Monday, 28 March 2011

FedEx - Moon Office Advert (2007)

These are images from the FedEx Moon Office advert first seen during Super Bowl 2007.  That probably means that it cost a small fortune to make because it certainly will have cost a small fortune to place.
It's entertaining enough though and still viewable online in the usual places.  The space suits are a little 2001, I think although the humour maybe a little older!
Still, I like the fact that the future looks fantastical and far off rather than an extension of now.


Beech-Nut Chewing Gum (1958)

Advert for Beech-Nut Chewing Gum from 1958. 

I would love to go into details but I just don't have them.  Its a fantastic picture though and wouldn't look out of place used in an ad today.... although what looks like nostalgia now was the future back then.


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Angry Red Planet (1959)

Shot in only 10 days, The Angry Red Planet is one of those films that is probably not all that good but if you watched it at the right age then you’ll probably have a soft spot for it.  It’s quite infamous for its use of the cinemagic technique which in simplistic terms lays a distracting pink hue over the ropey effects shots so that you don’t notice how poor they really are!
Story-wise it concerns the return to earth of Rocket Ship MR-1 from its manned mission to Mars.  There are only two survivors left and they recount their adventures upon the red planet where they were attacked by various alien creatures including the spectacular forty foot bat-rat-spider thing!  Anyway they eventually escape the power of the alien force field that’s holding them there and return to earth to impart their cautionary tale.
To add some further weight to the argument that Mars is a deadly place to visit, the scientist discover a message telling them that humanity has been judged too dangerous to be allowed to ever return to Mars and that the Earth will be destroyed should the warning ever be disregarded. A little bit contradictory I always thought but then like most of the sci-fi films of the time, its all about The Bomb, really


The Three Stooges in Have Rocket will Travel (1959)

The Stooges are working as janitors at the Space Center but following an inevitable mix up they end up blasting off into space and heading for Venus.  There they encounter a talking unicorn, a giant fire breathing spider and an alien computer that creates evil duplicates of our comedy heroes.
It’s all harmless fun.... if not just a little bit like a load of other Stooges material.  Same gags, different backgrounds!  Can't help feeling these suits have been round the block one too many times as well.


Abbot and Costello Go to Mars (1953)

Abbott and Costello Go to Mars....only they don’t actually but then this is a comedy so why would they.  Everybody knows the big laughs are on Venus!
So it goes like this; Orville (Costello) winds up stuck inside a truck sent to a top secret laboratory where he meets Lester (Abbott).  The pair get tasked with loading supplies onto a rocket ship and guess what happens next.  That’s right; the rocket is accidentally launched and flies off to ...New Orleans!

But its Mardi Gras and the duo mistake the costumed celebrants for aliens, erroneously concluding they must be on Mars.
Meanwhile two escaped convicts join the action and after a bit of confusion and mistaken identity, the four end up back in the rocket and heading off to....yes that’s right; Venus, a planet run and inhabited solely by women who.....

Nope, it’s no good!  I’ve lost interest.... which usually happens about two thirds of the way through an Abbot and Costello movie
Anyway, we’re here to look at the space suits aren’t we?  And now we have and they look like almost about every other space suit around in the 50’s.  The longevity of this design is quite impressive actually and if it hadn’t have been for the markedly different development of the real world space suits in the 60’s, then I can’t help feeling we would have been admiring these tubular padded suits for ever.


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Captain Video and the Video Rangers (1949)

Captain Video and the Video Rangers was first broadcast on the 27th of June 1949 and lasted until April of 1955.  The show went out live several times a week and was a hit with all ages.  This was the first of this type of show garnering almost immediate imitators with similar sci-fi copies as Space Patrol and Tom Corbett.
The shows set-up was pretty simple with Captain Video and his Video Rangers policing the far future from such evils as Dr Pauli, Nargola, Mook, Kul and Clysmok.   And then for about  ten minutes of every half hour show the sci-fi stopped so that one of the rangers could introduce the audience to some undercover ranger adventures in the form of old cowboy films!  No really....  but then these were the early days of TV so there were no rules to be broken yet.

And while we're on the subject of the shows groundbreaking that a square space helmet under that Video Ranger's arm?


Friday, 11 March 2011

Something for the Weekend 4

Sigourney Weaver as Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley in Ridley Scott's Alien (1979)

I've posted this today by way of a thank you to whoever it was that must have placed a link to this blog from HeaveyGearGirls.... My stats went mental and I've had weeks worth of traffic in just a few hours.

Cheers Chaps.  I hope you all enjoy what you find over here


Thursday, 10 March 2011

It's About Time (1966)

From the man that brought you Gilligans Island, this is the tale of two astronauts who fall back through time and have to live with a family of cavemen.
When the viewing figures dipped they rebooted the show with a complete turnaround.  The astronauts managed to fix their ship and bring the family of cavemen  back home to live with them in the modern day America of 1967.

