Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Overlooked Movies -- Destination Moon

This little essay first appeared in a somewhat different form back in February 2011.

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 photographs published 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.

Another reason I was eager to see it was the tie-in comic book, the cover of which is up top on the left.  You can read the whole comic book, which has some B&W stills from the movie, right here.  This movie was much talked about in my family, and my brother, who would have been about four at the time of its release, had trouble pronouncing the title.  I think he believed it was Damnation Moon, but he couldn't say that, either.  He pronounced it something like Daminigion Moon.

Robert A. Heinlein contributed to the script, as you'll see if you check out the comic book, though I didn't know who he was at the time and didn't find out until a few years later (1952 or '53), 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.  If you want to see the whole thing, it's available on YouTube.


Jeff Meyerson said...

It was corny, especially all the "Brooklyn" stuff, but at the time it was pretty cool.


Unknown said...

As an impressionable lad, I got all my ideas about Brooklyn from this movie.

Jeff Meyerson said...

And yet William Bendix wasn't even in it.