In 1922, Ted Healy developed the act called “Ted Healy and His Stooges”. In the act, lead comedian Healy would attempt to sing or tell jokes while his noisy assistants would keep "interrupting" him. Healy would respond by verbally and physically abusing his stooges. Healy’s original stooges consisted of his childhood friends: Moses Horowitz (later known as Moe Howard) and his older brother Samuel (later known as Shemp Howard).
Kenneth Lackey, one-time Healy’s personal valet, added into team in 1923 and remained in the act until 1925. In 1928, violinist Louis Feinberg (later known as Larry Fine) recruited as a new stooge and paired with Moe and Shemp in 1929 revue A Night in Venice. The three quickly befriended to each other.
Fed up with Healy’s abuse and drinking, Howard, Fine & Howard quit the act in 1930 to form their own act, eventually billed as “Three Lost Souls.” Healy hired Mousie Garner, Eddie Moran and Jack Wolf as his replacement stooges. Wolf took the position as a leader of trio while Moran soon replaced by Dick Hakins. The new act was a copy of the original Stooges, with Healy cracking them over head and employing other stock physical gags. But there were still some significant differences. Garner explained: “What they did with the smacking, the poking in the eyes, we did with instruments, breaking fiddles across heads, squirting seltzer bottles.”
Healy, Garner, Wolf and Hakins performed on two Broadway shows: The Gang’s All Here and Crazy Quilt. These new trio of Stooges, however, never gained a same critical acclaims like Howard, Fine and Howard did before. Healy, realized his mistake, asked Moe, Larry & Shemp to rejoin with him. In 1932, both parties reached a new agreement and Healy let Garner, Wolf & Hakins go.
Shemp later replaced by his and Moe’s younger brother, Curly Howard. Howard, Fine & Howard left Healy again for good in 1934 and renamed themselves as “The Three Stooges”. In 1938, Garner, Wolf and Hakins filed a suit against the Stooges, claimed that they had stolen “Three Stooges” name. Their claim was proven bogus. A legal document signed by Moe, Larry and Curly demonstrated that they were the first to conceive of the name “Three Stooges”.
Garner and Hakins brought back by Healy after the original stooges departure while Jack Wolf replaced by Sammy Wolfe until Healy’s mysterious death in 1937. Aftermath, Garner, Wolfe and Hakins would continue to entertain theatergoers as The Gentlemaniacs and appeared in 1937’s Swing It, Professor and The Hit Parade. Their act, however, began to fades down during 1940s and 1950s.
Their known last appearances were in NBC’s NBC Comedy Hour. In January 15, 1956 appearances, the team consisted of Sammy Wolfe and Mousie Garner, in addition with his fellow members of the Spike Jones and his City Slickers: Peter James (known early as Bobby Pinkus, also one of Healy’s stooges) and Billy Barty (famous television personality, he hosted Billy Barty's Bigtop, local South Californian children show that co-incidentally aired The Three Stooges shorts in mid-1960s. In one program, Moe Howard visited the set as a surprise guest. He also has an uncredited part in 1930s Soup to Nuts). In January 22, 1956 appearances, Garner and Wolfe rejoined by their old partners: Dick Hakins.
- Maurer, Joan Howard; Jeff Lenburg, Greg Lenburg (1982). The Three Stooges Scrapbook. Citadel Press. ISBN 0806509465.
- Kissane, Sharon; Garner, Paul H. (1999). Mousie Garner: Autobiography of a Vaudeville Stooge. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co. ISBN 0-7864-0581-3