Have Rocket, Will Travel (1959)

have rocket will travel poster 1959 movie three stooges
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 3/10

Three Stooges always entertain

Not the classic Stooges, no plot, cheap 1950s visuals

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Have Rocket, Will Travel

Studio:   Columbia Pictures

Genre(s):  Comedy/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  August 1, 1959

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

have rocket will travel three stooges space suits

Could it have been “Have Rocket AND Gun, Will Travel”?

When a rocket experiment continues to fail, Dr. Ingrid Naarveg (Anna-Lisa) could not only lose her job but her dream of seeing the stars.  When the janitors Moe (Moe Howard), Larry (Larry Fine), and Curly Joe (Joe DeRita) learn that their favorite scientist is in trouble, they set out to help her…accidentally being shuttled to Venus!  On Venus, Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe face dangers never seen by man, but can they ever return home?

Directed by David Lowell Rich, Have Rocket, Will Travel is a science-fiction Three Stooges comedy.  It was the first Stooges film featuring Joe DeRita as Curly Joe.

While Have Rocket, Will Travel is the type of movie a kid would like, I don’t know that I would like it as a kid (if I ever saw it).  The reason is that I always saw the Three Stooges as Moe Howard, Larry, and Curly…and always questioned when Shemp or Curly Joe popped up (though Shemp was ok).  To me, Curly Joe always just seemed like filler.  Have Rocket, Will Travel has some classic “Stooges” jokes, but it just doesn’t seem to have the kismet that made the other Stooges skits pop.

have rocket will travel three stooges moe howard larry curly joe unicorn

We need more songs with unicorns on Venus

The movie isn’t aided by the plot.  While the Stooges are almost heroic foils in most of their movies (they seem to cause more problems than they solve before saving the day in the end), this movie doesn’t seem to have direction.  It takes too long to get on the rocket to Venus and there isn’t enough fun sci-fi jokes before the Stooges are headed back to Earth.  It feels like the thrust of the story should be the space adventure and the “Strangers in a Strange Land” type aspect of the movie.

I feel bad that I carry a grudge against Curly Joe because Joe DeRita isn’t that bad…but he also isn’t anything special.  He takes over the numbskull role from Curly Howard, but it also seems like Larry Fine has to be even more disaster prone since Curly Joe just isn’t Curly.  Moe Howard continues to be a good “leader” to the Stooges, but there isn’t the chemistry between Moe and Larry with Curly Joe.

have rocket will travel 1959 three stooges moe howard larry fine curly joe derita

Curly Joe…I just want to say…you aren’t one of us

The movie (as you’d expect) is very visually dated.  The sci-fi aspect of the film is played on the cheap side and scenes like the Stooges floating and simulating zero gravity are done pretty poorly.  One of the better jokes in the movie has Curly Joe pointing out that Venus looks a lot like Death Valley (something that always seems to be the case in old Hollywood sci-fi movies)…but the movie didn’t actually shoot in Death Valley so the joke doesn’t quite land.

Have Rocket, Will Travel is a quick movie so even if you don’t love it, it won’t take that long to watch.  The Stooges aren’t at their peak in this movie and the sketches within the movie aren’t the roll-on-the-floor humor of early Three Stooges skits, but they are still fun to watch and remember childhood.  The Three Stooges will always be king!

Related Links:

Time Out for Rhythm (1941)

Rockin’ in the Rockies (1945)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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