Ross Martin's first film was a science fiction movie about a space mission

Martin was on missions in two places: the West and in space.

Despite having experience in business and law, Ross Martin chose to follow a passion that led him on a successful and creative journey.

He started his acting career in the 1940s and ended up in a comedy duo with Bernie West. Martin's most-known role was in the series The Wild Wild West. However, the actor had a few roles before the series began, one being his first movie role in Conquest of Space in 1955.

In the West, he was Artemus Gordon. Yet in space, he went by a different name, Sgt. Andre Fodor, to be exact. The movie focuses on a group's first interplanetary flight to Mars. The group, a crew of five, was launched from the earth near "The Wheel," which was mankind's first space station. The plot consisted of the crew going through many hardships to complete this mission, including facing severe dangers on their journey that could've ended the task, and them, for good.

Martin's character, Sgt. Andre Fodor, was a supporting role, but he brought the character to life so well that he got to be in another Sci-Fi film in 1958.

The film idea came from the 1949 nonfiction book The Conquest of Space by Willy Ley. George Pal, the film's producer, bought the rights to use it for a script and was eager to get started on the production. There was some controversy surrounding the film and the topic of space.

Many critics believed that the idea of man being in space was ridiculous. In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune in 1955, Pal said, "I am convinced that man will get to the moon and Mars within the next 15 years. Too many scientists believe it for anybody to ridicule the idea."

Thus, with that belief, Pal knew the plot in the movie would eventually happen in real life but without the over-dramatization of things like it was in the film. The end of the trailer for the film had an "I told you so" moment with clips of newspaper headlines talking about the United States launching a satellite into space.

To make the scenes look as realistic as possible, technicolor and special effects were used to bring space to earth. Since being on The Wild Wild West kind of took over his career, there aren't many interviews of Martin speaking on his first movie role floating around. Yet, if you're into Sci-Fi, when you have time, check out the film.


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12 Comments

Lucy 18 days ago
He was also on an episode of Wagon Train where he played Annette Funicello's very jealous, older brother.
Bapa1 20 days ago
I remembered he played an Apache in a movie with Chuck Connors.
Stardoc Bapa1 17 days ago
Yes. Chuck played the title role in….Geronimo.
texasluva 21 days ago
Below is the movie that was talked about in the story about Ross Martin. Also you will find some trivia about the movie. Rating is around 5.6-6.0.



Conquest of Space (1955) 1 hr 20 min- Sci-Fi
Director
Byron Haskin
Stars
Walter Brooke---Eric Fleming---Mickey Shaughnessy---William Hopper---
Ross Martin-

An American-led team of International astronauts leave their space station on the first mission to Mars, but the captain's religious beliefs may get in the way.
Below is the address you will find this movie. Just copy and paste into browser. When the movie starts you can go full screen.

https://ia902805.us.archive.org/2/items/ConquestOfSpace1955/Conquest%20of%20Space%20%281955%29.mp4

Some Trivia below:
The spaceship model was later used as a background set decoration in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
The spaceship design was taken from Wernher von Braun's actual designs that appeared in a 1954 issue of Collier's.
When Rosemary Clooney is seen on the space station's big screen singing the song "Ali Baba," it was taken from the 1953 Paramount release "Here Comes the Girls."
General Merritt's opinions on Man's 'trespass' into space was actually a reflection of a real-life movement. In the 1950s there were those who claimed that the heavens were God's domain and that humans would be committing blasphemy by engaging in space travel. Although real, the movement was never very widespread and once actual space travel began it was quickly drowned out by the public enthusiasm for the space race.
Ross Martin's film debut.
In Midnight Cowboy (1969), Joe Buck (Jon Voight) can be seen watching a brief scene from this film whilst he is in a movie theater.
Despite playing father & son in this film there was actually only 11 years age gap between Walter Brooke and Eric Fleming.
Pacificsun texasluva 20 days ago
Thank you, Texasluva!! For sharing the film and all the really great trivia! This is what makes the MeTV Staff Stories all the better. Unless already interested in the classic science fiction genre, we'd never get to read such an interesting backstory. And glad the tribute is pointed towards Ross Martin, who was way ahead of his time in terms of his interests, talent, creativity and excellent chemistry!

I hope Fans will look up this movie and enjoy all that it has going for it! Great contribution, Texasluva!!
Runeshaper texasluva 20 days ago
Thanks for sharing!
MichaelPowers texasluva 12 days ago
Walter Brooke played District Attorney Frank Scanlon on The Green Hornet (1966 ~ 1967) TV series.
justjeff 21 days ago
Let's not forget that Ross Martin was the co-star of "Mr. Lucky" before being cast in "The Wild Wild West"...
Pacificsun justjeff 20 days ago
True enough! Didn't they run Mr. Lucky for a very short time on MeTV going way back!!
justjeff Pacificsun 20 days ago
Yes they did... along with Peter Gunn and Naked City...
audie65 21 days ago
I was delivering food to a nursing home and found out customers name was Ross Martin. (not the Ross Martin). When I got there it was sn older gentleman. I said "Special delivery for Artie--Artemis Gordon?! The man started laughing hysterically!! Said he used to hear that all the time but not in years! Loved that I made him laugh!
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