Friday, September 15, 2017

The Three Stooges Save… WHAT?!

Had occasion to recently watch “The Three Stooges in Orbit”, a Columbia feature film of 1962, featuring the Stooges as then-constituted:  Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Curly Joe DeRita. 

In it, our boys get to tool around land, air, sea, and even space in a bizarre, yet incongruously cool, looking craft that somehow combines characteristics of a tank, boat, submarine, airplane, and rocket ship. 

Oh, and they also get to fight Martian spies! 

As part of the expected wild-ride climax, those evil Martians take aim at a particularly unexpected target!

Yes, really!  …Disneyland! 

Thankfully, Curly Joe (with a little help from his Stooge-friends) saves “The Happiest Place on Earth” from the “Meanest Men on Mars”, with some quick repositioning of the Martians’ lethal cannon! 

Yeah, you go, Joe!  Think of THAT the next time you “prefer” Curly Howard, Shemp Howard, or even Joe Besser as your "Third Stooge of Choice"!

Of course, the surprising thing about this is that Disneyland would appear, and be specifically referenced, in a Columbia (today, Sony) film, if even for a moment!  In today’s copyright-happy world, imagine such a thing occurring between modern Disney and Sony!

Be that as it may, just remember that, if you’ve visited Disneyland between 1962 and the present day (as I have, and I’ll assume the same for many of you), we may very well have The Three Stooges to thank for that day of Disney Magic! 


Bringing it all the way ‘round though, The Three Stooges might actually have Disney to thank for the inspiration behind the film’s greatest prop… and, arguably, the greatest prop the Stooges have ever had to work with…

‘Cos lookit whut GOOFY inn-vented… way back in Dell Four Color # 194 "Mickey Mouse and the World Under the Sea" (1948)! 

Look sorta familiar? 

And, before all that, in the Mickey Mouse newspaper strip of 1935 (!), we had this flying-boat-ish-submarine-y-type craft! 

Looking forward to 1965 and beyond, we have the Flying Sub from VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA!  My favorite fictional vehicle of all time! 

Isn’t it great how all this stuff relates!   

And, for one more unusual Disneyland reference, check out THIS POST! 



top_cat_james said...

Hi Joe!

That same year, Universal released a Tony Curtis vehicle, Forty Pounds of Trouble, that was largely filmed inside Disneyland. It was even part of the movie's advertising and promotion.

Joe Torcivia said...

…And NOW, they have competing theme parks! The world, it keeps a-changin’!

Welcome Back, TCJ!

HERE’S that link!

And, check out that CAST: Larry Storch, Howard Morris, Mr. Sci-Fi: Warren Stevens, Kevin (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) McCarthy, and Irwin Allen’s favorite “President of the United States” – Ford Rainey!

TC said...

When I was ten, one of our local TV stations commemorated the then-upcoming Apollo 11 mission by showing sci-fi movies on consecutive weekdays. Destination Moon, The Conquest of Space, From the Earth to the Moon, This Island Earth, and...The Three Stooges in Orbit.

Well, they can't ALL be 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Actually, "Orbit" is a sentimental favorite of mine, since I associate it with that summer.

When I was young, I would watch the Stooges' feature films and their old two-reel shorts on TV (and I read the Gold Key comics), and I did not realize that Curly Joe and the original Curly (Howard) were two different guys. I did not get confused until I started seeing the ones with Shemp. "What's a Shemp?" Years later, I read Leonard Maltin's book Movie Comedy Teams, and got them sorted out.

Forty Pounds of Trouble was an entertaining little rom com. Sort of an unofficial remake of Little Miss Marker.

I suppose Disney did not object to a little extra publicity. And Universal (and Hanna-Barbera) did not have any competing theme parks back then

I read The World Under the Sea when Gemstone reprinted it, and I noted the similarity between Goofy's invention and Emil Sitka's triphibian vehicle.

Irwin Allen's favorite POTUS, Ford Rainey, actually did resemble the real-life president in 1973.

Joe Torcivia said...


Frankly, I’m GLAD they aren’t all “2001: A Space Odyssey”, because that may very well have been the greatest Sci-Fi film disappointment of my life!

To explain, I’d somehow managed to go through life without actually seeing it until about five-or-so years ago – but have continually heard about it, since my still-tender age during the late 1960s. BUT, and an important “but”, all that I ever really knew was that it was about the rebellious computer “HAL”.

So, I sorta figured it as being something like STAR TREK’s “The Ultimate Computer”, only on a grander, more cinematic scale!

When I finally took the plunge for a Blu-ray, I was presented with a jumbled mess of too many different and unrelated elements thrown together – topped off by what I feel is an incomprehensible ending – that failed to live up to my decades-long expectations of a 90-munite super-screen-sized astronaut battle with HAL.

