Monday, September 26, 2011

La Stinkadora

There is a link between cigars and being human. That is to be expected because cigars are man-made things, and so they are something that must, in a way, reflect man. Cigars do not grow on plants ready made: yet they are not made by machine; rather, they are manufactured by human hand, at least the good cigars are. They are therefore a wonderful blend of nature and culture, where nature contributes its part, man his, and the result is a marvel. Cigars, moreover, are smoked by humans, sometimes alone, but most often in groups, wherein they cigar participates in the social setting, and so becomes inculturated and inculturating. Culture is written all over cigars.

Relative to the brute animals, one of man's features is, of course, his ability to laugh--risibility--his ability to find humor. Naturally, the cigar participates in his humor, and it has been the butt of jokes. (What a clever pun that last sentence was, n'est-ce pas?) So we ought, from time to time, have articles on cigars and humor. Given that our cigar-smoking priest Fr. James has great affinity for the Three Stooges (they have been the topic of more than one conversation during our weekly herfs), I thought I would begin by a brief reflection of cigars in the humor (and in the life) of the Three Stooges.

Larry, Moe, and Curly with cigars

The first thing we ought to know is that in real life the "Three Stooges" had affinity for cigars. According to Joan Howard Maurer, aunt to a number of the three stooges (Moe, Shemp, Curly), all the stooges smoked:
They all smoked! Moe used pipes, cigars and cigarettes until the day he died. Larry sometimes had a cigar, I think, and my Uncle Babe, which is what the family called Curly, always had a cigar in his hand, as did Shemp.*

That's about the most I've been able to find on the Three Stooges. But I've also been able to locate to episodes in which cigars play a part in the Three Stooges' humor.

In the episode "Dutiful but Dumb," the Three Stooges play photographers (what today we would call paparazzi) "Click," "Clack" and "Cluck," and they are on assignment for the magazine "Whack" to try to photograph a celebrity named Percival de Puyster who has eloped and disappeared from the public on his honeymoon. They fail in their mission and so are sent to Vulgaria to photograph an invisible ray gun. Unfortunately, both cameras and the taking of photographs are prohibited in Vulgaria. Violation of the law is a capital offense, but "Click," "Clack," and "Cluck" are ignorant of the law. Soon, they are caught by Vulgarian authorities and face a firing squad, but their last request is to smoke a cigar. Curly pulls out a huge cigar from under his shirt and they enjoy and hours-long smoke which results in everyone falling asleep, allowing their escape. The cigar smoking scene begins on 6:45 of Part I of "Dutiful but Dumb."

Dutiful but Dumb, Part I

Dutiful but Dumb, Part II

In "Blunder Boys," Larry, Moe, and Shemp, respectively, play the police detectives "Halli Day," "Tarra Day," and (variously) "St. Patrick's Day," "Groundhog Day," "New Year's Day," "Christmas Day," "Independence Day" and "Labor Day." After these three Messrs. Day graduated from criminology school, they are assigned to the case of "The Eel," a "slippery cuss" who dresses like a woman, but who smokes cigars. The only clue in the case is a cigar butt. The brand of cigar the Eel smokes is called "La Stinkadora." The brief cigar scene takes place at 0:50 of Part II. The Eel successfully eludes them and they lose their jobs.

Blunder Boys, Part I

Blunder Boys, Part II

There is something to be learned from all this, I suppose. First: always carry a big cigar . . . it might save your life. For obvious reasons, it would be better to keep it in your shirt, rather than your pants. (Otherwise, instead of getting you out of trouble, it may get you into trouble.) Second: Do not buy "La Stinkadora" brand cigars, as you may be branded a criminal, and, if not a criminal, a cross-dresser, or a "slippery ol' cuss." Being very closed-minded, the St. HOLG's club does not accept criminals, cross-dressers, or "slippery 0l' cusses," so you would be blackballed. (We do, however, accept all manner of sinners, including tax collectors.)

*Source: Jim Mueller, "Shemp's Last Cigar," Cigar Aficionado (12/1/96) available online here.


  1. Great article.

    My only comment is that there are machine-made cigars. Our fellow BOTL Ray Reeves is a devote follower of those. Even "hand-made" premium cigars can be bunched by a mechanical device called a Lieberman machine. Sorry to blow your bubble and so much for the legend of cigars being rolled in between virginal thighs.

  2. Well . . . I'm glad my piece got peer reviewed!