Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dang! Part 7: Robinson Crusoe on Mars

Dang! Part 7: Robinson Crusoe on Mars


Jay Agan

Sometime, early in 1990. The Drexel North theater was having its' annual 24 hour sci-fi movie marathon. 13, count 'em, THIRTEEN pieces (Movies!) of my favorite kind of schlock. Being "between jobs" (unemployed) & having nothing better to do (Job hunting!? You gotta be kidding!) I decided to attend.

There I was. Packed together with several hundered fellow boisterous sardines in a very small space. From high noon Saturday to high noon Sunday, it was wall to wall wonder & weidness of various levels with the fun set at high.

Heaven is a movie theater.

A couple highlights:

About a third of the way through, we were treated to Forbidden Planet & a beutiful print at that. To see such a classic, pristine & on the big screen ... took my breath away.

Some of the younger set thought it was a new movie. After all, that was Leslie Nielsen on the screen, right? I mean, he does look so young in this flick ... Great make up job!

They had a difficult time believing me when I told them the movie was one of Nielsens' earliest & was released in 1956.

"Yer kidding!? Right?"

"Nope! The only thing in this theater older than that movie right now is me!"

The biggest & best highlight of the occasion came right after the first film started.

Cue the music.

Roll opening credits.

Several breathtaking panoramic shots of the spacecraft "flying" top speed to the red planet.

Title fills the screen.


An iffy title for a more than great movie. Cheers hit the roof. The marathon was on. We had arrived!

Illustration by Computer Genius on Deviantart.

RCOM chronicles the endeavors of a stranded astronaut (Paul Mantee) in his struggle to survive the elements (It was thought Mars possibly had a thin, breathable atmosphere when this film was made.) & the crushing lonelyness. His only companion, a lab monkey named Mona. He's later joined by a slave-escapee (Victor Lundin) from an alien mining expedition.

The fourth member of the cast, who dies early from a crash landing, was played by a then unknown (1963) actor going by the name of Adam West.

Yes ... THAT Adam West!

O.K. So the opening music abruptly ends as the spacecraft (Mars Gravity Probe One) hurtles at the audience, practically through the screen & ... There's Adam West at the controls.

Hey! It's Batman & Robin! Mnnnn ... not quite.

Suddenly, a rather irritating, rotund fellow (Many anime & movie con goers have personally met this person. His name is THAT GUY!.) a few rows back, shouts:


The whole theater, me with it, EXPLODES in thunderous cheers & applause.

I wonder if Mr. West truely realizes the extent of the tremendous impact he's made on pop culture ...

Article copyright © 2-14-2013 Jay Agan

A more accurate rendition of Mars Gravity Probe 1/Eleanor M by Computer Genius here.

Wikipedia article on Forbidden Planet here.

Wikipedia article on Robinson Crusoe On Mars here.

The Drexel North, A Place on High Street here.

Go to Jays' Tee Vee blog main page here.


  1. Yeah, I saw RCOM in the theater. Really neat, and I was a virgin as far as Adam West fandom goes. We did not get the ABC channel, thus, no "Batman".

    Maybe I was able to take his role more seriously in this movie because of it. Need to see this again, and NOT think of "Family Guy" while doing so.

    1. I didn't know there was an ABC network (Elmira, NY had only two stations back then.) until we moved to central Ohio.

      Try not to think about Fairly Odd Parents either. He plays himself in that one too.

      I have RCOM in my collection. I like the Biblical references in it. You don't see/hear that in movies these days.