Science Fiction, Hollywood, and the 1950s


Presenter: Rob Edelman
Saturday, May 9th
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Mabee Farm Historic Site, 1100 Main St., Rotterdam Junction, NY 12150
Admission: $5.00; Free for SCHS members

Part of the It Came From Schenectady: Science Fiction in the Capital Region exhibit series

The first Hollywood science fiction films predate the 1950s. However, it was during this decade that the genre became popular on a mass scale. Why did this happen? What types of sci-fi films were produced at that time? And finally, how did the events that took place during World War II– and, specifically, the manner in which the war ended– play a key role in the content and development of the sci-fi film?

Rob Edelman teaches film history courses at the University at Albany (SUNY). He is a film commentator on WAMC (Northeast) Public Radio, a contributing editor of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, and a frequent contributor to Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game, edited by John Thorn. His books include Great Baseball Films and Baseball on the Web (which cited as a Top 10 Internet book); his film/television-related biographies, all co-authored with Audrey Kupferberg, include Matthau: A Life; Angela Lansbury: A Life on Stage and Screen; and Meet the Mertzes, a double biography of I Love Lucy‘s William Frawley and Vivian Vance.

About the exhibit: What if you had a superpower? What if you could travel through time? What if machines overtook Schenectady? “What if” questions inspire writers, artists, and filmmakers to create new worlds and imagine alternate realities. Featuring an Apollo EMU spacesuit (and a replica you can try on!), experimental equipment and machinery from GE, original science fiction cover art, hand-made costumes, an interactive studio set, film footage, and more, It Came from Schenectady: Science Fiction in the Capital Region invites you to discover the “what ifs” that inspired the creations of local science fiction innovators, including Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Nelson, Pamela Sargent, and Glendora. Join us on a journey through time and space as we explore the legacy of science fiction in Schenectady County!

For more information please contact Mary Zawacki at or 518-887-5073. Mabee Farm Historic Site is wheelchair accessible, and off-street parking is available.