Friday, 22 April 2016

Classic Sci-Fi Film Ladies: Part 3 (1956 – 1957)


I thought it was about time to introduce you to some more of the wonderful female actors who we have had the pleasure to meet on screen between 1956 and 1957 in the following science fiction films that have been featured in this blog;

Forbidden Planet (1956)


Anne Francis



Anne Francis played Altaira, daughter of Dr Morbius both of whom are the sole survivors of an expedition to the distant planet Altair IV. She declares her love for Adams, the captain of the starship C-57D who has come to investigate what happened to the expedition.



It Conquered the World (1956)



Beverly Garland



Beverly Garland played the part of a scientist's wife who bravely battles an alien invader.



Sally Fraser



Sally Fraser played the wife of Peter Graves’ character and becomes possessed by the alien invader


Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)


Dana Wynter




Dana Wynter played the part of Elizabeth Driscoll and Carolyn Jones played Theodora 'Teddy' Belicec in a film depicting an extra-terrestrial invasion that begins in the fictional California town of Santa Mira. Alien plant spores have fallen from space and grow into large seed pods, each one capable of reproducing a duplicate replacement copy of each human.






Carolyn Jones



Jean Willes played Nurse Sally Withers


Rodan (1956)


Giant prehistoric insects attack a village and soon after, something traveling faster than the speed of sound is seen flying in the sky. It is Rodan, a giant flying prehistoric creature that has come to life, spreading terror and destruction throughout Japan.






Yumi Shirakawa played Kiyo, Shigeru's lover in her first starring role, alongside Kenji Sahara



Satellite in the Sky (1956)




Lois Maxwell, the future "Miss Moneypenny" of James Bond films plays the character, Kim in a film about Great Britain’s launch of the world's first orbital vehicle which contains a super-bomb and a lot of complications for the crew and a certain stowaway.



The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956)





Patricia Medina as Sarita in the Weird West movie about an American cowboy living in Mexico who discovers his missing cattle are being preyed upon by an Allosaurus. Guy Madison as character, Jimmy Ryan develops an interest in fellow rancher Enrique Rios’ fiancee, Sarita.



The Gamma People (1956)


Eva Bartok




Two newsmen accidentally wind up in a fictitious Eastern bloc country whose dictator, Boronski is performing experiments using gamma rays with a view to creating geniuses but has succeeded in creating sub humans. Eva Bartok as Paula Wendt, works in the castle lab with Boronski and helps the American newsmen as she wants to rescue her brother, Hugo, from Boronski's power.



The Mole People (1956)


A group of archaeologists discovers the remnants of a mutant five-millennia-old Sumerian civilization living beneath a glacier atop a mountain in Mesopotamia.





Cynthia Patrick plays the role of the "marked one," Adad, a Sumerian woman who "was born with the mark of darkness."



World Without End (1956)


Astronauts attempting to return from a voyage to Mars are caught in a time warp only to find themselves caught in a post-Apocalyptic 26th-century Earth populated by mutants and a community of humans.





Nancy Gates plays the character, Garnet






Lisa Montell played the part of Deena


Warning from Space (1956)


Aliens take the form of human beings so that they can warn mankind that earth is on a collision course with another planet.




Toyomi Karita plays Hikari Aozora, lead singer at the Metropolitan Theatre dance hall & Ginko



X: The Unknown (1956)


During British Army radiation drills at a remote Scottish base, a subterranean, radioactive entity emerges, leaves two soldiers severely radiation-burned and then vanishes. A crack in the earth is also discovered. The entity re-emerges and seems to be able to absorb radiation, allowing it to grow in size.





Marianne Brauns played Zena, the Nurse



Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)



A team of scientists study the effects of radiation fallout on a tropical island. They are forced to fight for their lives when the island begins to break apart and fall off into the ocean and giant crabs begin to attack the humans.






