Bing Crosby Productions (1973)
Fifty years ago today, NBC Monday Night At The Movies aired a made-for-tv science fiction movie called The Stranger. It was intended to be the pilot for a television series, but it was never picked up and the tv movie was largely forgotten. In the decades that followed, it was rebroadcast a few times under the title Stranded In Space, and it was the subject of an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 under this title, but that's about it.
The only time that I'm aware of that it has ever been sold on physical media was a 1988 VHS release by Questar Video. Today, on it's 50th birthday, it is not available on DVD, BluRay, or on any of the streaming services with the exception of a few fan uploads on YouTube that could disappear at any time.
I'm not going to tell you that this is the greatest science fiction movie ever made, but it's pretty damn good. It follows the story of an astronaut who crash lands on what he first believes to be Earth, but soon discovers is something else entirely. I saw it for the first time when I was 8 years old and rediscovered it when I was 40, and I found it to be absolutely fascinating both times. The concept explored in this movie is so brilliant that I'm surprised that no one has tried to do a remake.
I'm going to leave my description at that so that I don't spoil the story for you. If you don't mind some mild spoilers, click here to read a bit more that I wrote about the movie a couple of years ago. If this sounds interesting to you, pop some popcorn and click on the first video below to enjoy a strange science fiction story exactly 50 years from the day that it was first broadcast on television, or click on the second video and enjoy a few laughs watching the syndicated version with Joel and his robot friends... or if you're as big of a nerd as I am, make it a double feature.