get a warm reception on Venus from a fire-breathing
Robot Stooge duplicates get their
morning wake-up zap.
But soon, because of the popularity of their old films on afternoon
television, The Three Stooges were in demand again. In 1959 Moe
and Larry, now joined by Joe DeRita as "Curly Joe", were called
back to Columbia to star in their first feature length movie. Like
some of their last shorts, it also had a sci-fi theme. The title,
HAVE ROCKET, WILL TRAVEL, was inspired by the title
of the then-popular TV western HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL.
Although they were more than 25 years older than when they began
their film careers, Moe and Larry had aged fairly well (it helps
that they were never very good looking to begin with). DeRita's
had neither Curly's lovable zaniness or Shemp's comedic skills,
but his resemblance to Curly at least gave the team the right physical
balance. This new kinder, gentler and more parent-friendly version
of the Three Stooges, though a far cry from the team's glory days,
still provided some enjoyable kid's entertainment. I was five years
old when HAVE ROCKET, WILL TRAVEL was released and
it is among my earliest moviegoing memories.
In their new movie the Stooges play janitors who are accidentally
blasted into space in a rocket. They end up on Venus where they
meet a talking unicorn, a flame shooting giant spider, featuring
footage shot for Universal's TARANTULA, and an artificial
super intelligence who captures the trio, shrinks them to mouse
size then creates his own set of robot Stooges. All of this was
pretty cool stuff for a blossoming young Three Stooges and fantasti-film
fan. If the music during the spider scene sounds familiar, it should.
It's from the 1955 Ray Harryhausen classic IT CAME FROM BENEATH