Space is a cold and barren place. Nothing can exist there, nothing!" Ludwig Von Drake, an obscure uncle of Donald Duck and a professor of astronomy, is sitting on a high stool in his observatory. When he sees that he is being filmed, he falls off and lands on the floor with a loud thump. "Now I can see stars I've never seen before!" he groans. He walks over to a table with a large pile of books on it. The thickest of them all is a guide to space travel that he wrote himself. In a 45 -minute- long monologue, he tells us in a thick German accent how mankind discovered the planets in our solar system and has fantasized about everything that might be crawling around on them. He tells us about Copernicus and Galileo, and about Kepler's dreams about Martians, Fontenelle's speculations about life on other planets, and even John Herschel's Great Moon Hoax. Science fiction comes to life in the colorful cartoon: Hairy space beings and flying saucers shoot across the screen. At the end, the professor has the last word. He finds all these fantasies poppycock; nothing can live in that empty, barren space! But, as he is speaking, Von Drake is kidnapped by a black Martian robot from one of his stories. The cartoon, Inside Outer Space, is part of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, a television series from the 1960s. The absent minded duck professor hosts a number of episodes, each with their own topic: the history of flight, the color spectrum, space--all exciting stuff for American kids in the Space Age.
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