Superman On Earth

The Adventures Of SupermanJor-El, a member of the ruling council of the distant planet Krypton, warns his fellow councillors that Krypton’s end is near: the planet could break apart at any time. His peers laugh him out of the room, but that doesn’t change the planet’s fate. When Krypton begins to break apart just as Jor-El predicted, he and his wife place their only son in a small spacecraft and send it away to the planet Earth.

The vehicle crashes on Earth, bursting into flames. Farmer Eben Kent and his wife Sarah witness the crash and hear the cries of the infant inside; Eben manages to save the baby before the spacecraft explodes. They raise the child as their own, though young Clark Kent eventually has questions about the fact that he has abilities that no one else seems to have. On Clark’s 25th birthday – or at least the 25th anniversary of his arrival on Earth – Eben suffers a fatal heart attack. Clark eventually leaves his childhood home for the city of Metropolis, where he seeks a job as a report for the Daily Planet. Editor Perry White is less than enthusiastic about his new hire…until Clark somehow scoops the rest of the Planet’s staff, including ace reporter Lois Lane, turning in the first article about an airship crew member who would have fallen to his death if not for a flying man in a cape…

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Richard Fielding
directed by Tommy Carr
music by Leon Klatzkin

Adventures of SupermanCast: George Reeves (Clark Kent / Superman), Phyllis Coates (Lois Lane), Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen), John Hamilton (Perry White), Ross Elliott (Eben Kent), Robert Rockwell (Jor-El), Herbert Rawlinson (Ro-Zon), Stuart Randall (Gogan), Aline Towne (Lara), Frances Morris (Sarah Kent), Dani Nolan (Miss Bachrach)

Adventures of SupermanNotes: Superman’s origin story unfolds here much as it does in other media, though the name “Kal-El” is never spoken here. Sarah Kent is responsible for making Superman’s costume, having sewn it from the blanket in which he was wrapped as an infant on Krypton. (How this fabric can withstand bullets and burns, and yet can still be cut up and sewn, isn’t explained.) Beginning an unfortunate decades-long tradition, Superman’s creators, writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, are not credited anywhere in this adaptation.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Contact Has Been Established

QuatermassThe first attempt to launch a manned rocket into space meets with serious problems; the three-man vehicle, rather than following a carefully-planned parabola to make a single orbit, veers hundreds of thousands of miles off course, losing all contact with Earth. As the rocket’s designer, Professor Bernard Quatermass of the British Experimental Rocket Group, tensely awaits word when the atomic-powered rocket finally approaches Earth again. With no contact from the astronauts themselves, the rocket returns to Earth under remote control from the ground, but the best that Quatermass and his team can manage is to bring it in for the least-damaging crash landing possible. Still intact, the rocket has slammed into a neighborhood near Wimbledon Commons, and astonishingly no one on the ground is hurt, though police evacuate residents from their homes. Quatermass and his team arrive to open the rocket, but inside they find only one astronaut remaining: engineer Victor Carroon, whose wife is a member of Quatermass’ ground control team. The other two men are missing without a trace, their spacesuits left empty in the rocket.

written by Nigel Kneale
directed by Rudolph Cartier
music not credited

Cast: Reginald Tate (Professor Bernard Quatermass), Isabel Dean (Judith Carroon), Duncan Lamont (Victor Carroon), Hugh Kelly (John Paterson), Moray Watson (Peter Marsh), W. Thorp Devereux (Blaker), Van Boolen (Len Matthews), Iris Ballard (Mr. Matthews), Eugene Leahy (Police Inspector), Neil Wilson (Policeman),Colyn Davies (Fireman), Katie Johnson (Miss Wilde), Oliver Johnston (News Editor), Paul Whitsun-Jones (James Fullalove), Patrick Westwood (First Reporter), Dominic LeFoe (Second Reporter), Nicholas Bruce (BBC Newsreader), Pat McGrath (BBC Interviewer), MacGregor Urquhart (Sandwichman), Denis Wyndham (Reveller)

The Quatermass ExperimentNotes: Broadcast in 1953 as a live play for television with one film insert (actual film from a camera mounted aboard a captured German V2 rocket launched from White Sands, New Mexico in 1946), The Quatermass Experiment was one of the earliest instances of the BBC making a “telerecording” (a film recording from a television screen showing the live broadcast) of a drama production rather than live coverage of a news event. This was also one of the final major productions staged at the BBC’s original television studios at Alexandra Palace, using some of the BBC’s original 1930s cameras, before the bulk of production was moved to the then-new Lime Grove studios (future home of the TARDIS).

Gojira

GodzillaMariners on fishing vessel Eiko-Maru see a bright light and boiling water. The ship sinks, while a distress signal is sent out. At Southern Seas Steamship Company, family and friends of the doomed ship are gathering for news. A second ship, the Bingo-Maru, arrives at the last known location of the Eiko-Maru, but it explodes and sinks as well.

A fishing boat finds three survivors, but sinks while taking them to Odo Island. At Odo Island, natives also rescue a survivor, floating on a raft near the shore. Masaji, a resident of the island, briefly wakes and says a monster sank the ship. An elder speculates the legendary “Godzilla must have done it,” but is met with skepticism. Later that night, during a fierce storm, Masaji is terrified as he looks out the window. Much of the village is destroyed, including the home of Masaji, who is killed.

Representatives from Odo Island arrive in Tokyo to testify about the tragedy before a committee of the Japanese Diet. Paleontologist Professor Kyohei Yamane proposes a fact finding mission to the island. Among those accompanying Yamane are his daughter Emiko and Hideto Ogata, the man she loves. Dr. Serizawa, who is arranged to be married to Emiko, is in the farewell party onshore.

The investigative team surveys the damage on Odo Island, finding radiation in many of the water wells, a giant, radioactive footprint and a recently dead trilobite, a shell-like creature thought to be extinct for millions of years. Suddenly, a giant prehistoric creature rises above a mountain. When the beast leaves, the islanders climb to the mountain’s precipice, only to find more giant footprints below on the beach. Yamane testifies that the creature, called Godzilla by the islanders, likely originated during the Jurassic period. He speculates it survived by eating deep sea animals, but nuclear weapons disrupted its natural habitat.

