Larry Fine and Moe Howard started their long and wacky careers as a vaudeville act in 1922 with Shemp Howard as the third leg of the comedy stool. That “leg” was also played by Curly Howard, Joe Besser, and “Curley” Joe Derita over the years, according to the elves at Wikipedia. They made 190 short films that are probably still playing somewhere 24 hours a day.
The Stooges, known for their unique and violent form of slapstick comedy, were trying to launch a new stage in their career in 1969. They were going to do a series of travel “documentaries” set in various locations. Is this where Rick Steves got his idea? Probably not.
During their travels knucklehead antics would ensue. The pilot of the series was called Kook’s Tour, which was a play on the Thomas Cook Travel agency’s Cook’s Tours, recently in the news because they shut down and left travelers stranded. It was shot mostly in Idaho and Wyoming. Filming was not yet complete when Larry Fine suffered a stroke, paralyzing the left side of his body. That killed the idea of a comic travel series.
Someone eventually pulled together the footage they had shot for the pilot and released it as a short movie in 1975. It would be the last film of the Three Stooges’ long career.