The Space Explorers

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Polaris spaceship

The Space Explorers is an animated feature film which was later converted to a cartoon serial. First shown on television during the Space Race era of the late 1950s by publisher Bill Cayton and animator Fred Ladd. There was also a sequel series released in 1959 entitled the "New Adventures of the Space Explorers."

The first animated film series was first shown in 1958 on nationwide television shows such as Claude Kirchner's on WWOR-TV, Captain Kangaroo, Captain Video (DuMont), Captain Satellite, Sheriff John, Officer Joe Bolton, Romper Room and many others. The cartoon, which featured Jimmy, Smitty, and Professor Leon Nordheim on board the Polaris spaceship, taught space-related concepts. The most recent sightings of the Polaris spaceship are in the very beginning of Chapter 5 of NOVA's Public Television (PBS) production of The Elegant Universe - Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. It has also been seen on Mike Myers Saturday Night Live skit Dieter.

The two-hour long sequel "New Adventures of the Space Explorers" featured additional educational space footage. For accuracy, both animated feature films used consultants from NASA and the Hayden Planetarium.

The material comes primarily from three foreign films : - various animation sequences come from the 1951 Russian film "Universe" by the late soviet director Pavel Klushantsev. - images of the rocket Polaris come from footage of German film "Weltraumschiff 1 Startet" (Anton Kutter, 1937) - but all images of the interior of the spaceship, images of the characters and from the walk on planet were extracted from a Russian cartoon film "Polet na lunu", (Flight to the moon), 1953, (Soyuzmultfilm).

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