More ships disappear, and the government forms a Counter-Godzilla Headquarters. A naval fleet is dispatched to drop depth charges on Godzilla. Yamane laments the efforts, believing the monster is a significant scientific find. Revelers on a cruise ship are the first to see Godzilla in Tokyo Bay, who swims off into the ocean. Serizawa shows Emiko the Oxygen Destroyer. He uses it to kill a tank full of fish, but pledges Emiko to secrecy because he does not want its terrible power to be used against mankind.

Godzilla returns to Tokyo Bay, but this time comes ashore. Terrified residents cower as the creature smashes through an industrial sector before returning to the sea. An electrified fence is built in pretty short order around the coastal border of Tokyo. Ogata plans to ask Yamane to allow him to marry Emiko, but instead argues with the scientist about Godzilla. Yamane wants to study Godzilla, while Ogata wants the monster destroyed.

Godzilla arises from Tokyo Bay, crashing through and destroying the ineffectual electrified fence. Despite the best efforts of the Japanese military, the beast continues his destructive path through the city before swimming away. Tokyo is left in ruins. The landscape is broken, twisted, and ashen. Hospitals are overrun with the thousands of people who are dead, dying, or severely injured. Many have radiation poisoning.

Ogata, who has been told the secret of the oxygen destroyer, confronts Serizawa about using it against Godzilla. Following a brawl in the lab, and viewing scenes of the awful devastation on TV, Serizawa agrees to use the oxygen destroyer against Godzilla.

At the bottom of Tokyo Bay, Ogata and Serizawa find a slumbering Godzilla. He awakens and moves toward the pair. Ogata rises to the surface as Serizawa activates the oxygen destroyer. The water’s oxygen creates a frothy mix as it bubbles to the surface. Once he is certain it will kill Godzilla, Serizawa cuts his line to the ship above, the secret to the oxygen destroyer dying with him. Godzilla rises above the surface briefly, but sinks again. The oxygen destroyer searing away his flesh, and then his bones, leaving nothing behind.

Ogata tells Emiko that Serizawa’s last words were that he “wanted us to be happy.” As others celebrate Godzilla’s death, Yamane remains concerned that continued nuclear testing might cause other Godzillas to appear…

screenplay by Takeo Murata and Ishiro Honda
story by Shigeru Kayama
directed by Ishiro Honda
music by Akira Ifukube

Human Cast: Akira Takarada (Hideto Ogata), Momoko Kochi (Emiko Yamane), Akihiko Hirata (Serizawa), Takashi Shimura (Prof. Yamane)

Monster Cast: Godzilla

Notes: This is the original Japanese language version of Godzilla. The English language version is Godzilla, King Of The Monsters!.

LogBook entry by Robert Parson

Beyond

Science Fiction TheatreHost Segment: Truman Bradley demonstrates forces that can conclusively be proven to exist, such as gravity, acceleration, sound and magnetism, without being seen.

Story: Test pilot Major Gunderson pushes a new experimental jet plane to unheard-of speeds, more than twice the speed of sound. But even more surprising is Gunderson’s awed report from the sky: something up there is overtaking him, a vehicle shaped nothing like a conventional aircraft. Gunderson’s controls go haywire and he’s forced to eject to survive. His superiors are alarmed when Gunderson begins talking about having encountered a flying saucer…

teleplay by Robert Smith and George Van Marter
story by Ivan L. Tors
directed by Herbert L. Strock
music not credited

Science Fiction TheatreCast: Truman Bradley (Host / Narrator), William Lundigan (Maj. Gunderson), Ellen Drew (Mrs. Gunderson), Bruce Bennett (Gen. Troy), Tom Drake (Dr. Everett), Basil Ruysdael (Prof. Carson), Douglas Kennedy (Col. Barton), Michael Fox (Radar Man), Robert Carson (Capt. Ferguson), Mark Lowell (Radio Operator)

Notes: To put this story in its historical context, the first Mach 2 jet flight had been flown by test pilot Scott Crossfield in late 1953, only to be exceeded by a Mach 2.44 flight flown by Chuck Yeager in December of that year, less than a year and a half before Science Fiction Theatre premiered in syndication Science Fiction Theatrewith this episode. Other elements, such as the notion of a military cover-up (albeit a quiet, non-threatening one) of a real UFO sighting, were very much ahead of their time.

Unusually for 1955, the first season of Science Fiction Theatre was filmed in color by Ziv Television Productions, a bit of future-proofing that Ziv could afford as its programming was in demand by television stations whose networks ran very limited programming of their own. While most of Ziv’s programs were either modern-day dramas and spy thrillers, westerns, or wartime dramas, this was one of only three science fiction shows Ziv produced; the short-lived World Of Giants anticipated elements of Irwin Allen’s 1960s series Land Of The Giants, while Men Into Space, picked up by CBS, speculated on and dramatized the future of real spaceflight.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Where Is Everybody?

The Twilight ZoneA man awakens on the outskirts of the town of Oakwood, with no knowledge of how he got there – or even who he is. He can’t find another living creature anywhere in town – no policemen in the police station, no prisoners in the jail, no business owners in the shops. And yet he’s certain that he’s being watched by someone who has something to do with his present predicament. He pieces together clues that add up to an inescapable conclusion: someone else is in Oakwood with him. Whether he can figure out who it is before his sanity gives way is another question…

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Rod Serling
directed by Robert Stevens
music by Bernard Hermann

Cast: Earl Holliman (Mike Ferris), James Gregory (General), Paul Langton (Doctor), James McCallion (Reporter The Twilight Zone#1), John Conwell (Colonel), Jay Overholt (Reporter #2), Carter Mullally (Captain), Gary Walberg (Reporter #3), Jim Johnson (Staff Sergeant)

Notes: If Oakwood’s town square seems familiar, you’ve probably been time traveling with Doc Brown. The same outdoor set on the Universal Studios lot became the center of the town of Hill Valley in the Back To The Future movies.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Hot Snow

The Avengers

This synopsis is based upon the Big Finish audio adaptation of the original television script. The original episode’s master tape is lost and presumed destroyed. This audio adaptation can be found in Volume 1 of Big Finish’s The Avengers: The Lost Episodes series.

