The Phantom Planet (1961)

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An astronaut crash lands on a planet full of tiny people that can control gravity.


Genre

Science Fiction

Characters/Groups

Captain Frank Chapman - Dean Fredericks

Liara - Coleen Gray

Herron - Tony Dexter

Sessom - Francis X. Bushman

Lieutenant Ray Makonnen - Richard Weber

Judge Eden - Al Jarvis

Colonel Lansfield - Dick Haynes

Captain Leonard - Earl McDaniel

Lieutenant White - Michael Marshall

Captain Beecher - John Herrin

Lieutenant Cutler - Mel Curtis

Lieutenant Webb - Jimmy Weldon

Communications Officer - Akemi Tani

Radar Officer - Lori Lyons

The Solarite - Richard Kiel

Juror 1 - Susan Cembrowska

Juror 2 - Merissa Mathes

Juror 3 - Gloria Moreland

Juror 4 - Judy Erickson

Juror 5 - Marya Carter

Juror 6 - Allyson Ames

Juror 7 - Marion Thompson

Zetha - Dolores Faith

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

"Since the splitting of the atom, only a few decades ago and through his god given genius of science, man at last has succeeded in penetrating further and further into the unknown vastness of space. The moon has become the launching base for advanced exploration. From this pivotal point, astronauts at the risk of their lives set out to conquer nature's mysterious forces. Yet many questions remained unanswered. What is his earth in relation to the inconceivable number of other worlds? Is his speed truly the fastest? His achievements the greatest? Or is he a mere unimportant piece of driftwood floating in the vast ocean of the universe? Could there be life similar to our own on other planets? Is it not possible that atmospheric conditions of relative environments control their shapes and forms? If so would they be giants or could perhaps the opposite be true? Could there intellect reached a scientific level far above man's dreams? What then will the future reveal? In this story you are about to witness is only the beginning."

In March 16th, 1980, Captain Leonard and Lieutenant Webb are traveling in Pegasus III. Leonard makes a log entry on their last day out on their reconnaissance survey. Webb notices they are off their trajectory and sees a planetoid object approaching them. Leonard reports that they have no control of their path and Pegasus III crashes into the planetoid. On Lunar Base 1, Colonel Lansfield tells Lieutenant Cutler how incredible it is that two ships would be missing in less than a month and yet nothing was nearby. Cutler tells him Lunar Base 2 and 3 reported that a planetoid appeared and then quickly disappeared. The Communications Officer receives a message from General Gibson from Earth Headquarters for Lansfield. Gibson asks Lansfield what is going on and Lansfield tells him he doesn't know what is going on. As they are discussing the matter, the Communications Officer and Radar Officer exchange looks. Gibson then orders Lansfield to send Captain Frank Chapman out on a reconnaissance mission. The Communications Officer then has Chapman report to Lansfield. Chapman walks into the room and Lansfield tells him he is to leave tomorrow for a reconnaissance mission.

Chapman and Lieutenant Ray Makonnen blast off from Lunar Base 1 in Pegasus IV. Makonnen tells Chapman that as he gets older he thinks the best is to focus on the good and beautiful. The Communications Officer contacts Chapman and Lansfield asks if he sees anything. Chapman tells him he hasn't and Lansfield tells him to stay on course unless he finds something, in which case he is to report it at once. Chapman tells Makonnen to change course, because he thinks the planetoid wont be in the same place as when Pegasus III encountered it. The Communications Officer contacts Chapman and tells him he is off course and he tells her they have entered a magnetic field and communication goes down. Pegasus IV enters a meteor shower and during it, their thrusters are damaged. Makonnen and Chapman go outside the spaceship in order to locate the damage. While they are repairing the damage, Chapmen's air supply is hit with space debris and he starts to go unconscious. While Makonnen is bringing him back into Pegasus IV, he is hit with space debris and flies off into space before praying to God and dying.