Pamela Duncan plays the part of Martha Hunter


20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)


An American spaceship crash-lands off the coast of Sicily. Its crew has brought back a gelatinous mass that eventually hatches and evolves into a strange bi-pedal alien creature which rapidly increases in size.





Joan Taylor (who also co-starred in Earth vs the Flying Saucers) plays Marisa, the American granddaughter of a zoologist in Italy. She, together with returned astronaut Calder and the American and Italian military try to find a way to stop the creature before it continues on a path of destruction and grows too big to stop.



Beginning of the End (1957)


An experiment involving radioactivity has unintended consequences, resulting in the transformation of grasshoppers into gigantic ravenous monsters.





Peggie Castle (who appeared in Invasion USA) plays newspaper photojournalist, Audrey Aimes who with agricultural scientist played by Peter Graves try to find a way to halt the rampaging gigantic mutant locusts.



Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957)


Teen lovers making plans to elope, find themselves in a situation in which they must save the earth from the invasion of diminutive aliens who land their spaceship in the local woods near Lover’s Point. In the process, they are not only not believed but find themselves implicated in another person’s murder.






Gloria Castillo as Joan Hayden, one of the teen lovers and whose father is the City Attorney.



Kronos (1957)


Scientists investigate what at first appears to be a meteorite that crashes into the ocean. A few days later, a giant machine emerges out of the ocean. It is an energy accumulator and is the creation of an alien race that is trying to drain off energy from earth.




Barbara Lawrence played photographer Vera Hunter and girlfriend of Dr Leslie Gaskell, played by Jeff Morrow



The Night the World Exploded (1957)


Newly discovered Element 112, explodes with the force of an atom bomb when exposed to the air. As it makes up a sizeable percentage of the Earth's crust, it can threaten our planet’s existence especially since our mining and other activities is causing it to become active.





Kathryn Grant plays Laura Hutchinson who is Dr David Conway lab assistant and she assists him in his endeavours to avert global disaster. Conway has developed a device to predict earthquakes.


Revisit Classic Sci-Fi Film Ladies: Parts 1 & 2:


http://scififilmfiesta.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/classic-sci-fi-ladies.html

http://scififilmfiesta.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/classic-sci-fi-film-ladies-part-2-1954.html




Keep an eye out for Classic Sci-Fi Film Ladies: Part 4 at a later date! 






  ©Chris Christopoulos 2016

Monday, 11 April 2016

The Night the World Exploded (1957)


An enjoyable, entertaining and ambitious sci-fi film hampered somewhat by its low-budget constraints



video
Trailer

What If?........... 

The Night the World Exploded was adapted for radio but for some reason the radio play was never put to air back in 1957 and the transcript had disappeared…. that is….until now!



Spoilers Follow….


Lost radio play from NBC’s X Minus One science fiction radio series

Announcer (Fred Collins): Countdown for blast-off... X minus five, four, three, two, X minus one... Fire! [Rocket launch SFX] From the far horizons of the unknown come transcribed tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future; adventures in which you'll live in a million could-be years on a thousand may-be worlds. The National Broadcasting Company in cooperation with Street and Smith, publishers of Astounding Science Fiction present... X Minus One.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Tonight’s episode will be a small departure from our usual sourcing of stories for our radio plays. This episode is entitled, The Night the World Exploded and is an adaptation of this year’s hit film of the same title out of Columbia pictures.

In tonight’s presentation, we will be considering events much closer to our own time, perhaps uncomfortably close. The events themselves will be much closer to home – perhaps unnervingly close. The final countdown for humanity may be short – most decidedly disturbingly short.

The film itself upon which our play is based, was directed by Fred F. Sears; produced by Sam Katzman; written by Jack Natteford and Luci Ward, with music by Ross DiMaggio. Cinematography was by Benjamin H. Kline and Irving Lippman and the film was edited by Paul Borofsky and Al Clark. The Production Company was Clover Productions.

