Whoever titled these DVD sets deserves a two-finger salute from Moe: They’re not greatest-hit compilations for beginning knuckleheads, but collections of Stooges arcana aimed at the kind of hardcore completist who insists that, say, the oeuvre of Shemp Howard has been undervalued vis-a-vis the Curly years.
Still, as video flotsam goes, this is neat, weird stuff. All Time Favorites spans the team’s entire career, starting with a documentary that includes strangely affecting home movies of the boys in their heyday, the final 1970 TV pilot ”Kook’s Tour” (aborted when Larry Fine suffered a stroke), and interviews with surviving family members from a 1998 convention. Greatest Hits does offer four classic shorts (one Curly, three Shemps), but the battered prints suffer in comparison with Columbia TriStar’s spiffed-up Stooges releases; more to the point, the disc also offers an entire (and entirely bad) 1934 musical featuring Shemp and four anonymous alterna-Stooges, Curly’s first appearance on film in 1933, and a 1950 TV show called Camel Comedy Caravan hosted by Ed Wynn and featuring Moe, Larry, and Shemp as CBS executives. Some things never change. Both: B