[ What’s it about? ] ^ A scientist comes into an inheritance of $2 million; just enough to fund his and his partner’s mission to the moon. When they reach the lunar surface, they find it looks just like Florida and is inhabited by topless women.
[ What did you think? ] ^ What did I think?! Read that synopsis again. It says it all: naked broads on the moon. Of course it’s going to be great…and bizarre as all get-out.
Doris Wishman was a filmmaker who wasn’t ashamed to admit that she was in it only for the money and that her top priority was “what will sell”. Of course, what sells is nudity, but the obscenity laws of the ’50’s prohibited its public exhibition. However, an obscure law on New York state’s law books made an exeption for films that featured nudist colonies, deeming them “educational”. So Doris shot several films on the property of a nudist colony and wrote screenplays whose plots somehow included groups of topless women. Her screenwriting method involved coming up with a title and poster tag line, then coming up with a story to go along with it. Since her budgets were about a buck-fifty, she really set up a challenge for herself when she came up with the title “Nude on the Moon”. But Doris came through and, by the looks of it, under budget.
This rousing adventure starts off with not a bang, but a three minute shot of a drawing. Now, whether it’s supposed to be a view of the Moon from the Earth or a view of the Earth from the Moon is not clear, but you do have a three minute static shot of it to examine. To help pass the time the theme song “I’m Mooning Over You (My Little Moon Doll)” is played in its entirety. It’s a very sentimental song written by Doris’s niece and sung by a very earnest Mel Tormé impersonator. It really sets the mood for things to come.
The plot is thrown into action when Dr. Huntley (Hugh Brooks), a dashing scientist, comes into a sizable inheritance of $2 million. With this windfall, he and his partner, Professor Nichols (Pat Reilly), can continue to develop their rocket fuel formula from what appears to be a high school science lab, complete with a box that has a knob for turning and a beaker with some bubbling green liquid. Their plan is to go to the moon with no help from the government or, apparently, other scientists. They immediately get to work turning that knob and bubbling that liquid and about three days later they’re ready to blast off.
Everything goes weird from here on in. Doris documents the car ride from the lab to the rocket’s launch pad in near real time. The Professor walks down to the lake where Huntley is hanging out to tell him that it’s time to go. They then walk back to the lab, out to the parking lot and get in their pink Cadillac convertable. They then drive through Ft. Lauderdale, pointing out various sites to each other, including a theater whose marquee advertises a previous Wishman film, “Hideout in the Sun”. This goes on for about five minutes until they reach the launch site where they stare in awe at the majesty of the rocket (we have to take their word for it because we never get to see it ourselves).
By contrast, the trip to the moon seems to take about 40 seconds, although time is a bit distorted since both men fall asleep immediately after they blast off. When they are awake, they sit next side-by-side in what seems to be a janitor’s closet and talk to each other via CB radios. After touching down on the lunar surface, they open a door and emerge wearing futuristic “astronaut” costumes. Now, since both men are scientists they naturally always wear garage mechanic’s overalls, but the Moon’s harsh environment requires something a bit more durable: longjohns with tiny vinyl ponchos. Their life support systems are made up of a bucket with a hole cut out of the side and a rubber tube positioned near their mouth, which provides oxygen from the propane tank strapped to their back.
The Moon turns out to be a fantastic place. The only way to describe it would be like a botanical garden in southern Florida, except with baseball-sized rocks of gold scattered about. Even more incredible is the discovery of what appears to be a man-made wall and ladder. But the real surprise is what is on the other side of the wall: topless people! It’s about a dozen folks lounging by smoking grottos. Supervising all of this is their queen (I guess) who sits in a really tall chair. You can tell that they are moon people because they wear pipe-cleaner antennæ and speak to each other telepathically.
The two scientists decide to explore the area with a clipboard and a Brownie camera. The Professor makes notes of some kind while pointing at which naked lady Huntley should take pictures of next. This goes on for about forty-five minutes, during which the ladies pose by a pool, toss a beach ball around and nap.
That’s essentially the entire film. In the last ten minutes, Huntley considers not returning to the Earth because he’s fallen in love with the queen. However, he later notices that his secretary back home, Cathy (played by the one-named actress Marietta), is the spitting image of his “Moon doll” and figures that she’s just as good. Unfortunately, they’re going to have a hard time convincing anyone in the scientific community that they really went to the moon — they left their camera up there. Wouldn’t ya know it?
[ Is it worth checking out? ] ^ Yes, only for the sheer absurdity of it all. Funny thing is, the nudity is actually quite wholesome. There’s nothing lewd or lasivious about it. This would be quite comfortable on “The Wonderful World of Disney” (but with black bars covering the naughty bits).