We are fortunate that most of the film’s original cast are going to reprise their roles from the film for tonight’s radio play presentation. All of us here at X Minus One would like to introduce and welcome; 


Kathryn Grant as Laura Hutchinson 

William Leslie as Dr. David Conway
Tristram Coffin as Dr. Ellis Morton 
Raymond Greenleaf as Gov. Chaney 
Frank J. Scannell as Sheriff Quinn 
Fred Coby as Ranger Brown 
Paul Savage as Ranger Kirk 
John Zaremba as Daniel J. Winters, Assistant Secretary of Defense 
Otto Waldis as Professor Hagstrom, mineralogist

And… 

Director Fred F. Sears as the Narrator 

We also have the voices of; 


Rupert Packer as The newspaper boy 

James Olsen as The Reporter 


The following parts from the film have been omitted from tonight’s performance;

General Bortes played by Charles Evans 
General's Aide played by Marshall Reed 
Chief Rescue Worker played by Terry Frost

And now for tonight’s radio adaptation of “The Night the World Exploded,” brought to by the makers of “Sparkle-glo.” “Sparkle-glo” for cleaner than clean; whiter than white and more colourful colours. Your fabrics deserve nothing less than “Sparkle-glo.” And now for…. “The Night the World Exploded”….

*****************************


(Music & SFX of rock fall slowly fading)

Narrator: "Those who lived to tell the tale remember that the day began with fragile, breathtaking beauty. The temperature was cool, in the low 50s, the air mountain pure even downtown. It was a day unreal enough to serve as a setting for the birth of the world, or death of it.

(Sound of rhythmic mechanical / electrical device in background)

Narrator: At the University Seismology Laboratory in Southern California in the Lab of Dr. David Conway, Dr. Ellis Morton is greeted by Laura 'Hutch' Hutchinson. Dr Conway has just completed his Pressure Photometer, a device for measuring pressure in the earth and for predicting the occurrence of earthquakes. He has the bearing and air of one of those individuals whose entire being and sense of self-worth is wrapped up entirely in their work. Little room appears to be left for anything…or anyone else…

Morton: How goes your work on the Pressure Photometer?

Conway: Oh, hi Ellis. It’s finished and just in time too. The device is reporting an increase in pressure which suggests……the likelihood of an earthquake.

Morton: Let’s see now….32 units…. why, “there must be a short.” I’ll bet it’s some kind of malfunction.

Conway: I don’t think so Ellis. All of the components have been checked. I tell you "there's an earthquake brewing, Ellis, and a big one." The quake will be close and will strike California within 24 hours!

(Dramatic music to underscore Conway’s prediction)

Narrator: Conway and Morton, travel to the State Capitol to try and forewarn Governor Cheney and attempt to convince him to take appropriate action.

Cheney: “You want me to evacuate close to a million people?”

Conway: I’m not even sure if there’s enough time to do that but….

Cheney: And, “on top of that risk a panic!”

Morton: We know it’s a lot to ask and we’d feel the same if we were in your position, but….

Cheney: How can I declare an emergency when there is no proof this machine of yours works?

(After a moment’s reflection)

Look. What I can do is to notify the disaster council to be prepared. However, if your predictions turn out to be correct then I fear it's probably too late to do anything.

Conway: Thank you Governor. We’ll go back and monitor the situation and hope to God that you are wrong about it being too late.

Cheney: Goodbye to you both and keep me informed of any further developments. In the meantime, I hope you are wrong Doctor Conway.

Conway: I think “we better do more than hope, gentlemen. We better pray!”

Narrator: The two scientists return to Los Angeles and inform Hutch that they tried to convince the Governor without much success. We next see Conway and Morton in the lab checking readings on the new device.

Conway: “A million people face possible death once those lines converge.”

Morton: Well, there’s not much more you can do right now. Why don’t you go and get some rest? You look beat. Hutch and I can stick around and stay up tonight and monitor the equipment.

Conway: I guess you’re right. I’ll just finish up quickly and catch some shut-eye here.

