Have Rocket, Will Travel

Have Rocket, Will Travel
Theatrical release banner
Directed byDavid Lowell Rich
Produced byHarry A. Romm
Written byRaphael Hayes
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Joe DeRita
Narrated byDon Lamond
Music byMischa Bakaleinikoff
CinematographyRay Cory
Edited byDanny B. Landres
Distributed byColumbia Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • August 1, 1959 (1959-08-01) (U.S.)
Running time
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.5 million[3][4]

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 (dubbed "Curly Joe"). Released by Columbia Pictures, the feature was produced to capitalize on the comedy trio's late 1950s resurgence in popularity.


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 robot duplicates of the Stooges. When the boys return home triumphant, they are given a hero's welcome; a party in their honor becomes a free for all pie fight complicated by the arrival of the evil robots; our heroes and their unicorn friend managed to escape. The epilogue shows the Three Stooges riding on a rocket singing a monologue and ends with Moe getting plastered with cream pies by Larry and Joe!


Production notes

Have Rocket, Will Travel was Joe DeRita's 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.[3] Filming was completed over 13 days on May 18-June 1, 1959.[5]

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.[6] 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 (Space Ship Sappy, Outer Space Jitters, Flying Saucer Daffy). They followed up with yet another space entry in 1962 with The Three Stooges in Orbit.


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).[7] The film ultimately grossed over $2.5 million ($21,926,370 today) for Columbia Pictures against a $380,000 budget ($3,332,808 today).[7]

Critical response

Moe Howard expressed his dislike for the film in 1973, stating "Didn't 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."[8]


The Three Stooges Sing
Have Rocket, Will Travel
Soundtrack album by
The Three Stooges
ReleasedAugust 1959
StudioColumbia Pictures
LabelColpix Records
ProducerGeorge Duning

The soundtrack was released in August 1959 by Colpix Records to coincide with the film's release. Released as a two-sided 45 rpm disc, the Stooges sing the film's theme song backed by vocal group The Tinglers. The title song was written by George Duning and Stanley Styne and arranged by Dennis Farnon.[7]

The album sold exceptionally well but did not enter the Top 40, due to Columbia Pictures giving the album minimal publicity.[7]

1."Have Rocket, Will Travel (Part I)" (George Duning, Stanley Styne)1:26[9]
2."Have Rocket, Will Travel (Part II)" (George Duning, Stanley Styne)1:48[9]

See also


  1. ^ Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion. Comedy III Productions, Inc. p. 524. ISBN 0-9711868-0-4.
  2. ^ "Have Rocket, Will Travel (1959)". Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Maurer, Joan Howard; Jeff Lenburg; Norman Maurer; Greg Lenburg (1985). The Three Stooges Scrapbook. Citadel Press. p. 187. ISBN 0-8065-0946-5.
  4. ^ "1959: Probable Domestic Take". Variety. Los Angeles, California. January 6, 1960. p. 34.
  5. ^ Have Rocket, Will Travel at threestooges.net
  6. ^ Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion. Comedy III Productions, Inc. ISBN 0-9711868-0-4.
  7. ^ a b c d Maurer, Joan Howard; Jeff Lenburg; Greg Lenburg (2012) [1982]. The Three Stooges Scrapbook. Citadel Press. pp. 101, 212. ISBN 978-1-61374-074-3.
  8. ^ Cox, Steve; Jim Terry (2005). One Fine Stooge: Larry Fine's Frizzy Life in Pictures. Nashville, TN: Cumberland House. p. 138. ISBN 978-1-58182-363-9.
  9. ^ a b c "Have Rocket, Will Travel" at 45cat.com

External links

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