Keep Watching the Skies!

American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties, The 21st Century Edition

Limited Hardcover Edition

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About the Book

Bill Warren’s Keep Watching the Skies! was originally published in two volumes, in 1982 and 1986. It was then greatly expanded in what we called the 21st Century Edition, with new entries on several films and revisions and expansions of the commentary on every film. In addition to a detailed plot synopsis, full cast and credit listings, and an overview of the critical reception of each film, Warren delivers richly informative assessments of the films and a wealth of insights and anecdotes about their making. The book contains 273 photographs (many rare, 35 in color), has seven useful appendices, and concludes with an enormous index. This book is also available in softcover format (ISBN 978-1-4766-6618-1).

About the Author(s)

The late Bill Warren (“sci-fi completist extraordinaire”—Joe Dante) wrote and contributed to many books and articles and for ten years was the Hollywood correspondent for a French television series. He was long active in the Los Angeles Science Fiction/Fantasy Society. Film Quarterly (40:4) gave “thanks to Warren’s extraordinary ability to tap and release, in the reader’s memory, intense…memory-impressions. He knows exactly which scenes to describe, in order to yank us, Proust-like, into the past.”

Research associate Bill Thomas is a lead reference librarian and lives in Lancaster, California.

Bibliographic Details

Bill Warren

Research associate Bill Thomas

Foreword by Howard Waldrop

Format: library binding (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 1040
Bibliographic Info: 273 photos (35 in color), appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4230-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix
Foreword by Howard Waldrop      1
Preface      5
Source Abbreviations      20

THE FILMS      21

Between pages 276 and 277 are 16 “A” color plates showing 23 posters Between pages 668 and 669 are 8 “B” color plates showing 12 posters

I. Films in Order of Release      921
II. Oh, Yes, They’re the Great Pretenders      923
III. Announced Titles      929
IV. The Bowery Boys      931
V. 1950s Movies That Have Been Remade      932
VI. Science Fiction Serials of the 1950s      932
VII. Notable Posters of the Period      933
VIII. One More Film      935
IX. Farewell to the Birdman of South El Monte      937

