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Take a voyage to the planet of prehistoric women for First Friday

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh invites you on a “Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women,” beginning on Friday, February 1 at 7 p.m. This month’s First Friday feature tells the unfortunate story of a team of cosmonauts that crash-land on Venus, only to find themselves under attack by prehistoric creatures. Oh, and killing the local deity doesn’t win them any new friends.

“Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women” (1968) is actually a re-edited version of a film previously released in the U.S. as “Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet” (starring Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue, 1965), which itself was an edited and dubbed version of the Soviet film “Planeta Bur” (or “Planet of Storms,” 1962).

In the “Prehistoric Women” version, rookie director Peter Bogdanovich removed Basil and Faith and replaced them with a bevy of sexy Venusians — most notably Mamie Van Doren (Miss Palm Springs 1948, who along with fellow platinum-blonde goddesses Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, was once known as one of “The Three M’s.) These exotic alienettes, who the cosmonauts actually never meet, prefer to sunbathe in hip-hugging skin-tight pants and seashell bras. As one film critic put it, this film is “Cheap, but bizarre.” It’s also free.

The Museum stays open from 5 p.m. till 9 p.m. Arrive early and wander through eye-catching exhibits highlighting the natural beauty of North Carolina, enjoy snacks and beverages from the Acro Café, and enjoy live music from aquatic guitarist Jeff Smith.

If alien bombshells aren’t your thing, check out the Museum’s latest special exhibit — “Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries.” See how today’s paleontologists are using new technologies to find out how slow the T. rex really was, and how the lumbering Sauropod could break the sound barrier. [Tickets are available on-site for a First Friday discount price of $5. The exhibit stays open until 9 p.m. with last tickets sold at 8 p.m. This is the only First Friday activity that has a fee.]

Additionally, the Museum Store offers after-hours shopping and an opening reception (7-8:30 p.m.) for paleoartist Mark Hallett, whose amazing recreations of prehistoric life will be on display in the Nature Art Gallery February 1 through March 2. All exhibited art is for sale. Hallett will also be making a multimedia presentation titled “Dinosaurs: An Artist’s View,” in the Museum auditorium at 6 p.m.

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, ext. 379.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in downtown Raleigh, documents and interprets the natural history of the state of North Carolina through exhibits, research, collections, publications, and educational programming. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 am to 5 pm, and Sun., noon to 5 pm. Admission is free. Visit the Museum on the Web at naturalsciences.org. The Museum is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, William G. Ross Jr., Secretary.