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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;
John C. Fredriksen received his doctorate in history from Providence
College. He is the author of 30 reference books on various topics.