Ross Martin's first film was a science fiction movie about a space mission
Martin was on missions in two places: the West and in space.
Despite having experience in business and law, Ross Martin chose to follow a passion that led him on a successful and creative journey.
He started his acting career in the 1940s and ended up in a comedy duo with Bernie West. Martin's most-known role was in the series The Wild Wild West. However, the actor had a few roles before the series began, one being his first movie role in Conquest of Space in 1955.
In the West, he was Artemus Gordon. Yet in space, he went by a different name, Sgt. Andre Fodor, to be exact. The movie focuses on a group's first interplanetary flight to Mars. The group, a crew of five, was launched from the earth near "The Wheel," which was mankind's first space station. The plot consisted of the crew going through many hardships to complete this mission, including facing severe dangers on their journey that could've ended the task, and them, for good.
Martin's character, Sgt. Andre Fodor, was a supporting role, but he brought the character to life so well that he got to be in another Sci-Fi film in 1958.
The film idea came from the 1949 nonfiction book The Conquest of Space by Willy Ley. George Pal, the film's producer, bought the rights to use it for a script and was eager to get started on the production. There was some controversy surrounding the film and the topic of space.
Many critics believed that the idea of man being in space was ridiculous. In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune in 1955, Pal said, "I am convinced that man will get to the moon and Mars within the next 15 years. Too many scientists believe it for anybody to ridicule the idea."
Thus, with that belief, Pal knew the plot in the movie would eventually happen in real life but without the over-dramatization of things like it was in the film. The end of the trailer for the film had an "I told you so" moment with clips of newspaper headlines talking about the United States launching a satellite into space.
To make the scenes look as realistic as possible, technicolor and special effects were used to bring space to earth. Since being on The Wild Wild West kind of took over his career, there aren't many interviews of Martin speaking on his first movie role floating around. Yet, if you're into Sci-Fi, when you have time, check out the film.