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Man and alien unite to combat the most insidious peril the Museum has ever known!

RALEIGH — Shock by incredible shock, this ravaging B-movie overruns the Museum ... menacing visitors with overwhelming chaos! Welcome to “The Strange World of Planet X,” showing at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh on First Friday, September 2 at 7pm. Free.

After monomaniacal lab director Dr. Laird creates an ultra-intense magnet, local insects begin to grow foot by incredible foot, and a strange visitor from “a long way off” is inexplicably drawn to the site — and he ain’t happy about it.

“The Strange World of Planet X” (aka “Cosmic Monsters,” 1958) stars Forest Tucker as physicist Gil Graham, who has the decidedly unattractive task of working with the deranged Dr. Laird. Tucker is most recognizable to Baby Boomers and late-night rerun junkies as Sergeant O’Rourke on the classic TV sitcom “F Troop” (1965-67), although he has some pretty impressive acting stats ranging from a mad Marine in the John Wayne classic “Sands of Iwo Jima” (1949) to Rosalind Russell’s Beauregard Burnside in “Auntie Mame” (1958). Before F-Troop, Tucker even stepped into the stage role of Professor Harold Hill in the national touring production of “The Music Man,” making more than 2000 appearances.

Oh, and keep an ear tuned in for some deftly played theremin in the soundtrack.

The Museum stays open from 5 to 9 pm on the First Friday of every month, inviting visitors to sit still for a (classic) sci-fi or horror movie, wander through eye-catching exhibits, enjoy snacks and beverages from the Acro Café, and groove to live music, this month featuring jazz guitarist Eli Wittmann. Or visit the Museum’s newest special exhibit, “Our Expanding Oceans,” which features dozens of hand-dyed silk batiks from Mary Edna Fraser that illustrate major elements of global climate change, from melting ice sheets to rising seas (5-7pm, free). Additionally, the Museum Store offers after-hours shopping and an opening reception (6:30-8:30pm) for artists from the Colored Pencil Society of America, whose show “Naturally Colored Pencils,” will be on display September 2 – October 2 in the Nature Art Gallery. All exhibited art is for sale.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, located at 11 West Jones Street in downtown Raleigh, documents and interprets the natural history of the state of through exhibits, research, collections, publications and educational programming. Visit us online at naturalsciences.org. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm and Sunday, 12-5pm. General admission is free. The Museum is an agency of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary.