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From SERIALS to MOVIES to TELEVISION...
Chose a "Galactic Hero" from the list below to find out more about the heroes that have shaped the face of Science Fiction.
 
This page is a 'work in progress' - Feel free to let us know of any additions or corrections!
 



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ARK II
On CBS, from 1976 - 1979 (Saturday mornings)
Starring: Terry Lester, Jean Marie Hon, Jose Flores, Adam the Chimp

Set in the future, the crew of the Ark II's mission was to seek out life and new civilizations... In a post apocalyptic world, the crew of the Ark II travels across the country righting wrongs, promoting peace and understanding, and helping the underdogs. The crew of the Ark II consisted of Jonah (Gee, why didn't they just call him Noah?), the leader; Ruth; Samuel; and Adam, a talking, intelligent chimpanzee. The Ark II was basically a suped up r/v with the latest in technology. The Ark II crew also had access to the Ark Roamer, a jeep like vehicle, and  jet packs to get to areas the Ark II couldn't. For a Saturday morning show, the series was fairly well produced and starred many notable (past present and future) stars including: Jim Backus, Helen Hunt, Jonathan Harris and even Robby the Robot!
http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Hills/6009/ark.htm
 
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BARBARELLA
Paramount Pictures - 1968 Feature Film
Featuring: Jane Fonda as Barbarella John Philip Law as Pygar David Hemmings Marcel Marceau Ugo Tognazzi
 
Barbarella is marked by the same audacity and originality, fantasy, humor, beauty and horror, cruelly and eroticism that made the French comic books such a favorite. The Setting is the planet Lythion in the year 40,000, when Barbarella makes a forced landing while traveling through space. She acts like a female James Bond, vanquishing evil in the forms of robots and monsters. She also rewards, in an uninhibited manner, the handsome men who assist her in the adventure. Whether she is wrestling with Black Guards, the evil Queen, or the Angel Pygar, she just can't seem to avoid losing at least part of her skin-tight space suit! Produced by: Dino De Laurentiis, Directed by: Roger Vadim
 

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BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
Universal - ABC 1978 - 1979
Starring: Richard Hatch, Lorne Greene, Dirk Benedict, Herb Jefferson, Jr., Terry Carter, Maren Jensen, John Colicos, Patrick Macnee
 
A show owing much of it's premise to Star Trek, Space Patrol and the like premiered on ABC a year after the "summer of Star Wars" Galactica was the first to capitalize on the Star Wars phenomenon. In fact FX-man John Dykstra who did the effects work for Star Wars was hired to do the same for BG. George Lucas even sued Universal for steeling his idea.  Non the less Galactica was an instant hit for ABC, but the show's hefty price tag of over one million an episode and flagging ratings near the end of the first season sealed it's fate, and it was canceled.  But ABC refused to give up on the concept and came up with a series follow-up, bringing the Battlestar Galactic and it's rag-tag fleet home to EARTH. Thus was born GALACTICA 1980 (see below)
http://www.battlestargalactica.com/
 

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GALACTICA 1980
Universal - ABC 1980
Starring: Lorne Greene, Kent McCord, Robyn Douglas, Barry Vandyke
 
After ABC realized they may have made a mistake in canceling Battlestar Galactica. They began talk of reviving it. There were several different possibilities. Doing the show the same way it had been done previously or possibly doing several television movies as Larson had originally proposed. Unfortunately, ABC went with a different option.  As it turns out, the revitalized Galactica was probably doomed from the get-go.  The plot of Galactica 1980 has the Battlestar Galactica and its fleet finally discovering Earth in the year 1980 A.D., about 30 years after the events of the original series. Most of the characters from the original cast (except for Adama, Boxey and Boomer) are apparently dead and little or no mention of them is made. This premise allows the majority of the action to take place on "modern-day" Earth rather than in space. 
Amid the chaos, Universal soon realized it wasn't going to make much money on the show, not wanting to shell out more money for a series that was rapidly sinking, ABC canceled Galactica 1980 after just ten episodes. The death of the show was little mourned.
 
Still, the final episode of Galactica 1980 makes the entire series worthwhile. This is the outstanding classic The Return Of Starbuck which reveals what happened to the warrior. This is better than most of the episodes of Battlestar Galactica and is a nice fond farewell to fans of the series.
 

