ThisIslandEarthRemember those Sci-Fi Saturday afternoons as a kid?

If you grew up in the 1960s, you might have had a lot of those Saturday afternoons and a steady diet of the 1950s science fiction movies which featured a trove of themes from atomic experiments gone awry to giant insects and invaders from outer space.

As kids we were able to suspend our disbelief because we believed everything. A giant tarantula terrorizing towns in America’s southwest was possible thanks to testing nuclear bombs in the desert. Strange, big-headed, bug-eyed visitors from outer space was definitely possible because we all believed in flying saucers, one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eaters and little green men.

We (boys) stopped believing I suppose when we started to discover the opposite sex. That was usually around the sixth or seventh grades. Blame our disbelief on puberty.

This Island Earth (1955) was one of the first science fiction movies made in technicolor. At the time of its release, the film was praised for its special effects as well as its well-written script. Of course, by the time we got around to watching it on television in the 1960s (for me it was WFLD, Channel 32 out of Chicago) we didn’t care about the script as much as the special effects and how the heroes (which were usually scientists) would defeat the extra-terrestrials).

Is it just me, or does Exeter (Jeff Morrow) sound a lot like legendary comedian Phil Hartman? Every time Exeter spoke, I wanted to laugh. Maybe it is hard to suspend our disbelief after all.

These movies would be the inspiration for my first story, “Invaders from Mars”, when I was in eighth grade, which I write about as an essay in Invaders from Mars and Other Tales of Youthful Angst.