Sunday, November 20, 2011

Failed TV pilot..."Destination Space"

Veteran television and film director Joseph Pevney tried his hand at a pilot for a science fiction series in 1959. Destination Space failed to impress CBS executives and the production was put back in the can and sat on the shelves for years until it's recent resurrection as an example of the beginning of man's feasibility of discovering space travel.

A lot of the scenes are a B&W uplift from George Pal's Conquest of Space.

An IMDb reviewer wrote...

"As a pilot for an unmade TV series this decent, if dull, little effort shouldn't be judged too harshly. I am glad it has survived.

The special effects are slightly above average for the period - as they should be, since they all seem to come from The Conquest of Space. The action scenes at the beginning and end are quite well staged and reasonably tense, but the middle section is just establishing characters and situations that would have been developed later in the series, so it is inevitable that it does not have the momentum of a stand-alone movie. The acting is 'so so'.

This is just an oddity of mild historical interest only, but I feel it is worth acknowledging its existence, because it is actually the most convincing depiction of the dawning of the space age to appear at any time in the Fifties. It is certainly more convincing than the Pal movie it pillaged for its special effects.

It is the first time that space travel was shown in a plausible political context. The first time it was ever suggested that space travel was not just a technological triumph and a great adventure: that cost and financial justification was part of the equation as well.

These are small merits in what is, in truth, a fairly tedious fifty minutes, but I am glad to have seen it and have a slight regret that there was not at least one season of the show.

Check it out if, like me, you have a particular fondness for Fifties' SF and a stamp collector's desire to see everything that was made in this era.

Just don't expect an undiscovered minor classic."

Watch or download...

Destination Space

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