Dr. David Keel, just days away from getting married, has his life thrown into chaos when his bride-to-be is the target of an organized crime hit. Feeling that Scotland Yard isn’t doing enough to solve the murder, Keel decides to take on some amateur sleuthing, but when he discovers that heroin is involved, he realizes this is bigger than him. A mysterious man in a bowler hat is waiting for Keel in his flat when he returns home, but not to kill him. Instead, the man offers to help Keel bring the killer to justice…but he needs Keel to act undercover and become part of the heroin trade. If Dr. Keel can’t bring himself to trust this stranger, he may never identify the murderer.

teleplay by Ray Rigby
story by Patrick Brawn
directed by Don Leaver
music by Johnny Dankworth
Big Finish audio adaptation written by John Dorney
Big Finish audio adaptation directed by Ken Bentley
Big Finish audio adaptation music by Toby Hrycek-Robinson

Original television cast: Ian Hendry (Dr. Keel), Patrick Macnee (John Steed), Philip Stone (Dr. Tredding), Katherine Woodville (Peggy), Alister Williamson (Superintendent Wilson), Godfrey Quigley (Spicer), Charles Wade (Johnson), Murray Melvin (Charlie), Moira Redmond (Stella), June Monkhouse (Mrs. Simpson), Astor Sklair (Sergeant Rogers)

The Avengers: The Lost EpisodesBig Finish audio cast: Anthony Howell (Dr. Keel), Julian Wadham (John Steed), Lucy Briggs-Owen (Carol Wilson), Colin Baker (Dr. Tredding), Camilla Power (Peggy), Tim Bentinck (Superintendent Wilson), Adrian Lukis (Spicer/Johnson), Phil Mulryne (Big Man), Blake Ritson (Charlie), Anjella Mackintosh (Stella/Mrs. Simpson), Kieran Bew (Sergeant Rogers)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Galaxy Being

The Outer LimitsRadio station engineer Alan Maxwell is bleeding power from his station’s own transmitter to conduct microwave experiments, and costing the station money as a result. But even when confronted about his unauthorized experiments, he refuses to halt them, certain that he has picked up microwave transmissions from an intelligence beyond Earth. Despite his co-workers’ skepticism, he persists with his experiments, and one night makes contact with a glowing being with whom he opens a dialogue. In the course of their conversation, it becomes apparent that both of them are breaking the rules of their respective worlds by conducting their experiments…and that the creatures whom Maxwell has contacted know nothing of death, war or famine. When Maxwell tells his new friend that Earth does know of death and the horrors of war, the alien declares the human race dangerous – but doesn’t berak contact. Maxwell is due to be honored by the mayor the next evening, and adjusts the transmitter power to make sure he can still contact the alien creature later, with a warning to the announcer on duty not to boost the power. But when listeners complain, the announcer does just that – giving Maxwell’s voice from the other side, a life form composed entirely of electromagnetic energy, the means to manifest itself physically on Earth.

Download this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by Leslie Stevens
directed by Leslie Stevens
music by Dominic Frontiere

Cast: Lee Phillips (Gene “Buddy” Maxwell), Jacqueline Scott (Carol Maxwell), Cliff Robertson (Alan Maxwell), Burt Metcalfe (Eddie Phillips), Allyson Ames (Gene’s date), Joseph Perry (Trooper), Don Harvey (National Guard Major), William Stevens (Policeman), Mavis Neal (Collins), Peter Madsen (Trooper), William I. Douglas (The Galaxy Being)

Original title: Please Stand By…

LogBook entry by Earl Green

An Unearthly Child

Doctor WhoIn London, 1963, teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright discuss their most problematic student at Coal Hill School, one Susan Foreman. Susan’s knowledge vastly exceeds that of her instructors in science, but she has also been known to challenge long-standing historical facts…yet she also has some things completely wrong, including one occasion where she notes that British currency isn’t on the decimal system “yet.” Ian and Barbara follow Susan discreetly when she walks home one night, and the teachers are puzzled when home seems to be a junkyard. When they follow her into the junkyard, Susan has disappeared, and the only place she could have gone is a police call box which is emitting a strange hum. Moments later, an elderly man appears, apparently determined to enter the police box himself. Ian and Barbara force their way in, along with the old man, and find that the police box is actually a time-space vehicle, bigger on the inside than out. They also discover that neither Susan nor her grandfather, a mysterious and irritable man known only as the Doctor, are human beings. The Doctor, worried that Ian and Barbara will draw unwelcome mass attention to the presence of his ship (called the TARDIS), hastily sets it into motion over everyone’s protests, and when Ian and Barbara next step out of the doors of the TARDIS, they are no longer on Earth as they know it.

Season 1 Regular Cast: William Hartnell (The Doctor), William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright), Carole Ann Ford (Susan Foreman)

written by Anthony Coburn
directed by Waris Hussein
music by Norman Kay

Guest Cast: Derek Newark (Za), Althea Charlton (Hur), Jeremy Young (Kal), Howard Lang (Horg), Eileen Way (Old Mother)

Broadcast from November 23 through December 14, 1963

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Reluctant Stowaway

Lost In SpaceOctober 16, 1997: with Earth suffering from extreme depletion of resources, the race is on to colonize planets in nearby star systems, starting with a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri. The Jupiter 2 is prepared for launch, to be crewed by the Robinson family – Dr. John Robinson, Dr. Maureen Robinson, and their children, Judy, Penny, and Will – and the pilot, Major Don West. With the stakes so high, sabotage is almost expected, and indeed a saboteur has snuck aboard the Jupiter 2, one Dr. Zachary Smith, who has programmed the robot to destroy the Jupiter 2 with all hands aboard at eight hours into the mission. But Smith is as inept as he is evil, and is stuck aboard the ship when it lifts off. While trying (and failing) to convincingly explain his presence to the Robinsons when the Jupiter 2 goes off course, Smith now has to undo his own act of sabotage…or become a victim of his own plot.

