of humor and their film career was over. Their act was really meant for vaudeville, but vaudeville was dead. Were the Stooges?

They learned thought the trade papers that, Columbia Pictures through Screen Gems, was putting together the first batch of thirty or forty Stooge Shorts for television. Most of them being old, dating back to the thirties. Almost overnight, the Three Stooges became one of the hottest childrens shows on TV, reaching number one after a matter of weeks. As is the nature of Hollywood, once its seems that your a success, the offers start to pour in.

They did more clubs this time, except for children, at three times the pay they were getting before. They did the Ed Sullivan Show three times. The first time they appeared on his show, Ed called the the Three Ritz Brothers. They then did the Steve Allen Show a few times as well. They did many successful features for Columbia, from "Have Rocket, Will Travel", to "The Stooges In Orbit". As well as all the cameos in films like, "Four For Texas" with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. They toured the country with all of the Columbia features to the delight of kids everywhere. Who would line up around the block at every appearance. They even had a Stooges cartoon.

After Larry's death, Moe and Joe were going to keep the act going with, Emil Sitka. Needless to say it never panned out. Later, before Moe's death, Joe asked if he could do the act with two other guys, a comic and an acrobat. Moe agreed, but the act was not well received, and Joe DeRita gave up his career as a Stooge.

 

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