Bibliography      939
Index      943

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Booklist Editors’ Choice
  • Honorable Mention, Rondo Hatton Award
  • Booklist Starred Review
  • “this detailed chronicle from a devoted sf buff is recommended for film studies students and dedicated aficionados of the genre…highly recommended”—Library Journal
  • “very well indexed and cross referenced…recommended”—Choice
  • “handsomely produced new edition is the premier reference for this subject…all of the essays are newly revised…highly recommended”—Booklist
  • “this long-overdue revision of the magisterial original offers lengthy, richly informative, and extensively revised essays on hundreds of films, packing the entries into one hefty volume…this opinionated but clear-eyed and authoritative labor of love will not only draw scuttling hordes of researchers but also turn even casual browsers into rabid fans”—School Library Journal
  • “while its traditional encyclopedic information is commonly found, the research and appraisal of each film highlights spectacular information about each film and others of its kind”—ARBA
  • “an outstanding expert…a very useful reference book that totally sticks out from other movie surveys”—
  • “still the standard work on the science fiction film of the fifties”—Literra
  • “you could get so wrapped up as to lose all sense of time…a behemoth…unequivocally essential for the bookshelf of every cult-film fanatic”—Bookgasm
  • “you could get so wrapped up as to loose all sense of time…behemoth…unequivocally essential for the bookshelf of every cult-film fanatic”—Flick Attack
  • “there isn’t another resource book on this topic that can match what Warren and his researcher Bill Thomas have accomplished. It’s manna for genre obsessives and scholars. The Index is fantastic. Poring through it underscores how much valuable scholarship is found in the pages of the two volumes”—Plan 9 Crunch
  • “the definitive look at sci-fi films of the 50s”—Examiner
  • “fascinating…worth every penny”—Critical Mass
  • “knows his movie history”—Video Watchdog
  • “one of those reference books that has everything, especially for fans of the genre and the period. Statistical information, reviews and assessments, memories from those who worked on the films, further background information, and box office success all combine to make each entry an interesting, informative and entertaining read. This latest volume solidifies the book’s continued status as the definitive look at sci-fi films of the 50s”—Rogue Cinema
  • “one-of-a-kind”—Midwest Book Review
  • “Warren writes with vigor and an enormous understanding of these films…he loves this stuff”—Filmfax
  • “the wait is finally over: Bill Warren’s magnum opus on classic fantastic cinema is back in print, this time emblazoned with a gorgeous cover by monster maven and comic-book artist Kerry (Bela Lugosi’s Tales from the Grave) Gammill. Truly a labor of love…exhaustive remembrance of things past…. This big, heavy lavishly produced book is filled with lively, fun-to-read information about each film”—Fangoria; “you will turn to this book again and again as your knowledge and appreciation of the films grow”—Fielding’s Review
  • “marvelous tome…amazing…a fantastic book”—The Thunder Child
  • “indispensable and immensely entertaining”—VideoScope
  • “invaluable…essential”—Reference Reviews
  • “a lush production on heavy coated paper for better photo reproduction—clearly the publisher presumes (or knows) that there are a lot of fans out there for this sort of fare”—Communication Booknotes Quarterly; “captures much of the flavor of the many films it chronicles”—Science Fiction Studies
  • “more than a simple reference book…will provide years (if not decades) of informative entertainment”—
  • “knows his movie history”—Video Watchdog
  • “Bill Warren has crafted the definitive—and I do mean definitive—study of 1950’s science-fiction films, stunning in its scope and detail. But ‘study’ is perhaps misleading, for it is in equal measure a frolic, a celebration, a compulsively readable wallow of laugh-out-loud film-geek joy. Warren proves to be the nonpareil authority (there isn’t even a close runner-up), his knowledge vast, his love of the subject shining through on every page. Both a scholarly volume and a fan’s love letter, Keep Watching the Skies is the author’s big-hearted gift to those of us who share his obsession. It is, simply put, indispensable”—Frank Darabont, director of The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist
  • “Weighing in at more than one thousand pages, the book that was declared definitive when it first came out in 1982 is now bigger and more detailed than ever. No one knows more about this fruitful period of science-fiction films than Bill Warren, and this magnum opus will doubtless be browsed, consulted, and cited for many years to come”—Leonard
  • “a fantastic reference tool…the only book the fan of classic Sci-Fi Films will ever need”—
  • “the quality and infectious enthusiasm of the writing help spark a reexamination of the genre’s formative years. Over time, and despite sturdy library binding, many fans of the book found themselves with scuffed-up volumes literally falling apart at the seams, the spines frayed like tassels. Copies had literally been read to death”—DVD Talk; “fascinating”—The Washington Post
  • “a legendary labour of love…probably the biggest work on SF films ever published…warm, nostalgic, incredibly detailed…indispensable”—Interzone
  • “the definitive look at 1950s SF movies, filled with exciting insights into their making and fascinating film facts”—Starlog
  • “the ultimate examination of Fifties SF films, written by their ultimate fan…everything you’d ever want to know about marvels”—Cemetary Dance
  • “massively-researched…the absolutely, irrevocably final word on its subject…the best study of SF cinema of any era…will become…one of the few enduring classics of film studies…intense…any serious fan of SF cinema must have this book”—RetroVision
  • “[an] essential encyclopedia of marvelous mid-century mutations”—The Intelligencer Record; “a monumental piece of work”—Film Review
  • “excellent” —Monsters from the Vault
  • “entertaining…lively, well-informed account…useful”—VOYA
  • “essential…marvelous”—San Francisco Examiner Magazine
  • the reference work of science fiction films released between 1950 and 1962…excellent”—Cornerstone Magazine
  • “exhaustive…penetrating”—Science Fiction Studies