Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Pinocchio in Space" Is Worldly Delight

Cleveland Press 1964

"Pinocchio in Outer Space" is less a sequel to the children's classic than it is an updated story designed for the kid growing up in the space age.

Youngsters being as hip as they are about space shots and stuff will find fun in this full-length cartoon. Any nostalgic pangs about departing from the Collodi script will be felt only by a few adults and the movie isn't for them anyway.

This time around Pinocchio, the wooden puppet who became a boy, has turned to wood again because of bad behavior. On his way to school he is conned out of his lunch money by a crafty fox. Next he discovers a space ship manned by a character called Nurtle the Turtle.

Pinocchio sets off into outer space with Nurtle to find and destroy Astro, a flying whale. And just as before he is swallowed.

Pinocchio and Nurtle also land on Mars and fight off giant creatures. This is pretty well handled so as not to be frightening.

The film boasts a good sound track with such performers as Arnold Stang as Nurtle, Minerva Pious, Cliff Owens and a boy named Peter Lazer doing Pinocchio's voice.

The animation was done in Belgium and it's a quality job, not as startling in innovations as the memorable Disney films, but far and away better than the elementary animation the youngsters see on TV.

The film's producer, Fred Ladd, was in Cleveland the other day and claims that the scenes depicting outer space and the desert surface of Mars are authentic, were made after consulting with space experts.

The film has three pleasant, serviceable songs. All in all, this is a good Christmas package for the kids.

Ladd's next will be animated feature using the "Wizard of Oz" characters. This will be a full musical with 16 songs by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen. The sound track was recorded about two years ago with Liza Minnelli doing Dorothy (the part her mother, Judy Garland, did in the movie) Peter Lawford as the scarecrow, Danny Thomas as the Tin Man, Milton Berle as the Lion, Ethel Merman as the Evil Witch and Rise Stevens as the Good Witch.