by Kathy Wolfe

All good things come in threes! This week, Tidbits presents some famous trios.

Kids of the ‘90s will remember the animated series “Powerpuff Girls,” that debuted in 1998 and ran for 78 episodes over six seasons. The series revolved around three kindergarten-aged girls with superpowers, living in the city of Townsville with their scientist father, Professor Utonium. Blossom, dressed in pink, Bubbles in blue, and Buttercup in green regularly saved the city by exhibiting various abilities, including communicating with animals, creating thunder, lightning, and fireballs, microscopic vision, the ability to understand multiple languages, and spinning into tornadoes. Not bad for five-year-olds! A feature-length film was released in theaters in 2002, grossing $16 million worldwide.

    Destiny’s Child didn’t start out as the well-known trio of Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams. The group was originally six members in 1990 and known as Girl’s Tyme. In 1997, it was a quartet known as Destiny’s Child. In 2000, they became the familiar trio. They officially disbanded in 2006, although they reunited for the 2013 Super Bowl half-time show. Their record sales have topped 60 million.

America’s Triple Crown in horse racing is a group of three races for three-year-old Thoroughbreds that consists of the Kentucky Derby held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, the Preakness Stakes, which takes places at Baltimore, Maryland’s Pimlico Race Course, and the Belmont Stakes, a race at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. All three races were in existence for the first time in 1875. The first horse to win the Triple Crown was Sir Barton in 1919. An 11-year drought followed, with Gallant Fox capturing the title in 1930.

    The Norwegian fairy tale “Three Billy Goats Gruff” was first published around 1841 in a collection known as “Norske Fokeeventyr.” When the tale was first published in English in 1859, the three goats’ family name was “Gruff,” although the original Norwegian version used the surname “Bruse.” In the story, the trio have no grass to eat, and must cross a river to reach a meadow on the other side. The only problem is the terrifying troll who lives under the bridge and eats anyone who tries to cross. The goats trick the troll into coming up onto the bridge, where the largest goat butts him with his horns, and knocks the troll into the current, where he is carried away, making the bridge safe forever.

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies first hit grocers’ shelves in 1928, but their little mascots, Snap, Crackle, and Pop didn’t appear on the box until 1932. As the cereal became known for the noise it created when the milk was poured, artist Vernon Grant created the characters to accompany the sound. They appeared exclusively in ads and posters until 1955, when the trio made their television commercial debut.    In English, we say, “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” but in German, the Rice Krispies mascots say, “Knisper! Knasper! Knusper!, while those in Finland declare, Riks! Raks! Poks!” and Pif! Paf! Pof!” in the Netherlands.

The three Great Pyramids of Giza rise above the desert on the west bank of the Nile in northern Egypt. Completed between 2550 and 2490 B.C., the pyramids were built as tombs by three pharaohs who expected to become gods in the afterlife and filled the massive structures with everything they would need to sustain themselves in the next world. Pharaoh Khufu built the first one, which is the largest at 481 feet (147 m), consisting of an estimated 2.3 million stone blocks weighing between 2.5 and 15 tons each. It’s the only one of the original Seven Wonders of the World still standing today. Khufu’s son Khafre built the second pyramid, and his tomb complex includes the well-known Sphinx, with the head of a man and the body of a lion. Khafre’s pyramid stands at 469 feet (143 m). The third pyramid is that of Pharoah Menkaure, considerably smaller at 215 feet (66 m). Although constructed as tombs, none of the kings’ mummies have ever been found. The tombs are filled with inscriptions and art that depict the lives of ancient Egyptians.

    We think of the Three Stooges as Curly, Moe, and Larry, but it wasn’t always so. The vaudeville group was created by comedian Ted Healy in 1925 as “Ted Healy and his Southern Gentlemen,” and featured the three Horwitz brothers, Curly, Moe and Shemp. Crowds loved their slapstick routines and in 1930, the brothers were contracted to make a film, “Soup to Nuts.” Shemp left the act shortly after the film, and a childhood friend of the boys, Louis Feinberg, took his place with a stage name of Larry Fine. Another movie contract followed in 1933, and by 1946, the Three Stooges had appeared in more than 90 films. In 1946, Curly suffered a debilitating stroke, and brother Shemp was persuaded, although reluctantly, to return to the group, where he remained until his death nine years later. The Stooges’ total film count topped 220.

      Joanne Woodward nabbed the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in 1957’s “The Three Faces of Eve,” the true story of a woman with multiple personality disorder. A shy, quiet housewife named Eve White visited a psychiatrist after suffering severe headaches and blackouts. During an appointment, a new personality emerged, dubbed Eve Black, who was outgoing, fun-loving, and single. She knew about Eve White, but Eve White was unaware of Eve Black. At one time, Eve Black was found trying to strangle Eve White’s daughter. The woman’s true identity was kept secret for 20 years, until in 1977, Chris Sizemore wrote the book “I’m Eve,” revealing that she had not just three personalities, but rather, more than 20, which, through extensive therapy, were eventually unified. It was discovered that Sizemore’s witnessing of two deaths and a gruesome accident within three months as a small child triggered her development of personalities.

      Donald Duck’s three nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, were introduced in a 1937 newspaper comic strip. They were presented as the triplet sons of Donald’s sister Della, although in one cartoon short, “Donald’s Nephews,” their mother was named Dumbella. Their names came from Louisiana governor Huey Long, New York politician and later-governor Thomas Dewey, and a Disney studio animator named Louis Schmitt. The trio has remained popular for 85 years, with movies, numerous video games, and a 1987 TV series called “Duck Tales.” In Finland, the nephews are known as Tupu, Hupu, and Lupu, while their Polish names are Hyzio, Dyzio, and Zyzio.