Something - FunScience FICTION Reviews
It would be incorrect of me to state that December 30th 2020 is the 70th anniversary of Space Patrol, the show started life on a local Los Angeles station on March 9th, 1950. These initial episodes were 15 minutes long, broadcast as live 5 nights a week, with the actors making $8 per episode. From what I can find these 15 minute episodes are either lost or not available.
What 30th Decemeber is the 70th anniversary is for, is the first 30 minute episode broadcast as live across the West Coast of America by American Broadcasting Company and later through relay stations on the East Coast, becoming the first regularly produced program broadcast across the United States. These 30 minute episodes were broadcast weekly almost every Saturday and were made alongside the 15 minute episodes that continued to be broadcast locally.
As the country wide broadcast was bringing Space Patrol to people as new, the episode broadcast 70 years ago today ‘Treachery on Mars’, introduced the characters. This included Cadet Happy as a new Cadet on his first space flight, while the daily episodes retained their own independent story lines with the same actors. The national broadcast of Space Patrol was an overnight success with some of the Actors wages increasing by tenfold.
So, what is Space Patrol, it was one of the first regularly broadcast science fiction shows, second only to Captain Video, although Tom Corbett, Space Cadet had a full West Coast broadcast a few months before it. Unfortunately, most of the episodes from all three shows are lost with Captain Video appearing to have suffered the most, however from what I have been able to access, Space Patrol appears to have had the most complete universe. This is possibly because they had 9 months of understanding the show before it went national. There are elements, especially later in the shows life that I can see early Start Trek themes coming through a decade before Star Trek aired, something we will eventually review in more detail.
This initial episode gave us a man-made planet ‘Terra’. Built as ordered by the first Congress, as a place for the Universal Capital to be based, along with other organisations such as the Space Patrol headquarters and academy, to remove any ownership from any single planet. The centre of Terra contains soil from each planet that formed the United Planets.
The ship, which I can not find a name for included a Space Viewer, basically an electronic telescope and a Repellor Ray to stop missiles from destroying the ship. We also visit Mars, it has artificial atmospheres in certain key locations, maintained by locks, which ships travel through. The ships speed is measured in ‘GU’s’, 1GU appears to be the equivalent of 30mph, with the ship stated to travelling at 20,000GU as it approached Mars, giving us a speed of 166 miles a second.
We also get to know about their culture in this first episode, in this 30th century world criminals are given 2 years suspended animation before being sent to the science centre to be reprogrammed into decent hard-working humans. However, what isn’t explained is the reversed moustache, see the pictures for more detail.
I will continue to review Space Patrol when anniversaries for the non-lost episodes come around.