What Martians Love About Earth: Oil and Capitalism

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2012/08/what-martians-love-about-earth-oil-and-capitalism/260866/