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‘Terror in the Theater: Fifties Fears’ exhibit invades Hay Library at Western Wyoming Community College

November 17, 2015

Photo courtesy of th
Photo courtesy of the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center’s Forrest Ackerman Collection.

ROCK SPRINGS – This month, Hay Library at Western Wyoming Community College is pleased to host a traveling exhibit of classic sci-fi poster art on loan from the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center: “Terror in the Theater: Fifties Fears.” This colorful and informative collection showcases full-color prints of posters from classic 1950s’ science-fiction cinema, which are presented with short essays explaining the social and cultural concerns that underlie the movie plots featuring alien invasions, atomic mutations, and the infiltration of human society by a menace that is not of this Earth.

Those stories reflected and often were inspired by actual social and political fears that were prevalent in 1950s’ America. The Cold War, the advent of atomic weapons, suspicions about Communist infiltration, and the dawn of the space age gave rise to movies like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” “Forbidden Planet,” “Invaders From Mars,” and “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” among many others. Hay Library is pleased to offer for checkout the titles featured in the “Terror in the Theater” exhibit; any patron with a valid Sweetwater County Library card may check out Hay Library materials.  

Though often produced inexpensively, and sometimes dismissed by critics of the time as nothing more than popular fodder for drive-ins, the movies of the ‘50s sci-fi era inspired a whole new generation of authors and filmmakers to advance the genre thematically and technologically, leading eventually to such blockbusters as “Star Wars,” “Alien,” “The Terminator,” and “Independence Day,” among others. Meanwhile, poster advertisements that might have seemed schlocky or sensationalistic in the 1950s became valued as collectible art in their own right in succeeding decades.

The AHC exhibit is on loan from UW’s Forrest Ackerman Collection. The late Ackerman was a renowned sci-fi, fantasy and horror fan, author, editor, collector, and literary agent, as well as the creator and editor of the beloved and long-running genre magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland.  He is credited by many with creating the phenomenon of sci-fi fandom that continues today at conventions and film festivals around the world. Ackerman was an avid collector of movie art, props and memorabilia, some of which is now housed in the AHC collection at UW.    

Western’s Hay Library is pleased to feature the traveling exhibit “Terror in the Theater: Fifties Fears” now through Dec. 22 at the Rock Springs campus. For more information about this or other Hay Library exhibits or collections, please contact Library Director Janice Grover-Roosa at   


For more information, contact Audrey Harton at (307) 382-1661 or
(307) 382-1600 or toll free (800) 226-1181