What Martians Love About Earth: Oil and Capitalism

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.

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

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

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