Satan's Satellites opened on this day in 1958? Satan's what, you ask? Never heard of it? Maybe you know it better as Zombies of the Stratosphere, one of Leonard Nimoy's earliest credits. Here's what happened: Back in 1952, Republic Pictures launched their 12-part sci-fi serial starring Judd Holdren, Aline Towne, Wilson Wood, Lane Bradford, John Crawford, Craig Kelly, Ray Boyle and a very young Leonard Nimoy. The future Star Trek legend played Narab, one of a group of Martians that has invaded Earth and intends to make a hydrogen bomb in order to save their own planet (it's a long story). Fortunately, Larry Martin/Rocket Man (Holdren) saves the day.

Zombies of the Stratosphere originally cost a grand total of $176,357 and was spread across 12 installments that ran almost three hours. Republic Pictures later created Satan's Satellites by editing the footage down to a feature-length 70 minutes. And that's what was released on March 28, 1958.
During a conference call with reporters in 2009 about a then-upcoming appearance on the television show Fringe, Nimoy expressed his thanks for the genre that put him on the map and kept him there for decades. Remember, his sci-fi work spanned from Zombies of the Stratosphere/Satan's Satellites, The Brain Eaters, The Twlight Zone, The Outer Limits, Star Trek and Invasion of the Body Snatchers to The Pagemaster, Brave New World, Futurama, Fringe, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and more.
“It’s a good thing if you can find a niche as an actor and be able to support a family,” Nimoy said. “Very early on, many years ago, probably 1950 or 1951, I acted in my first science-fiction project. I thought it was going to rocket me to stardom, if you’ll pardon the expression. And it didn’t quite work. It was a great project called Zombies of the Stratosphere. I was third of a group of zombies that came to Earth to take over Earth’s orbit. It’s funny when I think about it now, but it was a way of making a living. I’m grateful for the niche that science-fiction has given me.”


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