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Three Stooges in Orbit, The

Entry updated 7 April 2020. Tagged: Film.

Film (1962). Columbia Pictures Corporation. Produced by Norman Maurer. Directed by Edwards Bernds. Written by Maurer from an idea by Elwood Ullman. Cast includes Rayford Barnes, Joe DeRita, Larry Fine, Moe Howard, George N Neise and Emil Sitka. 90 minutes. Black and white.

After being thrown out of several hotels, the Stooges – Curly Joe (DeRita), Larry (Fine), and Moe (Howard) – find accommodation in the home of Professor Danforth (Sitka), who is working on a new vehicle as a defence against the Martian Invasion he fears is imminent: a combination tank/helicopter/submarine. The trio's faltering television series needs a fresh gimmick, and the Professor agrees to provide a new animation process in return for help with his craft.

Unknown to any of them, several spies from Mars are already on Earth, led by Ogg (Neise) and Zoff (Barnes). After mistakenly landing at a nuclear test site and taking an experimental nuclear depth charge (thinking it is a part for the vehicle), the Stooges fly into outer space thanks to the added power of this Weapon attached to the engine. The Martians then steal the vehicle, and after a comical fight begin destroying various landmarks including Disneyland with a large Ray Gun. One Stooge uses a ray gun to cut away the fuselage containing the Aliens, which falls into the sea detonating the nuclear depth charge, while the Stooges in the conning tower crash through the roof of their television studio – having saved the world.

This is one of several minor Stooges films trading on their renewed popularity in the late 1950s, following television screening of their older short comedies to a new generation. The make-up for the Aliens is of some interest: large, grotesque craniums and thick, overhanging eyebrow-ridges. The film itself is not nearly as good as Have Rocket, Will Travel (1959); they never reach Mars during their brief trip into space. [GSt/DRL]

see also: The Three Stooges Meet Hercules.

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