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BUCK ROGERS
UNIVERSAL 1939 - Serial: 12 CHAPTERS  
Starring: Buster Crabbe as Buck, Constance Moore as Wilma, Jackie Moran as Buddy, C. Montague Shaw as Dr. Huer,  Anthony Warde as Killer Kane

Universal tries to capture the success of their Flash Gordon series with a go at Buck, but it did not have the same popularity at the box office. Preserved in a state of suspended animation for 500 years, Buck Rogers and young Buddy Wade are brought back to life by future Earth Scientists. They awaken in the year 2500 A.D. and planet Earth is in a state of emergency being ruled by Killer Kane and his super gangsters. Will the universe be saved from his sinister tyrant? Released as a feature under the titles DESTINATION SATURN and PLANET OUTLAWS. Directed by Ford Beebe & Saul A. Goodkind 
 


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BUCK ROGERS
ABC 1950-1951 - TV Series
Starring: Ken Dibbs as Buck Rogers Robert Pastene as Buck Rogers Lou Prentis as Lt. Wilma Deering Harry Sothern as Dr. Huer Harry Kingston as Black Barney Sanford Bickard as Killer Kane

This crude video-tape adaptation of the popular comic strip was filmed live in New York. Following on the heels of Dumont's Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949-55), this was the first attempt to bring the 1930s space hero to TV. Buck Rogers seemed ill at ease on live television, where his adventures were confined to a few small sets in a small studio. By comparison, his movie serials seemed like Hollywood extravaganzas. Buck's history was recounted verbally in the first episode -- an ordinary American who wakes up to find himself in the year 2430. Headquartered in a secret science lab in a cave behind Niagara Falls (the city of Niagara was now the capital of the world), Buck battles intergalactic troublemakers.

Ken Dibbs, who later appeared in the science fiction television series, Men Into Space (1959-60), played Buck with a suitable swashbuckling flair. He was later replaced by Robert Pastene. With no surviving kinescopes, Buck Rogers first television incarnation is almost totally forgotten about today. Directed by Babette Henry, Produced by Joe Cates and Babette Henry, Written by Gene Wyckoff
 


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BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY:
THE MOVIE
 
Universal Pictures 1979 Feature Film
Featuring: Gil Gerard as Capt. William "Buck" Rogers Erin Gray as Col. Wilma Deering Tim O'Connor as Dr. Huer Henry Silva as Killer Kane Pamela Hensley as Princess Ardala Felix Silla as Twiki (the robot) Mel Blank as the voice of Twiki

Originally planned as a series of 2-hour tele-films by Battlestar Galactica creator Glen Larsen, the pilot was released theatrically then broadcast on television as a special. Buck, an astronaut from the 20th Century finds himself unfrozen in the 25th Century where he aides Wilma Deering in the defense of the galaxy.
 


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BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY 
NBC-TV / Universal Pictures 1979-81 31 episodes
Featuring: Gil Gerard as Capt. William "Buck" Rogers (pictured) Erin Gray as Col. Wilma Deering Tim O'Connor as Dr. Huer Felix Silla as Twiki (the robot) Thom Christopher as Hawk (season two) Jay Garner as Admiral Asimov (season two) Wilfred Hyde White as Dr. Goodfellow (season two)

Following the 1979 theatrical film, the first season was moderately successful with lots of outer-space action. Gerard originally played Buck with a Burt Reynolds-type charm, (but was toned down as the series went on) who used his somewhat unorthodox abilities as an expert pilot with reflexes as quick as his sense of humor to defend the galaxy. With Wilma as commander of the Earth's defense squadron, she and Buck become a team. Often aided by Twiki the robot voiced by Blanc. A season highlight featured an episode with Buster Crabbe appearing as on old war hero brought out of retirement.

In an effort to grab more ratings, the format for the second season was revamped. It was hoped that by putting Buck aboard the starship Searcher and introducing the alien Hawk, the series could be transformed into another Star Trek. The season two-hour opening was well received but the follow-up episodes proved less than exciting and the rating took a nose dive. The series was canceled after 31 episodes.
 