(Morton walks over to Hutch in the adjoining room)

Morton: Hutch, “we don’t expect you to give your life’s blood. Why don’t go home and get some rest?”

Hutch: Well, you never know, I might just be going away and staying at home for a lot longer than you think, doctor!

Morton: How do you mean?

Hutch: “A girl can’t work all her life.” You see, “I’m planning to get married.” I’m planning to marry Brad. You remember him? After all, “It’s about time, isn’t it?” I can’t spend my life just waiting to be noticed by a certain somebody. Brad’s there. Brad’s willing. And Brad’s certainly noticed who I am! He wants to marry me.”

Morton: Hold on Hutch, “Conway isn’t made of stone,” you know.

Hutch: “All Dr Conway knows about is his work.” I’m tired of waiting.

“If he hasn’t noticed me by now, he isn’t going to.”

Narrator: That evening, Hutch and Morton succumb to Sleep’s seductive enticements while Conway rejects her amorous advances in favour of restlessly smoking and pacing the lab floor. His attention is drawn to the sleeping figure of Hutch whose head is resting on her forearms on the desk she is sitting at when suddenly……….

(SFX: Rising rumbling accompanied by rattling of the lab’s objects, followed by shattering and crashing sounds.)

Hutch: David! What’s going on?

Conway: Just as we feared……the predicted quake has struck!

Morton: Look out!

(SFX: More rumbling rattling, shattering and crashing sounds)

Narrator: Meanwhile on a city street corner further away from quake-affected area a newspaper boy selling newspapers broadcasts the day’s horror headlines.

Newspaper Boy: Get ya’ Daily Record. Read all about it! "Quake Stuns Southland! Thousands Dead, Damage in Billions." Read all about it!

Narrator: The devastating earthquake caused whole mountains and buildings to crumble. “Fire scourged the stricken areas from the mountains to the sea” and what was not immediately apparent, “the axis of the earth had shifted 3 degrees.”

(Dramatic music)

Later at the Lab:

Conway: Do you see that Ellis?

Morton: Yes. The equipment is giving us readings indicating a series of additional, impending global earthquakes.

Conway: Many of which are happening right now and I’m afraid to say more of them seem to be on the way.

Narrator: Conway has contacted Hutch and asked her to cancel her wedding plans and return immediately to the lab. He wants her to accompany him on a visit to the governor.

They soon arrive to be greeted by a gaggle of reporters spitting out questions as they enter a room where Governor Chaney is meeting with city officials.

Reporter (as door closes): “Dr Conway, how ‘bout an interview?”

Narrator: After the obligatory introductions, the meeting begins

Governor: If only I had acted sooner and ….

Conway: There’s probably nothing you could've done, Governor. Besides, “It’s only a taste of what’s to come.” I expect another quake will occur with twice the intensity of the first, and quakes will also happen all over the world.

Governor: How long do we have?

Conway: Three…. maybe four days.

Governor: What’s causing all of this?

Conway: “It looks like something in the earth is expanding.”

Hutch: “It’s as if a cake of yeast is there pushing up the crust.”

Conway: That’s a good analogy. Yes, the ground is expanding, bulging, and the tilt is about three degrees. Gentlemen, unless we can determine the cause and a remedy is found, the earth will indeed be destroyed.

Governor: So what do you propose to do?

Conway:
I propose to undertake a descent deep into the Carlsbad Caverns to determine what might be causing the build-up of pressure.

Governor: I think I can speak on behalf of everyone here and guarantee that you’ll have the necessary support and funding.

Narrator: With that assurance, the meeting adjourned and Conway made preparations to take a team and his equipment to the deepest point of the Carlsbad Caverns, in the hope of being able to discern the cause of the earthquake menace.

We now join the team at the Carlsbad caverns where two rangers, Brown and Kirk escort Conway, Hutch and Morton into a large chamber in the caves.

