If the 1940s was a bit short, then the 1950s will certainly make up for it!! In the 1950s inspiration came from the beginnings of space travel and atomic bombs. So we had huge monsters and space rockets. We also had futuristic costumes...and lots and lots of lovely ladies. Most of them were of the screaming genre, often abducted by weird monsters, but we do encounter some deeper characters from time to time. Either way - there were plenty of gorgeous ladies in this decade and this section only currently deals with a fraction of them.
The day the Earth stood still (1951) is included mainly because it was such great film and a classic. Patricia Neale played Helen Benson and she definitely had babe qualifications.
Now, check out the leggy Margueritte Chapman ,as Alita in Flight to Mars (1951), the leader of the Martian women (who looked just like Earth women, surprise surprise). The film itself borrowed from other films in the early 1950s, such as Destination moon, including the spacesuits used for that film! The 1950s were particularly good for legs, as we will see later...
A returning babe, Acquanetta (remember her in the ape-woman films of the 1940s?), played a small part as "native woman" in The Lost Continent (1951). A bit like Lost World, really, but the addition of a lost atomic bomb in the shape of a rocket does little to endear this film which was shot in just eleven days and features nearly twenty minutes of rock climbing!
For the 1950s, it was indeed strange that we saw women in command positions, but we did in Project Moonbase (1953)! Colonel Briteis is the leader of the group of astronauts who travel to an orbiting space station, only to be sabotaged and make an emergency landing on the moon. Whilst there, it seemed a good idea to set up a moonbase (well why, not?). Sanity is restored, however when the female colonel marries the major pretty damn quick so as to avoid an interplanetary scandal - phew unmarried couple in space - whatever next? Briteis was played by Donna Martell.
There were quite a few films with Women in the title, which should have yielded some babes, but not all of them did. One exception was the classic B-movie, Cat women of the moon (1953) and its worth watching just for the giant spiders! All the cat women were babes of the day, but Alpha, played by Carole Brewster, was probably the hottest. Here I've include three characters, Lambda, Alpha and Beta, played by Susan Morrow, Carole Brewster and Suzanne Alexander respectively. You can tell they are cat-women by their eye brows and leotards .....great fun! The film was re-made as Missile to the moon later, virtually the same plot and script!
Mentioning spiders reminds me about The Mesa of Lost Women (1953) where, yes you guessed it, a mad scientist bred a superior race of women by injecting them with spider material (so obvious really). The aptly named Tarantella was played by a young Tandra Quinn.
Barbara Rush played charming and graceful schoolteacher Ellen Fields in It Came From Outer Space (1953).
And who can forget Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954),in which Julie Adams played Kay Lawrence. She looks really good in this picture, not surprising the creature took a fancy to her!
Remember the giant ants in Them! (1954)? I certainly do, as it scared the pants of me so much I wasn't even looking at the babes at the time. Here's Joan Weldon as Dr. Patricia Medford.
Faith Domergue was one of the hottest babes of the 1950s, and a busy one at that, appearing in two massive sci-fi films in the same year (seven in total!). Playing the academic type, as they usually did (well they had to be academics themselves, or in love with some dopey professor, didn't they, or why else were they there?). She was in It came from beneath the sea (1955) as Prof. Lesley Joyce and as Dr. Ruth Adams in This Island Earth (1955). She was also in The atomic man (also known as Timeslip), released in 1956,as Jill Rabowski, but the first two are good enough for now.
One of my favourite films of the decade was Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). Dana Wynter played Becky Driscoll, who tried so hard to stay awake and not have her body invaded. In the picture below, we see her scantily-clad as she prepares to have her body moulded for the film (now no-one told me about THAT job!)
Without doubt, one of the best sci-fi films of the 1950s, and one of the most influential of all time was Forbidden Planet (1956). The babe in question is Dr. Morbius' daughter, Altaira, played by leggy Anne Francis. Gene Roddenberry is quoted as this film being an inspiration for the creation of Star Trek, which is good enough for me. A brilliant film, and a very sexy Altaira.
