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127 6 The Cycle Changes, 1963–1971 The shift in tone of the next few years was crystallized in a note above a title. The Three Stooges Go around the World in a Daze began, “Acknowledgment is hereby made to Jules Verne, on whose classic, Around the World in Eighty Days, this film is based—Sincere apologies , The Producers.” Rather than aiming at family filmgoers generally, Hollywood Verne adaptations began to polarize around either adults or preteens. The first Verne television series would also demonstrate animation as a viable style for bringing Verne to the screen. Most importantly, a certain exhaustion of the existing trend became evident as filmmakers, in the search for fresh perspectives, turned away from adaptations toward pastiche and satire of the author’s stories. This trend continues to this day in both Hollywood and foreign films, an evolution from literal adaptations to the creation of films inspired by Verne stories and thus freed from their precise confines or dated aspects. Filmmakers used Vernian characters, icons, and vehicles in narratives and contexts outside of those the author created. New variations on his ideas or futuristic elements beyond Verne’s vision or intent developed, while still retaining the canonical elements, plot structures, and thematic motifs. Although this trend had begun in the early silent era with Around the World in 18 Days and reappeared in the “Foggbound” episode of Have Gun—Will Travel, in 1963 it would reemerge with The Three Stooges Go around the World in a Daze, to be followed by Those Fantastic Flying Fools and Captain Nemo and the Underwater City. Despite star billing for the Stooges, Phileas Fogg and Verne received full notice in advertising for The Three Stooges Go around the World in a Daze (1963). The Cycle Changes 129 This was also the rationale allowing for a series format in several Vernian animated television presentations. The new pattern was nowhere more apparent than in the initial offering . As the title The Three Stooges Go around the World in a Daze suggests , Larry, Curly, and Moe did bring their zaniness to a 1963 parody of the novel. As in the serial Around the World in 18 Days, the novel was updated to center around a descendant, the great‑grandson of the hero whose adventures Verne chronicled. Phileas Fogg III is played by Jay Sheffield, with the Stooges as his servants, a sort of tripartite Passepartout who accompany him on the global trek, joined by a damsel rescued from distress (Joan Freeman). Moe’s son‑in‑law, Norman Maurer, wrote the screen story as well as produced and directed this ninety-four‑minute Columbia Pictures film from a screenplay by Elwood Ullman. The story opens with a criminal reading Verne’s novel and deciding that the bank robbery of which Fix suspected Fogg might never have been traced to the real culprit had Fogg conveniently disappeared during his travels. The criminal dares Fogg’s descendant to repeat his ancestor’s journey without spending any money and simultaneously implicates him in a bank theft. However, Fogg and his friends continually manage to escape both danger and a Scotland Yard detective, arriving back in England apparently a day late but of course having made the same original date error. The picture is far more of a Three Stooges vehicle in all its other details, and subsequent pastiches would be more canonical. From the Earth to the Moon (1958) was not distributed in England until the early 1960s, and this labored effort may have prompted producer Harry Alan Towers to return to the spirit of Georges Méliès, whose A Trip to the Moon had actually been as faithful as the recent movie. Towers had a childhood background in the classics, recognizing their evergreen quality as a basis for filmmaking and possessing a skill at exploiting them through modern and budget-minded showmanship. He wisely decided on a jaunty, tongue‑in‑cheek romp, writing an original screen story (under his pseudonym “Peter Welbeck”) inspired by Verne’s writings, principally the first part of his lunar saga. Towers’s decision not to encompass the novel Around the Moon is not so surprising considering that the two books have been as often reprinted separately as together. Moreover, the sequel shifts toward materialistic science fic- 130 Hollywood Presents Jules Verne tion, away from the satire of American culture in From the Earth to the Moon, which was Towers’s focus.1 His production was shot in Ireland under the...


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