Ranger Brown: This here chamber is called the Big Room, and at 1300 feet below ground is the lowest level the public is allowed to visit. The “temperature is 56 degrees’ year round” I hope you’ll find that comfortable, Miss Hutchinson. By the way, the pit you see here below us can only be accessed by a flexible rope ladder.

Conway: Well, all of our gear is ready for us below. Hutch and I will be taking the first shift. Not feeling scared are you, Hutch? No? OK, here I go.

Narrator: When Conway reaches the bottom, it is time for Hutch to start her descent

(Sound of Hutch’s exertions as she slowly descends the ladder. The music ominously changes to signal impending trouble.)

Ranger Brown: “How’s she doin’?

Ranger Kirk: OK….so far….Wait! She’s frozen!

Hutch (mental monologue): Can’t do it! Can’t go on!

Conway: Come on. Drop that foot!

Hutch (mental monologue): Can’t go back up. Won’t go down. Afraid to move. No…No…. No. Legs shaking. Hang on for dear life. Why? Why?

Conway: "Wouldn't you know a woman would pull a stunt like this? You're all scientists until there's the slightest bit of danger, then you fold up! Want your mommy and daddy?"

Narrator: Conway’s coaxing, gibing and cajoling pays off as Hutch finds herself rapidly descending the ladder with a degree of murderous intent which quickly evaporates in the face of the now jelly-like consistency of her legs. As she is resting she makes the following observation about the predicament humanity finds itself in:

Hutch (To David): "It's almost as if the earth were striking back at us for the way we've robber her of her natural resources." (Mental monologue): Lately I’ve had that feeling that the earth is somehow alive, like some kind of living organism that can sense any threats to its existence and react to injuries inflicted on it. Perhaps right now the planet is retaliating against us for the kinds of assaults we have been perpetrating on it.

Narrator: Meanwhile in his cabin, Kirk studies a very curious rock. It was discovered earlier in the cavern and what Kirk doesn't know yet is that when it is removed from contact with water where it lies dormant deep within the earth, the element becomes highly explosive when it comes into contact with air.

Kirk (mental monologue): I’ll just remove it from the jar and pour the liquid out onto this potted plant on the desk. Now to dry the sample, and take a closer look with my magnifying glass. Hhhhmmmm…. Igneous in origin? I’ll leave it here on the desk for the time being and check my reference book for any further clues….

Narrator: As Kirk is checking his reference book, the rock begins to double in size and then double in size once more.

(SFX: Hissing and sizzling sound)

Kirk (mental monologue): What’s that? The rock…it’s starting to smoke and…. look how big it’s grown! It can’t be happening! No! It’s catching fire…. It’s going to explode for sure…….

(SFX: Large explosion)

Announcer: We will return with the 2nd act of The Night the World Exploded after this message from the makers of “Sparkle-glo.”


Yes, folks “Sparkle-glo” is the most exciting washday discovery in more than 100 years. It is specially made for the toughest of washing jobs. While other laundry powders shy away from exceptionally dirty, greasy, and grimy clothes,” Sparkle-glo” positively thrives on it. From greasy work overalls to grimy school shirt collars and cuffs, “Sparkle-glo’s” extra power easily washes away the dirt and grease from all of your clothes. Your white clothes will be whiter and your coloured clothes will be brighter with……”Sparkle-glo!”

And now for the 2nd act of……” The Night The World Exploded!”

Narrator: Later at the scene of Kirk’s destroyed cabin, Hutch, Conway and Sheriff Quinn survey the devastation.

Hutch: Nothing left but a crater and some smouldering debris.

Conway: Everything has been practically reduced to dust! “Nothing down there but dust.”

Sheriff Quinn: Mighty strange that Kirk would keep nitro-glycerine or TNT in his cabin.

Conway: No Sheriff, I’m afraid that the explosion was much more powerful than either nitro or TNT could produce.

Narrator: The next morning down in the pit, Conway and Morton discover the source of the geological upheavals.

Conway: “It’s in this area some place, close to the surface.”

Morton: “As if we’re sitting on top of an oil dome.”