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by S. Bar-David
directed by Tony Leader
music by Johnny Williams

Lost In SpaceCast: Guy Williams (Dr. John Robinson), June Lockhart (Maureen Robinson), Mark Goddard (Don West), Marta Kristen (Judy Robinson), Billy Mumy (Will Robinson), Angela Cartwright (Penny Robinson), Jonathan Harris (Dr. Zachary Smith), Hoke Howell (Security Guard), Tom Allen (Inspector), Fred Crane (Alpha Control Technician), Don Forbes (TV Commentator), Bob May (Robot), Brett Parker (Security Guard), Ford Rainey (President), Hal Torey (General), Dick Tufeld (Robot voice / Narrator), Paul Zastupnevich (Bearded Foreign Correspondent)

Lost In SpaceNotes: None of the guest stars, except for Jonathan Harris (who is credited in every episode of the series as a “special guest star”), are credited on screen. Don’t let “received wisdom” convince you that Lost In Space is a giant ball of interstellar cheese; the show is actually quite forward-looking in some areas, including John Robinson’s use of a multi-directional jet gun during his spacewalk, very much like the one recently used by U.S. astronaut Ed White during the first NASA spacewalk earlier in 1965.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

No Place Like Earth

Out Of The UnknownEarth was destroyed 15 years ago, after the solar system had been colonized as far as the moons of Jupiter. Bert, one of the last people to leave Earth for Mars, became more or less stranded on Mars, traveling between Martian settlements and repairing things for the locals. When the call goes out for men to colonize Venus, Bert is torn between his peripatetic life on Mars, which affords him both a living and leisure time, and the urge to rebuild a new world in the image of Earth. But it is only when Bert arrives on Venus that he learns that all of human history will play out in the building of this new world – even the worst parts. And if he starts a revolution, he may not be long for this, or any other, world.

adapted by Stanley Miller
from a story by John Wyndham
directed by Peter Potter
music by Norman Kay

Out Of The UnknownCast: Terence Morgan (Bert), Jessica Dunning (Annika), Hannah Gordon (Zaylo), Joseph O’Conor (Freeman), Alan Tilvern (Blane), George Pastell (Major Khan), Jerry Stovin (Captain of Spaceship), Vernon Joyner (Carter), Bill Treacher (Harris), Geoffrey Palmer (Chief Officer), Roy Stewart (Security Guard)

Out Of The UnknownNotes: The works of writer John Wyndham would inspire many future genre productions, including the BBC’s adaptation of Day Of The Triffids and ITV’s Chocky series. Norman Kay also provided the incidental music for the first Doctor Who story, An Unearthly Child, in 1963.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Hi Diddle Riddle

BatmanAn exploding cake delivered to the Republic of Moldavia’s pavilion at the Gotham City World’s Fair signals the return of the Riddler, and the Gotham authorities call Batman into action. The Riddler leaves enough clues for the Dynamic Duo to find him at a prestigious art gallery, and when Batman and Robin arrive, they think they see the Riddler holding the gallery’s proprietor up at gunpoint. But it’s all a setup, and the Riddler sues Batman for assault and slander – but he’s not after the million dollars named in the lawsuit. The Riddler wants to force Batman to reveal his true identity to all. And just in case that part of his plan doesn’t work, the Riddler manages to drug Batman and kidnap Robin…

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
directed by Robert Butler
music by Nelson Riddle / Batman theme by Neal Hefti

BatmanCast: Adam West (Batman), Burt Ward (Robin), Alan Napier (Alfred), Neil Hamilton (Commissioner Gordon), Stafford Repp (Chief O’Hara), Madge Blake (Mrs. Cooper), Jill St. John (Molly), Frank Gorshin (The Riddler), Allen Jaffe (Harry), Michael Fox (Inspector Basch), Damian O’Flynn (Gideon Peale), Ben Astar (The Moldavian Prime Minister), Jack Barry (Newscaster)

Notes: Though ’60s TV Batman tended not to dwell on the details of what happened to Bruce Wayne’s Batmanparents (as established in the comics), this episode makes a rare reference to Bruce’s parents being murdered, and states that this is his motivation to fight crime. Robert Butler had, over a year prior to Batman’s premiere on ABC, directed the rejected pilot episode of a series which would return to challenge Batman’s popularity in the fall of 1966.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Man Trap

Star Trek ClassicStardate 1531.1: Visiting Professor Crater and his wife (who, before marrying Crater, had a close relationship with McCoy), an Enterprise landing party starts to fall prey to an unknown assailant that seems to drain its victims of salt. Kirk is suspicious – and McCoy alarmed – when the Craters refuse, in spite of the threat, to evacuate their planet. The landing party returns to the Enterprise with an extra passenger – a shape shifter who can assume the shapes of Enterprise crewmembers and who has been living with Professor Crater in the guise of his late wife, whom the creature killed. The creature, in search of salt, sees the Enterprise as a promising hunting ground.