That, and the cold sterility that has infected sci-fi / space-type product ever since, starting with SPACE 1999, and I’d rather see “The Three Stooges in Orbit” 100 more times, before I’d consider watching “2001: A Space Odyssey” again! Call my tastes “pedestrian”, if you will, but that’s just the way I see it!

…Oh, and ironically, The Three Stooges, spend virtually NO time “in Orbit”, for a film so-titled. But, it’s The Three Stooges (even if not in their prime iteration), so what the hey, it’s still worth it!

Shifting gears, Ford Rainey MUST have been Irwin Allen’s favorite POTUS, considering how LONG he served. He was in office in the early 1970s, when VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA began taking place, and was STILL THERE when the Robinsons lifted-off to become LOST IN SPACE, in 1997!

…Of course, Irwin Allen could have, once again, accurately predicted the future – this time “the future of politics”, and maybe there were TWO such presidents… Ford Rainey and his son “Ford W. Rainey”!

Debbie Anne said...

The Gottfredson story about Mickey and the submarplane is one of my favorites. I'll have to reread that one sometime.
I recall seeing The Three Stooges in Orbit many years ago when my brother was on a Three Stooges kick. They're not really my thing, but they're not as bad as people make them out to be. After all, anyone who'd save Disneyland from Martians can't be all bad.

Joe Torcivia said...


I never thought I’d live to say this but, now that Fantagraphics’ Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse Library is almost complete (I got my Volume 11 [of12] this week), you CAN easily go back and read ANY Gottfredson continuity that you wish! To me, that was once an impossible dream!

The people who “make The Three Stooges out to be bad”, are the same types of people who have been protecting America’s children from all sorts of things they deem unacceptable since the late sixties and early seventies. Those are the people who turned animation to tepid mush. If it’s not the Stooges, then it’s Tom and Jerry, The Road Runner and other Looney Tunes, or later on Ralph Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse, and it goes on and on.

Meanwhile, after about 40-50 years of this kind of overreaching benevolent protection, you have but to turn on the TV news or, in some cases even look out your window, to see the perfectly angelic, exemplary model citizens these generations of “protected children” have turned out to be!

The Three Stooges are ALWAYS good for some laughs, from the beginning (especially), up through the very end. And, there have always been far greater challenges facing our society than Moe, Larry, Curly, Shemp, Joe Besser, and Curly-Joe! Then, and especially NOW! But, we never seem to truly move on from this unfortunate mindset, and our popular entertainment has been – and remains – all the poorer for it.

Besides, their Gold Key Comic, especially during the peak years of 1964-1968, was also a real delight, with great art mostly by Sparky Moore, and some by Pete Alvarado! I’d particularly recommend the run of issues 16-42! Then again, I’d say pretty much the same about most Gold Key comics – certainly from 1964-1966 at least!

Adel Khan said...

Spread out!

Wow! What a post. I like how you find corresponding connections between all of your interests. As you are aware that my interests in grade six were the Ducks and the Three Stooges. I’ll give it to Curly-Joe for preventing the destruction of Disneyland.

It’s funny how when I saw the Beagle Boys in the DUCKTALES episode, “Don’t Give Up The Ship” they reminded me of the Three Stooges. Could it have been due to the numerous times of them being incarcerated? It’s interesting how after Joe Besser ‘s departure Chuck McCann was to have been the third Stooge at one point. Moe and Larry would make the rounds to his show and Officer Joe Bolton’s show and that gave Moe the idea to have him in the role. It didn’t pan out due to Chuck McCann’s scheduling conflicts but it would’ve soitenly been interesting.

As a child, I rented two videocassettes from Roger’s Video: “What’s The Matador” and “The Three Stooges Go Around The World”.

It was within minutes of THE THREE STOOGES GO AROUND THE WORLD when I ejected the tape from the VCR when I discovered it was Curly-Joe. At that time, I thought it was heresy to see Curly-Joe as the third Stooge. I was uncomfortable with seeing anyone else in the role. I was guilty of committing the cardinal sin of blaming him for not being Curly Howard.

I asked my mother and father if he was concerned about me imitating the Stooges. It never bothered my mother as I was in grade two she saw how on the weekends I perked up when I viewed them especially as I didn’t have any friends to interact with. My father gave me credit that I was aware that the violence in the Three Stooges was cartoon violence as I refer to it. I’m proud to admit that as a child in grade two I never poked anyone in the eye.

As a millennial, I consider comedy by current standards to be crass. I believe that in today’s climate children can watch far worse than the Three Stooges. I, concur with you that no matter how many times I’ve viewed the Three Stooges shorts they never have failed to cheer me up. I’ll let Moe have the last word on pressure groups. As I’m having difficulty creating an end time for the clip it is at -22:10.

