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The Space Children (1958)
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 4:29 pm    Post subject: The Space Children (1958) Reply with quote

____


If I had to name one movie that was especially influential in making me a science fiction fan, this is the one.

I was ten years old when I went to a drive-in with my family to see a double feature — The Colossus of New York and The Space Children. Both movies rocked my world.

The Colossus of New York was dark and disturbing. During the drive-in intermission I remember telling my parents how moved I was by the tragic ending.

The moment the second feature started I was completely mesmerized. This movie portrays the experience every ten year old dreams of having — a strange, powerful, benevolent alien secretly ask for help in performing a task that will save mankind.

And the grown-ups aren't invited.

Ye—ess! Cool

Michel Ray stars as the leader of seven magnificent kids who gleefully assist the glowing, lumpy alien life form (I refuse to call it a brain, because it isn't). The alien converses telepathically with it's young disciples as they sneak around confounding the clueless adults and sabotaging the preparations being made to launch an orbiting nuclear weapon from a seaside missile base.








Ignore the countless idiots who have claimed for decades that the kids are controlled by the alien. Nothing could be further from the truth. The kids are chosen to assist the alien in its vital mission because they intuitively understand that what they're doing is right.







The film makes this clear with a scene in which the oldest boy in the group demonstrates that he's almost-but-not-quite beyond the age of innocence required to be one of the alien's trusting and devoted assistants.





And yet the alien defends this same boy when he's attacked by his alcoholic, abusive stepfather.







Despite the movie's limited budget, director Jack Arnold cut no corners on the production. The strange beam that brings the alien down out of the sky is brilliantly done by Paramount's special effects department under the leadership of John P. Fulton.





The unique alien is a triumph of what's now called "practical effects", but there's no silly man-in-a-suit or wiggly puppets used to portray the extraterrestrial. At least four versions of the indescribable creature were created to show that its size increases throughout the story for reasons that remain a mystery.















The oddly shaped life form pulsates with light and undulates in disturbing ways. The result is something that is convincingly alive and clearly not terrestrial.







The audience learns early in the story that the children are being guided and assisted in their efforts to prevent the launch of a missile called the Thunderer, whose payload is a satellite which includes a nuclear weapon which can destroy an enemy city with the press of a button.. The alien aids them by causing locked gates to snap open and military guards to become motionless while the kids sneak past.





And the children demonstrate a youthful enthusiasm for the task, sneaking around in places they aren't supposed to be, doing things they aren't supposed to do, and knowing exactly what's really going on while the adults grow increasingly frightened by all the odd incidents they can't explain.





After seeing this movie in 1958, I had to wait twenty-eight years to see it a second time, because absolutely nobody showed it on television and nobody offered a VHS tape of it. But that changed in 1986 when the USA network finally aired it. I made a tape of it (without watching it) and then arranged for a special gathering of my friends to share it with me — the guys who has listened to me talk about this movie for many years.

When the big night arrived, we watched a tape of The Colossus of New York first, the opening feature I'd seen at the drive-in in 1958. Then we treated ourselves to the movie which — more than any other — had inspired me to be a science fiction fan for the rest of my life.

The DVD and Blu-ray of The Space Children finally came out just a few years ago, and it was a dream come true after waiting over fifty years. If you've never seen it, you should — but don't expect it to have the same effect on you that it did on me. The world is a half-century older, and you're not a wide-eyed ten year old boy who can fully appreciate the special message this film was meant to convey to a generation born to World World II veterans, children who thought the future would be filled with the wonders shown in movies and TV shows from that era.

To be blunt — sorry, you missed your chance.




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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:30 pm; edited 11 times in total
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Robert (Butch) Day
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never saw this as a kid. My first exposure was to a colorized version and I thought for years that was the way they made it. Thankfully Bud corrected me on this. It has since become one of my top 5 sci-fi movies.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Butch, I'm pretty sure The Space Children has never been colorized. After it aired on the USA network in 1986, the only other time it was shown was when the MST3K crowd did their thing with it.

I said in my post above that the first video of it ever released was the Olive Films DVD in early 2012 (and the Blu-ray later that same year), but I found out today that there was a DVD released in 2006 as part of the Lost Movie Classics Collection from RoDon Enterprises.

However, it too was in black&white.

Years ago you told me you had a longer version of the movie, but later you said you were mistaken. Perhaps your memory of a colorized version is mistaken as well.

