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Ceres man remembers meeting the Three Stooges when he was 11 years old
Steve Whitney and Three Stooges
Steve Whitney (front right) and his sister met the Three Stooges in 1957 backstage at Moulin Rouge night club in Hollywood. At that time the Three Stooges were Larry Fine, Curly Joe Derita and Moe Howard. Curiously, Joe Derita’s wife is buried in the Ceres Memorial Park.

Steve Whitney is probably the only person in Ceres to boast that he met the Three Stooges.

In fact, he not only has a photo posing with them but all three stars signed the cover it came with.

Whitney’s father was a singer, dancer, and emcee in the declining period of Vaudeville in the 1930s. He performed in nightclubs and small auditoriums in upstate New York up to the beginning of World War II.

In 1958 the family moved from Connecticut to Los Angeles. 

Whitney remembers that on Nov. 15, 1959 his dad simply asked, “Do you want to go see the Three Stooges?” The elder Whitney was introducing the Three Stooges’ act at a Moulin Rouge, a nightclub in Hollywood.

“Wow, what kid in the late 50’s didn’t watch the Three Stooges every chance they got?,” said Whitney. “So, I said, ‘You bet.’”

Steve remembers getting dressed up for the dinner show and being seated at a table next to the aisle. Following the opening performance of drummer Don Lamond, the emcee introduced the Three Stooges. Everyone looked for them to appear on stage, but they came down the stairs from the upper seating section and walked past the audience and waving.

“Just as they started to pass us, Moe stopped in his tracks and looked at my dad and said, ‘Barney!’”

Since Steve’s father never mentioned anything about knowing Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Joe Derita, the boy was “blown away.

“I was all of 11 years old and could not believe what I just saw. My dad stood up and shook his hands. Moe then asked if we were his kids and my dad acknowledged. Moe then said to come backstage after the show and take some photos.”

The rest is history.

Moe Howard and Larry Fine were original members of the TV Stooges along with Curly Howard. From 1934 to 1946, Moe, Larry and Curly produced over 90 short films for Columbia, bringing them their peak popularity. When Curly died at the age of 48 in 1952, he was replaced by Shemp Howard and later DeRita.

Both Larry Fine and Moe Howard died in 1975, and DeRita in 1993.