Rocketship X-M (1950)
**Season two kicks off with a slightly new opening sequence. Who was that with Dr F? On the satellite of love, Joel is working on Tom Servo’s new voice and Crow has a tooth ache. Suddenly there is a new face down in Deep 13. Frank has replaced Dr Earnhardt, who is missing. Joel demonstrates his new drum kit then it’s time for the movie.
A press conference is being held to introduce the crew of the first rocket ship to the moon. The crew consists of four men and one women. The leader of the crew is Dr. Karl Eckstrom (John Emery). He designed the ship. None of the crew are in any sort of special clothing at all. The ship is set to lift off in less than 15 minutes but no one seems to be in the least bit of a hurry. Finally the crew boards the ship with about one minute to go and it lifts off without a hitch.
**Joel and the bots pay tribute to the men and women of the Press Corp.
All the members of the press are in the control room as the rocket circles the earth and then heads for the moon. The crew are all hanging around the ship waiting for something to happen when suddenly something happens. The engines stops working. The pilot, Col. Floyd Graham (Lloyd Bridges) and flight engineer, Maj. William Corrigan (Noah Berry jr) look to see if they can find the problem but nothing seems amiss. It must be a problem with a fuel mixture. Eckstrom and Dr. Lisa Van Horn (Osa Massen), a chemist, set to work trying to calculate a new mixture. Eckstrom and Van Horn are in dispute over which formula to use. Eckstrom decides they should use his. Dramatic music plays as some officials on earth are not sure of what is going on with the ship since they can’t communicate with it.
Back on the ship the riveting calculations continue. It’s so fascinating that everyone is asleep except for Van Horn and Graham. Graham starts to put the moves on Van Horn with talk of moon light and its effect on people.
**Joel puts on a demonstration for Tom and Crow about selective gravity and quizzes them on whether certain things are funny floating or not.
Suddenly they pass through a very noisy meteor shower which wakes the others. Luckily nothing happens, literally. Finally the calculations are done and the fuel mixture is corrected. Van Horn is still not so sure about the calculations. Eckstrom dismisses her woman’s intuition again. The ship’s rockets are fired and all goes horribly wrong. They are flying at tremendous speed out into space. Everyone passes out from shear boredom, I mean the speed. They awaken days later. Harry Chamberlain (Hugh O’Brian), the navigator, determines they are headed straight for Mars. After a few more calculations they are able to land on Mars.
The next day, wearing only oxygen masks, they head out to explore the Martian landscape. There they come across the remnants of an ancient civilization. There is also a lot of radiation. Looks as though a nuclear blast caused this. Despite this they continue on and even spend the night under the Martian night sky. Of course they brought nothing to sleep so they lay down on some rocks.
**Joel and the bots are in deep conversation but they are using nothing but music lyrics. Suddenly another ship appears next to them. It’s Valaria from Robot Holocaust. Joel asks her to help them get back to earth but she can’t seem to help them.
Chamberlain is keeping watch when he sees several Martians walking around below them. He wakes the others but the Martians scatter. So the crew goes running down to see where they went. Eckstrom and Corrigan head off to search for them. The Martians attack and crush Corrigan with a large rock. Eckstrom runs but is killed with an axe just as he reaches the others. Chamberlain is hit with a rock but the three crew members make it back to the ship and quickly take off.
Time for more calculations as Van Horn tries to figure out how much fuel they will have left but she isn’t sure. Chamberlain is unconscious so she can’t get a precise location. Graham takes this as an excellent opportunity to start hitting on Van Horn again. As they get closer they realize they don’t have enough fuel to land. They call headquarters and tell them everything that has happened. Realizing they are going to die, Graham and Van Horn get all snuggly. The rocket crashes into Nova Scotia.
**Joel and the bots are upset that they had to watch a movie about being stranded in space while stranded in space. Dr F has to teach Frank how to “push the button.”
Lloyd Bridges is most know for his role as Mike Nelson on the tv series Sea Hunt. My personal favorite was his role in the movie Airplane!
This movie is tedious and preachy. Eckstrom can’t stop making speeches even when he’s dying. The misogyny is hilariously bad in it as well.
I do like this episode. The addition of Frank Coniff to the show gives it a huge boost. TV’s Frank is one of my all-time favorite characters on tv.
3 out of 5