Captain Midnight
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CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT
AKA: JET JACKSON: FLYING COMMANDO
CBS/Screen Gems 1954-1956 TV Series  39 Episodes.
Featuring: Richard Webb, Sid Melton, Olan Soule
 
Captain Midnight, whose real name was Captain Jim Albright, was a WWII veteran turned leader of the Secret Squadron during the Cold War days of the 1950’s. Midnight fought crime with his dim-witted co-pilot Ichabod “Icky” Mudd, and together the two were given advanced scientific knowledge to aid them in their do-gooder efforts by eccentric scientist Aristotle “Tut” Jones. Subscribing to the motto, “Justice through strength and courage,” Midnight flew his jet out of a secret base to fight the various nasties of the day.

Captain Midnight originated as a radio show in the 1940's, sponsored by Ovaltine. The sponsor carried over when the show moved to television, and the Captain pitched the chocolatey drink with a promotional tie-in. Kids who sent in Ovaltine proofs of purchase gained membership in the Secret Squadron and a decoder badge, with which they deciphered secret messages from the Captain.

Although Screen Gems produced the show, Ovaltine owned the name Captain Midnight, which made for an odd syndication deal. Screen Gems sold the show to non-network stations under a different name, Jet Jackson, Flying Commando, and all references to Captain Midnight were crudely dubbed. 
 


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CAPTAIN SCARLET
AND THE MYSTERONS

Century 21 Television/ITC - 1967 32 episodes.

In the 21st century, the nightmare of H.G. Wells comes true. An expedition to the planet Mars results in the accidental destruction of an old Martian city, causing a mysterious force, called the Mysterons, to retaliate. The Mysterons appear to posses the ability to recreate anyone (or any object) they have previously destroyed, thereby gaining complete control over the person in question. The Earth is thus confronted with a host of enemy agents, which are indistinguishable from normal human beings.  The secret defense organization Spectrum is charged with the arduous task to withstand the alien threat. All major agents of Spectrum use colors as code name.  The most valuable Spectrum agent is Captain Scarlet (32). Because of his rapid military career (Air force Colonel at the age of 24) he was approached by Spectrum. After an unsuccessful attempt of the Mysterons to take over his body, Scarlet has become virtually indestructible. Moreover, he can detect the presence of humans who are taken over by the Martian enemy.
Another in a long line of the Gerry Anderson puppet sci-fi shows.
http://www.captainscarlet.tv/frameset.asp
 
Captain Video
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CAPTAIN VIDEO
AND HIS VIDEO RANGERS
Dumont 1949-1955
Starring: Richard Coogan as Captain Video (1949-50), Al Hodge as Captain Video (1950-55), Don Hastings as the Ranger, Bran Mossen as Dr. Pauli (1949), Hal Conklin as Dr. Pauli (1949-55)

The first, and perhaps most famous, of the early TV space heroes. The Captain was "an electronic wizard, master of Time and Space and Guardian of the Safety of the World". His Rocketship, the Galaxy, was a typical for the day - a cross between a stubby-dart and a V-2. 
And as the announcer would say: "P - 0 - S - T . . . P - 0 - S - T . . . the cereals you like the most! The cereals made by Post . . . take you to the secret mountain retreat of Captain Video! Master of Space! Hero of Science! Captain of the Video Rangers! Operating from his secret mountain headquarters on the planet Earth, Captain Video rallies men of good will and leads them against the forces of evil everywhere! As he rockets from planet to planet, let us follow the champion of justice, truth and freedom throughout the universe! Stand by for . . . CAPTAIN VIDEO . . . and his Video Rangers!

Creator/Producer -- James Caddigan 
Producer -- Larry Menkin 
Writer -- Maurice C. Brockhauser, and later: Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Sheckley, and Jack Vance 
Music -- Wagner's Overture to the Flying Dutchman
 

Captain Z-Ro
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CAPTAIN Z-RO
1952 - 1955 - Syndicated TV Series
Featuring: Roy Steffens, Bobby Trumbull

Low-budget and local, this 15-minute sci-fi show still managed to gather both a loyal fan base and critical acclaim during its three-year run on San Francisco’s KRON-TV. The special effects were crude, and only three actors could be featured per episode, but Captain Zero was still hailed for being both educational and entertaining.

Written by and starring Roy Steffens, the show featured a rocket ship/time machine that allowed Z-Ro and his young sidekick Jet to chase villains through time while still managing to give impromptu history lessons.

Episodes were often appropriately written according to the time of year. The Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes, for example, featured adventures that explained the historical significance of the holidays.

