Being Larry Fine

I might as well address the 500-pound exploding gorilla in the room (see Dizzy Detectives, made in 1943); I am not the first guy to be named Larry Fine.  I’ll be thrilled if someday I’m as famous and beloved as South Philadelphia’s own Larry Fine (born Louis Feinberg).  In order to avoid confusion I considered changing my name to Louis Feinberg…

About 10-15 percent of new people I meet start laughing when they hear my name.  That’s usually followed by the question “Your name is REALLY Larry Fine?”  At this point, I assure them that my parents were unaware of the last names of The Three Stooges when they named me.  Next, the amused former stranger usually proclaims his love for The Three Stooges (people who don’t like The Three Stooges don’t usually know their last names.  And people who know their last names are usually men. Frankly, since they didn’t use their last names in their movie credits, people generally only know them from the famous scene where they are paged over a hospital loudspeaker: “Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard…”  That scene occurred early in their 1934 short “Men in Black,” which was, believe it or not, nominated for an Academy Award!)  I don’t love The Three Stooges as much as most of these people (I grew up more on Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers and Abbott and Costello).  But for the hell of it, I usually act like I do.

Obviously, The Three Stooges and the practice of law go together perfectly (see “Disorder in the Court”, made in 1936; in that movie, the Stooges are witnesses who use their legal acumen, their musical night club act, and a fire hose to help exonerate an innocent nightclub dancer and identify the real killer of “Kirk Robin.”). Unfortunately, the boys never made it through law school or had the opportunity to try a case through to a verdict although, oddly enough, nine years later in a spooky mansion a lawyer hired by Curly’s uncle was brutally murdered (if that sounds hilarious to you, see “If A Body Meet A Body.”  See also Law at the Schmoovies: The People vs. Larry Fine.)

I once met another lawyer named Larry Fine who lived in Philadelphia.  We compared “being named Larry Fine” stories.  He won because he was once in a store that had bins full of individual Stooge figurines and was out of “Larry Fine’s” (only in Philadelphia…). The store owner insisted that Mr. Fine write down his name and contact information so he could be called when the dolls came in again; imagine the reaction!

Anyway, Larry was the comic glue that held the classic trio together.  He was also an accomplished boxer and violinist.  I could do worse…

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