Sound Effects

How much do sound effects add to movies? Consider the Three Stooges shorts. Those of us who had our sense of humor shaped (our mothers might say “warped”) by the antics of Larry, Moe, Curly, and Shemp understand the deft comedic impact of an apt sound effect. Whether it’s a horn beep sounding when a nose gets bonked, the coconut sound of two heads colliding thanks to Moe, ripped fabric when Larry’s hair gets pulled out, or one of many other sound effects used in the shorts (many of which are found in the video clips above), the sound effects unquestionably add to the hilarity.

My favorite Stooges sound effect is the violin string pluck used when eyes get gouged by Moe, which you can hear in the clip below. Why do plucked violin strings work as a sound effect for an eye gouge? I don’t know–they just do.

The Three Stooges never won an Academy Award, although one of their early shorts (Men in Black, in 193) was nominated for Best Short Subject–Comedy. There wasn’t an award for best sound effect or best sound editing in those days. It’s too bad, because the Stooges deserved one. The sound effects were a key part of the whole Stooges experience.

The Scarf-Tying Test

There are some obvious, time-honored ways by which to distinguish American women from American men.

One group thinks The Three Stooges are hilarious; the other thinks they are appalling.

One group likes “baby showers” so much they invented “couples showers,” and the other thinks “couples showers” is the worst, most dangerous invention since lawn darts.

One group has a set of “functional boots” and another set of “fashion boots,” and the other can’t even grasp the concept.

IMG_4814And one group can tie a scarf so that it looks poofy and kicky and fashionable, and the other is incapable of doing so.

I’ve learned this lesson this cold, miserable, unending winter, when wearing a scarf is a crucial tool in the Midwesterners’ arsenal of survival gear.  My scarf is a long, scarlet and gray piece that I got from the OSU Development Office.  I’ve tried winding it around my neck, bunching it up, and other scarf-tying efforts; now I just double up the scarf, loop it around my neck, and cinch it up to the chin.  It’s warm, solidly functional and keeps the wind off my neck, but it makes no fashion statement whatsoever.

As you walk around downtown Columbus on a cold winter morning — and today the weather app on my phone says it’s 1 degree outside — you see pinch-faced men walking hunched against the wind.  They all have a dull gray look to them.  The women, on the other hand, look colorful and bright in their gay scarves and snazzy boots.

So why don’t they like The Three Stooges?