Now the 1960s, everyone will tell you, was like no other decade in the 20th century. It was the decade I was born in, and certainly the most influential decade for me in terms of my interest in science. Not only did we experience the space race and the first ever visit to another world (ok you conspiracy people out there - a TV studio!), but lasers, VCRs, nuclear threats and the origins of the internet...
Lets get started with a classic film, The Time Machine (1960), written by HG Wells, which split the future into two different races. On one hand you have the subterranean-dwelling Morlocks who eat human flesh, and on the other hand the Eloi, a peaceful, innocent race. One of the Eloi is called Weena, played by the gorgeous Yvette Mimieux. Weena was a classic dumb blonde. A bit of left-overs from earlier decades, but she was also the result of thousands of years of human evolution, where the Eloi became an almost atrophied people. She was harmless, innocent and naive, childlike, even vulnerable to the stage she was prepared to just give up her life without protest. Its the innocence that makes her even more alluring and makes you want to smother and protect her from harm.
A big favourite film of mine from the sixties is The First Men in the Moon, a superb adaptation of HG Wells' novel, especially for the great story line of a Victorian inventor creating an anti-gravity paste called Cavorite, which he uses to travel to the moon. Another good reason is the very sexy Martha Hyer who played Katherine Callender, who accidentally finds herself travelling to the moon with her boyfriend and the professor. Here's a publicity still with slightly less clothing than appeared in the film.
One of the joys of researching this web site is that every now and then you come across something you never saw before and discover a babe for the first time. This was the case with the, Planet of the Vampires, starring Evi Marandi as Tiona, a crew member of a space ship exploring a strange signal on a planet whose surface is covered with fog. Why it was called Planet of the Vampires is beyond me, as the Italian title is translated as "Terror in Space". If you haven't seen the film, it is well worth it, not only for the leather-clad Evi (well before the X-Men movies!), but also because this Italian film must clearly have been a major influence in the making of Alien. It's atmospheric and eerie with lots of fog and coloured atmospheres. Tiona is a classic screamer, going into shock when she sees faces from beyond the grave, even a plastic bag frightens her, but later she challenges a possessed crew member who has a ray gun and even takes a punch as she attacks him, so lots of kick-ass potential there. The only area she let's us down in is that she wasn't ray gun proof! Shame.
In Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon, Israeli-born actress, Daliah Lavi played Madelaine. I haven't actually seen this film, but understand that the character Madelaine was hardly inspiring. There are few pictures available of her and the ones that are available don't do her justice, but take it from me she can be hot.
Doppelganger, or as I knew the film Journey to the Far Side of the Sun. Lynn Loring plays Sharon Ross, the wife of Colonel Ross, who travels to the far side of the sun to investigate the existence of a planet in the same orbit as Earth. I loved the film, which was the first live action film by Gerry Anderson of Thunderbirds fame. Many of the stars went on to make UFO, one of my favourite TV series of all time, so Lynn, although not playing a particularly big role, does make it in because she is just so good looking.Another actress who made it from the big screen to the small one, Catherine Schell, Hungarian born, starred as Clementine Taplin in Moon Zero 2. We'll meet her again later.
The 1967 Italian film, Mission Stardust, featured Swede Essy Persson as Thora, the commander of the spaceship the Arkanide. Her platinum wig and skin tight costumes make her as sexy as any babe from the 1960s.It's a shame, however that she lacked any real charisma!
The film is a bit poor when it comes to characterisation and its fair to say that the babes in the film are eye-candy only. What makes up for quality, however, is quantity - with two very attractive female characters in the shape of Dr Ann Sheridan and Nurse Silva, both henchwomen of a crime lord.
In Irwin Allen's Lost World, Vitina Marcus played a character simply scripted as "Native Girl". Of Italian-Sicilian-American descent, she spent much of her time playing Native American women, and boy was she beautiful. Native Girl was a gypsy who lived in a valley terrorised by living dinosaurs. The "Starring" babe was in fact Jill St. John, but there is something sexy about a wild (and lets face it, scantily clad), raven-haired gypsy girl!
And on the subject of dinosaurs, I will always remember Valley of Gwangi for its terrific stop action animation of dinosaurs, only really bettered when the technology for Jurassic Park came along. It starred Gila Golan, a Polish born orphan who was adopted by an Israeli family during the holocaust, as T.J. Breckenbridge, a beautiful cowgirl working in a wild west show. Gila was crowned Miss Israel in 1961 and was second in the Miss World contest that year.
