UEN-TV SciFi Friday


The Show

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Series info on UEN-TV

Will Santa Claus be able to escape Mars in time to spread Christmas cheer on Earth? This is the central question of "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" (1964), in which Martian parents, concerned that their children are obsessed with Earth television, kidnap The Jolly Bearded One. The idea is that he'll provide the fun the children need as an antidote to the Martians' rigid system of education, which quashes individual expression and original thought. The convoluted storyline include Martians who try to thwart Operation Fun Santa, but of course—all turns out A-OK for Martians and Earthlings alike.

The epitome of a low-budget film, "Santa Conquers the Martians" has risen to cult classic status, inspiring books, theatrical productions, and multiple airings on broadcast TV programs that, like UEN SciFi Friday, celebrate the oftentimes outlandish products of the sci-fi film industry. Older viewers may recognize the Martian girl, Girmar, as none other than a young Pia Zadora, whose acting credits also include Bobby Warren in "Fake-Out" (1982) and two RAZZIE awards for Worst Actress. She fared better as a pop singer, receiving a 1984 Grammy nomination (the award went to Tina Turner) and crooning "When the Rain Begins to Fall" to a global audience with Jermaine Jackson.

The Science

Bob Goldberg

Bob GoldbergHistorian Bob Goldberg of the University of Utah discusses the Cold War and the film “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians."

More Science to go with the Show

Related Resources

Bob Goldberg

University of Utah History

Social Scientists

The Culture of the Cold War (The American Moment)

Find More UEN SciFi Friday

Browse by Film TitlesBrowse by Film Titles
Browse by ExpertBrowse by Expert
Browse by Science TopicBrowse by Science Topic