Order this episode on DVDDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxwritten by George Clayton Johnson
directed by Marc Daniels
music by Alexander Courage

Star TrekCast: William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk), Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock), Jeanne Bal (Nancy Crater), Alfred Ryder (Professor Robert Crater), DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard McCoy), Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Janice Rand), George Takei (Sulu), Nichelle Nichols (Uhura), Bruce Watson (Green), Michael Zaslow (Darnell), Vince Howard (Crewman), Francine Pyne (Nancy III)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Silent Gun

The Green HornetAfter informing police that he knows something about his father’s death, a young man is murdered in plain sight before the eyes of 20 people, shot at point-blank range…and yet no one around him heard the shot fired or saw a muzzle flash. This catches the attention of Daily Sentinel publisher Britt Reid, who spends his off hours fighting crime in the guise of the Green Hornet, his faithful butler and martial arts expert Kato at his side. When another murder is committed, the Green Hornet and Kato begin closing in on likely suspects, including rival organized crime bosses. They both want a gun that can kill without being heard or seen…but only one of them has it. And they both have it in for the Green Hornet.

written by Ken Pettus
directed by Leslie H. Martinson
music by Billy May

Green HornetCast: Van Williams (The Green Hornet), Bruce Lee (Kato), Wende Wagner (Lenore Case), Lloyd Gough (Mike Axford), Walter Brooke (District Attorney Frank Scanlon), Lloyd Bochner (Dan Carley), Kelly Jean Peters (Jackie Cameron), Ed McCready (Detective Olson), Al McGranary (Minister), Breland Rice (Policeman), Charles Francisco (Al Trump)

Notes: Not so much a spinoff of Batman as a new show taking place in what may or may not be the same “universe”, The Green Hornet – based on a 1930s radio serial – was made by many of the same personnel as Batman, and was intended to be a bit more gritty and less campy than its superhero stablemate. If The Green Hornet is a spinoff of anything, it’s actually a spinoff of a fellow radio show, The Lone Ranger, as both were created by George W. Trendle, whose original radio scripts specified that Britt Reid is the son of Dan Reid, the Lone Ranger’s nephew.

Green HornetThis TV adaptation was also the western audience’s introduction to rising martial arts star Bruce Lee, who performed his own stunts (and, by many accounts, inadvertently but repeatedly injured stuntmen in fight scenes). By the end of the show’s single season on the air, the popularity of Lee and his character threatened to eclipse the show’s nominal star. Despite that popularity, since ABC scheduled it on Friday nights against the more established series The Wild Wild West, The Green Hornet was cancelled early in 1967.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Rendezvous With Yesterday

The Time TunnelSenator Clark arrives to take stock of the top secret Project Tic-Toc, a staggeringly expensive, vast underground complex built around an experimental time travel device known simply as the Time Tunnel. The civilian manager of Project Tic-Toc, Doug Phillips, gives Senator Clark the guided tour, but Clark’s presence unnerves project scientst Dr. Tony Newman, who has poured his entire life into the project. Determined to prove that it does work, Newman appoints himself the first human time traveler and sends himself back into the past. Radiation imparted by the use of the Time Tunnel allows Project Tic-Toc technicians to track him back into the past, where they can see and hear that he has arrived on the ocean liner Titanic…mere hours before its destruction. Doug volunteers to travel back in time to help Tony escape, but the only way off the Titanic for the two men is a further trip via the Time Tunnel to a time and place they can’t predict.

Download this episode via Amazonteleplay by Harold Jack Bloom and Shimon Wincelberg
story by Irwin Allen, Shimon Wincelberg and Harold Jack Bloom
directed by Irwin Allen
music by Johnny Williams

The Time TunnelCast: James Darren (Tony Newman), Robert Colbert (Doug Phillips), Michael Rennie (Capt. Malcolm Smith), Susan Hampshire (Althea Hall), Gary Merrill (Senator Leroy Clark), Lee Meriwether (Dr. Ann McGregor), Wesley Lau (Master Sgt. Jiggs), John Zaremba (Dr. Raymond Swain), Whit Bissell (General Heywood Kirk), Don Knight (Grainger), Gerald Michenaud (Marcel), John Winston (The Guard), Brett Parker (Countdown Technician)

The Time TunnelNotes: The latest of Irwin Allen’s 1960s science fiction series, The Time Tunnel premiered on ABC one day after the broadcast premiere of Star Trek on rival network NBC; it ran concurrently with the final seasons of Lost In Space and Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea. Though Allen’s big screen work is often synonymous with epic disaster scenarios, his treatment of the sinking of the Titanic is relatively tame, primarily for budgetary reasons; building the cavernous, $130,000 Time Tunnel set (or is it a giant prop?) consumed much of the pilot episode’s budget, forcing Allen to fall back on reusing footage from the 1939 film Titanic (which, handily enough, was also produced by 20th Century Fox). Ironically, co-star James Darren would, decades after his trips through the Time Tunnel ended, return to SF TV in another iteration of the Star Trek franchise, as holosuite Rat Pack crooner Vic Fontaine in the later seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; Darren also co-starred with William Shatner in T.J. Hooker at a point in his career where his focus was switching from acting to directing.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Arrival

The PrisonerAn agent of the British Foreign Office unexpectedly submits his resignation, setting into motion a chain of events that will forever change his life. A black car trails him to his home, and he is gassed. When he awakens, he is in the Village, a gaily-colored, self-contained community whose residents seem to know nothing beyond its boundaries, and seem to be unwilling to question that oddity. No one seems to know who he is, and no one knows his name. A man identifying himself as Number Two invites him to lunch, and it is a most revealing meal. The reason for the abduction and enforced exile of the newly-christened “Number Six” is revealed – certain unnamed parties are stopping at nothing to prevent his classified knowledge from falling into the wrong hands…or perhaps from reaching the right hands. Number Two makes it clear that no one leaves the Village – and Number Six suspects that the penalty for doing so would be death, especially when Number Two demonstrates a deadly security device called Rover. Despite the danger and the vaguely implied threats, Number Six mounts a valiant escape attempt, but he is captured by the Rover and taken to the Village’s hospital. When he awakens, he is sharing a hospital ward with a fellow agent named Cobb, who also doesn’t remember how he came to be in the Village. Not long afterward, Cobb is reported to have committed suicide, though Number Six immediately suspects something far more sinister. But even most macabre speculation is nowhere near the truth of what happened to his colleague…or what is happening to him now.

written by George Markstein and David Tomblin
directed by Don Chaffey
music by Ron Grainer and Albert Elms

