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The Three Stooges Film Festival

Thousands showed up annually to this DiCesare-Engler event at the Stanley Theatre, Syria Mosque, and finally the IC Light Amphitheatre in Pittsburgh.

Beaver County Times
February 13, 1987
By Jo Ann Clark

With a nyuk nyuk here and a wee wee there, the Man Who Would Be Curly will shuffle into Pittsburgh this weekend for the Three Stooges Film Festival at the Syria Mosque.

Dave Knight, a 37-year-old electrician from Palmyra, N.Y., has been impersonating Curly Howard for about five years.  And now, trying to separate the man from the stooge is like trying to separate the stooge from the man.

He looks like Curly, walks like Curly and he "soitenly" talks like Curly.  What started out as a way to keep his co-workers awake and amused during the night shift at a construction site has developed into an almost full-time career.

"I always liked watching the Three Stooges and I thought they were really funny, but I wasn't a fanatic about it.  But as I grew p;der. [ep[;e started te;;omg ,e O ;ppled ;ole Cir;u/  Amd wjem O dod a few nyuk nyuks, they just broke up.  I was in a grocery store and a little girl said loudly to her mom, 'hey, that fat guy looks like the Three Stooges.' Her mother was embarrassed, but I turned to them and said, 'why soitenly I do, toots,;: says Knight.

His first few gags turned into his first few gigs.  He's done his act at various bars in his hometown area and then appeared in several local television commercials for soda pop and fuel oil.  He won a celebrity look-alike contest at a shopping mall and also has been a guest on morning radio shows.  He's also appeared at Three Stooges Festivals in Michigan and Ohio. 

"I've studied Curly closely and I have about 20 of their films, all of the ones that are available.  My favorite Curly routine is the one "Disorders in the Court," where Curly is on the witness stand and has the hat on and a cane in his hand.  I love it at the end when he says he won't swear but knows all the words and calls the judge judgeie wudgie," says Knight with a laugh. 

"I think people love Curly so much because he was the gullible one, the one who always got blamed.  The Three Stooges have endured because even though their slapstick was violent, it was never really offensive.  The themes of their films are age-old, and they never were into off-color language," he says.

Knight recalls that when Paul Howard, Moe's son saw him perform, he came up to him afterward and said, "I want to call you Uncle Curly."  "That was really special.  I was afraid he might be a little hostile to the idea," says Knight who admits he just had his hair cut in the Curly crew cut and has a new striped T-shirt and bib overalls for his Pittsburgh premiere.

It's been three years since the last Stooges festival in this area.  DiCesare-Engler started sponsoring the festivals in the mid '70s becuase they were looking for a way to provide other types of entertainment in between producing rock concerts.  "Every time we've done the festival it's grown bigger and bigger.  This year we'll be giving away free kazoos, T-shirts and posters, and collectors' items can be purchased.  Stooges' fans will have the chance to play "Stump the Stooge Expert" and have their picture taken in front of the large Stooges poster.  But by far the biggest thing will be Dave Knight.  This is the first time we've brought someone like him in for the festival," says Ed Traversari, who is in charge of public relations with DiCesare-Engler.

And while fans will have the opportunity to tmeet the Man Who Would Be Curly, what about the men who would be Moe and Larry?

Kinght explains, "I know of several Larrys in the country, but right now I don't know of any Moes.  I'd like to get the three together.  The idea of a new Three Stooges movie is still on the back burner with movie producers.  But with festivals and live performances the movie I think is getting closer to reality."

"I really love doing Curly, and recently I've been taking this whole thing very seriously.  I think the people in this country have a serious need to find laughter in their lives.  Of course, I've had to swallow my pride and make a real stooge of myself, nyuk nyuk nyuk," says Knight.

The Three Stooges Film Festival will be held at 7 and 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and at 2 and 7 p.m. on Sunday.  Eight films will be shown including "An Ache In Every Steak," "They Stooge to Conga" and Phoney Express."  Tickets are $3.50 at the door.