Destination Earth: The Greatness of American Civilization Revealed in 1950s Sci-Fi Cartoon

Many sci-fi tales go some­thing like this: The human race trav­els into the great unknown, deep out­er space, and encoun­ters beings with forces greater than its own. Greater fire pow­er. Greater intel­li­gence. Greater tech­no­log­i­cal abil­i­ty. But, in Des­ti­na­tion Earth, the stan­dard nar­ra­tive gets flipped on its head. Here, Mar­tians come to Earth — the Unit­ed States actu­al­ly — and dis­cov­er a vast­ly supe­ri­or civ­i­liza­tion. A civ­i­liza­tion supe­ri­or because it enjoys an end­less sup­ply of petro­le­um (used to make gas, tires, tooth­brush­es, cos­met­ics and insec­ti­cides) and the cap­i­tal­ist spirt of com­pe­ti­tion. Now, Sher­lock, if you’re think­ing this isn’t your aver­age Sat­ur­day morn­ing car­toon, I’d say you’re onto some­thing. Des­ti­na­tion Earth was the cre­ation of The Amer­i­can Petro­le­um Insti­tute, still the biggest lob­by for the U.S. oil and gas indus­try. And the film was shot in 1956, smack dab in the mid­dle of the Cold War. If you think Mars, the red plan­et, might be a proxy for the Sovi­et Union (and Ogg looks like Stal­in), you might be the new James Bond.

Des­ti­na­tion Earth appears in the Ani­ma­tion sec­tion of our col­lec­tion of 500 Free Movies Online. For more vin­tage pro­pa­gan­da car­toons, check out: Don­ald Duck’s Bad Nazi Dream and Four Oth­er Dis­ney Pro­pa­gan­da Car­toons from World War II.

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.