About Us

First Friday August 7: The Atomic Brain

RALEIGH — Who says there’s no work out there? On First Friday, August 7, visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh to view “The Atomic Brain” … you’ll never guess who’s hiring. (7 pm. Free.)

Watch what happens when a rich but unscrupulous old woman plots with an atomic scientist to have her brain implanted in the skull of a sexy new housekeeper in this 1964 classic “The Atomic Brain” (aka “Monstrosity”). And keep an eye on that cat.

The sadistic and selfish septuagenarian Mrs. March is played by Marjorie Eaton, who has been cast as The Landlady in an array of television shows (e.g. “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”) and movies (e.g. “The Three Stooges in Orbit”). She also appeared as a seemingly non-sadistic but no less old woman on a park bench in “Mary Poppins” during the same year as “Atomic Brain.”

Frank Gerstle plays Dr. Otto Frank, the renegade scientist whose illegal experiments are being subsidized by March. Back in the day, Gerstle must have looked good in uniform, because he has played a Sergeant (or Captain, Lieutenant, Detective, Trooper, Officer, Major, Commander, Colonel, General, Chief, Bartender) in an array of television shows (“Schlitz Playhouse of Stars”) and movies (“Shock Corridor”). Gerstle also appeared in b-movie classics “Killers from Space” (1954) and “The Wasp Woman” (1959).

Alas, it was the final film for all three women who played housekeepers in “Atomic Brain” — Erika Peters, Judy Bamber and Lisa Lang. Oh, and for the cat as well. You’ll have to watch the movie to discover why.

“Atomic Brain” was directed by Joseph V. Mascelli, a former U.S. Army cinematographer whose first major assignment as a civilian cinematographer involved filming aerial footage of the first H-bomb test at Bikini Atoll (Operation Crossroads). He also wrote “The Five Cs of Cinematography” in 1965, which remains one of the classic texts on the subject.

The Museum stays open from 5 to 9 pm on the first Friday of every month. Arrive early and wander through eye-catching exhibits highlighting the natural beauty of North Carolina, enjoy snacks and beverages from the Acro Café, and groove to live music, this month from The Foyer. Or, get the complete story behind the tasty treat that we crave in “Chocolate,” the Museum’s newest traveling exhibit (First Friday discount: all tickets $4; available at the box office till 7 pm). Additionally, the Museum Store offers after-hours shopping and an opening reception (6:30-8:30 pm) for Silvie Granatelli, whose show “Interpreting Nature in Porcelain” appears in the Nature Art Gallery August 7-30. All exhibited art is for sale.

The Museum of Natural Sciences is located in downtown Raleigh at 11 West Jones Street. Parking is available on the street and in surface lots along Wilmington and Edenton streets. For more information, contact Steve Popson at 919-733-7450 x379.