After three years on local live TV, Captain Z-Ro finally expanded to a half-hour, switched to film, and was syndicated nationally in 1955. Despite the move to the big-time, fans were pleased to see that Captain Z-Ro stayed true to its roots, maintaining its simple charms for the remainder of its television run.
 

COMMANDO CODY / ROCKET MAN
The name Commando Cody has become synonymous with the hero of Rocketman. The character has seen many incarnations below are a few...
 


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KING OF THE ROCKETMEN
Republic Pictures -1949 Serial: 12 Chapters
Starring Tristram Coffin, I. Stanford Jolley, Mae Clarke.
 
In this first of the three 12-chapter cliffhanger serials our hero is Jeff King, the mysterious rocketman who along with a fellow scientist develop the atomic-powered flying suit to prevent an evil scientist named Dr. Vulcan from gaining world dominance with his powerful weapon, the Sonic Decimator. Jeff King has the rocket-suit & the ray gun but never leaves the stratosphere. In a thrilling conclusion Rocketman triumphs over the evil Dr. Vulcan. This serial was made in response to Columbia Pictures' smash hit serial of 1948 "Superman" & was Republics' most popular original character to appear on the serial screen. Although at the end of the final chapter the story eludes to a return of Rocketman, his character never returns to the silver screen. Considered by many serial fans as the last of the great Republic Pictures' cliffhanger serials.
http://www.rocketmania.com/
 
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RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON
Republic Pictures - 1952 Serial 12 chapters.
Starring George Wallace, Roy Barcroft, Aline Towne.
 
3 years later Republic returns the rocket suit to the screen in another 12-chapter cliffhanger serial with a new rocketman character- Commando Cody. Cody, who is employed as a scientist with a top-level government agency doesn't wear a uniform or a mask but somehow has obtained the flying suit. Cody & his colleagues become aware of some suspicious atomic activity taking place on the moon as well as several mysterious incidents of sabotage on earth that appear to be related. Cody & his assistants develop an atomic powered rocketship to explore the moon where he quickly finds out about the existence of a race of moon men & their evil scheme. Cody takes 12 chapters to defeat Retik, the Ruler of the Moon & his radarmen ultimately preventing them from launching a wide-scale invasion of the earth. Stock footage from "King of the Rocketmen" is used for most of the flying scenes. Clayton Moore, TV's Lone Ranger, appears as a henchmen working for the alien force.
 
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ZOMBIES OF THE STRATOSPHERE
Republic Pictures - 1952 Serial 12 chapters.
Starring Judd Holdren, Lane Bradford, Aline Towne, Leonard Nimoy.
 
6 months later Republic releases the third in their pseudo-trilogy of rocketman serials. This time even though the character is essentially Commando Cody, with many of his same assistants, the character's name is changed at the last minute from Cody to Larry Martin to avoid confusion with another Republic "rocketman" endeavor soon to go into production. Again, it takes the Rocketman 12 chapters to thwart another alien attempt at destroying the earth. This time the threat is from Marex & his fellow aliens from Mars. Although Rocketman never leaves the stratosphere there are several aerial rocketship battle scenes. In the final chapter rocketman, Larry Martin shoots down the Martians' rocketship & defuses a hydrogen bomb in the nick of time to save mankind. Again there is stock footage from both "King of the Rocketmen" & "Radar Men from the Moon". Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek's Mr. Spock, appears as one of the Martians.
 

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COMMANDO CODY
SKY MARSHALL OF THE UNIVERSE

Republic Pictures - 1953 Film/TV Series
Starring Judd Holdren, Gregory Gaye, Aline Towne, Richard Crane, William Schallert.
 
Originally developed for TV, Republic Pictures first released this film in the theaters in 1953 and later to television in 1955. This time there are no cliffhanger chapters but 12 complete 26-minute episodes. Here Rocketman returns as a masked & uniformed Commando Cody with the same assistants from the serials. Cody's character is now completely developed as he now tangles with an alien megalomaniac known to us only as the Ruler. The Ruler has conquered much of our solar system & the only hope for mankind is Commando Cody who naturally in the final episode captures the alien dictator & puts an end to his imperialistic plot. Although there is much stock footage from the 3 serials there is also plenty of new footage. This was the last of the rocketman films, however, in 1991 Disney made a film that took place during the early 1940's about a rocket suited hero called the "The Rocketeer" which was based on the Dave Stevens' comic book of the same name. The ending credits of this movie pay tribute to both the Rocketman & Commando Cody characters.