Conway: I’ll head topside and send in a report on what we’ve found….Hey, Hutch! Why aren’t you asleep?

Hutch: I couldn’t sleep. I can’t stop thinking about Kirk and how he died.

Conway: Yes, I know. “Death is only a statistic until it strikes someone you know.” All those deaths in Istanbul and Canada and all those refugees fleeing death and destruction from the quakes! I wish human beings could feel the same way about millions of strangers in other countries who become causalities of war or natural disasters as we would feel about the death of a single friend or loved one.

Hutch: There’s more of those strange rocks in that pool. Let’s take another look at one of them. I wonder what they really are.

Conway: I don’t know, but “we can assume an unknown mineral has unknown properties.” Notice how heavy it is for its size. Here, let’s try to squeeze it with these pliers……No dice, it’s too hard! The pliers have left not a mark. Ah well, I’ll just put it here and examine it later.

Narrator
: As Hutch and Conway head topside, the rock they retrieved from the pool and left aside on a bench, starts to grow, catch fire, smoulder and burn through the bench and finally plops into the pool of water on the ground. Both Hutch and Conway head back down the ladder and come to the spot where the rock was only to be confronted by a cloud of vapour from the boiling and steaming rock.

Hutch: What does this mean, David?

Conway: It means that we have found the cause of Ranger Kirk's death. It means that we’ve come across another unknown element….”Element 112”….”Safe when wet but has unusual properties when dry.” I believe that “for some reason it’s pushing its way to the surface.” Somehow this volatile element which must be common underground is expanding and working its way from deep in the Earth and is responsible for the earthquakes.

Narrator: Conway later flies to Washington, D.C. and meets with Daniel J. Winters, Assistant Secretary of Defense. Conway wants Winters to help in calling “a meeting of every top scientist in the world.” Winters gives Conway access to the Smokeridge Proving Grounds for this meeting.

(City street sounds: cars, pedestrian footsteps, voices)

Newspaper boy: Get ya’ Daily Sentinel! Read all ‘bout it! “Summon World’s leading Scientists!” Read all ‘bout it! Get ya’ Star Dispatch! “Scientists Hold Emergency meeting!” Read all ‘bout it!

Narrator: At the Smokeridge Proving Grounds facility, Conway opens a box to demonstrate the nature of the newly discovered element.

Conway: Here Professor Hagstrom, take the rock and hold it and tell us what you make of it.

Hagstrom: Why, ”It’s warm…getting hot.” (He places the rock on the table) Look, "it grows!" “What’s the explanation?”

Conway: As the rock grows in size, it increases in temperature. This element 112 as I call it, adds to its mass by combining with the nitrogen in the air and forms an explosive nitrogen compound. It gets to the temperature of melting steel two stages before exploding.

(Sound of hissing and sizzling)

See how it melts through the table and falls into that tub of water below. Using these tongs, I’ll take the rock out of the water. See, no explosion. It is the hydrogen in the water that reverses the process. This very element has sufficient “expanding power capable of tilting anything!” Our little demonstration serves to show how “hydrogen controls element 112.”

Narrator: Conway continues with the demonstration outdoors in order to emphasize the kind of danger the earth faces.

Conway: Now gentlemen, I’ll be using this globe of the earth hanging from this tree and placing a small piece of the element inside. Now let’s move a safe distance away.

(Sound of jeeps’ engines and doors slamming)

Conway: Now watch carefully gentlemen and see what happens.

(Sound of big explosion followed by lots of coughing and harrumphing)

Conway: Sorry about that gentlemen. But you can see the urgency of the situation. Our Earth’s crust has been weakened by such activities as oil and coal mining and it is as if the Earth is striking back at the way we have robbed it of its resources.

Hagstrom: What would you like us to do?

Conway: You scientists are to take samples of element 112 to your own countries and your own councils…….

Narrator: At that moment Conway receives a message from Dr. Morton who has called to inform him that there has been a cave-in and that Hutch is trapped in the underground lab.

