Sci Fi… or “Sici F” (with its “sic” built into it) as the YouTuber who posted it would have it

At seven or eight years old I’d run home from grammar school (the front of which, with its flagpole, a block distant, could be seen from our kitchen window) to watch The Early Show, on channel 2, a showcase for Sci Fi flicks of the 1950s. By 1963 these flicks were still roughly valid but shading rapidly toward the culturally camp and obsolete; when Modism, and then Psychedelia, began to take over, starting in ’66, cinematic Sci Fi became  a sack of silly relics until Fantastic Voyage, Planet of the Apes and (obviously) 2001: A Space Odyssey re-dignified the genre. But to me, at eight, in ’67, the B-flicks of Sci Fi were weaving dreams with nightmares and touching sneaky little flames to the as-yet-unlit pilot light of my nascent libido… (if only I could persuade my Beautiful Wife to wear a lab coat… and glasses…)


This Island, Earth wasn’t as big-budget “serious” as Disney’s Forbidden Planet, and it wasn’t quite as stylishly tasteful as The Day the Earth Stood Still (nor as transparently Eugenicist as Things to Come)… but it’s not often that post-Deco Beauty, inadvertent Hilarity and crypto-erotic metaphors for Cold War paranoia  meet! And all against the hidden backdrop of American apartheid! To quote a comment from the thread appended to the flick:

Great movie! Rex Reason was a huge heart-throb. My aunt took me to see this in our town’s one movie theater when I was six or seven years old. Admission was 50 cents and popcorn was 25 cents. My older cousin ran the popcorn “booth” which was outside the theater so the “colored folk” could buy popcorn before using a side entrance and going up to the balcony. I liked waiting in line with the black guys who were buying popcorn for their dates; they were well dressed, had freshly pomaded hair, and smelled of Pinaud. If the owner were not hanging around, my cousin would slip me a free box of popcorn. I would not want to return to that time in my life, but I do have some nostalgia for it.

Rex Reason! What an evocative name. To quote the film:

“We’re not all masters of our souls, Meachem..”

“That’s a nice little phrase coming from you!”

“I learned it on Earth.”

This Island, Earth‘s romantic interest, Faith Domergue (discovered by Howard Hughes, which means she slept with Howard Hughes, surely; is it a coincidence that she resembles Jane Russell?), years before co-starring in the film that granted her a kind of semi-obscure B-movie immortality

Do the film’s bronzed and uniformed Nordics, with the intimidating foreheads, represent the terrifying threat of Swedish-style Social Democracy to American Feudal-Capitalism…? I can almost smell the RCA tubes…

mutant and friends
Scoff if you dare: the mutant on the left cost Universal Studios $24,000 in valuable 1955-dollars (roughly 6 billion in modern American currency) turn off the TV (which is rancid with contemporary propaganda) and watch this (delightful with defunct propaganda) instead. Summon your corn-popping robot and activate the INTEROCITOR…




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