Cast: Patrick McGoohan (Number Six), Virginia Maskell (The Woman), Guy Doleman (Number Two), Paul Eddington (Cobb), George Baker (The New Number Two), Angelo Muscat (The Butler), Barbara Yu Ling (Taxi Driver), Stephanie Randall (Maid), Jack Allen (Doctor), Fabia Drake (Welfare worker), Denis Shaw (Shopkeeper), Oliver MacGreevy (Gardener/Electrician), Frederick Piper (Ex-Admiral), Patsy Smart (Waitress), Christopher Benjamin (Labour Exchange Manager), Peter Swanwick (Supervisor), David Garfield (Hospital attendant), Peter Brace (1st Guardian), Keith Peacock (2nd Guardian)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Night Gallery

Night GalleryThe Cemetery: Upon discovering that he is the sole heir in line to receive the inheritance of an elderly uncle he didn’t even know he had, Jeremy Evans wants to speed things up a bit, to the disgust of everyone in his uncle’s employ. Portifoy, the old man’s butler for 30 years, can barely keep himself from uttering his opinion of Jeremy out loud, but thinks better of it. When the old man dies (thanks, in no small part, to Jeremy’s intervention), Jeremy is adamant: he wants it all, and wants it all now. His uncle’s last painting, framed on the staircase of the house where Jeremy now lives, depicts a nearby cemetery…and Jeremy is certain that the painting is changing somehow. Is his uncle’s retribution at hand, or is someone else trying to drive him over the edge?

Eyes: Wealthy Miss Menlo is all but completely blind. She has located a living donor willing to give up his eyesight in exchange for enough money to clear his gambling debt and get loan sharks off his back, but in order to find a doctor willing to take the eyes from a living man, she has to resort to blackmail. Moments after she opens her new eyes for the first time, Miss Menlo is plunged into darkness, unaware that the city is in the grips of an electrical blackout. Convinced that she has been swindled, she vows to destroy the career of the surgeon who performed the transplant, but will her attitude toward him and everyone else in the world change with the rising sun?

Escape Route: A former Nazi war criminal goes into hiding in South America, and even so many years after the war he is paranoid about being seen and recognized. He becomes fixated on a painting in the local art gallery, one which appears to show him in a fishing boat; he also meets a man who claims to have survived Auschwitz, and thinks he looks familiar. Once recognized, he can either become the hunted, or fall back on his experiences as a concentration camp guard. He seeks an escape route, and while the one he gets may not be the one he wants, it may be what he deserves.

written by Rod Serling
The Cemetery directed by Gene Levitt
Eyes directed by Steven Spielberg
Escape Route directed by Barry Shear
music by Billy Goldenberg

Cast: Joan Crawford (Miss Claudia Menlo), Ossie Davis (Portifoy), Richard Kiley (Arndt / Josef Strobe), Roddy McDowall (Jeremy Evans), Barry Sullivan (Dr. Frank Heatherton), George Macready (William Hendricks), Sam Jaffe (Bleum), Norma Crane (Gretchen), Barry Atwater (Carson), George Murdock (1st Agent), Tom Bosley (Sidney Resnick), Tom Basham (Gibbons), Byron Morrow (George J. Packer), Garry Goodnow (Louis), Shannon Farnon (1st Nurse), Richard Hale (Doctor)

Notes: This was Steven Spielberg’s second television directing credit. He went on to direct an episode of Columbo and TV movies such as Duel before becoming one of the late 20th Night Gallerycentury’s most prolific movie directors (Jaws, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Raiders Of The Lost Ark and its sequels, E.T., The Color Purple, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report, Lincoln, Ready Player One). Tom Bosley would go on to become one of the definitive TV dads of the 1970s as Howard Cunningham in Happy Days, a role he played from 1974 through 1984. Unlike the series proper, the Night Gallery pilot movie incorporates the painting representing each story into the stories themselves; when Night Gallery was picked up as a series, the paintings would only appear in Rod Serling’s introduction segments.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Plastic Eaters

DoomwatchAn airliner bound for San Pedro experiences serious problems during descent: something is eating away at controls, insulation on wiring, anything made of plastic. The pilot issues a mayday, but nothing can be done to save the plane or anyone on it.

Tobias Wren arrives to interview for a job at the recently formed Department of Scientific Work (informally called Doom Watch by those who work there), only to be given an immediate assignment by the Department’s director, Dr. Simon Quist: investigate the San Pedro plane crash. When Quist phones his government contacts to enquire about any experimental means of disposing of plastic, he’s given the cold shoulder, and sends Dr. John Ridge to dig deeper. Ridge finds reports pointing to a biological agent – “Variant 14” – that dissolves plastics. Ridge’s “research” draws the fury of a government minister, who intends to suspend both Quist and Doomwatch. In the meantime, Wren has obtained pieces of the wreckage and is flying back to London with them, completely unaware that the wreckage could introduce the hungry plastic-eating bacteriological agent to a new plane full of plastic…

written by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis
directed by Paul Ciappessoni
music by Max Harris

DoomwatchCast: John Paul (Dr. Spencer Quist), Simon Oates (Dr. John Ridge), Robert Powell (Tobias Wren), Joby Blanshard (colin Bradley), Wendy Hall (Pat Hunnisett), John Barron (The Minister), Jennifer Wilson (Miss Wills), Kevin Stoney (Hal Symonds), Michael Hawkins (Jim Bennett), Tony Sibbald (First Airline Crew), Monty Brown (First Airline Crew), Gracie Luck (First Airline Crew), Richardson Morgan (First Airline Crew), John Lee (Second Airline Crew), Eric Corrie (Second Airline Crew), Pat Wallen (Second Airline Crew), Caroline Rogers (Second Airline Crew), Edward Dentith (Second Airline Crew), Christopher Hodge (Commissionaire), Andreas Malandrinos (Airline Passenger), Mike Lewin (Airline Passenger), Pat Beckett (Airline Passenger), Toba Laurence (Airline Passenger), Cynthia Bizeray (Airline Passenger), Peter Thompson (Airline Passenger), Michael Earl (Airline Passenger), Tony Haydon (Airline Passenger)

