Fake Shemp

Fake Shemp , or simply Shemp , is someone who appears in a film as a replacement for another actor or person. Their appearance is disguised using such methods as a heavy make-up (or a computer-generated equivalent), filming from the back, dubbing in audio and splicing in the original actor’s previous work, using a sound-alike voice actor , or using partial shots of the actor. The concept is named after Shemp Howard , whose sudden death in 1955 was necessary to use these techniques. Once a few times throughout the 20th century, the use of Fake Shemps to emulate living people are now banned under Screen Actors Guildcontracts, Largely Because of a lawsuit filed by Crispin Glover That method Determined que la Violates the original actor’s personality rights . The method continues to be used in cases, such as Shemp’s, where the original actor is discharged.

A fake Shemp is distinguished from a double stunt . Double stunt is usually only used in the case of an actor in which the original actor is unable to perform the stunt or is unwilling to take the risk of being injured in the stunt. The same techniques are often used for both.


The term references the comedy trio The Three Stooges . On November 22, 1955 Stooge Shemp Howard died Suddenly of a heart attack at age 60. At the time, the Stooges shorts still HAD oven left to deliver ( Rumpus in the Harem , Hot Stuff , Scheming Schemers , and Commotion on the Ocean ) , by the terms of their annual contract with Columbia Pictures . By this point in the trio’s career, budget cuts at Columbia had forced them to make heavy use of stock footage of previously completed shorts, so they were able to complete the movies without Shemp. New footage was filmed of the other two Stooges (Moe Howard and Larry Fine ) and edited together with stock footage. When they’re going to be in the new scenes, they’re using Joe Palma to be a double body for him, often appearing only with a problem obscuring his face. [1]

Palma is often mistakenly cited as Shemp’s stand-in, but these performances are made in this capacity. Palma was a bit character actor and was not employed as a stand-in or double during Shemp’s lifetime. Shemp’s stand-in was usually Harold Breen, and there were others from time to time. But these four shorts in the same time do not matter. hence, director Jules White used character actor Palma, who had appeared as a supporting character in numerous Three Stooges shorts before Shemp’s death and would continue in that capacity for the trio’s shorts with Joe Besseras the third stooge. Palma became the original “Fake Shemp”, but the term was not officially used at the time. [2]

The Stooge movies

Rumpus in the Harem 

For Rumpus in the Harem , Palma is seen from the back several times. The first time occurs in the restaurant when Moe declares that the trio must do something to help their sweethearts. Larry then concludes the conversation by saying “I’ve got it, I’ve got it!” Moe inquires with “What?” Larry replies, “a terrific headache!” Later, Palma is seen from the back by the palace guard. A few lines of dialogue appear – “Whoa, Moe, Larry! Moe, help!” – by dubbing Shemp’s voice from the soundtracks of Fuelin ‘Around and Blunder Boys . They were half-hearted at the Harem girls (they were half-hearted because they were farther from the camera than Moe or Larry).

Palma is seen on a final time, making a dash for the open window, and supplying his own yell before making the final jump. This was one of the few times during his tenure as Shemp’s double that Palma was required to speak with the help of dubbing.

Hot Stuff 

For hot stuff , Palma is seen several times. The first time occurs when the Stooges, disguised in beards, are trolling through office hallways. Palma Grunts “Right!” He then walks off-camera, allowing Moe and Larry to finish the scene by themselves. This is the only time Palma has been seen from the front in a near shot, but since his secret character was wearing a fake beard at the time, his face was concealed.

Later, Palma is seen from the back while the boys are locked in the laboratory. Palma attempts to imitate Shemp’s famed cry of “Heep, heep, heep!”. Again, Moe Shemp direct, this time to guard the door. Palma obliges, mutters a few additional “Heep, heep, heeps !,” and hides behind the door. This brief scene was performed by Palma performed in his own voice acting as Shemp.

Scheming Schemers 

For Scheming Schemers , Palma appears for the shot of “Shemp” honking a truck horn. Palma gathers several pipes, obstructing his face, and one line of dialogue (“Hold yer horses, will ya?”) Is dubbed in Shemp’s voice from The Ghost Talks . Shemp is absent from several scenes. In one scene, Larry, “Where’s Shemp? He loves pictures!” Moe mutters, “I think he’s upstairs,” explaining away Shemp’s absence for the next few minutes.

