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Archives On The Air 191: The Day The Earth Stood Still—Forrest Ackerman Papers

American Heritage Center
Theatrical release poster for the 1951 black and white film The Day the Earth Stood Still. In 1995, the film was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

The number and popularity of science fiction films in the 1950s has led some to label it a golden age.

But the fantasy in those films masked Cold War anxieties. Atomic weapons, the rise of Communism, and tensions with the Soviet Union alarmed U.S. citizens.

A common theme was that technology could lead to destruction of the planet.

The 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still featured an alien named Klaatu warning Earth that if its violent ways expanded to outer space, it would be destroyed.

The film's creators sought to drive home a message against armed conflict in the real world.

Learn more in the Forrest Ackerman papers at UW's American Heritage Center.