Perspectives and Functions
Edited By Teresa Bruś and Marcin Tereszewski
Kornelia Boczkowska - A Transcendental Response to Space Travel and the Alien Contact: Emotion Elicitation in Walt Disney’s and Pavel Klushantsev’s Early Space Age Documentaries
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Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań
A Transcendental Response to Space Travel and the Alien Contact: Emotion Elicitation in Walt Disney’s and Pavel Klushantsev’s Early Space Age Documentaries
In this paper I present and compare emotion elicitation in Walt Disney’s and Pavel Klushantsev’s early space age documentaries, particularly in their visual and textual representations of space exploration and the alien contact. The study examines the Disney television series, Man in Space (1955) Man and the Moon (1955) and Mars and Beyond (1957), and compares them with Klushantsev’s speculative science documentaries, Doroga k zvezdam (Road to the Stars, 1957), Luna (Moon, 1965) and Mars (1968), often seen as American and Soviet counterparts of each other (Scott and Jurek). Considered one of the first popular attempts at educating the public about the abundant prospects of human interplanetary exploration, both series adopt a serious tone, providing a science-factual vision of man in space, which largely lacks a spiritual quality. Partly contrary to this assumption, I argue that both auditory and visual stimuli tend to elicit emotions which build both a realistic and a transcendental narrative, teetering between science and religion. For instance, while Disney’s episodes intend to present the public with “visions of promise and fear” and thus prepare them for the conquest of space embedded in the frontier myth (McCurdy 61), the Soviet series expose a visionary, utopian and awe-inspiring scenery, offering more “dramatic demonstrations of scientific principle” (Lewis 264).
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