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I have this young pal in my local Trader Joes.  A twenties dude with a great attitude and a sense of humor.  We shoot the shinola when I visit.  He doesn't mind, since I'm like a paid break each time I show up.

In our talks I find I've been mentioning older movies he hasn't seen.  This is an easy trick, since he considers a film like AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999) 'old school'.  Ouch.  And anything in black and white?  Smithsonian.

In my Beginner's Guide to Bette Davis,
I confess to having had a similar bias against black and white films from early last century.  That they felt dark and depressing somehow.


Take this image (above).  It depicts three men who deliver ice for a living, listening to a distant customer at the top of countless stairs.  This short film was made back when many people couldn't afford an electric refrigerator, and so they kept ice boxes that held huge chunks of ice.  How's that for dated?  Worse, you'll note the fat one in the middle is holding the reins, as in a horse drawn carriage.  And that customer is yelling because no one has a cellphone yet.

Does this world speak to a Trader Joe's employee?  Not much.   This was shot in his home of California, but do you see a blue sky or bright yellow sun glare?  Green trees?  Nope.   You see an overcast sky and ashen fauna.  Very depressing.

The crime here is that this image depicts a rather hilarious sequence of the Three Stooges short AN ACHE IN EVERY STAKE.  Moe (Annoyed), Larry (Stoner), and Curly (Bonehead) must find a way to get a giant chunk of ice up all those stairs before it melts.  It would sound easy enough, but realize we're investing our faith in three... stooges.

Crackle has posted the entire short on YouTube.  If you've never seen it, give it a few minutes.  The scene I'm referencing is in the opening sequence  --
I can't tell you how many times I've seen this short.  It's been with me since1972.  I've gifted this video (among other Stooge collections) to my nephew and niece to help prevent the dreaded black and white bias -- to great success.  No, they're in no hurry to watch a Robert Montgomery movie, but they will watch the likes of this if the story is engaging.

I've been living in Los Angeles since 1997.  Over the years I've hoped to stumble upon this very staircase.  I had an idea of where it might be and have found several staircases something like it... but none this long or high.  I started to accept the likelihood that said stairway crumbled some time ago.  Or that it was victim to a hillside condo development.

Not so, it turns out.  It's alive and well.  At 2258 Fair Oak View Terrace, Los Angeles, CA 90039-ish.
There's plenty of color in that photo.  And lots of overgrown green. Yet it's a little depressing to me because... well... there are no Stooges running up and down those stairs.  That ended as the sign indicates many decades ago.

One day soon I hope to have a field trip.  If you believe I'm a chowderhead to wish such a thing, know that I'm not alone.  Author Jim Pauley has researched this location and countless others and has written a book for Stooge Stalkers like myself.
UPDATE:  I had the field trip.   Long ago some men stood on those stairs that have made me laugh my entire life.



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