Cast and Crew: Shakespeare (Original Play); Les Tremayne (Narrator); Richard Anderson, Earl Holliman, Jack Kelly, Robert Dix, James Best, Marvin Miller
What It’s About: United Planet cruiser C57D, commanded by J. J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen), arrives on the planet Altair IV to check on the farm colony ship Bellerophon, which disappeared twenty years earlier. Linguist Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) contacts the C57D and warns the ship to stay away as he cannot protect Adams and his crew from whatever killed the rest of the Bellerophon colony. Adams ignores the warning and the C57D lands. Morbius sends his robot assistant Robby to bring a small party to his home, which features technology far beyond known science. Morbius lives with his beautiful daughter Alta (Anne Francis). When Adams ignores Morbius’s second warning and plans to contact Earth, the C57D begins receiving nightly visits from an invisible creature. After it destroys the ships communication equipment, it moves on to attacking the men themselves. Can Adams figure out what the creature is, what happened to the earlier expedition, and what Morbius is hiding before it’s too late?
Why Watch it Today?: Star Trek premiered today in 1966. Forbidden Planet is the direct antecedent to Star Trek, with its “United Planets” paramilitary explorers who touch down on a planet and confront a mystery, lead by a head strong commander assisted by a science officer and an older doctor. While the basic set-up is now quite familiar and the effects (and gender politics) are dated, Forbidden Planet is one of the touchstones of science fiction and a must see for every fan.