A recently discovered vault of WWII-era documents paint a much more complete picture of the politics and machinations of ‘Il Duce‘, Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who ruled the peninsula with an iron fist from 1922 to 1943.
But a collection of documents revealed a hitherto unknown fact: The Italian dictator was a huge fanboy of Stooge Jerome (Curly) Howard, and was especially fond of the slapstick comedian’s unflattering portrayal of Il Duce his own self, in the 1940 Columbia Pictures comedy short, ‘You Nazty Spy!’.
Several copies of hand-written letters in stilted English, addressed to the Three Stooges Fan Club and signed by ‘Benni M‘ were among the recovered documents.
“Dear Senor Curly Howard,
You are my favorite of all the Three Stooges. I practice my words of ‘Look at the grouse!’ and ‘Nyuck Nyuck Nyuck’ to sound like you every day. I dream and hope that some day you would come to my country and become our new Minister of Internal Comedy.
Your most biggest fan,
When asked to verify receipt of any such letters, long-time Columbia Pictures archivist Morty Roundell commented, “Oh yeah, I remember those letters. We got two, maybe three a week from Benni. Like clockwork, for years. I always sorta felt for the kid, being stuck in Italy, ya know? I always pictured him as some little fucking Dondi waif. Half expected him and his puppy to show up on the lot any day. Sure is weird finding out it was Il Duce his own damn self. Just goes to show, ya never fucking know, right?”