Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

81 mins | Comedy-drama, Children's works, Science fiction | 14 November 1964

Director:

Nicholas Webster

Producer:

Paul L. Jacobson

Cinematographer:

David Quaid

Production Designer:

Maurice Gordon

Production Company:

Jalor Productions
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HISTORY

The 15 Jul 1964 Var reported that principal photography was currently underway. The 29 Jul 1964 LAT identified the filming location as Michael Myerberg Studios on Long Island, NY. Joseph E. Levine’s Embassy Pictures Corp. had already acquired worldwide distribution rights.
       According to the 12 Aug 1964 Var, the picture was the first theatrical feature from television veteran Paul L. Jacobson’s Jalor Productions. Completed in ten days on a budget of “substantially under $200,000,” Jacobson hired a union crew, with the understanding that technicians would be called to work as needed. Crewmembers were encouraged to stay ahead of schedule, along with “other acts of accommodation.” Associate producer Arnold Leeds oversaw the construction of fourteen sets and dealt with “a variety of logistical problems.”
       As stated in the 21 Oct 1964 Var, the film was scheduled to open 14 Nov 1964 in Chicago, IL, and on the following day in Milwaukee, WI. The 25 Nov 1964 issue reported earnings of $135,700 from matinee showings at 100 theaters over the previous weekend. Embassy Pictures held a meeting with representatives from several theater chains to discuss a promotional campaign for the film’s 16 Dec 1964 opening in New York City.
       Critics found Santa Claus Conquers the Martians to be suitable only for small children. This was exemplified by a 23 Dec 1964 Var news item concerning Embassy publicist George Kraska, who organized a review-writing contest for children of Boston, MA, film critics. The picture continued as a perennial Christmas re-release well into the 1970s, according ... More Less

The 15 Jul 1964 Var reported that principal photography was currently underway. The 29 Jul 1964 LAT identified the filming location as Michael Myerberg Studios on Long Island, NY. Joseph E. Levine’s Embassy Pictures Corp. had already acquired worldwide distribution rights.
       According to the 12 Aug 1964 Var, the picture was the first theatrical feature from television veteran Paul L. Jacobson’s Jalor Productions. Completed in ten days on a budget of “substantially under $200,000,” Jacobson hired a union crew, with the understanding that technicians would be called to work as needed. Crewmembers were encouraged to stay ahead of schedule, along with “other acts of accommodation.” Associate producer Arnold Leeds oversaw the construction of fourteen sets and dealt with “a variety of logistical problems.”
       As stated in the 21 Oct 1964 Var, the film was scheduled to open 14 Nov 1964 in Chicago, IL, and on the following day in Milwaukee, WI. The 25 Nov 1964 issue reported earnings of $135,700 from matinee showings at 100 theaters over the previous weekend. Embassy Pictures held a meeting with representatives from several theater chains to discuss a promotional campaign for the film’s 16 Dec 1964 opening in New York City.
       Critics found Santa Claus Conquers the Martians to be suitable only for small children. This was exemplified by a 23 Dec 1964 Var news item concerning Embassy publicist George Kraska, who organized a review-writing contest for children of Boston, MA, film critics. The picture continued as a perennial Christmas re-release well into the 1970s, according to the 16 Jun 1976 Var. Various sources have since ranked it among the worst films ever made.
       The theme song, “Hooray For Santa Claus,” was recorded by trumpeter Al Hirt for RCA Victor Records.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Los Angeles Times
29 Jul 1964
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
18 Dec 1965
Section A, p. 11.
New York Times
17 Dec 1964
p. 50.
Variety
15 Jul 1964
p. 16.
Variety
12 Aug 1964
p. 3, 23.
Variety
21 Oct 1964
p. 22.
Variety
11 Nov 1964
p. 14.
Variety
25 Nov 1964
p. 18, 23.
Variety
23 Dec 1964
p. 54.
Variety
16 Jun 1976
p. 5.
DETAILS
Release Date:
14 November 1964
Premiere Information:
Chicago opening: 14 Nov 1964; New York opening: 16 Dec 1964
Production Date:
Jul 1964
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color
Duration(in mins):
81
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The intellectual, fully-automated life on Mars has produced a generation of listless and disspirited children, who look enviously at a press conference with Santa Claus televised from the North Pole. When Martian leader Kimar detects these symptoms in his own children, Bomar and Girmar, he calls a council meeting at which Chochem, Mars' 800-year-old sage, suggests a kidnaping expedition to the Earth's North Pole. Kimar commands the Earthbound saucer but, upon arrival in December, is confused by the profusion of Santas on every street corner and lands out in the country where two children, Billy and Betty, direct the Martians to the North Pole. The skeptical Voldar, an evil Martian, convinces his shipmates that the two children must be abducted along with Santa to prevent their informing on the extra-terrestrial invaders. En route through space, Voldar attempts to oust Santa and the children and is banished upon landing on Mars. He takes up residence in a cave while plotting his revenge. Together with henchmen Shim and Stobo, Voldar raids Santa's Martian workshop, destroying the machinery and kidnaping Dropo, a happy Martian who happened to be dressed in a Santa Claus costume. Voldar is jailed when he returns to the workshop to negotiate for Santa's return, but he escapes and locks Kimar in a storeroom. Finally confronting the real Santa, Voldar must first contend with Billy, Betty, Bomar, and Girmar, who fend him off with a succession of toy weapons while Santa watches, gleefully blowing bubbles. Kimar is touched by the Christmas spirit, and he returns the Earthlings to their planet. Santa, who is happily rid of the automation that had manufactured his gifts on Mars, arrives just in time ... +


The intellectual, fully-automated life on Mars has produced a generation of listless and disspirited children, who look enviously at a press conference with Santa Claus televised from the North Pole. When Martian leader Kimar detects these symptoms in his own children, Bomar and Girmar, he calls a council meeting at which Chochem, Mars' 800-year-old sage, suggests a kidnaping expedition to the Earth's North Pole. Kimar commands the Earthbound saucer but, upon arrival in December, is confused by the profusion of Santas on every street corner and lands out in the country where two children, Billy and Betty, direct the Martians to the North Pole. The skeptical Voldar, an evil Martian, convinces his shipmates that the two children must be abducted along with Santa to prevent their informing on the extra-terrestrial invaders. En route through space, Voldar attempts to oust Santa and the children and is banished upon landing on Mars. He takes up residence in a cave while plotting his revenge. Together with henchmen Shim and Stobo, Voldar raids Santa's Martian workshop, destroying the machinery and kidnaping Dropo, a happy Martian who happened to be dressed in a Santa Claus costume. Voldar is jailed when he returns to the workshop to negotiate for Santa's return, but he escapes and locks Kimar in a storeroom. Finally confronting the real Santa, Voldar must first contend with Billy, Betty, Bomar, and Girmar, who fend him off with a succession of toy weapons while Santa watches, gleefully blowing bubbles. Kimar is touched by the Christmas spirit, and he returns the Earthlings to their planet. Santa, who is happily rid of the automation that had manufactured his gifts on Mars, arrives just in time for Christmas. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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