Chapman regains consciousness and looks for Makonnen, before realizing what must have happened. He records a message and says that he is being drawn towards a planetoid. Pegasus IV crash lands on the planetoid and Chapman leaves Pegasus IV and wanders around before collapsing. A group of tiny people walk towards Chapman, but run away when he regains consciousness. Chapman starts to walk around again, but collapses once more. The tiny people walk towards him again and Chapman begins to shrink. One of the tiny people approaches Chapman and he grabs him before the rest take him away. He is brought before Sessom, Judge Eden and Juror 1, Juror 2, Juror 3, Juror 4, Juror 5, Juror 6, and Juror 7 by Herron. Judge Eden asks him what Chapman's name is and what his occupation is. Sessom tells Chapman that they are able to communicate through voice tone wave translators. Judge Eden accuses Chapman of injuring one of their people, and Chapman tells him he was defending himself and didn't want to come to their planet, which is called Rayton. Judge Eden tells Chapman that they brought him onto the planet by controlling his ship. The Jury then finds Chapman guilty and Judge Eden sentences him as a free subject of Rayton. Chapman objects, but Sessom tells him he will not be permitted to leave. Liara tells Chapman no harm will come to him and she takes him to his new quarters. As they are walking she tells him that the planetoid's atmosphere has caused him to shrink and if he returned to Earth the oxygen would restore him to his original size.

Cutler tells Lansfield there still hasn't been any communication with Chapman and Lansfield decides that if he doesn't hear anything back soon, he will send a search party out. Sessom calls for Chapman and tells him they must discuss his future and asks him to help keep Earth spaceships from landing on Rayton. Sessom tells Chapman that they once had machines do all their work, but then they became lazy and started fighting among each other. The ancestors then decided to return to their primitive ways, but maintained their secret of their gravity control and food production. Sessom tells Chapman he wants him to become accustomed to their ways and later to take a wife, and offers Liara or Zetha as options. Liara takes Chapman to eat something and tells him they rarely need to eat. She then tells him Pegasus IV was sent off the planet while he was sleeping. The Radar Officer tells Lansfield that an unidentified object has appeared on screen. Lansfield then orders Captain Beecher and Lieutenant White to report and prepare to launch. Beecher and White arrive at Pegasus IV and find it empty. Beecher then reports to Lunar Base 1 and tells them Chapman and Makonnen are gone and Lansfield orders him to fly in Pegasus IV while White flies their rocket. Chapman demands to speak with Sessom and asks to learn about their gravity control. Herron tells Sessom Chapman may be a spy for the Solarites, but Sessom calls him too untrusting. Sessom then shows Chapman their gravity control and shows him how it works. As Chapman is walking around he comes across Zetha in her room. He asks her to take a walk and they walk to Chapman's space suit. He then tells her that he likes her and as they are walking away, Herron walks out from Chapman's space helmet.

Herron goes to Sessom and accuses Chapman of forcing himself on Liara and Zetha. Herron then demands a duel with Chapman. Judge Eden explains the rules to Chapman and shows him the effects of standing on any of the two gravity plates, which causes evaporation. The duel begins and Chapman emerges victorious, and also spares the life of Herron. Liara asks Chapman why he didn't kill Herron and she tells him she loves him and not Herron. Chapmen tells her he doesn't love her and might not even like her. Chapman wakes up to Herron holding a knife to his face. Herron then tells Chapman the if he helps him then he might be able to help him get off of Rayton. As Herron is telling Chapman his plan, an alarm goes off. The Raytons use their gravitational control to escape a group of Solarites. Liara shows Chapman a Solarite prisoner locked behind a force field. Chapman and Liara return to the main room and look in awe as a large group of Solarites attack Rayton. Sessom and Herron use the gravitational control to break up the attack and destroy the Solarites, but during the attack, the force field guarding the Solarite prisoner dissipates. The Solarite walks into Zetha's room, but hides when the light flickers. Zetha wakes up and then faints when she sees the Solarite and it picks her up and carries her. It sees Sessom walking to bed and attacks him alerting, Chapman, Herron and Liara. The Solarite brings Zetha into the control room and lays her down. It then tries to use the gravitational controls.

Chapman goes to look for the Solarite while Herron and Liara help Sessom. The Solarite attacks Chapman, but he manages to destroy it with the help of of Herron by pushing it onto a gravity plate. Herron tells Chapman tonight is the best time to get him back onto his planet and tells him his plan. Zetha goes to Chapman and speaks to him. She tells him the trauma of the Solarite fight must have caused her voice to come back and they kiss. Chapman tells her he has to leave and she tells him she loves him and she knows he must leave. The Communications Officer tells Beecher and White that an unidentified object is coming their way and they have been ordered by Lansfield to land on it and investigate it. Before he leaves, Zetha gives Chapman a stone from Rayton as good luck. Chapman wishes Herron happiness with Liara and then he walks away from Zetha and gets into his suit. He grows and is found by White who brings him back to his spaceship. Chapman starts to wonder if he was imagining Rayton when he pulls out the rock Zetha gave him. He then admits to himself that no one will believe him and the rocket leaves Rayton.

"What then will the future reveal? Is this story only the beginning?"