Each episode of this series was budgeted at $50,000. See more »
No matter where he travels, one thing will always be the same: man himself. Human nature will not change in the strange outposts of space. There will always be love and hate, courage and fear, and even greed. This is the story of an expedition to a distant world that was brought to the brink of disaster by one man's greed.
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"Men Into Space" was one of two 1959 TV series created to 'cash in' on the burgeoning NASA space program, as the first astronauts were being selected, and this CBS production benefited from the participation of two space 'legends' in the production team; for technical advice, Willy Ley, America's best-known space 'expert', provided uncredited assistance, and Chesley Bonestell, the 'father' of space illustration, was listed as 'creator', and provided the remarkably accurate 'look' of the series. As the pair had also worked on George Pal's production of Robert Heinlein's DESTINATION MOON (1950), the series had a very similar 'feel', with aerodynamic multi-stage rockets with fins, a classic 'wheel-within-wheel' space station, correctly envisioned 'pressure-suit' inspired spacesuits, and a 'moon' that was composed of jagged peaks and sharply defined craters (a conception that would carry over to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, and would only be modified when astronauts discovered the clinging dust that actually covers the lunar surface, and 'softens' the appearance).
With Ivan Tors as an executive producer, the stories were 'kid-friendly', with plots focusing on fundamental space issues (weightlessness, oxygen, navigation in space), although, with the Cold War raging, sabotage and politics were also touched on, if only lightly. Veteran actor William Lundigan starred, as 'no nonsense' commander Col. Edward McCauley, and while he seemed a bit old for hopping around space, he was an adequate 'father-figure' for the young cast assembled.
CBS expected the show to become a hit with kids, and marketed a variety of merchandise (including a 'lunch box' that I was a proud owner of!), but the special effects turned out to be cost-prohibitive, and the series was canceled after a single season, and never syndicated.
Considering the fanciful 'space opera' series ("Lost in Space", "Star Trek") that would dominate the airwaves within a few years, "Men Into Space", with it's realistic approach to space flight, was far ahead of it's time.
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