1950s Sci-Fi Movies

Planet X

© 2017 Bill Murphy

The 50s were the hay-day of Sci-Fi movies, and I missed very few. Among my favorites was the then horrifying “The Man From Planet X.” Yes, I have a copy of it today.

I must add, that by today’s standards, it was horrifyingly lame. The fact that it was low-budget, is painfully obvious. But in 1951, the movie terrified us. And might I add, it starred Sally Field’s mother.

Although my grade school was in walking distance of down town Jackson, MS, my junior high and then senior high were much closer. Many an afternoon after school, we headed straight for the movie theatre running the latest creature-feature. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. Destination Moon. Rocket Ship X-M, Expedition Mars, It Came From Outer Space. No wonder we all wanted to be astronauts. If nothing else, it sure made us pay close attention in Science and Physics class.

In the 50s, a coke and popcorn at the movie didn’t cost more than the cost of admission. But to growing boys, anyone could buy popcorn. We wanted our movie experience to be special. On the way to the theatre, we’d stop by Krystal!

For those not so southern friends who are not familiar with Krystal burgers, they’re the southern equivalent of White Castle burgers… one of those fine delicacies you either love or hate. There is no middle ground. I can best compare Krystals to skunks. When you smell one, you know instantly what you’re smelling. And, you can smell both from a very long way away. Because those delicious little Krystal burgers then cost less than a dime each, we each got a bag full. You know what’s coming.

No more than had we sat down in the darkened theatre, than you could hear the sounds of noses everywhere – sniff, sniff, sniff. I’m sure some were offended… interpreting the savory aroma as ‘stink’ – while others were asking themselves, “Why in the world didn’t I think to get me a bag of those?” Yes, we really turned some heads!

My favorite horror movie story came from my brother-in-law. I’m not sure if he was the actual participant in this jewel, or not. As the story goes, you take into the movie theatre a can opener and a can of vegetable soup. The soup is kept between you legs, until it is warmed to body temperature, and then you open the can – and wait – until a particularly gory scene. Oh, did I tell you that you should sit in the front row of the balcony? As gore fills the screen, you let out a resounding, “UUUUUUUGH!” and empty the warm soup onto the unsuspecting heads below. (They don’t think it’s soup. Get it?)

Who said that the 50s must have been a boring time in which to grow up? NOT!




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