In the 1940s, we met miniature babes. In the 1950s we had the Attack of the 50 foot woman (1958), Alison Hayes played the giant Nancy Fowler Archer who was enlarged after contact with - what else? - an alien. She used her enormous size to hunt down her cheating husband.
The film has been re-visited at least a couple of times since the 1950s. Firstly, in the 1970s and an adult-themed version in the 1990s.
Many thanks to Jeff for pointing out that I hadn't included Georgianna Carter, who played Donna Bixby in Night of the Blood Beast (1958), aka The Creature from Galaxy 27. Few pictures available, apart from screaming ones, but here is a reasonable publicity shot.
As a young lad, I used to fall about laughing at the antics of the comedy duo Abbott and Costello. Its with great respect, then, that I am able to include them here as their film Abbott and Costello go to Mars (1953) is listed as sci-fi - quite rightly so. Apart from the hilarious Bud and Lou, the main sci-fi character was Queen Allura, played by Mari Blanchard. She was gorgeous....
Mari also played Kyra Zelas in She-Devil (1957). In this, she is given an experimental serum that turns her into a mad. power crazy killer.
In fact the Venusian women were played by Miss Universe contestants. One of them, simply listed as "Venusian guard", was played by Miss Sweden, Anita Ekberg, who went on to be a Hollywood starlet, and is actually MORE gorgeous than Mari......
Talking about Queens of Venus, Little did I know that at some point I would come face-to face with Zsa Zsa Gabor as a sci-fi babe! But in the Queen from Outer Space (1958) , she plays one of the queen's courtiers, Talleah, on (where else) but the planet Venus. Talleah looks great, especially at the end in her golden dress, and there's enough leg to last you a few weeks in that film. Zsa Zsa was a legend in her day, as this still proves..
Here are some of the lesser characters - do they remind you of star trek? The credits at the end of the film simply list them as "The Posse"
All in all, Its a great film to watch, (from a babes point of view - that is) and the bad acting is even fun at times. Look out for the men's costumes, which seem to come directly from Forbidden Planet, which I think it totally rips off. Motiya, played by Lisa Davis even wears Altaira's golden dress at one point!
Now for one more reminder of the vastness of babes in this decade, as in this final example, Missile to the moon (1958), where we see another bevy of beautiful sci-fi babes (all scantily dressed and in high heels, too, just the sort of stuff you need for living in underground caverns on the moon - complete with air pockets, of course!). By the way, all of them are beauty pageant winners from the era, and don't they know it.
I was reminded recently by Ed that I had omitted Kim Parker on this site. Kim played Barbara Griselle in Fiend Without a Face (1958). How I forgot that I do not know, as the film has to be one of the most frightening films I'd ever seen - well for it's time anyway! Kim also played a small part in Fire Maidens of Outer Space (1956).
I've been clear not to use pure horror characters (or any other genres for that matter), but when Vampira turned up in Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959), she became eligible for incusion. A white-skinned vampiress, sexily dressed in black and showing more than enough cleavage for the 1950s, she only appeared briefly, hands out as if walking in her sleep. She was played by Finnish-American Maila Nurmi.
There were more babes in the 1950s than the preceding half of the 20th century, not that I am complaining. But the 1950s was still a time of chauvinism and sexism, and the characters were poorly developed, even being called "doll" or "babe" by the male cast. Many of them were beauty queens who did nothing but look sexy (only half a complaint there, though, as they certainly made up the "babe" part). The emergence of liberation and the second phase of the women's feminist movement in the 1960s meant that a new breed of actress was born, and with it a new type of sci-fi babe. The sixties will still see some babes classified as "lookers", but the sci-fi babe of the future will begin to develop over the next ten years or so.
>>On to Sci-fi babes of the 1960s