A rescue crew has begun to dig out the cave-in.

Hutch (voice on the radio receiver): I’m Ok and can still provide you with readouts from the machine. ….”32 on the quartz tube” …..

(Rumbling sound as tremor shakes loose more earth)

The pressure is increasing….”64 on the quartz tube” ….

(Sound of Hutch coughing)

Morton: “The centre of this quake is practically under our feet!”

Narrator: The chief rescue worker reports it may take until morning to break through. The crew does manage to break into the underground lab, resulting in a minor rock fall. Hutch is injured and is removed using a sling device. The scientists and rescue workers manage to escape just as an earthquake starts.

We now take up the story at the Carlsbad Hospital where Hutch has been recovering….

Conway: Hey Hutch, the doc just told me you’ve recovered from your ordeal and will be discharged.

Hutch: That’s right. I’m feeling much better, David. Though… recent events and being here have got me thinking and wondering if there’s ever going to be a future for….

Conway: Well, let me tell you right now, “the future young lady is yours. “By the way, kiddo, this’ll make you feel a lot better.

Hutch: Oh David. You shouldn't have! How did you know that this is my favourite perfume?

Conway: Look Hutch, I've been wanting to tell you something but I've always been “too busy concentrating on the future while ignoring the present.”

Hutch: Then you’d better hurry up and tell me David. After all “it’s only a matter of time” …… until….

Conway: Look Hutch, as to how long we might have, we’ll making use of the Datatron computer at Electrodata to calculate how long until……

Hutch: Until?

Conway: The Earth explodes.

(Sombre dramatic music)

Radio news bulletin: This is radio station KNX broadcasting on 1070 kHz. At this moment at the Electrodata facility, the Datatron computer “a device almost as complicated as the human brain” has just provided an expectant world with the answer to the one question that matters. The answer to that question is……28 days, 4 hours before the explosion that will signal the end of our planet and with it the end of the entire human race! So soon. Too soon. In a last ditch but hopeful effort, scientists have proposed that all areas where the newly discovered element 112 is exposed be flooded with water in order to render it inactive. Cloud seeding is also resorted to in the hope of generating rain. The hopes and prayers of the entire planet will depend on such efforts to rescue us from extinction……

Narrator: We now find Conway busily monitoring and coordinating the information on progress that is coming in from all over the world. Morton arrives with his wife and two children and is soon followed by Hutch.

Conway: Hutch, what are you doing here?

Hutch: “I wanted to pray….be with other people” but with all the rioting and…. besides, David, “in the rule book it says you’re supposed to be with the one you love.”

Conway: I wouldn't have it any other way, Hutch.

Hutch: Is there any hope at all David?

Conway: The flooding strategy appears to be paying off with reports from around the world indicating that the overall situation is improving. Just a moment Hutch.

(Sound of phone ringing)

Conway: Conway here.

Sheriff Quinn: Oh, hi David. Look, it seems that here in Nevada we’ve got a volcano developing from that Element 112 of yours.

Conway: Are you sure Sheriff?

Sheriff Quinn: Sure I’m sure. It’s pushing to the surface right now. I can see it from my window. I also got a disturbing report that personnel at the nearby Horseshoe Dam were reporting dangerous levels of sulphur gas and that most of the staff there are either dead or dying and……

(Sound of phone connection being broken and dial tone)

Conway: Sheriff! Sheriff! Hello!

Morton: David, what’s going on?

Conway: Problem out at Horseshoe Dam. We’ll have to go out there and destroy the dam and flood the area. We’ll take a helicopter out there and I want all the Element 112 samples sent to me at the dam. Hutch, you organise that part of it.

(Sound of helicopter rotor blades and jeep pulling up)

Conway: Glad to see you’re alright sheriff….Hutch! I didn't mean for you bring the samples personally. This is extremely dangerous!

Hutch: Which is all the more reason that I go with you to the dam.

