Place  /  First Person

The House Next Door to the Stooges

A visit to the old neighborhood.

My mother had been born in the house at 122 Bay 26th St., as had my uncle and their uncles and aunts. The Three Stooges had grown up right next door – Moe, Curly, and Shemp (Larry was a later addition and not related), and everyone in my family knew them. Like the Stooges, my great uncle Bill had gone into acting. His stage name was Tiny Brauer, and he appeared in various shows of my childhood as a character actor, including more Stooge films than anyone besides the Stooges themselves.

Moe married Helen, a cousin of ours. I even met Moe when I was ten and visiting my grandmother at her house in Long Beach, NY. He was staying with my Uncle Allan at his beachfront house and my grandmother brought me over to meet him without telling me at first who this gnomish old man was who came to the door. When she revealed who he was, I wouldn’t leave the poor man alone. We all went to the beach and I have a vivid memory of him sitting on our beach blanket and me asking him dumb questions and asking to do Stoogish things until he finally said something to the effect of “Knock it off, kid,” though without poking me in the eye. But he said it quietly, pitifully, and now I feel sorry that he had to put up with my ten-year-old obsessive self. He was a kind man, unlike his persona, and he entered into a short correspondence with me, sending me a letter, (which I’ve lost) and two publicity stills signed to “Cousin Robin” (which I have in my safe deposit box). The photos don’t feature the genius of the Stooges, Curly, unfortunately, but the pale Curly substitute who took Curly’s place after he died: Curly Joe.