Watching Classic Sci-Fi Movie with Former Child Star and TV Icon Billy Gray ("Father Knows Best")

Herbie J Pilato
Photo byKen Gehrig

[This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events directly experienced by the author.]


I had the honor of attending a special screening of the 1951 classic sci-fi feature film, The Day the Earth Stood Still, which was directed by Robert Wise (who would later direct The Sound of Music, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture, among countless other film classics).

A Closer Look

The special screening of The Day the Earth Stood Still was held on Saturday, September 24, 2023, at the historic Old Town Music Hall Theatre in El Secundo, California, and the special guest for the evening was actor Billy Gray, the only remaining member of the film's cast (including Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal).

Gray has appeared in countless other films, including two with Doris Day, as well as several television shows. He is best known to classic TV fans from the iconic series, Father Knows Best, in which he starred with Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Elinor Donahue, and Lauren Chapin.


In a Q&A session with the audience after the screening, Billy Gray addressed the message of The Day the Earth Stood Still, which he believes remains as relevant today as it was in 1951:

"Violence and war solve nothing, and it never has, and if the world is to survive we must live in peace and mutual respect," he said.

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including the newly-published CONNERY, SEAN CONNERY biography, the revised BIONIC BOOK, RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, and more. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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