Topic: Other Non Comics Works
TODAY'S FEATURE IS BLOG #3807 - Today's blog is on the new book titled: 'Men Into Space', by John C. Fredriksen, from Bear Manor Media.
This book was sent to me by the author, as I have previously review blogged another of his books, 'Honey West', in a blog that I posted back on August 6th of 2009.
So what's this new book about?
Here's the promotional info:
MORE SCIENCE THAN FICTION Before Lost In Space, before Star Trek, and before Space 1999, American audiences were regaled by the weekly thrills, perils, and otherworldly exploits of Men Into Space, the first-ever "hard science" sci-fi program. Popular actor William Lundigan appeared as the redoubtable Colonel Edward McCauley, who grappled with many of the same problems that real astronauts encountered in their quest to reach the Moon a decade later. It was a somber departure from previous televised science fiction fare, aimed at juveniles, and served up the drama and excitement of space flight in realistic fashion. In 38 black-and-white episodes, McCauley endures lunar crashes, renegade satellites, runaway space stations, meteor strikes, and colliding tankers, in addition to memorable encounters with feuding scientists, balky subordinates, hostile cosmonauts, and space babes. All told, Men Into Space is a classic slice of 1950s Americana and exuberantly reflects the national obsession with astronautics of its day. It is a must for devotees of the heroic age of spaceflight and early science fiction television. This ground-breaking booklet examines the historical context of the series and its rise and fall, along with biographies of all major personalities involved with its production. Includes two appendices and footnotes; profusely illustrated.
Whew! That seems a lot to cover, doesn't it?
Well, it does!
First of all, I want to bring this point up...
I didn't watch this show when it first aired on CBS on Wednesday nights in 1959-60. My family only had one TV set, (a black & white), when my dad was stationed in Long Beach, California.
We actually watched 'Wagon Train' on NBC from 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM, and then switched to ABC at 8:30 PM to watch the 'Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet'! So, no, I don't have any real memories of this one season TV series like the author has!
And, even though there was a comic book, Dell Four Color #1083, printed in March/May of 1960, (shown at the top left of this blog), I've never owned the comic book to read it! So, I definitely don't have any nostalgic fondness for the TV series...
But, after reading the first few chapters in this new book... I had to stop to find if there was any uploads on the internet on this TV Series, as I wasn't going to stop and try to purchase a DVD set. I found that there is a fellow that has uploaded all 38 episodes of the series at his YouTube Channel. So I would suggest checking those uploads out first.
Just a quick note... I found it interesting that McCauley's wife was played in the pilot episode by none other than Angie Dickinson! By the time the network picked up the series, she had committed to being in John Wayne's Rio Bravo film, and thus couldn't play the wife role in the rest of the series.
Like I was saying though, this book is based on the TV Series, that you can read about at this link on Wikipedia. I found that John first wrote a 'Preface', then an intro titled 'Space Was New / The Future Was Now', and then individual chapters on the 'Cast and Crew'. The cast and crew chapters totalled seven in number. Then the section on 'Episodes' started on page 39 and ended on page 292. Following that there were two Appendices: Interview with Anastacia Lundigan, the daughter of William, and 'Men Into Space Merchandise. With an 'About the Author' section, Endnotes, and Name Index.
This is a really well researched book in my opion. Why?
The first section, preface and introduction, showed that John really knew the topic that the TV show covered. And that he had the opportunity to watch the show when it first aired. The show stood the test of time for him, enough for him to write about it.
The second section, on the cast and crew, was in depth on several main characters & crew, plus the topic of the Convair Atlas rocket!
The third section had the episodes written out... In such detail that I thought that several were 'short stories', they were so good!
I've got to say that John's writing was contagious enough for me to stop reading and check the show out online! That's how good this book was!
My grade for this book is a Near Mint Minus (NM-) 9.2 out of a possible 10.0 comic book grading scale. Even if you haven't seen the TV series, this book would get you interested in checking it out, like me!
Here's the ordering info:
Paperback: 328 pages
If your LCBS or bookstore doesn't have it in stock... Then you can order it here online: Men Into Space .
My thanks to John C Fredriksen for sending me this book for possible review!
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