Destination not picked-up.

The United States has successfully put a space station in orbit around Earth. The cost was exorbitant. Resulting in the space station being dubbed Benedict’s Billions or affectionately as BB. This is in reference to Jim Benedict (Harry Townes) the head of the project. The station will be used as a launching platform to send a manned spaceship to the moon. The US is trying to beat the Russians. A meteor crashes into the station damaging it. The mission to the moon is aborted. The space program is in jeopardy. Benedict is subpoenaed to testify before congress and try to save the program. Eventually Benedict gives a rousing speech to the committee.

Major repairs are done on the space station. The leader of the program John Benedict is forced to attempt the mission before the second rocket is fully tested. A second mission is attempted. On the second attempt a stuck servo causes the nuclear reactor to go critical. Time is running out. Astronauts must find a way to stop the reactor from reaching critical and blowing up the rocket and the space station.

Rumor has it “Destination Space”, with John Agar as Col. Matthews and Harry Townes as Jim Benedict, was made in 1959 as a pilot for a proposed TV series and not a standalone movie. At only 51 minutes long the rumors sound about right. The pilot was seen as a way to recoup some of the cost it took to produce the over-budgeted “Conquest of Space” done in 1955 by George Pal. Paramount used a lot of stock footage from “Conquest” on “Destination Space”.

The director was Joseph Pevney. Although Destination Space never got off the ground Pevney found his space legs by directing many of the original Star Trek episodes. We have him to thank for all those troubles we had with those darn tribbles. There are quite a few interesting actors in “Destination Space”. Most of them you’ve seen on Perry Mason episodes. Both good guys and bad.

This being a pilot the ending sort of just hangs there. Even so, it’s an interesting little piece of 1959 science fiction. Not special in any way but if you have 51 minutes to kill and you need a little diversion this will do it.

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