Greetings, fellow degenerates! It’s time for another IITLTID article, and this one is especially timely, as it ceased filming on this date in 1970.
Kook’s Tour was intended to be a pilot for a comedy/travelogue show with the Three “retired” Stooges wreaking havoc and wrecking everything in their wake. At least that was the plan in 1965. By the time 1970 rolled around, none of the Stooges were particularly thrilled about the thought of flying around the world. Why go to Paris or London, when you can go fishing instead? With an interesting pollution control theme throughout, Kook’s Tour is not that bad.
The general consensus from most Stooge fans, however, is a resounding Bronx cheer. It’s been called everything from slow to shoddy (yeah, I kinda agree with that one) and sad. I have to disagree on that one–it’s sad because we know what was around the corner. Taken for what it’s supposed to be, as a home movie from three retired vaudeville/burlesque/film comedians, it’s surprisingly decent. Of course, that doesn’t excuse some of its er, amateurishness (especially in the weird paddleboat scene), but it is what it is, an actual home movie.
Oh, about the whole home movie deal: the film was filmed on regular old whatever mm film home movie enthusiasts used (Super-8, perhaps?) and unfortunately most of the copies deteriorated. There was one lone person out there who had a decent copy and that’s what you see today.
It’s corny, it’s silly, it’s horrendously dated, and it’s odd–a nature film about conservation and pollution from three guys who smoked like chimneys. It’s also incomplete, as Larry had a stroke on January 9, 1970. I don’t know what the rest of the film was supposed to be–I imagine long scenes of natural beauty and why you shouldn’t tie your dog to a tree that’s little more than a sapling (it gets away) were part of the original plan. I also don’t know why it ends with Moe saying, “Sayonara!” as a Chinese gong sounds. (This was a preview of the next episode, which would take place in Japan or China.) I suppose they were hoping against hope that Larry would recover enough to at least appear on camera. It wasn’t to be, and although none of them knew it, the Three Stooges had performed for the last time. It states in the opening that this is the last known performance of the Stooges, so unless there’s someone out there with that 1975 Jet Set footage, this is all she wrote.
And with far too much ado…it’s Kook’s Tour!