Tonight on MeTV, we are honored to bring you an important science fiction film from the 1950s that had great influence on many future productions- and provided us with one of the most iconic mechanical characters in history! It’s a mission to where some men have gone before- and a new expedition wants to find out why they haven’t heard anything from them- as they try to uncover the secrets of the “Forbidden Planet”!
We join the starship C-57D – a top of the line craft in the 23rd century- as it heads to the far away planet Altair IV , where an initial expedition was sent 20 years previously and never heard from again. As they prepare to land, a radio warning comes from the surface- warning them NOT to set down, since their safety on the planet can’t be guaranteed. Regardless, Commander John Adams and his crew touch down- and are met by a unique robot beyond any scientific creation they’ve ever seen. The robot- Robby- brings them to the compound of one of the previous expedition’s scientists, Dr. Morbius- where the doctor reveals to Adams, his lieutenant Jerry Farman, and ship’s doctor ‘Doc” Ostrow the fate of that earlier group- they were all killed by a strange “planetary force” which he does not explain. For some reason, only Morbius, his late wife, and their daughter Altaira were immune to this force and survived. Morbius wants to send them on their way back home, but the crew must wait for further commands from Earth before they can leave. Meanwhile, we get our first look at that daughter- a gorgeous blonde knockout that immediate creates some rivalry between the men! She’ s never been among young men before, and finds them fascinating- but also confusing!
When the men return to their ship that night, there is some sabotage done to their equipment by an unseen invader. Adams wonders if this might be tied in to that “force” that was mentioned- or if somehow Morbius found a way to sneak Robby in to do his dirty work. But- how could the hulking robot get onto the ship without someone seeing him?
Going to the compound to confront Morbius, Adams has a tender moment with Altaira- which is almost ruined when a previously tame pet suddenly attacks! Still looking for answers, and invading Morbius’ office, they finally get some astonishing answers from the scientist- about the planet’s original highly advanced race, the Krell! He explains their fate, and demonstrates some of the amazing machines within their huge atomic complex- including a machine that can boost one’s intelligence- but causes great strain on the typical human mind. While Adams argues that all this scientific wonder should be turned over to earth- Morbius refuses, for he feels humanity is just not ready for it, in his estimation!
Meanwhile, a force field is set up around the Earth spacecraft- but it seems to have no effect on the invisible intruder! Morbius warns the crew that he has had premonitions of further attacks-much like what wiped out his companions- and Adams must find out what the force is- before his crew meets the same fate!
This incredible full-color 1956 classic stars Leslie Nielsen before he became a dead-pan comic actor; Walter Pidgeon as Morbius; and the lovely Anne Francis as Altaira- along with a lot of familiar actors, many of whom we will talk about. We’ll also reveal who provided the voice of the iconic Robby the Robot, who went on to appear in several other productions- as well as revealing who did several of the animated special effects. Please, blog commenters- no spoilers!
One thing we didn’t have time to mention- the film does not have a music score, per se- it’s all electronic sounds composed by Bebe and Louis Barron. It was the first completely electronic score to appear in any film!
This movie is far longer than the usual amount of time we have for both our movie and our Sven segments- so, in order to cut less of the movie, we have minimized the Sven content in this show. We regret having to edit such a great film- but didn’t want to pass up the chance to show it for you. We’ve been very careful in our editing to maintain the integrity of the film.
“Forbidden Planet” airs tonight on MeTV at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central time. You can check for time and channel where you are in your local listings, or at www.metv.com . You can also live-Tweet along with other viewers during the show on Twitter- just remember to use the hashtag # svengoolie . Our Chicago area viewers can watch the giant-sized encore of “Village of the Giants” at 11 am on Chicago’s WCIU.
Next weekend will be a very special one, with me celebrating my 40 years as Svengoolie at the big Flashback Weekend horror convention in Rosemont, IL. There’s a live on-stage interview discussing my career that’s open to everyone on Friday night- and, on Saturday, along with my other activities, a special meet-and-greet with me and other featured stars appearing at the convention for those with VIP tickets only ! I’m also doing a limited number of professionally shot photo ops – with a very special background- on both days. Find more information under the “appearances” tab on our website!
But tonight- thrill to a science fiction film that set a precedent for many to come- on MeTV!