Orville (Bud Abbott) is the oldest orphan* at the Hideaway Orphans Home. Seeing how Bud was 56 at the time of filming, perhaps we need to look into the weird practices of this orphanage. Regardless, he sneaks into a top-secret lab where he helps a lab worker named Lester (Lou Costello) and accidentally sends their spaceship into a launch sequence, flying them to what they think is Mars, but it turns out that it’s New Orleans at Mardi Gras.
Yes, a movie called Go to Mars has no sequence where anyone goes to Mars.
Meanwhile, two crooks named Harry the Horse (Jack Kruschen, Satan’s Cheerleaders) and Mugsy (Horace McMahon from the Dr. Kildare movies) sneak on board the spaceship, steal the spacesuits and weapons and rob a bank. Hijinks ensue when the cops think Bud and Lou are the criminals and everyone gets chased on to the rocket, which blasts off for Venus.
It turns out that Venus is a matriarchy where all men have been exiled for being cheaters. Queen Allura (Mari Blanchard, Twice Told Tales) falls for Bud and makes him king as long as he remains faithful. Of course, one of the other women wants to kiss him and this ends up with all of our male characters proving the queen correct, returning Venus once again to the sanity of female rule.
Almost all of the Venusian women was played by a Miss Universe and Miss USA contestants**, including Miss Germany Renate Hoy (she’s also in Missile to the Moon, playing nearly the same role), Miss Sweden Anita Eckberg (before becoming a star in La Dolce Vita), Miss New Jersey Ruth Hampton (Ricochet Romance) and Miss Louisiana Jeanna Thompson, the only woman to be in Miss USA twice. An exception to all these beauty queen contestants is Jean Willes, who appeared in several Three Stooges shorts and in the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Of all people, Robert A. Heinlein inspired this movie with a film treatment he wrote called Abbott and Costello Move to the Moon. In other science fiction trivia, the sets for this movie were reused for This Island Earth.
Yes, I can barely believe that the intelligent leader of an all-female society of great scientists would give it all up to aardvark Bud Abbott. After all, he has the secret to best strawberry malted ever, even if he had to die for it.
*Harry Shearer is there, too.
**My favorite beauty title in this movie is the one won by Jeri Miller: Miss Welcome to Long Beach.