Conway: But you couldn’t even lift one side of that container….

Hutch: The sheriff can take care of that. Besides, I was with you at the start and I’ll be with you right till the end. After all, I am a woman, a darn good scientist and will be your wife. So get in the helicopter and don’t argue!

Narrator: The samples are loaded onto the helicopter and Sheriff Quinn, Conway and Hutch fly to the dam.

Conway: Ok, we’ve made it to the generators. These bottles of nitric acid will help increase the level of nitrogen available for the explosion. Quinn, help me place these samples into this wooden box.

(Sound of Hutch screaming and a loud crash)

Hutch: David! One of the dying Dam workers has just come out here and knocked over the bottles of nitric acid.

Conway: Hold on Hutch, we’re coming. Quinn, watch out for the acid! Let’s get out of here!

(SFX: running feet, physical exertions, increasing noise of copter rotor blades, followed by loud explosion and sound of flooding water)

(Dramatic music tapering off to silence)

Hutch: So peaceful here up on this hill. Hard to believe we were so close to losing it all. Are we really safe? Will this ever happen again?

David: We’re Ok for now. Perhaps hundreds of years from now it might but by then we’ll have figured out what to do to avoid it ever happening again.

Hutch: Perhaps we can start by treating the Earth with a bit more respect and not make it so angry with us!

(sound of kissing)

Hutch: "Maybe I spoke too soon. The earth just started trembling again."

THE END

We hope you all enjoyed tonight's radio adaptation of The Night The World Exploded, brought to you by the makers of "Sparkle-glo." Until this time next week, all of us from X Minus One wish you all a good night.

[Note: No movie stills or other graphics from the film have been included above as this has been presented in the format of a radio play transcription. Remember, this is theatre for the mind and the imagination!

"X Minus One" was an actual radio science fiction program from the 1950s and can easily be found on YouTube along with others like it. Why not check them out? A lot more interesting than most of the rubbish on TV!

Quotation marks “ “ have been used above whenever lines have been taken directly from the film itself
]






Points of Interest


In 1957, Columbia Pictures theatrically distributed this film on a double bill with The Giant Claw.

The film’s shooting locations included the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico; the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, California; and the Databton Corporation Building in Pasadena, California.

The Night the World Exploded shares some similar concepts with the Monolith Monsters (1957) except that unlike the latter film in which rocks grow when wet, the rocks in The Night the World Exploded grow and explode when dry.

As in the film, Magnetic Monster, we once again have an element being cast as a dangerous villain. Instead of a radioactive substance, it is this time a rare and dangerous element called, E112 which of course was not known to science.

The low budget features of the film do detract from its positive aspects. Take for instance, the military command aircraft interior which consisted of card tables and folding chairs in front of mock-up aircraft porthole windows!

Despite its low-budget drawbacks, The Night the World Exploded does have a number of positive features;


  • There is excellent use of stock footage of disasters that are integrated very well into the film. 
  • Events move along at quite a tight and brisk pace while incorporating a romantic subplot between Conway and Hutch. 


The issue of gender is yet again handled in a rather typical ‘50s ham-fisted manner as can be seen when Hutch is frozen with fear on the rope ladder. Here we have the character, Hutch who comes across as being a rather independent female but who winds up behaving as expected when placed in danger and who needs to be rescued by the male lead. Of course, Hutch is talented enough to be a scientist in her own right and is quite able to venture into dangerous situations with the men, but her ultimate destiny seems to be one of marriage and domestic bliss. At least the door was opening up just a crack and would one day be flung open a bit wider!

The previous film we looked at, Kronos together with The Night the World Exploded, seems to have signalled a shift away from the usual fare of giant bugs, over-sized monsters and alien invaders in flying saucers. There’s a bit more of an environmental message coming through which is best summed up by Hutch: "It's almost as if the earth was striking back at us for the way we robbed her of resources." It’s certainly a message that resonates even with modern audiences 60 years later!









©Chris Christopoulos 2016