Welcome, You Cr-a-a-a-zy You!

Welcome to Joe Besser Forever! Launched by Besser's official co-biographer Greg Lenburg and close friend, the site, a companion to Joe's updated and enlarged autobiography, "Once a Stooge, Always a Stooge," features a biography, a photo gallery of nearly 300 free downloadable photos, free giveaways, and nearly 200 of clips from Besser's memorable movie and TV roles.

Updated, Enlarged With Over 400 Photos! It's Besser Than Ever!

Hurry! Buy your copy while supplies last! 

It's Once a Stooge, Always a Stooge, comic Joe Besser of The Three Stooges updated and enlarged autobiography.

The new edition is not the same book published under the same title in 1988, nor as it was first published in 1984 under the title, Not Just a Stooge.

The new edition has been lovingly retooled by the authors who knew Joe best. And it's lavishly illustrated with over 420 photographs.

Unlike previous editions, the new edition is divided into five sections: Joe’s autobiography (which includes never-before published

Joe Besser: The Right Stooge at the Right Time

Shemp Howard with Joe in Africa Screams
(1949) before Joe replaced Shemp as
the third stooge.

By Greg Lenburg

For six decades he made people laugh: In vaudeville. On radio. In the movies, including in starring feature films and solo short subjects for Columbia Pictures. On the stage and Broadway shows. On television. And, even by doing Saturday morning cartoon voice overs.

He was comic Joe Besser.

In November of 1955, Shemp Howard, one of Joe's dearest friends who replaced his brother Curly in 1947 as the third stooge in The Three Stooges, died suddenly of a heart attack. The Stooges had four shorts remaining to be produced for 1956. Instead of replacing Shemp as the third stooge, Columbia remade four Three Stooges shorts featuring Shemp and filmed new footage using an obvious double for him in some scenes.

But, for the 1957 production year, it was obvious if Columbia wanted to continue to produce Three Stooges shorts, it needed a new third stooge. That's where Besser came in. And that's what this story is about: why Joe Besser was the right third stooge at the right time.

Around Christmas of 1956, studio President Harry Cohn approached Besser, who was under contract with the studio, about replacing Shemp. By this time, Besser was already very popular with radio, movie, and television audiences. Besser had already made three starring features and 11 short-subjects in the 1940-1950s for the studio.