Space Patrol was a
science fiction adventure, aimed at juvenile audiences of the early
1950s via television, radio, and comic books.
The television show ran for 210 network episodes from
September 1950 to February 1955. The series was patterned unabashedly
Buck Rogers and its TV rival,
Captain Video. A local weekday 15-minute version of the program also
aired live in Los Angeles and was seen via
kinescope in a few other cities.
The stories followed the 30th-century adventures of
Commander Buzz Corry (Ed
Kemmer) of the United Planets Space Patrol and his young sidekick
Cadet Happy (Lyn
Osborn) —- yes, Cadet Happy —- as they faced nefarious interplanetary
villains with diabolical schemes. Not surprisingly for the time, some of
these villains had
accents. Cmdr. Corry and his allies were aided by such nifty gadgets as
"miniature space-o-phones" and "atomolights." Episodes had such
pulp-magazine titles as "Revolt of the Space Rats" and "The Menace of
The special effects used in the live half-hour TV
episodes had to be performed in real time. For example, pistols that shot
invisible rays necessitated pre-positioning a small explosive charge on
the wall. An actor would point the prop at that spot, whereupon a special
effects worker would throw a detonation switch. These effects could not
have been superimposed on film for the series was done live. For
distribution to distant stations, an image of a tiny, bright TV monitor
was filmed to make
kinescopes, and most of the Saturday half-hour TV broadcasts are
available in this form today. The 15-minutes-every-weekday version of the
program was at first seen mainly in the Los Angeles viewing area, but also
was later distributed nationwide via kinescopes; it was not carried by
ABC-TV but was presented in syndication.
The show played directly to kids, and each episode
shamelessly merchandised various toys and mail-order premiums tied into
the series during their commercial breaks. Even the ads for corporate
sponsor 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.
Many if not all of the 30-minute TV episodes are also
currently available in various video formats.
The success of the TV show spawned a
radio version, which ran for 129 episodes from October 1952 to March
1955. The same cast of actors performed on both shows. The writers,
scripts, adventures and director were quite different in radio versus TV
Naturally, the series lacked the adult sophistication of
such shows as
Minus One, which focused on adapting short fiction by notable genre
Robert A. Heinlein and
Ray Bradbury. But as a throwback to the sort of Golden Age space opera
popularized in the 1930s, the days of science fiction's infancy, by
pioneering magazine editor
Hugo Gernsback, Space Patrol is prized by OTR collectors today as one
of radio's most enjoyable adventures.
Space Patrol 24/7
If you are a real Space Patrol fan, you may enjoy the following link! You
can listen to 97 Space Patrol Episodes at your leisure!