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City on a Table

There’s a wealth of PD scifi video from the 1950’s and 60’s. It’s entertainingly bad, but often so bad it’s cain't-take-it-no-mo' bad, which begs the question: who actually paid to watch this stuff in the first place? Or was that what drive-in's were all about?

Here’s a better-than-average clip from the 60’s title “Battle in Outer Space.” You may see a couple of seconds from it in the Roger RayGun video, because it’s filled with process shots of a space cadet pointing his ray cannon at various flying saucers, with a long-reaching lightning bolt zapping out of its barrel, which blows the invaders up. Here's a link:

Speakin’ of which, have you ever noticed that for all the high tech magic the Star Wars Storm Troopers are walking around in, their armored suits provide nothing but menacing looks when something – anything – gets lobbed at one of those hapless conscripts? Down they go, like a pile of Legos. That white armor must really be plastic. Am I the only one concerned about this?

So this clip comes from the period of Japanese filmmaking that fostered Godzilla and mixes an Asian and Caucasian cast with Japanese and English signage. The filmmakers knew who was buttering their toast, but the Asians are the heroes, the Caucs clueless military, whose role is usually to be amazed (hell, I'm amazed ALL the time). In fact, the table model of the city being destroyed at the end is just like the ones GZ stomped on, except this time, they're being zapped by the invading saucers.

It’s cool eyeing these half-century old films to get their retro futuristic POV, however cheesy. Someone once wrote: The point of scifi isn’t to predict the future, it’s to get you to think about it.

I’m thinking, I’m thinking!

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