Monday, 25 June 2018

Library Check Out, the Martian Way

A librarian is shocked to see books floating in mid-air in Destination Earth (1956) and promptly faints.

But, no, it’s simply Mars’ first space explorer, Colonel Cosmic, who has gone to the library to learn all about the wonders of petroleum brought to you by the friendly folks at the world’s multi-national oil companies. As you might suspect, the American Petroleum Institute paid for the making and distribution of the cartoon.

The Colonel is invisible, the better to stealthily discover the “secret” of oil and smuggle it past “the border guards.” However, the Colonel is a nice guy and goes back to see if the “guard” is okay. “In spite of my infinite precautions,” he narrates, “one of them became suspicious and gave the alarm.” The shrieking librarian turns into a factory whistle in voice and animation.

Destination Earth remains my favourite cartoon by the John Sutherland studio. The designs were by Tom Oreb and Vic Haboush, late of Walt Disney, with animation by Russ Von Neida, Tom Ray, Bill Higgins, Ken O’Brien and George Cannata. The wonderful backgrounds are by Joe Montell, formerly with Tex Avery’s unit at MGM. Colonel Cosmic is the great Marvin Miller. We’ll have a post-script tomorrow.


  1. Hmm. Floating books. Freaked-out elderly librarian. Who you gonna call?

    1. Spencer, Tracy, and Kong!

      ……….woops, wrong bunch of guys.