Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Spaceships of Walt Disney - Man in Space

Today on Far Future Horizons we present Walt Disney’s acclaimed television series Man in Space which first aired in 1955 depicting humanity's future in space.

Man in Space is an episode of Disneyland which originally aired on March 9, 1955. It was directed by Disney animator Ward Kimball. Later, it was edited into a featurette to play in theatres, accompanying Davy Crockett and the River Pirates. This Disneyland episode (set in Tomorrow land), was narrated partly by Kimball and also by such famed scientists as Dr. Willy Ley, Dr. Heinz Haber, Dr. Wernher von Braun and Dick Tufeld. 

The show talks briefly about the lighthearted history of rockets and is followed by discussions of satellites, a practical look (through humorous animation) at what spacemen will have to face in a rocket (both physically and psychologically, such as momentum, weightlessness, radiation, even space sickness) and a rocket takeoff into space.

The episode was converted into a 32 page comic book (“Dell Comics” (#716)) in 1956. Under the title Walt Disney’s Man in Space: A Science Feature from Tomorrowland. It was actually a “novelization” in comic book form of 2 Walt Disney television programs “Man in Space” (1955) and “Tomorrow the Moon” (1955). Also found as a 1956 UK reprint as “A World Distributors Movie Classic” (#45) and a 1959 combined reprint with the other 2 Dell Comics adaptations of “Man in Space” films as: “Walt Disney’s Man in Space” (“Dell Comics Giant” #27). It was also made into a “Tomorrowland adventure” book for classroom use in 1959 as Man in Space: A Tomorrowland Adventure. Walt Disney Productions. Adapted for school use by Ley, Willy. Illustrated by Carbe, Nino. Syracuse, NY: LW Singer Co. Inc. (48 p.) 21 cm. Softcover.

It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. It was released on DVD in 2004 as part of the Walt Disney Treasures line. The next episode in this series was Man and the Moon followed by Mars and Beyond.

It was through this series of programs that Wernher von Braun was able to sell Americans on the exciting possibilities of Space Exploration and Colonization

The entire collection of Walt Disney Treasures - Tomorrow Land: Disney in Space and Beyond is available on DVD from Amazon.com.

Disney in Space - Man in Space

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