DoomwatchNotes: Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis are well known to fans of UK sci-fi fandom as the creators of the Cybermen, one of Doctor Who‘s most persistent enemies. Much as the Cybermen were the result of former Doctor Who script editor Davis and Dr. Pedler brainstorming about organ replacement gone berzerk, Doomwatch is the result of them continuing their brainstorming sessions about scenarios resulting from human technology and science growing faster than human wisdom. Of the 38 episodes of Doomwatch produced over three seasons (only 37 of which were shown, one being deemed too violent for the BBC), only 24 episodes are still known to exist, and those 24 have been released on DVD.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Identified

UFOWhen evidence of UFO visits and alien abductions becomes real, a top-secret international agency, SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defense Organisation), is formed, under the direction of Commander Ed Straker. Housed in the underground levels beneath a film studio that hides its activities, SHADO is on the verge of a new detection technology that could turn the tide against future UFO incursions. But the aliens – as yet unidentified – are also aware of this development, and are already taking steps to stop that technology from being deployed. From submarines capable of launching jet fighters, to a moonbase capable of launching space planes, Straker puts all of SHADO’s resources on the highest alert. The prize: SHADO’s first captured alien…and only then does Straker realize that this is but the first volley in a much longer battle for the planet Earth.

written by Gerry Anderson & Sylvia Anderson with Tony Barwick
directed by Gerry Anderson
music by Barry Gray

UFOCast: Edward Bishop (Cmdr. Straker), George Sewell (Col. Freeman), Peter Gordeno (Capt. Carlin), Gabrielle Drake (Lt. Ellis), Grant Taylor (General Henderson), Basil Dignam (Cabinet Minister), Shane Rimmer (Seagull X-Ray Co-Pilot), Antonia Ellis (Joan Harrington), Gary Myers (Lew Waterman), Michael Mundell (Ken Matthews), Harry Baird (Mark Bradley), Keith Alexander (SHADO Radio Operator), Jon Kelley (Skydiver Engineer), Georgina Moon (Skydiver Operative), Dolores Martinez (Nina Barry), Jeremy Wilkin (Skydiver Navigator), Paul Gillard (Kurt Mahler), Wanda Ventham (Virginia Lake), Gary Files (Phil Wades), Matthew Roberton (Dr. Harris), Maxwell Shaw (Dr. Shroeder), Annette Kerr (Nurse)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Wrong End Of Time – Part 1

TimeslipYoungsters Liz Skinner and Simon Randall, bored with the dull surroundings near the Skinners’ vacation spot, go exploring the surrounding countryside, finding a place near an abandoned naval station where they hear an unusual sound all around them. Venturing onward, they pass through some sort of portal, stepping into the same place, but a different time – World War II, to be precise. Shortly after they see men who they’re certain are speaking German, the two children are captured and taken to be questioned about what business they had near the naval station. When Liz recognizes their interrogator – from having met him in the future, later in his life – it only raises further suspicions. And then they meet a young sailor named Frank Skinner – Liz’s father, long before she was born. The older Frank Skinner claims he had a mental breakdown during the war and can’t remember what his role in it was…but his daughter is about to find out by being there.

written by Bruce Stewart
directed by John Cooper
music not credited

TimeslipCast: Cheryl Burfield (Liz Skinner), Spencer Banks (Simon Randall), Denis Quilley (Commander Traynor), Iris Russell (Jean Skinner), Derek Benfield (Skinner), John Alkin (Frank), Sandor Eles (Gottfried), Paul Humpoletz (Graz), John Garrie (Arthur Griffiths), Royston Tickner (George Bradley), Peter Sproule (Ferris), John Abbott (Phipps), Kenneth Watson (Dr. Fordyce), Virginia Balfour (Alice Fortune), Sally Templer (Sarah), Hilary Minster (German Sailor)

TimeslipNotes: This episode is introduced by ITV’s then science reporter, Peter Fairley, introducing the series’ premise but cautioning that it is purely fiction. Eduard Salim Michael’s classical piece “Rite de la Terre” is used as the series’ theme song, but there is no incidental music during the story itself. Timeslip was originally recorded in full color, but only one episode remains in that format. The original color videotapes of the other episodes were wiped and reused (a common practice in the early 1970s), and we only have the remainder of the show to watch thanks to black & white film recordings created to sell the series overseas to broadcasters who were not yet transmitting in color.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

PROBE

SearchHugh Lockwood, code name “Probe One”, barely survives a high-risk operation in a foreign country, but he’s never quite alone – he can always hear the voice of his superior, Director Cameron, via an implant in his ear, while Cameron monitors his missions from the high-tech safety of PROBE Control, headquarters of a high security search operation. Lockwood doesn’t have much time to celebrate his victory, however, before another mission calls, this time a hunt for stolen jewels originally recovered from Nazi Germany. Things go awry quickly: the first lead Lockwood questions goes missing, and her daughter contacts him, certain that her mother has been kidnapped. It appears that Nazis who escaped the Nuremberg Trials may still be at large, trying to regain their fortune and regroup, unless Lockwood can stop them.

written by Leslie Stevens
directed by Russ Mayberry
music by Dominic Frontiere

Wonder WomanCast: Hugh O’Brian (Hugh Lockwood), Elke Sommer (Uli Ullman), Burgess Meredith (Cameron), Lilia Skala (Frieda Ullman), Angel Tompkins (Gloria), Sir John Gielgud (Harold Streeter), Kent Smith (Dr. Laurent), Alfred Ryder (Cheyne), Ben Wright (Kurt van Niestat), Robert Boon (Felix Ernst), Albert Popwell (Dr. Griffin), A. Martinez (Carlos Lobos), Byron Chung (Kuroda), Ginny Golden (Miss Keach), Jules Maitland (Reinhardt Brugge)

Notes: Conceived as an action/spy series with ultra-futuristic (by 1972 standards) gadgetry, PROBE got a series greenlight, but only if it changed its name, as there was already a running PBS series of the same name on the air. PROBE would reappear later in 1972 with additional cast members under the name Search…but then had to be titled Search Control outside of the United States, so as not to conflict with an ongoing UK series called Search. The series was conceived by Leslie Stevens of The Outer Limits fame.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Gatchaman vs. Turtle King