 

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DESTINATION MOON
US  - 1950 Feature Film
Featuring:  John Archer, Warner Anderson, Tom Powers, Dick Wesson, Erin O'Brien-Moore
Director Irving Pichel

When production on Destination Moon began in 1949, everything about the project was state of the art. The great science fiction author Robert Heinlein co-wrote the script (based on his novel Rocketship Galileo) and served as technical advisor. The film's astronomical visions were realized by Chesley Bonestell, whose artwork virtually defined the look of space travel at the dawn of the rocket era. Destination Moon is even noted in NASA's official timeline of space-travel history, and almost inevitably won the Academy Award for Best Special Effects. It remains a milestone film, not so much as classic science fiction but--like 2001: A Space Odyssey 18 years later--as an attempt to visualize the reality of space exploration. (To educate the audience on this topic, Woody Woodpecker makes an animated guest appearance, hosting an instructional film on the basics of rocketeering.)

The spacesuits created for this film turned up in one form or another in just about every low-budget sci-fi flick through the 50's & 60's, including appearances in SPACE PATROL.
 

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DOCTOR WHO
BBC - 1963-1996 TV series
Featuring: William Hartnell (1963-66) Patrick Troughton (1966-69) Jon Pertwee (1969-73) Tom Baker (1974-80) Peter Davison (1980-84) Colin Baker (1984-86) Sylvester McCoy (1986-96) Paul McGann (1996)
 

Traveling in their time and space machine, the TARDIS, the Doctor and co. began their adventures on November 23rd 1963 by voyaging 100,000 years into Earth’s past to help some slightly dim cavemen discover fire...
 
In the 1950s kids hid behind the sofa when Professor Bernard Quatermass battled aliens on the BBC whilst ITV gave us Pathfinders in Space - the brainchild of Canadian Sydney Newman. 
Fast forward to 1962 and Newman, now promoted to Head of BBC Drama, needed a new Saturday night family series to fit snugly between Grandstand and Juke Box Jury.  Concepts pitched for the show included telepathy, flying saucers, scientific trouble-shooters from the future - and a time machine. We all know who won. Main stars of the show would be a couple of school teachers - the square-jawed Ian Chesterton and the improbably bouffant Barbara Wright. The teen audience could identify with Susan Foreman, one of their pupils. Even if she was an alien.  Finally, a mysterious anti-hero in the mould of Conan-Doyle’s Professor Challenger would complete the line-up. He would be known only as ‘The Doctor’. Doctor Who?

There have been eight different actors that have played Dr. Who since 1963, the most known to American audiences was Tom Baker. (pictured above)  Universal Pictures tried an "American-ized" Dr. Who in 1996 in an effort to bring the good Doctor to the USA, it failed!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/doctorwho/
 

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FLASH GORDON
Universal Pictures 1936 - Serial 13 Chapters
Featuring: Larry "Buster" Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles Middleton, Priscilla Lawson, Frank Shannon

Few comic strips have captured readers' imaginations like Flash Gordon." Originated in 1934 by legendary comic-strip artist Alex Raymond, Flash has set the standard for science-fiction adventure, even inspiring such modern-day classics as "Star Wars."

The first of the Flash trilogy out of Universal that was to establish Buster as a major serial star. Flash, Dr. Zarkov and Dale soar off to stop the planet Mongo from barreling through space toward Earth, and face an onslaught of monkey-men, vicious reptiles, etc. courtesy of Ming the Merciless. Rocketship designs and some stock footage courtesy of the film JUST IMAGINE. Directed by Frederick Stephani.
http://flashgordon.ws/index.html
 

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FLASH GORDON’S TRIP TO MARS
UNIVERSAL  1937 - Serial: 15 CHAPTERS  
Featuring: Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Frank Shannon, Charles Middleton

The second serial adventure to the successful Flash Gordon, once again Ming threatens the universe.  Flash and friends dart off to the Red Planet to clap off the lamp of Ming the Merciless, which is absorbing nitrogen from the Earth's atmosphere, and pulverize the Tree People and Clay People into toothpicks and harmless raisins. 
Re-edited as a feature with many different titles: MARS ATTACKS THE WORLD, DEADLY RAYS FROM MARS and PERILS OF THE PLANET MONGO…
Director: Ford Beebe 
 