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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:04 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Robert (Butch) Day
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still have it and the color is not only poor it's faded looking. It was from an old fly-by-night 16mm film rental company that transferred their stock to VHS. I went and looked at it again and it IS longer, but the added scenes are NOT from The Space Children, but from what appears to be a Czech film (at least that's my guess from the few buildings seen).
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let be sure I understand, Butch. You've got a 16mm print of The Space Children . . . that's colorized?

Just how was that done? By hand? Frame by frame?

And it has scenes added to it from a Czech film, based on the look of the buildings. Just what do Czech buildings look like?

I'm sorry, Butch, but this sounds pretty bogus.

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trekriffic
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
Let be sure I understand, Butch. You've got a 16mm print of The Space Children . . . that's colorized?

Just how was that done? By hand? Frame by frame?

And it has scenes cut into it from a Czech film, based on the look of the buildings. Just what do Czech buildings look like?

I'm sorry, Butch, but this sounds pretty bogus.

If the dialogue is in Czech Butch may have a a very rare copy of the long lost Russian produced version of The Space Children - "Those Cosmic Iron Curtain Kids". It was a favorite of Politburo members in the Kremlin on cinema Fridays.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn, I didn't think of that possibility! Those third world countries employ child labor to colorize movies by hand.

Better dead than Red! Evil or Very Mad

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Robert (Butch) Day
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an old VHS tape that was made from a print belonging to one of those 16mm rental places that schools used to get both entertainment films and educational films from.

There is no copy guard on it. I'll try to find someone who still has the copying machines and enhancers (cleaner-upper machines). If I (or anyone) can find a person and/orplace that can do this I'll surrender my copy and then we can all have our own prints.

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gee, Butch, you're in luck. I have everything needed for that.

Mail it to me.

I have a VHS recorder hooked up to a DVD-R recorder. I can make copies very easily.



That's how I made the DVD-R of my old tape of The Space Children I sent to you years ago -- along with copies to Bill Warren, Peggy Webber, and five or six other people.

But I'm afraid I won't quite accept that you have a colorized version of The Space Children in ANY format until I see it for myself. So, sending me that tape will silence my doubts about the claim.

Here's my mailing address. Looking forward to seeing that tape soon.

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Pye-Rate
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It will take awhile to find. There over 2000 tapes behind my bed alone. My bed is built into the shelving.
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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert (Butch) Day wrote:
I went and looked at it again and it IS longer...

Pye-Rate wrote:
It will take awhile to find. There over 2000 tapes behind my bed alone.

Ask Butch. He appears to have it.
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Robert (Butch) Day
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uh, friends: Eadie is Pye-rate's daughter. Pye-rate, his wife and Eadie need a place to stay when they went broke under President Bush II (and still haven't completely recovered).

Eadie and her mom currently live in a small apartment in Arlington, WA, which I pay all expenses for as Eadie must be close to school for both the classes and a social life.

Pye-rate still lives with me on 11.5+ acres of upland mixed forest (with stream) up in the Cascade Mountains about 8.7 miles (as the crow flies, almost 18 by road) around 80 odd miles NNE from Seattle, WA.

I have in my collection over 10,000+ VHS tapes, 3,000+ B-MAC tapes, 1,000+ Betamax tapes and 200+ VCR tapes all of which are protected by a Faraday cage.

That's not listing CADs, LDs, DVDs, HS-DVDs and BDs.

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert (Butch) Day wrote:
I have an old VHS tape . . I still have it . . . I went and looked at it again and it IS longer . . . . . . . There is no copy guard on it. . . . I'll try to find someone who still has the copying machines . . . If I (or anyone) can find a person and/or place that can do this, I'll surrender my copy and then we can all have our own prints.


And to all this, I reply --


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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert (Butch) Day wrote:
I have in my collection over 10,000+ VHS tapes, 3,000+ B-MAC tapes, 1,000+ Betamax tapes and 200+ VCR tapes all of which are protected by a Faraday cage.

This is an uncatalogued collection? What's the point of having such a collection without the ability to find anything in it?
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We get the point, Butch. You've got a lot of stuff.

Unfortunately what you DON'T have is a colorized VHS tape of The Space Children with extra scenes edited in from a Czechoslovakian movie.

And that is the only thing that's going to convince us that you aren't "stuffed clean through with wild blueberry muffins" -- to quote Scotty from The Thing from Another World.

If you don't find this alleged tape and mail it to me as you said you would, nobody on this board is going believe a word you say from this day forward.

I warned you this would happen.

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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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