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50′s Sci-Fi Posters Provide a Window to the Past

The Day the Earth Stood Still Poster
20th Century Fox

Just in time for Halloween, the Ft. Caspar Museum is offering a Curator Tour of their latest traveling exhibit, featuring movie posters from 1950′s science fiction films.

The exhibit is titled “Terror in the Theater: Fifties Fears,” and features posters from such atomic-age horror and science fiction films as The Day the Earth Stood Still, Godzilla and The Creature From the Black Lagoon.  During the tour, Curator of Education, Trey Corkern will guide people through the exhibit using the films of yesteryear as a way to glimpse the concerns of the time including nuclear energy, Communist invasion and general xenophobia.

“We’re dealing with the atomic age,” says Corkern.  ”We’re dealing with questions of what it is to be an American.  We’re dealing with questions like what is it to survive a catastrophe.  What do we need to do to prepare for a catastrophe?  What is it to be a man?  What is it to be a woman?  We’re dealing aspects of masculinity and femininity and science fiction allows us to delve deeply into these things and have some fun with it.”

Corkern points to two posters and describes them as two sides of the coin.  One for the Incredible Shrinking Man, and talks about it being an introspective glimpse into a man losing his masculinity.  Once a brawny well muscled man, he’s now pitted against the likes of his pets and insects, all but lost by the outside world.  Conversely there is a poster for The Amazing Colossal Man, a movie about a man who grows to enormous heights but loses his humanity to his primal caveman-like instincts.

“Science fiction allows you to talk about things without frightening people,” Corkern says.  ”If I were to write a screenplay in which everyone in America dies slowly, painfully and horribly; that’s not going to get a lot of play.  On the other hand if I write a movie about the zombie apocalypse with only five or ten people surviving and fighting their way to freedom, it’s the same concept, but because it’s zombies we can give ourselves a psychological difference.”

People coming to Saturday’s curator tour will experience a walk through of the gallery of about 25 images and a discussion of each.  The tour will take place between 3:30 and 4:30pm on October 26th.

For the kids, the museum will also be offering a 50′s monster mask-making workshop as part of the museum’s regular monthly Freemont Family Fundays.  Participants may drop in between 1:00-3:00pm; no reservations are required and all supplies will be provided. This program is open to all ages.

Admission to both the Curator Tour and the Freemont Family Funday mask workshop are both free with the price of a regular museum admission.

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