Here’s a little gem, unearthed last year. The three Stooges in a 1938 home movie.
This footage was filmed 75 years ago today (July 1, 1938), on Atlantic City, NJ’s steel pier, by George Mann, an avid photographer who was better known as half of the acrobatic comedy dance duo Barto and Mann. Barto and Mann were huge stars in vaudeville (where they first encountered the Stooges) and later on Broadway. George was always pulling out his camera, taking pictures of his showbiz pals and his wife, Barbara Bradford Mann, who appears in the video above as the beautiful blonde giving the Stooges a run for their money. George plays the tall interloper who calls security over just as Curly is about to get lucky. Brad Smith, the Manns’ son, who edited and uploaded the video, posted this about his mother:
“Barbara Bradford, married to George Mann, was a John Robert Powers model, appearing in ads for Coca-Cola, Chesterfield, Buick, Railway Express, Kodak, Ivory, and many other businesses. She was the model for a painting done by Bradshaw Crandal that appeared on the February 1937 cover of Cosmopolitan. In 1937, she was voted the most beautiful woman in New York.”
here are some of George’s photos from that day.
(Here’s Moe anticipating his role in You Nazty Spy, in which he becomes the first Hollywood actor to lampoon Hitler. George doesn’t look happy about it.)
You can find more of George Mann’s photos here, here, and here.
Here’s a set of old theater marquees, documenting some of the many appearances of Barto and Mann.
These stunning photos offer a glimpse into a lost time — a time when it wasn’t strange to have an elephant backstage, when theater marquees were spilling over with the names of live singers, dancers, comedians, and jugglers, when a guy could not only make a living but become world-famous as an acrobat-comedian, rolling across a wide-open country with his gorgeous wife and a camera, ready to lovingly capture the youth, passion, cameraderie, optimism, and joy of his fellow troupers and friends.
Many thanks to Brad Smith for giving me permission to link to his photos.