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The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays (1957)

Traces, in an easy-to-follow way, the discovery of cosmic rays. You don't need rocket science to follow along with the explanations. Saw it while a Junior in HS and it spurred me to study ... See full summary »

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, (uncredited)
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
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The Fiction Writer
Frank Baxter ...
Dr. Research (as Dr. Frank Baxter)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bil Baird ...
Baird Marionettes - Charles Dickens / Edgar Allan Poe / Feedor Doestoevski
Cora Baird ...
Baird Marionettes - Charles Dickens / Edgar Allan Poe / Feedor Doestoevski
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Storyline

Traces, in an easy-to-follow way, the discovery of cosmic rays. You don't need rocket science to follow along with the explanations. Saw it while a Junior in HS and it spurred me to study physics in college. A rare example of good tv programming.

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25 October 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El extraño caso de los Rayos Cósmicos  »

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1.33 : 1
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Third of four educational films produced by Bell Laboratories and directed by Frank Capra on the subjects of the sun, the human circulatory system, radioactivity and the weather. These films were used regularly in classrooms since they were well produced and Bell Laboratories would supply 16mm copies of the films to schools free of charge. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mysterious Science
12 December 2005 | by See all my reviews

A Frank Capra WONDERS OF LIFE film.

Some of the best scientific sleuthing of the 20th Century was needed to crack THE STRANGE CASE OF THE COSMIC RAYS.

In the mid-1950's, AT&T and Bell Science teamed with famed Hollywood director Frank Capra to produce a series of CBS television science films to educate the public about the Universe around them. A far cry from the dreary black & white fodder so often foisted off on young scholars, the Capra films would both instruct and entertain with lively scripts and eye-catching visuals shown in Technicolor. The four films - OUR MR. SUN (1956), THE STRANGE CASE OF THE COSMIC RAYS (1957), HEMO THE MAGNIFICENT (1957), THE UNCHAINED GODDESS (1958) - quickly became schoolhouse favorites, where they were endlessly shown in 16mm format.

The star of the series was Dr. Frank C. Baxter (1896-1982), an affable English professor at the University of Southern California. This avuncular pedagogue proved to be the perfect film instructor, genially imparting to his audience the sometimes complex facts in a manner which never made them seem dull or boring. Dr. Baxter, who won a Peabody Award for his achievements, continued making high quality instructional films after the Capra quartet were concluded.

THE STRANGE CASE OF THE COSMIC RAYS, which was produced, written & directed by Capra, tells of the search to understand the makeup of the Universe by revealing its most basic components: electrons, neutrons, protons, etc., using experiments, animation and gentle humor. Film star Richard Carlson appears as the Fiction Writer, who presents the story as a scientific mystery to Bil and Cora Baird's marionette figures of Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe & Fydor Dostoevski.

The devotional sentiments voiced by Dr. Baxter at the end of the film are completely in tune with the tenor & tone of the production.


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