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The opening credits read: "Columbia Pictures Corporation present the Three Stooges in Have Rocket-Will Travel. Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Joe De Rita are credited individually on the film, and are never referred to as "The Stooges" within the story. The picture opens with an offscreen narrator informing the audience, in a mock-serious tone, about the development of space travel. Although several reviews noted that Have Rocket-Will Travel marked the first feature-length film starring the "Three Stooges," the 1951 film Gold Rush actually marked their starring feature film debut.
The Stooges, who appeared in numerous short films produced by Columbia from the 1930s through 1950s, also had walk-ons and guest spots in several 1930s features. According to a 1959 Daily Variety news item, the Stooges were on the verge of retiring when Columbia's television subsidiary, Screen Gems, released the shorts to television, creating a new audience for the Stooges. The upsurge in popularity led to a series of feature films starring the trio, culminating with the 1965 Columbia film The Outlaws Is Coming (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70). Joe De Rita made his debut as one of the Stooges in Have Rocket-Will Travel, replacing Joe Besser.