ⓘ Have Rocket, Will Travel


ⓘ Have Rocket, Will Travel

Have Rocket, Will Travel is a 1959 American science fiction comedy film starring The Three Stooges. By this time, the trio consisted of Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and new "third Stooge" Joe DeRita. Released by Columbia Pictures, the feature was produced to capitalize on the comedy trios late 1950s resurgence in popularity.


1. Plot

The Stooges are janitors working at a space center who accidentally blast off to Venus. They encounter a talking unicorn, a giant fire-breathing tarantula, and an alien computer which has destroyed all life on the planet and creates three evil duplicates of the Stooges. When the boys return home triumphant, they are given a heros welcome.


2. Cast

  • Joe DeRita - Curly Joe/robot duplicate
  • Dal McKennon - Voice of Uni the Unicorn
  • Moe Howard - Moe/robot duplicate
  • Don Lamond - The Venusian Robot/Reporter/Narrator
  • Anna-Lisa - Dr. Ingrid Naarveg
  • Robert Colbert - Dr. Ted Benson
  • Jerome Cowan - Mr. Morse
  • Robert Stevenson - Voice of The Thingtz
  • Larry Fine - Larry/robot duplicate

3. Production notes

Have Rocket, Will Travel was Joe DeRitas inaugural screen appearance with the Stooges, having replaced Joe Besser after Columbia ceased production of the Stooges shorts series. The title is a parody of the then-popular television show Have Gun, Will Travel. Filming was completed over 13 days on May 18-June 1, 1959.

Although billed as such, it was not the first starring feature for The Three Stooges. That honor goes to Rockin in the Rockies, the only starring feature made with the best known lineup of Moe, Larry and Curly. The trio had also starred in a 1951 film called Gold Raiders during the Shemp Howard era, and had also had supporting roles in several 1930s films when the trio was still affiliated with Ted Healy, including Dancing Lady with Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Robert Benchley and Fred Astaire.

The space travel theme of Have Rocket, Will Travel was prevalent in the late 1950s. The Stooges had already filmed three shorts for Columbia revolving around this theme. They followed up with yet another space entry in 1962 with The Three Stooges in Orbit.


4. Reception

Box office

Have Rocket, Will Travel was released on August 1, 1959, to mixed critical reviews but was a success at the box office. During its first five days of a multiple-theater engagement in Los Angeles, California, where it was double-billed with The Legend of Tom Dooley, the film grossed $127.000 $1.113.860 today. The film ultimately grossed over $2.5 million $21.926.370 today for Columbia Pictures against a $380.000 budget $3.332.808 today.

Critical response

Moe Howard expressed his dislike for the film in 1973, stating "Didnt care much for Have Rocket, Will Travel. It was contrived a lot. The pies were dragged in at the tail end and not only that, the unicorn business and all that.ugh."


5. Soundtrack

The soundtrack was released in August 1959 by Colpix Records to coincide with the films release. Released as a two-sided 45 rpm disc, the Stooges sing the films theme song backed by vocal group The Tinglers. The title song was written by George Duning and Stanley Styne and arranged by Dennis Farnon.

The album sold exceptionally well but did not enter the Top 40, due to Columbia Pictures giving the album minimal publicity.