Menace from Outer Space (1956)

Article 1972 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-8-2006
Posting Date: 1-5-2007
Directed by Hollingsworth Morse
Featuring Richard Crane, Scotty Beckett, Sally Mansfield

When a comet heading towards the earth turns out to be a missile from a far-off moon, Rocky Jones and crew decide to visit the planet to investigate the possibility of new energy sources. However, he finds resistance in the form of a runaway criminal from Earth and an invasion by a hostile planet.

Despite the turgid pace and the sometimes silly dialogue (“Right as Rockets!”), I always thought the Rocky Jones series showed a bit more in the way of smarts than a lot of other juvenile science fiction from the period. This one has some real surprises right off the bat; it looks like they went on location for part of the story, with Professor Newton puttering around what looks like an honest-to-goodness real observatory, and with certain scenes that take place out of doors. The latter is a real surprise; almost everything else I’ve seen for the show was obviously shot in the studio. Still, I couldn’t help but notice that, even though the series took place in the distant future, the cars look an awful lot like the ones from the fifties.

As usual, this one is entertaining enough if you’re willing to be patient and attuned to the fact that you’re watching three episodes of a TV series strung together. The first half of this one plays off a bit like ROCKETSHIP X-M, and then becomes a bit similar to FLIGHT TO MARS before going off on its own tangent. This one is one of my favorites of the series, but if you’re not a Rocky Jones fan, I doubt that it will do much for you.



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