On the Threshold of Space

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On the Threshold of Space
On the threshold of space - movie poster.png
Theatrical release lobby card
Directed by Robert D. Webb
Produced by William Bloom
Written by Shimon Wincelberg
Francis M. Cockrell
Starring Guy Madison
Virginia Leith
John Hodiak
Music by Lyn Murray
Cinematography Joseph MacDonald
Edited by Hugh S. Fowler
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Release dates
  • April 30, 1956 (1956-04-30) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,505,000[1]
Box office $1.15 million (US rentals)[2]

On the Threshold of Space is a 1956 drama directed by Robert D. Webb, starring Guy Madison, Virginia Leith and John Hodiak. Historical depiction on tests done to prepare US for space travel.[3]


Much of the plot depicts the testing of downward firing ejection seats from B-47 Stratojet bombers that were conducted at Eglin AFB, Florida, initially between 7 October and 21 October 1953, when nine tests were conducted of the seat from a B-47 over Eglin's water ranges over the Gulf of Mexico, by the Air Proving Ground, at an altitude of 10,000 feet and various speeds. A second series of tests was also conducted beginning 8 July 1954 after refinements to the system.[4][5] These tests were recreated in the film, shot at Eglin in 1955, with a different Stratojet from the one in the actual missions.

"'Actually, we feel that the star of the movie will be the Air Force and the progress it is making in the Aero Medical field,' said Robert Webb, director, in commenting on the movie.

"It will deal with [the] Air Force's work in the aero medical field and will include actual shots of experimentations with the Air Force sled being made under direction of Lt. Col. John Paul Stapp, Air Force surgeon, who appeared on the cover of the Sept. 12 [1955] issue of Time magazine."[6]

Filming locations[edit]

The movie was filmed in part at the Air Proving Grounds Command, Eglin AFB, Florida, the Shoreline Hotel in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and at Holloman AFB, New Mexico.[7] Filming in Florida took place in mid-September 1955. "A crew consisting of 79 members including technicians and cast, of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation" shot in the Eglin / Fort Walton Beach area for about seven days, starting on 15 September. Some Eglin personnel were used in shooting regional scenes. Production then moved to New Mexico.[8]



  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p250.
  2. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957.
  3. ^ On the Threshold of Space at the Internet Movie Database.
  4. ^ Henderson, Col. Arthur M. (Chic), USAF, "I Made the First Jump", Popular Mechanics, March 1955, Volume 103, Number 3, pages 88-92, 252.
  5. ^ http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/Aircraft_by_Type/B-47.htm
  6. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Movie Crew Shoots Scenes in the Area", Playground News, Thursday 22 September 1955, Volume 9, Number 86, page 1.
  7. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Movie Crew Shoots Scenes in the Area", Playground News, Thursday 22 September 1955, Volume 9, Number 86, page 1.
  8. ^ Jenkins, Claude F., "'On the Threshold of Space': Crew Will Begin Shooting Movie Film in Area Today", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday 15 September 1955, Volume 9, Number 85, page 1.

External links[edit]