Synopsis by Hal Erickson
A pet project of Disney animation director Ward Kimball, "Man in Space" was the first "Tomorrowland" segment on the Disneyland TV anthology series. A pageant of space travel past, present and (especially future), the film uses a modernistic animated style to speculate the challenges facing human beings when they ventured into the Great Unknown. Also featured are silent-film excerpts of the earliest rocket experiments of the 1920s and the German V-2 program of the war years. Narrators include space expert Willy Ley and rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun. Remarkably accurate in its prognostications, Man in Space was durable enough to warrant a "special" presentation on a 1959 edition of Walt Disney Presents,when several of the film's predictions about satellite technology and guided missiles had actually come to fruition (though we were still two years away from actual manned flight). The film was also released theatrically in 1956, earning an Academy Award in the process.