Space Age TV: Tales of Tomorrow: The Trial In Space

Today, for your viewing pleasure, Space Age TV presents The Trial in Space, the first episode of Tales of Tomorrow!

Tales of Tomorrow was a 1951 Anthology series. Think ‘The Twilight Zone’, but earlier and performed live. Tales of Tomorrow featured a lot of stories from Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine, in addition to stuff like 20,000 leagues under the sea and Frankenstein. By virtue of being a live show, it’s less polished, and less perfect than The Twilight Zone. It’s also super fun.

This episode starts as a courtroom drama, and then the larger story unfolds in flashbacks. It’s not perfect, but that doesn’t matter, it’s wonderful.


Analog Revolution
Analog Revolution

The third episode of Space Age Radio! The conclusion to The Trial In Space.

Join Tom Corbett, Astro, and the rest of the crew as they navigate a Space Cyclone, whatever that is.

This is a weekly series, with new episodes every thursday. Each week we feature a different interplanetary adventure, from a different vintage space series. We hope you enjoy!

Space Age TV – The Space Adventures of Flash Gordon: The Planet of Death

Flash! Ah Ah! Savior of the Universe! Flash! Ah Ah! He’ll save every one of us!

Okay, so it’s not That Flash Gordon, but this one is nearly as good. This is the first episode of the 1954 Flash Gordon series, and it marks the first time Flash Gordon appeared on TV. On the East Coast, at least, the show aired on the DuMont network. In this version of the show, unlike in the source material and the earlier film serials, Flash, Dale, and Dr. Zarkov live in the year 3203, and operate as agents of the Galactic Bureau of Investigation.

In a few weeks, we’ll get in to the original Flash Gordon serials, and I’m excited for the chance to compare and contrast those with this TV show.

I feel that in many ways, this show has less in common with the Flash Gordon that came before it, and more in common with the other Space Adventure programs of the day. Even still, the light of Flash Gordon shows through, with adventure and danger and daring-do that you would never find from Tom Corbett or Cadet Happy.

Yes, the acting is occasionally wooden.

Yes, the plot is ridiculous.

Yes, the footage looks like a VHS tape that has been run under a belt sander.

Doesn’t matter, the end result is FUN, and I can’t wait to hear what you all think of it.

SPACE AGE RADIO – Space Patrol: The Hole in Empty Space

Analog Revolution
Analog Revolution
SPACE AGE RADIO - Space Patrol: The Hole in Empty Space

The second episode of Space Age Radio! This time, we join Commander Buzz Corey, Cadet Happy, and the Space Patrol, as they struggle with what appears to be a black hole!

This episode originally aired in October of 1952.

This is a weekly series, with new episodes every thursday. Each week we feature a different interplanetary adventure, from a different vintage space series. We hope you enjoy!

Space Age TV – Space Patrol: The Space Patrol Code Belt

Join Commander Buzz Corey and Cadet Happy in this half hour Space Adventure! When the Space Patrol’s paycheck shipment is stolen three times in three weeks, Buzz Corey decides to set Cadet Happy on the trail of the criminals, complete with his own Space Patrol Code Belt!

Okay, so this episode is barely more than a half hour infomercial for a piece of tie-in merchandise, but honestly that doesn’t make it any less fun to watch! This episode features a good little mystery, a believable villain, and a clever climax. Not bad for a half hour long commercial for a toy I’ll never be able to afford. (Last time I checked, Space Patrol Code Belts in a condition I would consider acceptable were trading hands over $500 on the bay.)

This episode features a lot of what makes Space Patrol great, and interesting, in my book. The Code Belt was a clever twist on the Secret Decoder Ring so popular in the space age era. Working it directly in to the plot, not only as an item that the crew wears, but as a vital component in the lives of the Space Patrolmen was a stroke of marketing genius. Cadet Happy is a more capable cadet than Corbett or Astro, and Commander Corey is a more likable character and a more responsible CO than those we were normally treated to on Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.

This episode originally aired in October of 1951. It’s a half hour long, so it would have been a Saturday broadcast. Space Patrol, like most shows of the early 50s, was broadcast live. Unlike most shows of the early 50s, Space Patrol was broadcast live 6 days a week, with two live Radio broadcasts mixed in for good measure.

Between the 15 minute weekday shows, the half hour, semi-weekly radio broadcasts, and the half hour Saturday shows, more than 1000 episodes of Space Patrol were produced. Just over half of the Saturday broadcasts, most of the Radio episodes, and only a handful of 15 minute weekday broadcasts still survive. Like ‘Tom Corbett, Space Cadet’, the TV episodes of Space Patrol we have today are kinescopes, which means that they are of low quality relative to shows originally shot on film, such as Rocky Jones Space Ranger, or I Love Lucy.

If you pay attention in this episode, you’ll see several of the hallmarks of a live broadcast with little rehearsal, including the occasional flubbed line, and inexplicable, awkwardly long shots of a cloudy sky used as transitions when we need a character to quickly move between scenes.

All together, a fine episode, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Space Age TV: A Trip to the Moon (Movie Night)

Surprise! It’s a special weekend edition of Space Age TV! I will do these special weekend editions occasionally, and usually release movies. Who doesn’t love a good film on a saturday night? Today, it’s A Trip to the Moon. Originally released in 1902, A Trip to the Moon is a pioneering science fiction film, with some of the most cutting edge special effects of its era.

This print is taken from the recently rediscovered and restored hand colored edition. It’s beautiful and dreamlike.

The whole movie is only about 10 minutes long, and it is, honestly, one of my favorite pieces of film. It is whimsical, it is fun, and it leaves me with so many questions. (Was the moon alive? Did we murder it? Were these men wizards? Why did the moon-men vanish in puffs of smoke? Are we at war with the moon men?)

This is probably the first actual example of science fiction in film, and certainly the earliest film I’m aware of to feature spaceflight. I can’t think of a better entry in to our space-age canon, than the original entry, complete with a space cannon!


Music by Dee-Yan Key – CC-BY-SA-NC

Film by Georges Melies – Public Domain