20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) by #NathanJuran
#WilliamHopper #JoanTaylor
VFX by #RayHarryhausen

“A Satellite Soared Into Space – And Returned With a Cargo of Terror!”

“Space-Monster Runs Amok on Earth!”

“Thousands Flee in Terror Before the Death-Dealing Monster from Outer Space!”

#Horror #SciFi

20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) is a movie I’ve known about for a long time. I’ve read about in books, seen mention of it in articles, perhaps even heard people talk about it from time to time. But until a week and two days ago, I had never actually seen it. A week and two days? What the…? Don’t I usually write about my experiences at the home drive-in exactly one week later? 

It’s been an extremely busy week, and I had a major (unrelated) deadline on Saturday which had me working around the clock since Thursday. I had honestly intended to take an hour off on Friday and write this blog post, but… things just simply got too crazy. I figured the next post could wait until Saturday. Let’s face it, it often IS Saturday by the time I get the post up (the wee hours of the morning, that is), but then Saturday somehow got away from me, too. So, here I am on Sunday, ready to catch up with 20 Million Miles to Earth… and what do I see when I open my computer?

Myles Goodwyn has died.

Some people may not know who that is… Myles Goodwyn was the primary singer and songwriter for one of the most iconic Canadian bands of all time, April Wine. They may not be the most successful, in terms of album sales, although they’ve apparently sold about ten million records world-wide. They had a crazy number of hit songs in Canada (over 30, I think) – many of which have gone on to be rock classics that get played endlessly on commercial radio. Some of their songs were hits in the USA, and elsewhere in the world. I think about 10 hit the charts in the US, although not necessarily top 40. The most famous would be Just Between You and Me, Roller, and You Could Have Been a Lady (I think).

One of April Wine’s biggest albums was The Nature of the Beast (1981). It went platinum in the U.S. and double platinum in Canada. It was also one of the first records that I ever had. I’m not counting all the kids records. I’m also not counting the pile of old records that my Uncle Buddy gave me one day – although they might have come after this one, I’m not sure…

My mother bought me this record, and to this day, I’m not sure how she ever chose it. I’m guessing that the staff at a record store recommended it to her. She may have also liked the cover, which kind of had a monster on it. She knew I liked monsters. Whatever the case, I loved the record and I played it all the time. Some days, I think I listened to it five or six times. That would be unheard of for me now. I don’t think I’ve even listened to the same record twice in one day since I was a teenager.

I wore out my copy of The Nature of the Beast. That’s something else I didn’t think I’ve ever done since. Using my own money, I bought a second April Wine record – which was also a very new thing for me. Buying my own records. With an allowance of 50 cents a week, I couldn’t really afford to buy one too often. But I knew I needed more April Wine, and I eventually collected all of their records. Some of them, I got as they were released. Some of them I had to find in used records stores, because they were out of print and hard to come by. It’s safe to say, April Wine is one of my all time favourite bands.

I also bought all of Myles Goodwyn’s solo albums, including his recent Myles Goodwyn and Friends of the Blues (2018) and its sequel Myles Goodwyn and Friends of the Blues 2 (2019) I had been hoping there might be a third one coming, but I guess there never will be now.

I’m supposed to be writing about 20 Million Miles to Earth, but I can’t get Myles Goodwyn and April Wine out of my mind. I feel like I’m miles off topic (no pun intended), but maybe I’m not… Maybe there is a connection between these things, and maybe it’s this: I discovered my love of old monster movies around the same time that I discovered my love of April Wine. I was probably listening to April Wine up in my room, right before I would come downstairs and turn on the TV to watch Not Quite Classic Theatre on a Saturday night. And then when I put the record on again the next day, I was probably thinking back on whatever cool movie I had seen the night before.

I’d like to be able to say that 20 Million Miles to Earth was one of those films, but as I already mentioned, I’d never seen it before a week and two days ago. Still, it’s exactly the kind of movie that I was watching back then. And if think hard enough about, I might be able to even convince myself that it WAS one of the movies I saw and forgot about. God knows there were a lot of them…

My time is running out, so let me just say that  20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) is a super fun movie that I would have loved as a kid. The effects by Ray Harryhausen are top notch, and would have probably still looked state of the art in the 1980s (at least to me). While not  quite a classic masterpiece like King Kong (1933), 20 Million Miles to Earth is better than most of its contemporary giant monster movies, and is probably close to being an actual classic. But I’m comfortable including it alongside the best of the #NotQuiteClassicCinema collection. I’m glad to have finally seen it after all these years, and I will undoubtedly be watching it again on some future #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.