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There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Mantan Moreland. But, if you are lucky enough to have seen him in a film—any film—you’ll definitely remember him. Moreland’s comic timing manages to transcend the decades in films like King of the Zombies (1941), where he steals the show, saving what would otherwise be a completely forgettable (and by now, probably long-forgotten) comedy-horror flick. While changing attitudes about black roles in film may have hastened Moreland’s fall from popularity, he’s finally being rediscovered as the talented character actor and comedy genius that he was.

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  1. I have watched the entire collection of The Three Stooges…and remember him in many of the shorts…he was hilarious!!! He had these big wide eyes when he was frightened, and we felt his fear when we saw it…but in a funny way…he would have been a marvelous as a member of the Stooges (Sooooo much better than Joe)…It is sad that, because of the times they were in, we missed out on what could have been a classic era of the Stooges…

  2. Yeah, I heard about Moe and Larry wanting Mantan,but got Joe Besser, instead. Interesting that Moe called him a pain in the butt. Joe Besser was funny, but didn't mesh with the other stooges well.I watched King of Zombies several times and he never fails to make me laugh until tears run down my cheeks.

  3. It's interesting that Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Mantan Moreland all died within a two-year period. I'm somewhat bothered by the racially-stereotyped wide-eyed mugging that Moreland was known to do all the time, as well as adhering to the racial stereotype that the black guy always gets more frightened than everybody else. Still, he was a GREAT comedian and people should see his work for sure. The Three Stooges actually worked with a black actor named Dudley DIckerson, who had MANY of the same mannerisms of Mantan Moreland, especially the buggy eyed scared reactions. He appeared in several Three Stooges shorts, including A Plumbing We Will Go, They Stooge to Conga, A Gem of a Jam, and Hold That Lion! Moreland would have undoubtedly been a more sophisticated character than Dickerson if he had been selected for full Stooge status. I wish he had become a Stooge when Shemp died.

  4. I have some Michael Shane detective movies from the 40’s (recommended) and Moreland was in one called Sleepers West. He stood out and definitely made his part his own. Cool video!

  5. Mantan Moreland would have been ten times better than Joe Besser and Joe DeRita combined. He was a very talented man who was never really allowed to show what he was capable of.

  6. I first discovered Mantan Moreland through the Charlie Chan movies. He was hilarious and always "stole the show." He would indeed have made a great Stooge. Thanks for keeping his memory alive.

  7. Joe Besser was disgusting. I can't think of anything more stomach churning than a fat and ugly man who thinks he's adorable. His childlike persona wasn't the slightest bit funny. It was just gross. Moreland sounds like he would have been a decent replacement for Shemp. And with that notwithstanding they either should have continued with only Moe and Larry as the two stooges or just ended the series altogether.

  8. How could Shemp have predicted in the early 40s(When that DR RX movie was made)that there'd ever be a need for a replacement Stooge? I doubt the issue ever came up before 1946. That makes this story fishy!

  9. MANTAN MORELAND is the greatest comedian/song/dance man to ever grace our silver screen……..thanks to YouTube we can relish his talent anytime we like……sorry, but i see MANTAN as a very talented man…….not a black man……….

  10. It's a mistake to compare treatment of blacks then to how they are treated now. You have to compare how they were treated prior to that time to see that it was progress. Put it another way, if you have a sequence 1,2,3, then 2 will look small if you compare it to 3 when it really is a big step up from 1.

  11. This is why I love the YouTube, and the internet im general. You bypass the entertainment gatekeepers. I will be watching this man's films, and enjoying them!