What Martians Love About Earth: Oil and Capitalism

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A Martian visits our planet to discover the wonders of American cars and gasoline in this 1956 cartoon sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute. Courtesy of the Prelinger Archive, this five-minute excerpt from Destination Earth follows the spaceman, Colonel Cosmic, as he figures out the secret of American success. The full film reveals the authoritarian society of Mars, a soul-crushing place with no appreciation for values like scientific progress or competition, standing in for the Soviet Union. Propaganda aside, the 1950s sci-fi animation style is classic, from futuristic cityscapes to cars with fins and flying saucers. 

For more films from the Prelinger Archive, visit http://archive.org/details/prelinger.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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