Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Rocky Jones Space Ranger Collection|
Actors: Richard Crane, Sally Mansfield, Robert Lyden, Charles Meredith, Scotty Beckett
Director: Hollingsworth Morse
Genres: Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
Five-disc multi-pack of half-hour episodes from the 1950s science-fiction TV show which was in the same vein as Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Starring Richard Crane as Rocky Jones who cruises the galaxy in his spaceship Th... more »
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The Infernals Of Space
R.O. | 06/22/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
The Rocky Jones Space Ranger series may have been the last of 1950's "space opera" sci-fi shows, but it definitely was the best. All those sci-fi shows had short comings of limited budgets, frantic production schedules, and convenient creative license in place of hard science. But Rocky Jones was the only series to be shot on film (alas, B&W) by movie industry professionals and it showed. Each episode looked more like a mini-movie rather than a live video shoe-string production of the 50's.
Rocky Jones had the best of the stories (most were 3 part, half-hour episodes that allowed in-depth story-telling), classic sci-fi characters, imaginative 50's-futuristic design, and impressive special effects for a television series. The icing on this space cake was Alexander Laszlo's mood-setting, electronic-punctuated music score. (Of course, they had their clunkers, too, but let's be a little forgiving.) The like was not to be seen again until nearly 15 years later in the form of Star Trek. A federation of planets? Automatic slide-open doors? A stalwart captain and his trusty lieutenant on space patrol? Boots & mini-skirts crew-women? Strange cultures on alien worlds? It was all there first in Rocky Jones Space Ranger.
Until recently, the only way to watch the space adventures of Rocky Jones was through 3rd parties selling their "collector's copies" of this now "in the public domain" show. Quality varied wildly, being copies from copies of video tape or noticeably worn 16mm film.
A few years ago, Alpha Video began publishing the edited-together versions of Rocky Jones's 3-part story-arc episodes as "full movies" on DVD. No "clean up" is obvious for the only fair video & audio quality of these releases. While fair quality at low prices is a draw for some consumers, purists will miss the individual episodes, each with it's own titles and credits.
Now Passport has released a 5 DVD disc set of "The Rocky Jones Space Ranger Collection" ... an incomplete collection. Only 4 discs contain Rocky Jones material. The 5th disc contains unrelated "sci-fi" filler that, by rights, shouldn't be in this set. Next, the discs are packaged in a double-thick case that holds the DVD's on the inside front and back covers, and on a center flap. The trouble with some case designs (like this one) is they don't have gentle push-to-release mechanisms and it is a struggle to remove the discs without flexing them (which can cause disc damage). Another problem is that only DISC 1 attempts to fill up the 2 hours of DVD. The remaining discs waste space (pardon the pun) using only half of each DVD's projected capacity. With all the Rocky Jones episodes available one way or another, and with over 10 hours capacity on 5 DVD's, why was this not a complete series release?
Unlike the Alpha Video's edited-together movie versions, Passport has the original, individual episodes of Rocky Jones. Also unlike Alpha Video's static picture menus, each Passport DVD contains artistically impressive "motion menus" that show previews of the episodes specific to it's DVD ... and those clips look quite good. Unfortunately, that is where the quality begins and ends. Each episode is "presented" with scratches and dust, film grain, skips and chops (neither the opening titles nor the closing credits are shown complete), over-blown contrast, and light-dark outlining from multi-generation copying.
It would have been better if Passport put their efforts into higher quality source material and better transfers. Not making this a "complete collection" is puzzling and filling it with empty space and unrelated filler is inexcusable. As it stands, this is a "cheap set" in cost, quality, and execution.
The content of Passport's Rocky Jones collection is:
. Silver Needle in the Sky (3 episodes)
. Bobby's Comet (3 episodes)
. The Forbidden Moon (3 episodes)
. Crash Of The Moons (3 episodes) (misprinted on case as "Blast Off!")
