The Astronaut is a 1972 American made-for-television science fiction film starring Jackie Cooper and Monte Markham. This made-for-television film follows a man who has been hired to impersonate an astronaut who died during the first manned mission to Mars.
|Written by||Harve Bennett|
Gerald Di Pego
|Directed by||Robert Michael Lewis|
|Music by||Gil Melle|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Production location(s)||Universal Studios - 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California|
|Running time||73 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Universal Television|
Television coverage of Brice Randolph, the first astronaut on the surface of Mars, is interrupted, indicating the signal has been lost. Shortly afterward, Eddie Reese is recruited, and shown what happened after the TV signal was interrupted: Brice reported something penetrating his EVA suit, and soon expired. The other astronaut lifted off alone. NASA (who fear their project will be canceled) needs to keep it secret until they have answers about what exactly happened.
Reese is surgically altered, and begins learning his role as Brice. At the arrival of the spacecraft back on Earth, the splashdown site is altered so that the press is unaware of Reese being brought to join the returning space crew, and Reese, maintaining the cover, is now having to act his role with the dead man's wife Gail. Uneasy about being intimate with another man's wife, Reese unwittingly betrays himself to her, and her suspicions are raised.
Eventually, NASA determines what happened on Mars, and is ready to let Reese out of the masquerade, but Reese and Gail are willing to carry on as if he is Brice Randolph. Reese then hears from a boy, who asked for an autograph, that the Soviets have just launched their own mission to land on Mars.
|Jackie Cooper||Kurt Anderson|
|Monte Markham||Eddie Reese|
|Col. Brice Randolph|
|Richard Anderson||Dr. Wylie|
|Robert Lansing||John Phillips|
|Susan Clark||Gail Randolph|
|John Lupton||Don Masters|
|Walter Brooke||Tom Everett|
|James Sikking||Astronaut Higgins|
|Paul Kent||Carl Samuels|