Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Forgotten Films: Destination Moon

I've written before about how and when I became an SF fan, but it's something I've never been able to pin down exactly. I do know for sure that Destination Moon had a lot to do with it. The movie came out when I nine years old, and I'd been tremendously excited about it for a good while before it finally made it to the big screen of the Mexia Theatre about two-and-a-half months after its release.

One reason for my excitement must have been these photographs in Life. My grandmother was a subscriber to Life, and since she lived only a couple of blocks away, I visited her several times a week. One thing I always did was read the latest issue of the magazine, and the photos from Destination Moon got me all worked up. I could hardly wait for the movie to appear. When It finally did show up, I was there, and I went back to see it again before it left town.

Robert A. Heinlein contributed to the script, though I didn't know it at the time and didn't know who he was until a few years later, when I read Rocketship Galileo, a novel that has some similarities to the movie.

Even 60 years later, I have vivid memories of the movie itself and of specific scenes. An audience today would probably think it was corny (and it was), but I'd probably still love it. I guess I should order the DVD.

10 comments:

  1. I was similarly taken with "Robinson Crusoe on Mars". Years before it was released on DVD, I was given a "free" bootleg VHS when I purchased a promo shot of its star, Mona the monkey.(The auction site didn't allow sales of unauthorized copies,memory fails but I think this was GEMM, pre EBay)I wasn't disappointed, special effects were very low budget but the acting was first rate and story more plausible than most of what passes for science these days.

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  2. Where did you get that Mexia lobby card?

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  3. Well, there's a reason, beyond just fanboyishness, that CRUSOE got a Criterion release. DESTINATION MOON is a bit stiff, and Asimov was particularly pained by the Brooklyn caricature, but it does have that Pal/Heinlein/Willy Ley goshwow going for it...and ASTOUNDING was as happy to push it as LIFE (and when you contrast the even more Heinleinian PROJECT MOONBASE, you could see how this could've gone very wrong).

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  4. Canp' bob: That's actually the newspaper ad for the movie.

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  5. Gerard8:35 AM

    I like the Dinah Washington song with the same title.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYq3Bb1YTjk

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  6. Gerard8:42 AM

    I even like it better than Nat King Cole's original recording.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMdqUBiqnxk

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  7. Interesting idea here--what did your grandparents introduce to you. Mine subscribed to Reader's Digest Condensed Books and I read many books that way. Didn't seem like a bad idea at the time.

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  8. Mine also subscribed to National Geographic, an ecucation in more ways than one. My grandmother put the maps that came with the magazine on her dining room wall and framed them.

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  9. Sheesh. I know I've seen this more than once, but have absolutely no memory of the story.

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