Commotion on the Ocean 

For Commotion on the Ocean , Palma appears in the magazine. After Larry says, “Oh, I know Smitty: ‘Under the spreading chestnut tree, smitty village stands’,” Moe slaps him. Palma gets involved in the slapstick exchange and shields himself in defense, obstructing his face.

Other new footage in the film consists of Moe and Larry working as a duo, often discussing Shemp’s absence aloud:

  • Moe : “I wonder what became of that Shemp?”
  • Larry : “You know he went on deck to scout out some food.”
  • Moe : “Oh, yeah, that’s right.”

First use

Aspiring filmmaker Sam Raimi , a professed Stooges fan, coined the term in his first feature-length movie The Evil Dead . [3] Most of the time is spent in the production of six weeks. He Was forced to use himself, His die-hard friends Bruce Campbell , Rob Tapert , Josh Becker , assistant David Goodman, and brother Ted Raimi as “fake Shemps”. [4]

Sam Raimi’s later productions in film and TV have also been used in the past. For example, 15 fake Shemps were included in the credits for Army of Darkness , Raimi’s second sequel to The Evil Dead . [5] The description is sometimes modified in the final credits; in Darkman , Bruce Campbell’s quick cameo in the final scene is credited as “Final Shemp”, and Campbell was also credited as “Shemp Wooley” (a pun on singer Sheb Wooley ) when doing the voice of “Jean-Claude Carrier Parrot” in the short-lived TV series Jack of All Trades .


There have been many Fake Shemps over the years. One of the earliest, in an example that predates its use Shemp, was in the film Saratoga , in which the illness and death of a star Jean Harlow is necessary for the filming of scenes with a voice and double body. Director Ed Wood used his wife’s chiropractor, Tom Mason, in the 1959 cult classic Plan 9 from Outer Space as a stand-in for the deceased Bela Lugosi .

In the 1981 movie Superman II , actor Gene Hackman , who had finished the majority of his scenes playing Lex Luthor , left the project following the departure of the film’s original director, Richard Donner . Richard Lester , after replacement director, took over production. This is accomplished by an actor standing in for Hackman, while still facing the camera, while also impersonating Hackman’s voice.

The death of actor John Candy forced the use of a fake Shemp to complete filming of Wagons East! [6]

Another example is from the 1989 film Back to the Future Part II . Actor Crispin Glover was asked to reprise the role of George McFly. Glover reported interest, but could not come back to an agreement with the producers regarding his salary. For the George McFly character to Appear, director Robert Zemeckis used Some Previously filmed footage of Glover from the first movie and inter-spliced Jeffrey Weissman, who wore prosthetics including a false chin, nose, and cheekbones and used various obfuscating methods, such as background, sunglasses, rear shot, and even upside down, to Glover resembles. Dissolved with these plans, Glover filed a lawsuit against the producers, including Steven Spielberg, on the grounds that they neither owned nor lied to permission to use it. Due to Glover’s lawsuit, there are now provisions in the Screen Actors Guild collective bargaining agreements and producteurs That That state actors are not allowed to use Such methods to reproduce the likeness of other actors. [7]

See also

  • Alan Smithee


  1. Jump up^ Lenburg, Jeff; Howard Maurer, Joan; Lenburg, Greg; (1982). The Three Stooges Scrapbook, Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-0946-5
  2. Jump up^ Seely, Peter; Pieper, Gail W. (2007). Stoogeology: Essays on the Three Stooges . McFarland. p. 78. ISBN  0-7864-2920-8 .
  3. Jump up^ David Germain (Aug 10, 2004). “Should the Stooges get a little brighter ?; New DVD lets viewers see colored version Modern directors decry new-look numbskulls”. Toronto Star . p. D.08.
  4. Jump up^ Campbell, Bruce; (2001). If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor, St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 0-312-24264-6
  5. Jump up^ staff (February 19, 1993). “At Trip Into the Macabre With 3 Stooges”. Philadelphia Inquirer . p. 03 (weekend features section).
  6. Jump up^ [1] [ dead link ]
  7. Jump up^ Glover, Crispin (February 2011). “Crispin Glover on Back to the Future 2” . Kermode & Mayo (Interview). Interview with Simon Mayo , Mark Kermode . London: BBC Radio 5 Live . Retrieved April 11, 2011 – via YouTube video.