Academy Ventures to "Forbidden Planet"

Beverly Hills, CA (July 11, 2011) – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will explore the technology behind “Forbidden Planet” (1956) with a discussion and screening highlighting the production methods used to create the sci-fi classic on Saturday, July 16, at 7 p.m. at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.  Presented by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council, the program will be hosted by Oscar®-winning visual effects supervisor Craig Barron and Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt. 

Prior to the screening, Barron will examine the film’s breakthrough effects sequences that used miniatures and matte paintings, as well as explore how Joshua Meador created his animated “id monster” effect and combined it with live-action photography.  Burtt will explain how the electronic score was created, using newly discovered source tapes from the film’s composers, Louis and Bebe Barron (no relation to Craig).  

In the 1950s, when science fiction films were usually cheaply produced B-movies.  MGM made its first major venture into the genre with a big-budget production, “Forbidden Planet.” Directed by Fred M. Wilcox, the film conjured another world, with crowd-pleasing flourishes that included the now-iconic Robby the Robot.

Set in the 23rd century, “Forbidden Planet” tells the story of a United Planets mission to the mysterious planet Altair-4.  The crew soon discovers that the planet’s only inhabitants, Dr. Morbius and his daughter Altaira, are the lone survivors of an earlier expedition, and they have uncovered the secrets of the planet’s vanished race, the godlike Krells.

In conjunction with the program, the Academy will present in the foyer of the Dunn Theater a three-week display that will feature the “id monster” concept art, miniatures used in the movie, a hand blaster, and one of the film’s most memorable characters, Robby the Robot.  The display also will include the original recording equipment used to create the film’s all-electronic musical score.  

Barron and Burtt will give a free gallery talk in the foyer of the theater on Sunday, July 17, at 2 p.m.  Reservations are not required.

Admission for the display, which will be open to the public from July 17 to August 7, is free.  Viewing hours are Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 6 p.m., and whenever Academy public programs are hosted at the Linwood Dunn Theater.  For more information, visit or call (310) 247-3600. 

Advance tickets to “Forbidden Planet” are sold out.  A standby line will form on the day of the event, and standby numbers will be assigned starting at approximately 5:30 p.m.  Any available tickets will be distributed shortly before the program begins.  Ticketholders should plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the event to ensure a seat in the theater.     

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood.  For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit

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Teni Melidonian

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