First Man into Space (1959)

In the film the First Man into Space, Lieut Dan Prescott; test pilot, is flying his experimental rocket plane Y-13 and becomes the first man to fly outside the ionosphere.  Unable to turn the craft back round, Prescott ejects and is covered with metallic meteor dust.
When the craft returns to Earth, there is no trace of its pilot but soon after, first cattle, then people are found with their throats cut by something that seems to have a craving for blood.  Our errant spaceman has become transformed into something monstrous.
Sounds perfectly entertaining to me.


The Avengers - Invasion of the Earthmen (1969)

This is just rubbish, isn't it. 
From a script by Dalek creator; Terry Nation Invasion of the Earthmen is regarded by The Avengers fans as one of the worst episodes ever.  It may at its heart have a passably Avengersy central idea about a school to train space cadets that then freezes them for future use but beyond that everything else here either lacks polish or is just plain poor.  A lacklustre script, uninspired central performances, mediocre directing and a really, really dreadful stupid space suit.


Sunday, 6 March 2011

Inherit the Stars (1977)

Inherit the Stars by James P Hogan was published in 1977 and was the first book in the Giants trilogy, which then became the Giants series when a further two more books were added a few years after.
The artwork here is by Darrell K Sweet who has done yet another fantastic cover inspired once again by the design of the 2001 A Space Odyssey costumes.  I'm becoming a big fan of DKS. So much so that he gets his own label here on  my blog.

You will of course have noticed that the image has been flipped for use on the book cover....or not!  The other image is a scan from a sci-fi mag and I'm actually unsure which is the original version.  Ah well!  Either way works for me.


Nixon and the Spaceman (1959)

1959 and Vice-President Nixon visits Tomorrowland to say; Hello Spaceman…..although he seems far more interested in the Spacelady at this point.  Still, 10 years on from here and President Nixon will be chatting to a very real spaceman by telephone.  From The Whitehouse to the Moon, one small step but one very expensive phone bill.


Wiley Post (1934)

This is Wiley Post, pioneering American aviator who in December 1934 took his Lockheed Vega monoplane; Winnie Mae, to a record breaking 14,600 meters.
Now in order to survive at those altitudes he had to wear a specially made pressurised flight suit.  It took the B F Goodrich company three goes to get it working right but that’s not so bad when you consider that this is arguably the progenitor of every space suit that would follow.


Thursday, 3 March 2011

Space Cadet (1971)

The cover to the New English Library version of Heinlein's Space Cadet sees something a little more generalised.  Its too early to be riffing off of Kubrick's Space Odyssey just yet (see the 1975 cover) so they seem to have drawn inspiration from NASA with a bit of that old Moon Zero Two, UFO sleek sexiness added in 
I can't find a credit for the artist of this cover just yet but I'll edit it in when I do.  I have to say though that it is a fine piece of work and the composition does exactly what it's meant to do which is make you want to read the book


Space Cadet (1975)

Robert A Heinlein's Space Cadet was first published in 1948 and has been reprinted many times since.  The very nature of the book and the title dictates that we're going to get a space-suited chap or two on the front of nearly every version.  This is going to be interesting because its going to reflect suit design through the decades as each publisher reflects the technologies of their time. 

This cover is painted by Darrell K Sweet and its a bit of a peach.  The suit has a 2001: A Space Odyssey vibe which is from six years earlier but remains even now one of the seminal suit designs for a number of very good reasons which I'll go into when we cover that film


Radar Men from the Moon (1952)

George Wallace stars as Commando Cody in one of Republic Pictures Rocket Men serials.
Told in 12 parts, Radar Men from the Moon is the tale of an all American Rocket man who discovers that Retik, the ruler of the moon, and his Radar Men(?) are planning to take over the Earth.  It's then spun-out for several weeks of fisticuffs with hired thugs most of which take place on earth because thats cheaper to film.
The Rocket suit was previously seen in King of the Rocket Men and would be seen afterwards in Zombies of the Stratosphere.
Whereas the villainous Radar Men are wearing the Destination Moon style suits... but then wasn’t everyone back then?

Space Patrol (1950)

Commander Buzz Corry of The United Planets Space Patrol  headed up this kids TV show that began as a daily 15 minute show on a local Los Angeles TV station before getting an additional half hour Saturday morning show on ABC.  It ran for five years and clocked up more than 200 of the 30 minutes episodes and almost 900 of the 15 minuters. 
There was also a Radio show which featured the same cast and crew and ran for almost as long as the TV showsAnd there was also a lot of spin off merchandise sold on the back of the show’s success ranging from costumes to comic books and making it one of sci-fi's earliest franchises.
And more importantly, one of the earliest appearances of this style of space suit that would go on to dominate this decade