. Kip's Private War (single episode)
. Rocky's Odyssey (3 episodes)
. generic sci-fi media
.. "Missile To The Moon"
.. "A Century of Sci-Fi: Sci-Fi Heroes"
.. "Flash Gordon: The Subworld Revenge" (not Buster Crabbe)
Here is the complete episode list of the entire Rocky Jones Space Ranger series:
(edited-episodes released by Alpha Video as of 6/2006 are marked "A")
(individual episodes in Passport's Rocky Jones collection are marked "P")
A . Beyond The Curtain Of Space - Chapters 1,2,3 [AKA "Beyond The Moon" movie]
AP Bobby's Comet - Chapters 1,2,3 [AKA "Menace From Outer Space" movie]
A . Pirates Of Prah - Chapters 1,2,3 [AKA "Manhunt In Space" movie]
. P Forbidden Moon - Chapters 1,2,3
. . Escape Into Space
AP Rocky's Odyssey - Chapters 1,2,3 [AKA "Gypsy Moon" movie]
AP Kip's Private War
AP Silver Needle In The Sky - Chapters 1,2,3 [AKA "Duel In Space" movie]
AP Crash Of Moons - Chapters 1,2,3 [AKA "Crash Of The Moons" movie]
. . Blast Off! - Chapters 1,2,3
. . The Cold Sun - Chapters 1,2,3
. . Inferno In Space - Chapters 1,2,3 [AKA "The Magnetic Moon" movie]
. . Vena And The Darnano
. . Out Of This World - Chapters 1,2,3 [AKA "Robot Of Regalio" movie]
. . The Trial Of Rocky Jones - Chapters 1,2,3 [AKA "Renegade Satellite" movie]
Rocky Rides Again
Gord Wilson | Bellingham, WA USA | 06/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Someone wrote a book I read called 1954: Television's Best Year (or something like that). That title would immediately bother viewers who think that '50s TV couldn't possibly have been any good since it was in black and white, and that everything newer is naturally better. By that reckoning of course, we should all stop reading Shakespeare, since he wrote pre-TV when nobody knew anything, and for that same reason many people have.
But being curious I started watching Rocky Jones Space Ranger on one of those $5 DVDs and was immediately taken in. What it lacked in technological prowess it more than made up in style, passion, wit and personality. When my DVD proved to be defective I searched for another copy to watch the rest of "Crash of the Moons".
Then I came on this bonanza from Passport Video which is practically a Rocky Jones telethon with sixteen episodes. Also on the five disc set are a film, "Missle to the Moon,", one teaser episode of Flash Gordon (maybe to make you want the whole series) and a sci-fi documentary.
I realize that some reviewers have a low opinion of these budget sets of old TV shows, but I think they give you a lot of viewing at a low price. For history buffs it's a chance to check out some early shows. With almost 600 minutes of viewing on five one sided discs, Rocky Jones Space Ranger makes a strong case for 1954 as television's best year."
Rocky Jones Deserved A Better DVD Treatment
G. Reiss | NYC | 06/19/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Watching Rocky Jones Space Ranger brought back memories of watching the show over 40 years ago on a crummy black and white TV set. The episodes here are transfers from the 16MM film versions of the show, with reel end markings, scratches, and a hazy picture. In other words, the video quality on this DVD set is non-existent. Watching one episode on my computer LCD monitor, I saw something new, the right hand side of the print, in the TV overscan area, was missing some of the frame and there was an irregular edge. Whoever made the telecine transfer just ran the print through the machine, without bothering to align the print. I stopped watching after the Silver Needle three episodes story arc, because there is a permanent "bug" on the video, a logo in the lower right hand corner of the video that identifies it as:
The Rocky Jones
I buy DVDs to avoid bugs, so I consider this DVD a waste of money. Passport Video, the seller of this public domain release, which has had no digital mastering done on the video to improve the quality and uses LPCM 2.0 sound to avoid Dolby royalties, is worried that someone will copy their masterpiece. Even the DVD case is cheap, cramming 5 DVDs into one case. I will make it a point to avoid any other releases from Passport Video.
A LOST IN SPACE CREW ON A STAR TREK MISSION
JACK LOBO | Greenwich,CT USA | 02/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My fascination with Rocky Jones, Space Ranger began several years ago when I purchased a vhs called "40 Years of Science Fiction Television" and they had a small glimpse of Rocky Jones. What stuck in my mind was how much Rocky and Winky reminded me of Professor John Robinson and Major Don West of Lost In Space. Just recently I picked up the infamous 50 Sci Fi Classic Movies box set. And much to my pleasant surprise it has 2 Rocky Jones movies. I think it was like 6 episodes put in compilation form. With these viewings I learned more about this show. Rocky Jones pilots and commands like John Robinson, but negotiates and fights like Captain Kirk as he travels from planet to planet keeping peace and order in the galaxy under the jurisdiction of United Worlds, like Captain Kirk and the Federation. There's the boy Bobby (a precursor to Will Robinson) who seems to spend considerable time with Professor Newton, as did Will with Dr Smith. However Professor Newton was a helpful sort, unlike his comedically nefarious counterpart. And then there is the hottie named Vena who wears a Supergirl type outfit complete with a cute set of legs. I think Irwin Allen had this show in mind when the casting call went out for Lost In Space or maybe it was just a coincidence. For those who do not know, Winky is played by Scotty Beckett, Best known as Spanky's oversized sweater, sideways baseball hat wearing pal. So far what I've seen this show it's whole a lot of fun to watch. And the sets and special effects are not as bad as some reviewers have mentioned on other Rocky Jones Discs. I can't wait for this one."