Song of the Day: The Three Stooges, “Swingin’ The Alphabet”

Happy birthday to Larry Fine, born Louis Feinberg in Philadelphia on this day in 1902. Larry was the curly-haired member of The Three Stooges who acted as the straight man for Moe, who called him "porcupine." He was an accomplished violinist and whenever the Stooges were shown playing instruments, he was actually playing while the other two mimed. He plays violin in this scene from The Stooges’ 1938 short Violent Is The Word For Curly.

18 thoughts on “Song of the Day: The Three Stooges, “Swingin’ The Alphabet”

  1. I love the 3 Stooges but have not seen them in so long. I never heard this song before but it made me smile and feel happy. …thank you! Oh and I had no idea Larry was an accomplished


    1. Apparently when he was a kid his father knocked a cup of acid (which he was about to drink) out of his hand and the acid splashed on him, and they had him take up the violin to strengthen the arm. Were it not for World War I (they were going to send him to school in Europe), he might have become a great violinist and we may never have heard of The Three Stooges. I read somewhere that the older you get, the more you appreciate Larry’s contribution to them. I know I do. Shemp, too…


      1. I think “Howard, Fine, and Howard” pioneered the paradigm of roles in comedy groups (OK, tell me the Commedia dell’Arte had it first). 2-person (usually men) teams had a “straight man” and a “laugh man”, but the Stooges were a more complex engine. Moe the “straight man”, Curly the childlike “fool”, and Larry — well, he was just sort of a pad who was neither of those, and to facilitate the execution of routines where “the first one says …. and …happens. The second one .. ..” etc., where, as in old folk stories and jokes, three are necessary. I’m older, but the contributions of the Philadelphia violinist beyond that remain “less than perfectly clear.”

        I wish your site had “preview” buttons.


  2. I’ve loved this song since childhood. It’s so much fun to sing, and watching The Three Stooges clip brings back a lot of fond memories of watching these classic routines on NYC TV growing up.. Thanks for the opportunity to sing it again! Alana ramblinwitham


      1. Atlanta had Officer Don Kennedy (again, not a real cop). We had Sergeant Pettibone (Ray Rayner was his real name) in Chicago for “Dick Tracy Crimestoppers!”


        1. I do wonder if police organizations would object to such portrayals today. One should not call a TV firefighter in an emergency (although the notion “I’m not a x, I just play one on TV” has broad rhetorical application.)


  3. For me, the most memorable incident of Larry’s connection to the violin is when (I forget which title) they were pretending to play from some score, and Curly (I think) says, “Oh, look, this music’s by Paganinny! (pronounced that way), to which Moe klunks him, and says, “That’s not Paganinny! That’s page nine, stupid!”


    1. Was that the one with the Stooges as exterminators? I think they took over from a quartet that had been playing. Whatever, they have a lot of hilarious musical moments in their films.


      1. I do not remember; the “web knows”. But I did not, at the time, decades ago, know that Larry was, in fact, a violinist, who was certainly familiar with that Italian “original rock star”.


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