The REAL Three Stooges are all about shorts. The movie shorts that is. DeRita was an attempt to extend an act into feature length films. But the Stooges were only properly performed in the time limitation of a movie short
That aside, Why did Larry, Joe, Curly and Shemp put up with it? Why didn’t they Larry and whoever just say
"OK look Moe the next time you hit me, us two (or is it we two?) will gang up on you and beat the hell out of you to see what it’s like.
If you cease your violent intent to us, this aformentioned solution will not occur but if you refuse our poliet request, the result will be of your own making."
And while on occassion Larry or Curly or Joe or Shemp will hit moe, it’s pretty much accidental but Moe returns the hit with an eye poke. How does accidently hitting somone of the butt. (in this case Larry hitting Moe) equate with Moe trying to blind Larry with an eye poke?
I think for several years they were just billed by first name and/or collectively “The Three Stooges,” but some time in the '40s they started being credited as Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Curly Howard, which would have been a clue. Their last names were used in dialogue in at least one short.* As a kid, it still took me a while to figure out that Curly and Moe were brothers, although I connected Moe and Shemp right away (like that was hard).