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The Astronaut (1972)

Government officials, not wanting to have the space program canceled, substitute a lookalike for an astronaut who died on a Mars mission.


Gerald Di Pego (teleplay), Charles Kuenstle (teleplay) | 3 more credits »


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Credited cast:
Jackie Cooper ... Kurt Anderson
Monte Markham ... Eddie Reese / Col. Brice Randolph
Richard Anderson ... Dr. Wylie
Robert Lansing ... John Phillips
Susan Clark ... Gail Randolph
John Lupton ... Don Masters
Walter Brooke ... Tom Everett
James Sikking ... Astronaut Higgins
Paul Kent Paul Kent ... Carl Samuels
Loretta Leversee Loretta Leversee ... Toni Scott
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ray Dimas Ray Dimas ... Freddie
Patsy Garrett Patsy Garrett ... Boy's Mother
Tom Hallick ... Agent Wilson
Paul Micale Paul Micale ... Beachgoer
John S. Ragin John S. Ragin ... Walters


In the not too distant future the first American astronaut prepares to set foot on the planet Mars. The world is watching this event live on television. Everything is a success, or so the world thinks, and he is treated as a hero upon his return. Later, it is discovered that the mission was a failure and as the astronaut was on Mars he died of an undetermined condition either due to toxic poisoning due to conditions on Mars or some unknown bacteria native to Mars. Mission controllers on Earth saw this happening and fed a false image into the "live" broadcast so as not to panic the public. The "astronaut" who returned to Earth was actually a double who had undergone surgery so as to look like the real astronaut. Only the wife of the astronaut began to suspect the man who returned, although looking identical to her husband, was somehow different. Unfortunately for those who created the hoax, the Russians announced that due to the American success they had launched their own mission ... Written by Kevin Steinhauer <K.Steinhauer@BoM.GOV.AU>

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Release Date:

8 January 1972 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Kurt Anderson: [final line] Mr. President, I have some very unpleasant news - for both of us.
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I'll Remember April
Music by Don Raye
Lyrics by Gene De Paul
Played at the nightclub where Eddie and Gail dance
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User Reviews

More human then it's ripping-off successor, Capricorn One
19 May 2000 | by launchdSee all my reviews

I agree with the first poster of comments, Melissa. This has remained in my head for a long time (especially Monte Markham's "replacement" astronaut's word to his "wife" "I carved your initials on a Martian Apple Tree...". This isn't a space tale but a tale of humanity and all it's facets. A lovely tale for a TV production (was an "ABC Movie of the Week"). If it plays or comes out on tape, I'll ship you a message, Melissa. BP

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