Copyright: The Dairy Education Board Text Only

Sunday, September 26, 1999



CURLY: Wait a minute. You know I'm temperamental!
MOE: Yeah, 95% temper, 5% mental.

      One knucklehead meets another. It had to happen. The dairy industry meets the Three Stooges. This sounds like a comedy/horror movie right out of the 1950's, and one can almost hear Curly's high pitched voice endorsing that conclusion, "it soit-enly is."

The newest milk mustache ad will appear in the October issue of Rolling Stone Magazine and features "Curly" of Three Stooges fame.

The dairy industry advertisement poses Curly with a milk mustache, just after he's been hit over the head with a crowbar--one of the many slapstick routines used frequently by the Three Stooges.

Don't try this at home, kids. Are we to imagine that a human skull can survive a crowbar assault just by drinking a glass of milk? Does calcium from milk build strong craniums?

Curly was actually born as Jerome Lester Horwitz, and he was the funniest and the most famous of the Three Stooges. For trivia buffs, there were actually six stooges, but Moe, Larry, and Curly were the originals and best known. Curly acted in 103 films, and appeared with his brothers on numerous television programs, including three appearances on the Ed Sullivan show and once on the Milton Berle Show. On that occasion, Moe slapped Berle (he usually slapped Curly) and Berle returned the favor, breaking Moe's tooth. Imagine what might have happened if Moe had used a crowbar?

Curly always had a hard time remembering his lines, so he would often ad-lib. It is believed that his famous dialogue such as "n-yuk, n-yuk, n-yuk" resulted from his inability to remember his lines. Perhaps his memory lapses occurred because Curly was never far from a bottle of booze, not a bottle of milk.

In the early 1940's, Curly's health began to deteriorate. His eating habits, combined with his constant drinking and smoking, caused him to gain enormous amounts of weight and he developed high blood pressure.

On January 23, 1945, he entered the Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara where he was diagnosed as having extreme hypertension, a retinal hemorrhage, and obesity. He remained at the hospital for tests and treatment and was discharged nearly three weeks later.

What better role model could the dairy industry researchers have chosen to represent them than an out of shape, obese drunk with cardiovascular disease?

On May 6, 1946, during the shooting of a movie, Curly suffered a stroke and was rushed to the hospital where he was placed on a strict vegetarian diet. Even in the 1950's, doctors knew that milk and cheese were dangerous contributors to heart disease and strokes.

After Curly left the hospital, he went back to his old ways and suffered several more strokes. In 1949, Curly's health took a severe turn for the worse. After he was rushed to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Hollywood, the latest stroke left him partially paralyzed and confined to a wheel chair.

This time, Curly's doctors placed him on a diet of boiled rice and raw fruits and vegetables. This diet successfully lowered his weight and blood pressure.

Don't dairy industry executives do research
before making their milk mustache choices?

Previously, they placed a milk mustache on President William Clinton, despite the fact that he's allergic to milk and dairy products. They also painted a mustache on Sarah Michelle Geller, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, despite the fact that she admitted in TEEN MAGAZINE that she never drinks milk because it is unhealthy.

The dairy industry hired Spike Lee, Patrick Ewing, and the tennis-playing Williams sisters, despite the fact that 95% of African-Americans cannot tolerate lactose. They hired Mark McGwire after his steroid controversy. They painted a milk mustache on little Tommy of the Rugrats, an infant, despite all warnings that infants drinking whole milk are candidates for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

This latest milk ad should be used to retire the dairy industry's milk mustache campaign. People continue to drink less liquid milk attesting to the lack of success of these ads.

Curly's short life and painful death should set an example for all.

On January 18, 1952, Curly died at the very young age of 48. His brothers outlived him by many years. Moe died at the age of 73 and Larry died at the age of 78.

Why didn't the dairy industry choose Moe or Larry, who died of old age? Why did they select an unhealthy man who died of cerebral-vascular disease? The world may never know or understand, but the Dairy Education Board owes a debt of gratitude to the National Fluid Milk Processors for such a symbolically appropriate selection.

Curly Howard and The Three Stooges are licensed through C3 Entertainment. After speaking to their agent, Nancy McCready (310-201-8806), I learned that the heirs to the Three Stooges estate divvy up about $5 million per year in royalties.

Did they really need the $25,000 fee from the dairy industry?

Who becomes the real stooges?

We do! Americans continue to drink milk and consume dairy products because these ads reinforce the calcium myth. Billions of dollars have been spent on a lie.

I can imagine the sound of Curly laughing from his grave:

"N-yuk, n-yuk, n-yuk, n-yuk, n-yuk!"

Robert Cohen author of:   MILK - The Deadly Poison
Executive Director
Dairy Education Board

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