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Friday, December 30, 2011

THE FORBIDDEN PLANET - A BRIEF HISTORY & ORIGINS OF STAR TREK

I hinted at my interest in writing this article last week, when we talked about the voluptuous actress Christina Hendricks. Some time ago, I stumbled upon a classic Sci Fi movie, titled Forbidden Planet [released in 1956], which was a prequel to the classic Lost in Space TV series [it was first aired in black & white and ran from 1965 - 1968. And this means it was on TV for a year before the Star Trek TV series was first produced in 1966].

  

Back in the year 1956, two men [Irving Block and Alvin Adler] wrote the script to an epic Sci Fi film with a big budget. And this movie was directed by Fred M. Wilcox. The movie was titled Forbidden Planet. It stared Leslie Neilson and it also stared the stunning blonde lady, Anne Francis.
Having stared in over 80 classic movies, Leslie was the old guy from The Naked Gun comedic movies [in the mid 1980s], along with the hilarious Spy Hard movie [in the 1990s]. On the other hand, Anne Francis was the first female actress to have a lead role in a detective TV series, back in 1965. And the name of that series was Honey West. Born in the 1930s before the Great Depression,  she had a natural beauty mark on the right side of her face, below her lips. And she looked like a classic glamor / pin up model. Along with her sharp blue eyes Anne Francis had a very alluring gaze, which captivated many men that lived in her era. She also stared in the classic TV series Dallas, back in the 80s. Although they are both deceased, both Leslie and Anne were in their prime, back in 1950s.
 
       

I wrote an article based on Cheesecake Art and classic Glamor models some time ago. Those familiar with this blog have probably read it, but those new to this Website can check it out over HERE.
And here are some sci fi movie posters from the mid-1950s along with screenshots of the Forbidden Planet movie:



 
 


The legendary work that Leslie Neilson and Anne Francis did on Forbidden Planet had a far greater impact on the Sci Fi movie genre than they could have ever imagined. Leslie played the role of Commander JJ Adams in that movie, which was set in the 23rd Century. He and his crew were sent to planet Altair IV, about 16 light-years from the Earth. The mission of JJ Adams and the crew of the United Planets Cruiser C57-D was to discover the fate of an expedition team sent 20 years earlier to establish a colony on the distant alien planet. Unfortunately, there were just 2 survivors of that original expedition fleet: Altaira and Dr. Morbius. Anne played the role of Altaira, the daughter of Dr. Edward Morbius, an ingenious scientist whose crew had been stranded on that alien world. And that alien planet was initially inhabited by a hostile race called the Krell. But the Krells were all mysteriously wiped out in a single night about 200,000 years ago. Thus Commander JJ Adams was confronted with a dilemma; his mission was to survey and rescue any human survivors from the 20-year old expedition to planet Altair IV. But the persistence of Dr. Edward [the stranded survivor with his beautiful daughter] was drawing JJ Adams and his crew to join the exploration venture, in order to find out why the alien world was so dangerous and hostile. After the landing of JJ Adams' Cruiser C57-D on the alien world, the sci fi drama unfolds in the movie with elements of suspense..... and as the story progressed, it was quite intriguing. The special effects produced back in the 1950s by Albert Arnold Gillespie and his associates were certainly not the sort of thing produced today by Digital Domain [the guys behind the Transformers Movie Trilogy] or Industrial Light & Magic [the Special FX firm behind Star Wars]. And many scenarios in that movie were actually painted backgrounds with several hollow constructed props. This movie also featured "Robby the Robot" [shown on the left, above], one of the first robotic characters in movies. And he certainly preceded the programmable robots like R2-D2 from Star Wars.

Anyway, back in the 1950s, there was a guy who saw this Forbidden Planet movie in the theaters and it completely blew him away. His name was Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) and he later became a television screenwriter and producer. Wesley was also the creator of the original hit TV series Star Trek, which lasted 3 Seasons in its original run back in 1966 - 1969. Actor William Shatner was part of the original cast of that series and he played the role of  Captain James T. Kirk, guiding his crew to "boldly go where no man has gone before". Star Trek has been re-interpreted several times over the past 5 decades, resulting in multiple series and about 11 movies so far. The core of Star Trek is its six television series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. The franchise also includes eleven feature films, dozens of games, hundreds of novels, as well as a themed attraction in Las Vegas (it opened in 1998 and closed in September 2008). 

And it was Wesley Roddenberry who confessed in his autobiography that the Forbidden Planet inspired him to start his own Sci Fi series, 11 years after he saw the movie in theaters. And his vision became a syndicated global phenomenon. Roddenberry received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Hall of Fame. Years after his death, Roddenberry was one of the first humans to have his ashes "buried" in outer space - honestly, that's taking things a bit too far, but I guess the folks who officiated his funeral had a ton of cash linked to his estate in order to pull that off.
BTW, check out these hilarious Motivational Posters based on Star Trek:



Many books, comics and movies have been created over the years, which are related to the Sci Fi themes inspired by Star Trek. Yet any work inspired by Star Trek is actually standing on the broad shoulders of the Forbidden Planet. And the 12th Star Trek movie [the sequel to the 2009 hit film] is slated to be released on May 17 2013. This sequel movie will be directed by JJ Abrams, and the first film's major cast members [including Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Zoe Saldana - they are shown in the middle poster at the top of this article] have signed on for two sequels.

The DSNG Sci Fi Series also takes inspiration from past great works in animation and live-action movies. In past blog articles, I've cited Star Wars as an inspirational franchise [it was created by American writer/director/producer George Lucas back in 1977. George was born on May14 1944]. Additionally, I was inspired by DBZ - Dragon Ball Z [created by Akira Toriyama, a prominent manga artist/writer from Japan. He was born in 1955].  
DSNG is a futuristic saga set in an alternate galaxy, where there are 7 major planets and almost twice that many alien races with their diverse species, including the heroic Averans, the Scalatans, the Dinatours, the Yetirons, the Entradans and the Katarans. And DSNG can be considered as a fusion of some concepts from both of the aforementioned franchises, while having an original identity of its own. Some time ago, an observant fan at the Deviantart.com Art Appreciation Website declared that DSNG was a Techpunk Series, thus placing it in a whole new category.
Check out these DBZ wallpapers & posters below, plus a classic Star Wars poster:

  

You can check out more interesting Sci Fi articles linked to Star Wars, the Steampunk genre and Star Trek over Here

And Explore the characters of the DSNG Sci Fi Series HERE

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