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FLASH GORDON 
CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE 
UNIVERSAL 1940 - Serial: 12 CHAPTERS
Featuring: Buster Crabbe, Carol Hughes, Charles Middleton, Frank Shannon

The last of the Flash serials, we get a new Dale Arden in Carol Hughes. Interplanetary hero Flash Gordon, must defeat Ming the Merciless and his Purple Death. Re-edited into features titled: THE PERIL FROM PLANET MONGO, and THE PURPLE DEATH FROM OUTER SPACE. Directors: Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor
 

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FLASH GORDON
DuMont 1951-TV Series 39 Episodes

Featuring: Steve Holland as Flash Gordon, Irene Champlin as Dale, Joe Nash as Dr. Zarkov

A refugee from the comics, this Flash Gordon had trouble on many different planets, including Earth... It would appear that Holland was cast purely as Flash because of his slight resemblance to Larry "Buster" Crabbe. The low-budget sci-fi re-hash and poor effects it offered was universally panned.
 
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FLASH GORDON THE MOVIE
Universal Pictures 1981-Feature Film
Featuring: Sam J. Jones as Flash Gordon, Max Van Sydow as Ming, Melody Anderson as Dale Arden, Topol as Dr. Hans Zarkov, Ornella Muti as Princess Aura, Timothy Dalton as Prince Barin, Brian Blessed as Prince Vultan, Peter Wyngarde as Klytus

This Dino DeLaurentis' overblown update of Flash Gordon tries hard but fails on many counts. The script by Lorenzo Semple Jr. (Batman TV series) borrows heavily from the comic strip and serials, but the campy tone just falls flat. The costumes and production design however are very true to Alex Raymond's vision. Actor Kurt Russell was originally approached for the role of Flash, but turned it down in favor of "Used Cars". Interesting soundtrack by rock group Queen.
Directed by: Mike Hodges, Writing credits Michael Allin (adaptation) & Lorenzo Semple Jr.
 
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THE NEW ANIMATED ADVENTURES OF
FLASH GORDON
NBC Animated Series 1979
Flash's next television appearance had to wait until 1979, when The New Animated Adventures of Flash Gordon, produced by Filmation in the limited animation style of the 1970s, was broadcast on NBC. While remaining fairly faithful to Alex Raymond's storyline, this series of thirty-minute episodes was updated a bit to reflect the post-Star Wars tastes of its audience. The series began broadcasting on September 8, 1979, and featured the voices of Robert Ridgely as Flash Gordon and Prince Barin, Diane Pershing as Dale Arden, Alan Oppenheimer as Dr. Zarkov and Ming the Merciless(!), Ted Cassidy as Thun, and Allan Melvin as King Vultan. In the second season, the episodes were trimmed to twelve minutes and a pet dragon named "Gremlin" was introduced for the kiddies.

In 1986 Filmation brought Flash back to TV as one of the characters in its Defenders of the Earth series, but Flash was overshadowed in this series by his son Rick.

The last production featuring Flash and his friends was another animated series released for syndication by Hearst Entertainment in 1996. To the horror of Flash Gordon purists, Flash and Dale became skateboarding insouciant teenagers, mistakenly kidnapped by a self-centered and cowardly Dr. Zarkov, who takes them to Mongo while attempting to escape from Ming's attack on the Earth. In keeping with the PC times, Ming is depicted as being reptilian (reptiles being harder to offend than humans), and Princess Aura is his half-reptile, half-human daughter who still has the hots for Flash. Prince Thun of the Lion Men has been replaced by Princess Thundar, another overactive teenager. There were at least 26 half-hour episodes of this series, and a video, Marooned on Mongo, is occasionally available for aucion on eBay should anyone wish to see it.
  

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FORBIDDEN PLANET
MGM 1956 Feature Film
Featuring: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen,  Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, Richard Anderson, Earl Holliman.
 
One of the most important sci-fi films to emerge from the 1950's was 1956’s Forbidden Planet. This film mixed solid, science-inspired storytelling with mind-blowing, innovative visual effects to create a classic whose influence is still felt today.

