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The 1950s

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. Sadly, mainly due to the lack of imagery and poor quality of film in some cases, this section only currently deals with a fraction of them.

The era of screamers.

In my blog, I described a hierarchy of sci-fi babes according to their sci-fi attributes. Here, I'm introducing another level of character which I think is part and parcel of the way in which women were seen in the past - some may well argue that this is still true today, but that's for another site to argue about. I'm talking about the screamer! Yes, the hopeless female character who screams at the slightest sight of an alien monster, usually paired up with Mr Macho, the beefy but brainy scientist who always seems to save the day. Not a favourable stereotype but it did exist.

Julie Adams Kay Lawrence The Creature From the Black Lagoon

Julie Adams played by Kay Lawrence in The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)

Julie Adams was a scientist girlfriend of an icthyologist, but spent most of her time parading in a swimsuit and being abducted by a creature - standard 1950s stuff. Oh and a screamer!
Joan Weldon Patricia Medford Them

Dr Patricia Medford played by Joan Weldon in Them! (1954)

Giving a female actor a scientific qualification, together with intelligent actions and dialogue makes for a more believable character, and this was certainly the case with Dr Medford, a specialist in insects, who's knoweledge was invaluable when huge irradiated ant were discovered in the New Mexico desert. Far from being frightened by the creatures, she volunteered to go down into the belly of the colony, deep underground, in order to study the insects.
Margaret Sheridan Nikki Nicholson The Thing

Nikki Nicholson played by Margaret Sheridan in The Thing (1951)

Attractive and intelligent, Nikki was the secretary of a Nobel-winning scientist

Other noteable characters.

Beauties 1

The 1950s was a golden age for beauty pageants and many contestants/winners found themselves appearing in films and TV series, as in this example from the film Missile to the Moon (1958), where we see a bevy of beautiful Moon Girls (all scantily dressed and in high heels, too, just the sort of stuff you need for living in underground caverns on the moon - which air pockets so they could breathe, of course!). All of them are beauty pageant winners from the era, and don't they know it.
Babes Missile to the Moon

Moon Girls played by various pageant winners in the 1958 film Missile to the Moon

Beauties 2

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 Blanchard Quenn Allura Abbott and Costello Go to Mars

Mari Blanchard as Queen Allura in Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953)

In fact the Venusian women in the film were all 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......
anita ekberg venusian guard

Anita Ekberg as a Venusian guard in Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953)

Beauties 3

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, and a former Miss Hungary, as this still proves..
Zsa Zsa Gabor Queen The Queen From Outer Space

Zsa Zsa Gabor as the Queen in The Queen From Outer Space (1958)

A sign of things to come?

Here are some of the lesser characters in the same film - do they remind you of star trek? The credits at the end of the film simply list them as "The Posse"
The Posse The Queen From Outer Space

The Posse in The Queen From Outer Space (1958)

Space babes

Space travel was a huge theme in the 1950s and some of the characters started to actually look like scientists or spaceship crew - here are a few examples...
Marguaritte Chapman Alita Flight to Mars

Margueritte Chapman as Alita in Flight to Mars (1951)

Alita was 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..
Donna Martell Col Briteis Moonbase

Colonel Briteis played by Donna Martell in Project Moonbase (1953)

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?
Faith Domergue Ruth Adams This Island Earth

Dr. Ruth Adams played by Faith Domergue in This Island Earth (1955)

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,

Forbidden Planet

It would be impossible to discuss the 1950s and not mention the film Forbidden Planet. Today it remains as perhaps the precursor to modern science fiction films and boasts a number of firsts. These include the first film to be set entirely in space or on another planet and the first to include faster-than-light travel. It also introduced the first real robot with personality and not just a tin can with legs. Gene Rodenberry was quoted as saying that the film was an inspiration for the Star Trek series. The sci-fi babe in question is Altaira, who is the naive but brilliant daughter of Dr Morbius.
 Altaira Anne Francis Forbidden Planet

Altaira played by Anne Francis in Forbidden Planet (1956)

Altaira Anne Francis Forbidden Planet

Altaira played by Anne Francis in Forbidden Planet (1956)

Altaira Anne Francis Forbidden Planet

Altaira played by Anne Francis in Forbidden Planet (1956)

ImageThe 1950s

Monsters, robots, flying saucers, invasions from outer and inner space and much more! The 1950s was a truly golden age for cinema-goers and fans of science fiction as the atomic age and space race loomed. And whilst the true sci-fi babe was still under development, the female characters were starting to offer credibility, often being accepted as being intelligent or brave. This era brings us the groundbreaking Forbidden Planet, one of my favourites, and The War of the Worlds. The films were often low-budget, cross-genre and aimed at teenagers to draw audiences from the comic-book world - just perfect for this web site!


The 1950s Black Widow Dale Arden Princess Aura