Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Rocky Jones Space Ranger Menace From Outer Space|
Actors: Richard Crane, Scotty Beckett, Sally Mansfield, Robert Lyden, Maurice Cass
Director: Hollingsworth Morse
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
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Early Serious Science Fiction for Television
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 01/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just when you think you know a genre really well, you learn something new. Such is the case with this movie, culled from the "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger" television show, the first science fiction television show to be put on film. While the show is relatively crude by even the standards of the next decade, the special effects were quite good for 1954-1955. The theremin, a musical instrument that provided many of the eerie musical sound effects for early science fiction movies, was liberally used in the show. The costumes are very dated, including the incredibly short hemline of the beautiful Vena Ray (Sally Mansfield).
In this movie, someone is firing missiles at earth. The source of the missiles is soon identified as Fornax, a moon of Saturn. Rocky journeys to Fornax to see if he can discover the source of the missiles, and then stop them. Once on Fornax, Rocky learns that a criminal has convinced the ruler of Fornax that everyone in the universe is mean and evil, which in the 1950s meant that the criminal was just that. Fortunately, Rocky, Bobby, and Vena Ray's short hemline convince the ruler that earth people are kinda sorta okay, in an unsophisticated hick sort of way.
This particular episode has a space battle that, other than the impossible maneuvering of the space ships, was good for this era of science fiction. There are the usual special effects that try hard to look plausible. I love the theremin music.
This movie has its cheesy moments. Rocky's sidekick Winky (Scotty Beckett) is unnecessary comic relief. I assume Bobby was thrown into the mix to appeal to children, who were probably assumed to be a bigger audience than adults in this time frame. It seems incredible to me, fifty years later, that Bobby would ever have been allowed to travel into space, but the show was trying to portray that space travel was as routine and safe as airplanes. One surprise is Vena Ray, who is quite aggressive and typically takes a lead role. Vena more than holds her own with the rowdy male characters, both physically and intellectually.
I compare this show to "Star Trek," which was another 12 years away. While "Star Trek" was significantly more sophisticated than "Rocky Jones," so were we. However, both shows were expensive to film, and both are cult classics, though "Star Trek" has a much bigger following. Unfortunately, the cost of "Rocky Jones" caused the show to be cancelled after just one season.
Note that Hollingsworth Morse directed the Rocky Jones television show. Morse directed a host of classic television series during his 30+ year career as a directing, from the classic "Lone Ranger" to "The Fall Guy" and "Whiz Kids," with dozens of other readily recognizable titles in between, many of them now considered classic.
If you can roll back your mental clock to the technology of the early 1950s, you can see how this show was relatively cutting edge for the time, with its primitive oscilloscopes, large clunky electronics, and devices that have only become practical in the last ten years. If you are a fan of classic science fiction movies and television, this movie is quite a treat.
"Gosh Rocky, she weighs 236 pounds"
bernie | Arlington, Texas | 06/18/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The professor spots a rocket that attacked earth on both his telescope and video graph. A rocket is dispatched to a moon of Jupiter to see what is up. The crew:
Richard Crane as Rocky Jones, wearing the obligatory space t-shirt
Scotty Beckett as Winky, wearing the issued base ball cap
Sally Mansfield as Vena Ray, a cape with legs
Robert Lyden as Bobby, casual space garb
Maurice Cass as Professor Newton, 18 Th century bow tie and tails
What kind of civilization will they find and will they be perceived as friend or foe?
Maybe the real threat is from space rogues from earlier episodes?
Talk about technology such as the video graph. Even mobile versions in cars. Lots of oscilloscopes, an analog fuel gage, and lots of stilted dialog. A mechanical canary.
This animal may even have looked hooky to adults of the time. However I can tell you an underling of the time this is really an intriguing program.
The apex of 50s space opera for kids
M. L. Stein | Overland Park, KS | 08/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was a big fan of the "Rocky Jones - Space Ranger" serials as a kid. I watched them religiously on Saturday mornings. They were the epitome of campy sci-fi. They had cheesy special efects, and the "science" was mostly wrong, but who cares. They were and are a lot of fun, and the moral is "Be a good person and one day you'll be a space ranger.""