In 1959, after Jerome ('Curly') Howard, Shemp Howard, and Joe Besser had either retired or died, this hefty, bald slapstick comedian stepped in as the final "third Stooge" alongside mainstays Moe Howard and Larry Fine. DeRita, often known as 'Curly Joe', joined the Three Stooges after the group had made nearly 200 comedy shorts spanning a quarter century. The new Stooges were ready to move into a series of low-budget features arising from their newfound popularity due to the TV syndication of their shorts. DeRita was less manic than either Shemp or the original Curly and given to less face-making, but his trademark prissy fussiness was also less funny. The trio romped their aging but still comically crackpot way through a half-dozen silly if broadly amusing vehicles in which they encountered Hercules, Snow White, and Western outlaws and were sent into orbit on several occasions.