Thursday, April 28, 2016


Phoenix-area folks: Tomorrow night only, Friday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m., you can catch Destination Moon at an outdoor showing, for free!

This landmark in sci-fi cinema is scheduled to be screened on the grounds of another once-futuristic midcentury landmark, the David Wright House. Should provide just the right atmosphere.

For the uninitiated, Destination Moon (1950) is a fairly serious-minded attempt, co-scripted by Robert A. Heinlein, to depict a scientifically plausible lunar expedition. It’s a little too serious-minded, really. The director was the memorable character actor Irving Pichel, and his presence could have been used onscreen; the astronauts, led by John Archer (Anne’s Dad) are painfully one-dimensional. Woody Woodpecker turns up to explain the problems of space travel near the beginning, and he’s probably the richest and most complex character in the movie.

Having said that, Destination Moon ought to be seen, not only as a highly influential piece of pop culture but also for its visual beauty. The lunar surface, cracked like a dry river bed, the craggy mountains in the background, and the starscapes, designed by the great astronomical painter Chesley Bonestall, still have the power to stir the imagination even now, decades after we decided the Moon wasn’t all that worthwhile of a destination.

There’s nothing as vulgar and unrealistic (or as fun) as a monster in Destination Moon, so…

Monster-of-the-Week: …in its honor this week the nod goes to “Moon Monster…”

…offered in countless comic books of the ‘60s and ‘70s—one of several premiums you’d get FREE, that is, for your one dollar registration fee, when you joined the Horror Fan Club. It was just a big poster, but notice how, as with the “Polaris Nuclear Sub” ads of the same period, the copy allows for the interpretation that you’ll actually be sent a giant life-sized 3-dimensional figure of a Moon Monster...

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