Men into Space

Men Into Space
William Lundigan Men into Space 1959.JPG
William Lundigan as Edward McCauley.
Also known asSpace Challenge
GenreScience fiction
Created byLewis J. Rachmil
Written byJerome Bixby
Stuart J. Byrne
James Clavell
Meyer Dolinsky
David Duncan
Sidney Kalcheim
Robert Warnes Leach
Ib Melchior
Marianne Mosner
Michael Plant
Francis Rosenwald
William Templeton
Arthur Weiss
Directed byWilliam Conrad
Alan Crosland, Jr.
Walter Doniger
Alvin Ganzer
Jack Herzberg
Herman Hoffman
Nathan H. Juran
Otto Lang
Lee Sholem
Herbert L. Strock
StarringWilliam Lundigan
Tyler McVey
Theme music composerDavid Rose
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes38
Production
Executive producer(s)Maurice Ziv
Producer(s)Sol Dolgin
Lewis J. Rachmil
CinematographyEdward Cronjager
William P. Whitley
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Ziv Television Programs
DistributorMGM Television
Peter Rodgers Organization
Release
Original networkCBS
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 30, 1959 (1959-09-30) – September 7, 1960 (1960-09-07)

Men Into Space (a.k.a. Space Challenge in later UK syndication) is an American black-and-white science fiction television series, produced by Ziv Television Programs, Inc., that was first broadcast from September 30, 1959 to September 7, 1960 by CBS. The syndicated series depicts future efforts by the United States Air Force to explore and develop outer space. The series' star, William Lundigan, played Col. Edward McCauley.

Scenarios

Men Into Space was not set in a specified era, but clues dropped in the scripts indicated that it took place between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, with the first Moon landing happening somewhere around 1975. Props were occasionally futuristic (such as a forerunner of today's real-life LCD TVs), but the show's Earthly clothing and environs, including automobiles, telephones, and other machines, were decidedly 1950s. The program aired in the year just prior to the beginning of manned spaceflight, with Vostok I and the Mercury program launching manned spacecraft in 1961.

Men Into Space was somewhat unusual for a TV action series in that it had numerous recurring characters, but only one protagonist, Col. Edward McCauley (William Lundigan), who was in all 38 of the series' episodes. Tyler McVey appeared in seven episodes as Major General Norgath. Ron Foster appeared five times as Lieutenant Neil Templeton. Joyce Taylor had a recurring role in eight episodes as Col. McCauley's wife, Mary McCauley.

McCauley was a sort of "everyman" character who was viewed in the show as the most experienced and illustrious astronaut. As depicted in the scripts, the low-key but decisive McCauley was ubiquitous, assigned to every important space mission over at least a decade, including the earliest manned flights, the first flight to the Moon, many additional lunar landings and Moon base construction missions, construction of a space station, and two flights to Mars (neither succeeded, and folklore has it that plans for a never-aired second season would have focused on further missions to Mars and beyond).

In many episodes the astronauts were faced with accidents or technical problems that required innovation. The program was not idealistic; missions sometimes failed and astronauts sometimes died. For example, a scientist-astronaut stricken with a coronary thrombosis while exploring the Moon was not expected to survive the G-forces of the return flight, so his comrades stowed the space-suited patient in a steel drum filled with water, to cushion him during launch. A "Space Race" episode involved spacecraft from the USA and the USSR starting out almost simultaneously on the first Mars mission, with the American spacecraft aborting its effort in order to rescue the Soviet crew after their spacecraft experienced problems.[1]

The series included an episode whose plot essentially paralleled the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission's explosion in space more than a decade later and another that was an uncanny foretelling of the accident that befell the real Gemini VIII mission in 1966.

Scripts often considered the human factor, and while action was the show's forte, humor and romance were part of the mix. Men Into Space predicted women astronauts and scientists and married couples in space.

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italiano: Men Into Space