‘Monkey Businessmen’ (1946) is the 92nd short subject made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed from Wednesday, January 30th through Saturday, February 2, 1946 and released on Thursday, June 20th of that year. The short is largely a painful experience to watch, due to Curly’s recent illnesses (a series of strokes) being all to evident in his performance. I’ve always posited that he suffered from Chronic Brain Encephalopathy (aka Football Players Disease) as a result of the constant physical abuse he suffered–largely the blows to his head–while making these movies. In this film his speech is slurred and at half-speed. The routine at 7:20–a veritable festival of head-bashing jokes–in nearly impossible to watch. Apparently his memory was affected as well and his brother Moe had to coach him on lines. In fact, Moe can be seen nudging Curly at 6:41 to remind him that his line is coming up (“I know–a nice big bowl of milk!”) Director Edward Bernds remembered the unfortunate shoot:
It was strange the way he (Curly) went up and down. In the order I shot the pictures, not in the order they were released, he was down for ‘A Bird In The Head’ and ‘The Three Trouboudors’ he was up for ‘Microphonies’, way down for ‘Monkey Businessmen’ and then up again, for the last time, in ‘Three Little Pirates’. In ‘Monkey Businessmen’, he was at his worst. Moe coached him the way one would a child, getting him to repeat each line after him. We had to shoot Curly repeating one line at a time.
Enjoy! Or should I say: Enjoy?
OMG, he gets hit in the head about 30 times in this one alone! Poor Curly