You may have seen this movie when you were younger. Somewhere, someplace, someone had the idea to merge Christmas and science fiction. Like many of the low budget sci-fi movies of the 60s, the cheesiness is what makes the film stand out. It was enough for Mystery Science Theater 3000 to cover it back in 1991.
The story starts with children on the planet Mars who can intercept and view television from Earth. Through this, they learn of Santa Claus. Kimar, leader of Mars, decides they should celebrate Christmas just like the children on Earth do. Kimar devises a plan for the Martians to travel to Earth and kidnap Santa Claus. Unfortunately for Kimar, not all Martians are on board with the idea. The Martians kidnap two children, Billy and Betty, to help identify Santa. Santa is also kidnapped, and the three are taken back to Mars. Santa fully cooperates with the Martians and assists in building a toy factory for the children. To assist Santa, the Martians develop an automated machine that makes toys. Things do not go well due to the opposition against Kimar, but with the help of Billy and Susan, Santa is able to save the day. He does this not only by helping the Martians create their own Christmas holiday but also by returning in time to deliver presents to the children of earth.
While the audience waits for the play to start, a large screen TV shows original commercials of toys from the 60s and 70s. This alone brings back many Christmas morning memories. The adapted play does a great job of following the movie. Special attention is paid to keeping the special effects and costumes as cheesy and silly as in the original. The audience is split into two sections, and the play takes place in three areas: on the main stage, on the floor between the audience, and at the floor entrance opposite the stage. This allows the cast members to involve the audience in the play and improvise at times. The big screen TV is used to show what the broadcasts going to Mars look like and to show news coverage on Earth in true analog fashion. During the intermission, you can have your picture taken with Torg the robot, and at the end of the play, you can get a Christmas picture taken with Santa and the Martians.
50 Dates at 50 Take:
We’ve all seen many versions of A Christmas Carol or “The Gift of the Magi.” The Hallmark Channel has its annual showing of Christmas movies. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is a real change-up. This play has something for all ages and is unique and hilarious. The Maverick Theater states that this play is not intended for anyone under the age of four.
Why You Need to Watch it:
This is strictly fun date material. The Christmas season can get pretty stressful, and this play is some excellent comic relief. The live performance lasts for just under two hours including an intermission and pictures with the cast at the end. The play begins showing right after Thanksgiving and continues up to just before Christmas. Showings are on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. This play has a cult following here in Orange County. It has been showing every year since 2006. Tickets sell out for all performances within hours once they go on sale. If you want to see it, you’ll have to plan ahead. Consult the Maverick’s website as to when the tickets go on sale. It’s usually midnight on November 1st, so you’ll have to stay up late on Halloween night.
Year Released: Attend Annually since 2017. Adapted from on the 1964 B-movie
Where to Watch: The Maverick Theater 110 E Walnut Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832