The Three Stooges In Orbit is the fourth feature film to star the Three Stooges after their 1959 resurgence in popularity. By this time, the trio consisted of Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Joe DeRita (dubbed "Curly Joe"). Released by Columbia Pictures, The Three Stooges In Orbit was directed by long-time Stooge director Edward Bernds. Over the years, Moe would cite Bernds as the team's finest director.
The first 30 minutes of this film was recycled from a 1960 Three Stooges unsold television pilot, The Three Stooges Scrapbook, and many of the film's props had previously been used in the film Forbidden Planet.
The Stooges are down and out actors who are trying to sell ideas for their animated TV show The Three Stooges Scrapbook. Unfortunately, their producer does not like anything. He gives the boys ten days to come up with a gimmick or their show will be cancelled.
Professor Danforth (Emil Sitka) is convinced that Martians will soon invade Earth. He persuades the boys to help him with his new military invention—a land, air and sea vehicle (tank, helicopter, submarine). In return, Danforth will create a new "electronic animation" machine for the Stooges to use in their TV show.
The Martians, meanwhile send two alien spies named Ogg and Zogg to Earth to prepare for the invasion. When Moe accidentally sends a television transmission through the Martian's communication device, they are offended and call off the invasion, opting instead to destroy Earth.
Meanwhile, the Stooges give the vehicle a test run. They mistakenly enter a nuclear test area, when their engine malfunctions. They land near a test rig where a test nuclear depth bomb is set up. The Stooges take the bomb, thinking it's a carburetor, and fasten it to the engine. Water, meant to detonate the bomb, shoots out of the testing rig. The military is bewildered by test's failure. With the bomb attached to the engine, the vehicle now performs beyond expectations, even going into space.
Later, the Martians steal the vehicle, mount a ray gun and begin destroying targets. The boys sneak onto the craft to stop them and just manage to save Disneyland at the last second. The Stooges are able to use one of the Martians' ray guns to separate the fuselage from the conning tower. The fuselage, holding Ogg and Zogg, crashes into the ocean, detonating the nuclear depth bomb. Clinging to the auto-rotating helicopter section, the Stooges survive, crashing through the roof of their television studio-saving not only the earth but their show as well!
- Moe Howard as Moe
- Larry Fine as Larry
- Joe DeRita as Curly Joe
- Emil Sitka as Professor Danforth
- Carol Christensen as Carol Danforth
- Edson Stroll as Captain Tom Andrews
- George N. Neise as Ogg/Airline Pilot
- Rayford Barnes as Zogg/Airline Co-Pilot
- Norman Leavitt as Williams, the Butler
- Nestor Paiva as Chairman
- Don Lamond as Colonel Smithers
- Peter Dawson as General Bixby
- Peter Brocco as Doctor Appleby
- Cheerio Meredith as Tooth Paste Old Maid