I'm giving this episode a 10 for two reasons: it's the only episode of The Mickey Rooney Show that I remember and because it inspired me. (At age 8, I might add.) In 1954, I probably knew as much about outer space as any other kid - we had comic books and Captain Video on TV and rumors of flying saucers in the news - but it was a couple years before the first great sci-fi epic Forbidden Planet arrived in 1956, (complete with free passes for kids hidden in boxes of Quaker Oats.)
It was before all those horrible Corman sci-fi films and a decade before Star Trek. But Mickey Mulligan was a guy any modern kid could like (he even worked for a TV network!) so the day after I watched Mickey and his pal Freddie build their backyard spaceship, I was out there in my back yard with my little sister creating one of my own. We never did finish ours, much less get it off the ground, but the spark was there and a couple of years later I was reading sci-fi books. I started out with Robert Heinlein's Revolt in 2100 and then dropped back to H.G. Wells and Jules Verne before discovering Theodore Sturgeon, Ballard, Bliss, Bradbury, Clarke, Robert Sheckley and hundreds of others. For a while, I read at least one (paperbacks were 25-35 cents) sci-fi book a week, and many of them were collections of short stories.
Maybe I was trying to find Mickey's blueprints?
I continued to read sci-fi (and so does my sister) and of course we're both Trekkers and Firefly fans, but I still remember that night in 1954, watching Mr. Rooney and Joey Forman build Mickey's space ship. Before I ever saw him as Andy Hardy or song and dancing with Judy Garland or any of the wonderful stuff he's done since in his amazing career, Mickey was my TV hero. What I wouldn't give to see this episode again!
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