Joe Torcivia said...


Another vote cast FOR the Stooges! Ah, does my heart good!

I never understood the fear of imitating outlandish behavior because I, myself, and at any age, always knew how to separate fantasy and reality. “Reality” was always the one that was duller! I may have *wanted* to hit my brother on the head with a hammer, or poke his eyes (…who, with a brother, didn’t?), but I knew that I couldn’t! And that was simply that! I just think we WAAAY underestimate the intelligence of children, and have done so for WAAAY too long!

Chuck McCann as the “third Stooge” after Joe Besser? That’s fascinating, and something I never knew. And I watched Chuck McCann every afternoon on WPIX 11 as a kid. Loved him! Another third Stooge possibility, to succeed Shemp, would have been the regrettably forgotten Mantan Moreland !

For what it’s worth, I think Curly-Joe DeRita was the right choice for the “Stooges of the sixties”! His physical appearance evoked Curly Howard, he was willing to take on more physical stuff then Joe Besser, and he was (for lack of a better phrase) more sedate than Curly or Shemp… and that’s what The Three Stooges were forced to become as both standards changed, and they grew older.

Funny thing about The Beagle Boys and The Three Stooges… I had the Beagles adopt the “civilian names” of “Bo, Barry, and Burly” in This Issue of UNCLE SCROOGE and, in the upcoming IDW CHRISTMAS PARADE for 2017, I did a Mickey and Goofy vs. The Beagle Boys – and, though there are only TWO Beagle Boys in the story, I sorta give them a Three Stooges vibe. You’ll see that for yourself!

“As a millennial, I consider comedy by current standards to be crass.”

You are, indeed, an extraordinary “millennial”, Adel!

Achille Talon said...

Though this is unrelated to this post itself, may I ask, dear Blogmaster Torcivia, when we may expect your thoughts on DuckTales 2017's pilot and two first episodes?

Joe Torcivia said...


Sorry for the delay in replying. Been very busy with some good comics stuff to come!

I have only seen the Pilot thus far, and pretty much liked what I saw. Especially having DONALD back as part of the mix. I certainly like the BARKS, or BARKS-INSPIRED portraits of Scrooge. Webby and Mrs. Beakley are vastly improved over their previous incarnations.

DO NOT LIKE THE OVERALL DESIGN SENSE. Don’t much care for the nephews’ differentiation, but maybe I could get used to it, IF it is handled well. Glomgold doesn’t need to be so fat. Launchpad doesn’t need to be such a “surfer dude”. And heaven only knows what they’ve done to GYRO, from what I’ve heard!

I feel that, as long as we have executives that “know more” than pure creators, we will always have a semi-satisfying (because they can’t be wrong ALL time time) and semi-disappointing mish-mash, be it Disney, Warner Bros. or any media giant that’s behind a project.

I hope to see more of the series.

Achille Talon said...

An interesting perspective. By the way, if you haven't seen it already, GeoX reviewed this episode, and the second one, on the newly-revived Duck Cartoons Revue.

Incidentally, my ties to the Tumblr Duck fandom (which is somewhat detached from the folks you find on this blog's comments or on Feathery Society) has shown that while DuckTales 2017 seems more prevalent than your suggested New DuckTales, referring to the 1987 series as DuckTales Classic has indeed caught on. Congratulations!

Joe Torcivia said...


I will have to check out Geo-X’s reviews. He’s always one for… er, stimulating discourse!

I figured it probably wouldn’t take too long for “unofficial-official” designations for the two different DuckTales series to take hold. I also thought I’d try to get to the forefront of this by getting my designations out there early.

I admittedly borrowed from the Coca-Cola situation back in the eighties, where we had “New Coke” and “Coke Classic”, and simply applied it to DuckTales (the analogy seemed very apt) as “New DuckTales” and “DuckTales Classic” .

Not unlike the way I also borrowed the term “Core Four” from the New York Yankees (where it applied to Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte) and applied it to the four most enduring American Disney comic book series (Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Uncle Scrooge).

That DID take hold, and become part of the lexicon, similarly to the way my good friend and eighties fandom figure Dana Gabbard gave us “The Disney Implosion” to forever characterize the failed comic book experiment of 1990-1991.

So, I’ll take “DuckTales Classic” and add it to “Core Four” and be extremely grateful for having made some kind of mark on our favorite fandom.

…But, I may still try to push “New DuckTales” in some of my future writings! It never hurts to have a spare designation. :-)

Achille Talon said...

This is unrelated to much of anything, but I encourage you to check out the "retro-webcomic" The Unthinkable Hybrid,… I think it may well be to your liking.