Thursday, April 12, 2007


King of the Rocket Men was a Republic Movie serial that I used to watch when I was kid. All I really remember of it was that there were gangsters, an evil genius called Doctor Vulcan and a hero with an atomic powered rocket suit. I just loved watching King duke it out with trilby and pinstriped hoods. And every time King flew up a building they would kind of warp the perspective so the building looked really tall. The climax of the series saw Dr Vulcan using "The Decimator" to destroy Manhatten (the destruction of which used footage from the 1933 movie "Deluge"). What does a Decimator do? It decimates stuff!

So, the mad bad Doctor Vulcan gets to wreak havoc but ends up getting his backside handed to him on a plate by Jeff King (the titular King of the Rocket Men). What was amazing about King of the Rocket Men was that it really did look (for the time...and for young impressionable minds) like he could fly. I wanted that rocket suit so bad!

By the time Radar Men from the Moon (which you can buy on DVD) came around, Jeff King was gone and replaced by Commando Cody (Interesting to note, in Star Wars Ep 3: Revenge of the Sith, one of the clone trooper commanders is called Commander Cody). The exposition heavy dialogue is glorious. The plot is ludicrously fantastic, and while some of the acting may be wooden, it has a wonderful veneer.


paulhd said...

Loved this as a kid too. Seem to remember a bit in tunnel of somesort filling with lava, or maybe just plain old water. Cracking stuff.

I. N. J. Culbard said...

I vaguely remember something like that too. Cracking stuff.

Andrew Glazebrook said...

Good old Howard and Theodore Lydecker, their body of work was immense in the Special Effects field. A lot of their film work is still fabulous today.
Great to see these old shows, I wasn't really a fan of Star Trek:Voyager but I did like the The Adventures of Captain Proton serial that they used to act out on the holo deck.