Swiss beauty Ursula Andress is probably best known for her role in the James Bond film, Dr. No. But in 1965 she did star in a sci-fi film about a huntress, Caroline Meredith, who had killed 9 victims already and was trying to make it 10 to win a prize in a big-game style future. In The Tenth Victim, she uses her charm as well as her ingenuity to track down her prey. Meredith was a ruthless and voluptuous femme fatale, who knew no bounds when it came to getting her man - she could certainly look after herself! There's a particularly good scene in the film where Caroline dances seductively at the Mascoch club, only to fire bullets out of her bra and kill another victim. But wait, we have two babes for the price of one, in the shape of the lovely Italian Elsa Martinelli, who played Olga who is in pursuit.
Now there are no boundaries to where sci-fi babes come from and there are so many different nationalities to enjoy that its about time we had someone from the Czech Republic. Olga Schoberová played Jessie in the film Who Would Kill Jessie, a comic character that comes to life after an injection of a special potion. Every man's fantasy I imagine, but then which cartoon character would YOU choose?
And now, time for some royalty... The amazingly beautiful Princess Ira von Furstenberg played Arabella in Matchless. I believe this is a still from the film, as she had her hair up in the scenes she wore this particular costume. She was born Virginia Carolina Theresa Pancrazia Galdina Prinzessin zu Fürstenberg, which is quite a long name! She oozes class, but unfortunately for us, this was the only sci-fi film she appeared in.
Barbarella (1968) is one of the most iconic sci-fi films of the 1960s and that is certainly true when it comes to sci-fi babes. Jane Fonda plays Barbarella, an agent of Earth in the year 40,000, who travels through space to retrieve a weapon that threatens peace on Earth. The character is renowned for her sexy costumes and frequent (although not explicit) sex scenes. Perhaps the most famous is the opening sequence, where she undresses in Zero gravity. It has to be one of the best opening sequences ever. The character was somewhat tongue in cheek, but has every hallmark of a top sci-fi babe. I mean, she actually BROKE the orgasmatron (properly called the Excessive Machine) - a machine that was designed to give pleasure until it became so unbearable that it caused death! The character was created as a comic earlier in the sixties and was considered quite sexual and liberating at the time. For many, Barbarella embodied the modern woman in an age of sexual liberation.
For the purposes of this website, we will start our journey into TV sci-fi babes in the 1960s, mainly because this is the time when sci-fi TV series became popular (largely due to the fact that TV sets became commonplace). That is not to say that there were no science fiction TV programmes prior to this, indeed Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Superman and the Quatermass series were all very popular. As far as babes are concerned, however, they were few and far between and some have already appeared in the 1950s Film section, as serialisation took place on the silver screen. I will get round to researching early TV at some point...so come back and visit.
This was a BBC TV series made right at the start of the 1960s and set as far forward in time as the 1970s! It starred a relatively unknown actress who went on to be a massive star in the 1960s - the beautiful Julie Christie, who played Andromeda, an artificially created woman. The series was mostly lost and only 15 minutes of film remains, which is a shame. The series was resurrected, however in 1962, as The Andromeda Breakthrough and again in 2006.
One of the busiest actresses, Lee Merriwether played Dr. Anne McGregor in the Time Tunnel (1966-67), although she stands out more for her role as the very sexy catwoman in the 1966 Batman film. I shall, also however remember her for her role as Losira in the 1969 Star Trek episode "That which Survives"Time tunnel is not a series I have seen a lot of, and so I'll be returning here in the future once I've seen more...
This was one of my favourite TV series of the 1960s. The Space Family Robinson set out to start a new life on a distant planet, but as the title suggests, got a bit lost. The series is probably best known for the Robot, who was designed by the same guy who created Robbie the Robot in Forbidden Planet! As a babe fan, however, there was no competition. Norwegian-born, but half Finnish and half German, Beauty Marta Kristen played Judy Robinson, a 19-year old angel of space.
I loved this TV series. I could never make up my mind which of the two female characters I liked the most, Deanna Lund as Valerie Scott or Heather Young as Betty Hamilton - it was Valerie Scott!!
Sharron Macready was one of the Champions, three agents who were involved in a horrific plane crash in the Himalayas, yet were somehow "repaired" by a hidden civilisation and enhanced with superhuman powers. This was another of my favourite TV programmes of the sixties (well, for ever, really) and starred the beautiful Alexandra Bastedo as Sharron, who was a mere 20 years old at the time.
Whereas films of the 1950s could be characterised as B movies, with mad scientists, monsters and screaming women, the 1960s was a bit more varied and
experimental in its approach. Here we had iconic sci-fi films like Barbarella, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes.
But then we also had "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" and the "Beast of Yucca Flats", so don't get too excited!
But we also see in the 1960s a great collection of television programs in the genre. Star Trek, Lost in Space, Doctor Who and the precursors for the massive hits of the 70s. For the first time we will dabble into this medium, more because of its significance in the quantity and the quality of sci-fi babes, that separates it from any television in the 1950s or earlier.