Forbidden Planet borrowed its premise from a classic source: William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The story begins with an expedition ship led by Commander John J. Adams flying to the distant planet of Altair-4 in search of a group of colonists sent there twenty years ago. When they arrive, they discover there are only two survivors: the brilliant but remote scientist Dr. Morbius and his lovely daughter, Altaira. It is soon revealed that Morbius and his daughter are the sole survivors of a vicious monster attack that killed the rest of the colony.
 
Forbidden Planet was a landmark film for many reasons. Not only was it the first big-budget science fiction film, but long before 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars, this was the yardstick that all cinematic science fiction was judged by. Its dazzling look and high-tech special effects were unprecedented for its time. MGM pulled out all the stops for the film, allowing its filmmakers to spend two years in production and even borrowing visual effects specialists from Walt Disney to realize the film’s otherworldly look. The result was a film whose visuals defined the style of science fiction films for years to come.

 

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THE INVADERS
Quinn Martin Prods. 1967-1968 43 Episodes.
Featuring: Roy Thinnes

The Invaders revolves around the character of David Vincent (Thinnes), who has discovered that the Earth is being invaded by beings from another planet. These beings have taken human form, and are virtually undetectable from human beings. One of the ways to detect an alien "Invader" was their inflexible pinky finger.
 
http://www.theinvaders.co.uk/
 
It's About Time
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IT'S ABOUT TIME
CBS 1966-1967 TV Series
Featuring: Frank Aletter, Jack Mullaney, Joe E. Ross, Imogene Coca

“It's about time, it's about space, About two men in the strangest place...”

It's also about a theme song that more people remember than the actual show it came from. But back in the 60's, It's About Time was indeed a series. It featured Captain Glenn McDivitt (a.k.a. Mac) and Hector as two astronauts who broke through the time barrier and landed in a prehistoric world.

In this paleontologist’s paradise, the two spacemen met and befriended a Stone Age family: Shad, Gronk, and their children, Breer and Mlor, who welcomed the astronauts with open arms. But not everyone was as friendly. There was also Boss, the hostile leader of the cave people, as well as his wife, the aptly named Mrs. Boss, and his henchman Clon.

Halfway through the season, Mac and Hector brought the family back with them to modern day New York, and the focus of the show shifted to Shad and co. as they adjusted to 20th century urban life. That little switcheroo gimmick had been used in the movies many times before, but it was a novel approach to a weekly TV series. Another mid-season change was the addition of General Morley as Mac and Hector's commanding officer.

Despite the clever set-up, It’s About Time only lasted a single season on CBS’ prime time schedule. But even more than three decades later, there are still 60’s kids who can’t get that catchy theme tune out of their heads.

“It's about two astronauts, it's about their fate, It's about a woman and her prehistoric mate.”
 


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JASON OF STAR COMMAND
CBS 1979-1981 TV Series 28 Episodes.
Featuring: Craig Littler, Sid Haig, James Doohan, Charlie Dell, Susan O'Hanlon  

Produced by animation cheapy, FILMATION and debuting as a segment of Tarzan and the Super Seven in 1978, Jason of Star Command blasted off to its own time slot in the fall of 1979. This live action series was a throwback to the weekly space serials of the 50’s, with the emphasis on cliffhanger endings and nonstop action. 

Jason was a member of Star Command, a galactic law enforcement agency 200 years in the future. Jason rode around on his ship The Starfire, accompanied by his female counterpart Nicole Davidoff, played by Susan O’Hanlon (the daughter of actor George O’Hanlon, who was the voice of George Jetson). 

Working only one season was James Doohan, famous for playing Engineer Scott on the original Star Trek. Doohan portrayed First Commander Canarvin, giving way to John Russell, who took over The Starfire as Commander Stone in 1979.  The crew used their combined efforts to defeat main nemesis Dragos, a towering, bearded figure.

