Show: Remembering When

Episode: 868-069 Space Patrol


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Episode Description:

Space Patrol was a science fiction adventure series that was originally aimed at juvenile audiences of the early 1950s via television, radio, and comic books. However, it soon developed a sizable adult audience such that by 1954, the program consistently ranked in the top 10 shows broadcast on a Saturday.

The Space Patrol television show began broadcasting March 9, 1950, starting as a daily 15-minute show on a local Los Angeles station. However, on December 30, 1950, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) added the show as a new half-hour program to its Saturday schedule. It became an overnight sensation such that the new weekly show broadcast and the 15-minute shows continued daily on a local basis, and was seen via kinescope in other cities. A 1953 30-minute episode was the subject of the first US experimental 3D-TV broadcast on April 29 in Los Angeles on ABC affiliate KECA-TV.

The series also made history by being the first regular live West Coast morning network program beamed to the East Coast. In modern times, there is a tendency to take national broadcast events for granted, but at the time, it took an intricate network of cable and relay stations to accomplish this enormous task.

The ABC television Space Patrol broadcasts became one of the nation's first mass media phenomena, such that it was quickly moved to an ABC radio series of the same name. The radio program was popular and ran from September 18, 1950 until March 19, 1955 producing approximately 129 thirty-minute episodes.

The televised Space Patrol aired continuously until July 2, 1954; after a short break, it reappeared on September 4, 1954, before finally disappearing from the air on February 26, 1955. 210 half-hour shows and close to 900 15-minute shows were made over Space Patrol's 5-year run. In addition, around 129 thirty-minute radio shows were produced.

The stories followed the 30th-century adventures of Commander-in-Chief Buzz Corry (Ed Kemmer) of the United Planets Space Patrol and his young sidekick Cadet Happy (Lyn Osborn), as they faced nefarious interplanetary villains with diabolical schemes. Not surprisingly for the time, some of these villains had Russian- or German-sounding accents. Cmdr. Corry and his allies were aided by such nifty sci-fi gadgets as ray guns, "miniature space-o-phones" and "atomolights." Most episodes carried such pulp-magazine titles as "Revolt of the Space Rats" and "The Menace of Planet X." Originally, the Space Patrol's purpose was that of "clearing the space lanes" but gradually evolved into an intergalactic space police and military force charged with keeping the peace. Later day comparisons between the much earlier 1950s Space Patrol and the later years' Star Trek film and television series are inevitable.

A trading card representative of the early days of radio and television where Space Patrol merchandise was offered for 25¢ and a box-top. Art by Warren Chaney.

Large crowds surround the Space Patrol Ralston Rocket as it is delivered to the home of the television program's Name the Planet Contest winner. The "Rocket" had been on tour for months.

The show played directly to children but attracted a sizable adult audience. Many episodes merchandised various toys and mail-order premiums tied into the series during their commercial breaks. Many of the ads for corporate sponsor Ralston-Purina's Chex cereals used the show's space opera motif in their pitches. A unique feature of the TV and radio adventures was that the premium of the month was often worked intricately into the action of the live adventures. This permitted young viewers to feel that they were participating in the radio or televised adventures. Space Patrol's most remembered premium was a "Name the Planet" Contest wherein the winner was awarded the program's Terra IV Space Ship. The ship was in the form of a giant trailer in the shape of the series space craft. One of the many commercial Name the Planet commercials may be viewed at Name the Planet Commercial.

Perhaps the cleverest outcome of the program's advertising was their sponsorship of a Space Patrol club, in which viewers could become members. Continuing merchandise and program tie-ins perpetuated the connection producing such a sizable following that many of the nation's magazines chronicled the phenomenon.

Episode Short Description: N/A

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SD (Standard Definition) File

File Name of SD Episode: 868-069 Space Patrol.mpg

Total SD Episode Video Runtime (hh:mm:ss): 00:32:02

File Size of SD Episode Video: 1,498,489,126 Bytes

Resolution of SD Episode Video: 720x480

Date SD Episode Video Uploaded: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 19:57


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