Writer: DAVID WALLACE // Photographer: ANDREW D. BROSIG // Jan/Feb 2016
Who is your favorite comedy team? Do comedy teams still exist? Back when I was growing up, I loved Abbott and Costello, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis and even Lucy and Ethel.
My parents grew up enjoying the antics of the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy. It seems like many great yesteryear comedy acts have been forgotten.
However, The Three Stooges have remained in the public consciousness all of these years. Their career started in 1920s vaudeville and continued through the ’60s as one of the best “slap stick” acts in the world.
They starred in many black-and-white short films and full-length motion pictures. I think much of their success can be attributed to the sound effects of face slapping, hair pulling and eyeball gouging with two fingers. It is very difficult to watch their antics without laughing.
The inspiration for this project comes from a Three Stooges short film in which Moe, Larry and Curly are carpenters (not very good ones, of course). After being chased from their shop by nefarious hoodlums, they escape by hiding in a dress shop. It turns out that the fashion designer in the business is lacking inspiration for new designs.
The boys claim to be dress designers and are put to work making outfits for the attractive models. That’s another thing I like about The Stooges, as dumb and ugly as they were, they always managed to get the best looking women. It gives me hope!
You only can imagine the results of their carpenter dresses. The beautiful girls hit the runway wearing outfits that look more like furniture than dresses. One girl wears a pyramid shaped chest of drawers complete with a hair brush and hand mirror in the top drawer of her bustier top. How convenient! Other models sport head dresses fashioned from lamps.
As crazy as the dresses look, the boys are praised for their innovative designs and become a huge success. This must be where “haughty couture” began.
Today, fantasy furniture is the design equivalent of The Three Stooges’ haughty couture. It’s not traditional, modern or any one particular style. It can be anything and bit of everything. Fantasy furniture always has unexpected elements – be it an unusual shape, weird legs or an outrageous color. It can look like something out of a Tim Burton film.
With fantasy furniture, anything goes!
For this issue, I duplicated a console table I saw in a catalog that cost $1,500 and added fantasy furniture touches. When placed behind a sofa, a console table can serve as an entry table. Because they are narrow, console tables work well in a hallway because they do not block the flow of traffic. When placed in the middle of a room, they can be used to divide a space.
This table started out as a pedestal box that I turned on its side. An inexpensive bookcase also can be used.
A console table typically stands about 30 inches tall. The box I used was 24 inches tall so it needed legs that were 6 or 7 inches tall. Furniture legs can be purchased but I took a deck post made of yellow pine and cut it down to the size I needed.
To create a decorative base for the table to sit on, I cut a piece of pine wood the same size as the bottom of the box, added base trim and mitered the corners. I then evenly spaced eight deck post legs on the board and attached them using wood glue and wood screws.
This formed a short eight-legged base on which the table formed by the box rests. My table has the cubic look of modernism. I added an old ornate oval picture frame to the front of the box to juxtapose the style. I painted the piece mustard yellow and sealed it with a Polycrylic water-based finish often used on boats to protect it from water rings and spills. I finished it with a clear satin finish. A gloss works just as well.
I’m thinking about making more basic tables like this one. I can add something different to make each unique. You might even see me at a flea market selling my fantasy furniture.
As Curly Joe would say, “Oh, wise guy, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!”