Only 12 episodes of Jason were produced for the entire three-year run; in fact, some of Jason's footage was recycled from Filmation's Space Academy series. Some thought the show's failure was a sign that the serial format had run its course, but it was actually a financial decision. Production costs ran about $220,000 an episode for live action (not counting actors' residuals), so Filmation decided to concentrate on animation, at a savings of $55,000 an episode. The show officially left the airwaves in September 1981.
Visit the Jason of Star Command Fan-site
 
Land of the Giants
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LAND OF THE GIANTS
ABC 1968-1970 TV Series.
Featuring: Gary Conway, Don Matheson, Don Marshall, Stefan Arngrim, Deanna Lund, Heather Young, Kurt Kasznar
 
Irwin Allen created some of the coolest sci-fi on television. This show was set in the near future (the mid-80’s) and focused on the crew of a rocketship: pilots Captain Steve Burton and Dan Erikson, ship stewardess Betty Hamilton, entrepreneur Mark Wilson, heiress Valerie Scott, young Barry Lockridge, his dog Chipper, and a mysterious government figure named Colonel Fitzhugh.  The crew’s troubles began when their ship was pulled into a ‘space warp’ during a transatlantic flight, thus pulling them out of this world and into another. When they landed in this new world, they discovered it was much like Earth, except for the fact that everything was TWELVE TIMES ITS NORMAL SIZE!

The problem was, the crew remained its original size, forced to fend off giant children and animals. Even worse were the giant adults who regarded the crew as freaks or subjects for experimentation. They also had to look out for Inspector Kobrick, a member of the giant world who wanted to track the crew down for his employers, a security agency called S.I.B.
 

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LOST IN SPACE
CBS 1965-1968 TV Series 83 Episodes
Featuring: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Billy Mumy, Jonathan Harris, Mark Goddard, Angela Cartwright, Marta Kristen

Produced by Irwin Allen Productions for 20th Century Fox Television.  Movie producer Irwin Allen turned from motion pictures to television to do a space adventure show. With financial backing from CBS, Red Skelton, and 20th Century Fox, Allen prepared a $600,000 budget for the 1964 pilot film, written by Shimon Wincelberg.  The storyline concerned the $40 billion launch of the Gemini 12 on October 16, 1997. The world's first space family was selected to colonize a planet in the Alpha Centauri star system. The family was headed by Professor John Robinson (Williams), his wife Maureen (Lockhart) and their children, Judy, Penny and Will (played by Kristen, Cartwright and Mumy, respectively). Major Don West (Goddard) was the spaceship's pilot. They would all be frozen in suspended animation for a 98-year journey. 

When the pilot film was completed, Allen proclaimed it as his best work ever. He showed the film to CBS but when the high-brow executives began laughing at the film, Allen was horrified. Furious, he bolted from his chair to stop the screening. Story editor Anthony Wilson pulled Allen back down. "Irwin, they love it," Wilson whispered urgently to his irate friend. Laughter or not, the brass was enjoying the show. The show sold.  

However, the CBS executives' reaction to the pilot film had shaken Anthony Wilson as well. After analyzing the film, CBS decided that it was too hardware-driven, with too many special effects. Wilson thought that what the series needed was a recurring villain to create story conflict. Irwin Allen loved the idea. "Ming the Merciless!" he shouted, excited over introducing a Flash Gordon-like villain. Wilson pressed for a Long John Silver character instead. They compromised on a character named Dr. Zachary Smith, played devilishly by Jonathan Harris.

Smith was an agent for an unnamed foreign country who is busy sabotaging the Robinson's spaceship prior to launch when he gets trapped on board. His dastardly handiwork causes the ship to spiral off course and crash-land on a desert planet.  Later the Will-Robot-Dr. Smith trio would be the center for most of the series' stories.

Sagging rates and a ballooning budget not to mention the infamous episode: "Great Vegetable Rebellion", where the Robinson's battled environmentally outraged carrots, peas and lettuce. Guy Williams and June Lockhart giggled so hard during filming that an exasperated Irwin Allen wrote them out of the next two episodes.  The show was canceled in 1969 and has lived on in syndication ever since. A lackluster feature film was produced in 1997.
http://www.lostinspacetv.com/
 

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MEN INTO SPACE!
CBS TV Series 1959-60 38 Episodes.
Featuring: William Lundigan

Aimed at adults, and with the cooperation of the US Air Force, "technical advisor" Wernher von Braun, and space artist Chesley Bonestell, this series supposedly tried to give a "realistic" picture of space flight in the near future (say, 1970). Colonel Ed McCauley (William Lundigan) was virtually the only regular cast member, as he supervised the construction of a large manned space station and a small lunar base. Like most other ZIV/Ivan Tors productions, the series was painfully dull, and the story lines usually extremely unimaginative.
http://sparky.ls.luc.edu/~navejic/mis/mis-9n.html
 

 
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