Kagaku Ninjatai GatchamanAn enormous mechanical turtle rises from the ocean, attacking a uranium storage facility and stealing the radioactive material stored there. At a meeting of heads of state, Dr. Nambu of the International Science Organization reveals the identity of the culprit: the evil Galactor organization, bent on world domination. But it took the best intelligence agents in the world to discover even that morsel of information, so Nambu has assembled a team of young fighters and scientists to track down Galactor: Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Each armed with incredible powers and specialized vehicles, these young warriors are all that stand between Galactor and control of the entire Earth. Aboard their powerful aircraft, the GodPhoenix, the team is dispatched to observe the huge machine without interfering, in the hopes that it can be tracked back to Galactor’s base. Team leader Ken intends to stick to Dr. Nambu’s orders, but his hot-headed second-in-command, Joe, is enraged by the huge loss of life that he is forced to helplessly watch during this surveillance mission. Joe intends to destroy the machine – alone if he has to, whether it contravenes his orders or not.

written by Jinzo Toriumi
directed by Hisayuki Toriumi
music by Bob Sakuma

Voice Cast: Katsuji Mori (Ken Washio), Isao Sasaki (Joe Asakura), Kazuko Sugiyama (Jun), Yoku Shioya (Jinpei), Shingo Kanemoto (Ryu), Toru Ohira (Dr. Kozaburo Nambu), Mikio Terashima (Berg Katse), Nobuo Tanaka (Sosai X), Teiji Omiya (Director Anderson)

Note: This synopsis is for the original Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman episode, and appears under its original Japanese premiere date. For the corresponding episode of Battle Of The Planets, click here.

GatchamanNot really a proper “origin” story for Gatchaman, this premiere episode raises some interesting questions. It seems that no one but Nambu is aware of Galactor’s existence until he reveals that information. It’s possible that seemingly random terrorist attacks had been carried out prior to these events, but no one had attributed them to a single group. In any case, given that the Science Ninja Team has practically been raised to fight Galactor, it seems likely that Dr. Nambu has been sitting on this information for quite some time. The plot setup of this and other early episodes owes a lot to Godzilla – with just a dash of James Bond in the mad scheme to steal uranium – but the characters and their relationships would take center stage in later episodes (but not at the expense of the mayhem and destruction which Tatsunoko Studios’ animators were so adept at depicting). Near the episode’s end, during the destruction of the Turtle King, an obviously non-animated, live-action scene of colorful smoke is seen for a few seconds.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Six Million Dollar Man

The Six Million Dollar ManFormer lunar astronaut Steve Austin takes on the sometimes dangerous career of test piloting experimental aircraft after retiring from NASA. During one test flight, the experimental plane he’s flying crash-lands after a series of system failures. Austin loses both legs, his right arm, and his left eye in the resulting explosion. Dr. Rudy Wells, a former NASA doctor who followed Austin out of the space program, knows that bionic prosthetics could save Austin’s life and restore his mobility – and then some – but doesn’t have the budget for such an experimental procedure.

Enter Oliver Spencer, director of the secret Office of Special Operations, who has a six million dollar budget to create the perfect secret agent. He originally envisioned a robot that could pass for human, but the time and money to create such a machine exceeds what the OSO has available. He offers to finances Austin’s recovery and Dr. Well’s highly unusual prosthetic surgery, but at a price: Steve Austin will become a government agent with strength and abilities beyond those of most men. His first assignment is to free a kidnapped hostage being held in a remote area of Saudi Arabia. Austin has the ability to save the hostage, but what he doesn’t have is the knowledge that the entire operation is a trap.

teleplay by Henri Simoun
based on the novel “Cyborg” by Martin Caidin
directed by Richard Irving
music by Gil Melle

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Barbara Anderson (Jean Manners), Martin Balsam (Dr. Rudy Wells), Darren McGavin (Oliver Spencer), Dorothy Green (Mrs. McKay), Anne Whitfield (Young Woman), George Wallace (General), Robert Cornthwaite (Dr. AShburn), Olan Soule (Saltillo), Norma Storch (Woman), John Mark Robinson (Aide), Charles Knox Robinson (Prisoner), Ivor Barry (Geraldton), Maurice Sherbanee (Nudaylah)

The Six Million Dollar ManNotes: In syndicated rerun packages, this movie was split into two one-hour episodes titled The Moon And The Desert Part 1 and Part 2. Unlike the remainder of The Six Million Dollar Man on TV (and unlike the original 1972 novel “Cyborg”), Steve Austin is portrayed here as a civilian astronaut/test pilot with a disdain for the military; the next Six Million Dollar Man TV movie retcons him into an Air Force colonel. This is the only appearance of Darren McGavin as Oliver Spencer; the character was replaced with Oscar Goldman in the next movie, while Dr. Wells would be recast.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Slaves Of Jedikiah – Part 1

Tomorrow PeopleYoung Stephen Jameson walks through London, unaware that two very different groups of people are monitoring him closely. He suffers some sort of attack, crumples to the ground, and is rushed to a hospital. When he wakes up, he meets a young woman named Carol, one of his observers, who tells him that he has experienced his “breaking out” – the moment when he evolved from homo sapiens to homo superior, one of the Tomorrow People, the next stage in human evolution. He has mental powers beyond those of most people, and must learn to control those powers to serve a higher good. Two men dressed as doctors appear, but they’re not doctors – they’re members of the other faction watching Stephen’s progress. He is taken to their master, Jedikiah, who intends to harness Stephen’s powers for less noble purposes.

Download this episode via Amazonwritten by Brian Finch and Roger Price
directed by Paul Bernard
music by Dudley Simpson

Tomorrow PeopleCast: Sammie Winmill (Carol), Nicholas Young (John), Peter Vaughan-Clarke (Stephen), Stephen Salmon (Kenny), Francis de Wolff (Jedikiah), Michael Standing (Ginge), Derek Crewe (Lefty), Philip Gilbert (TIM), Patricia Denys (Mrs. Jameson), Peter Weston (Policeman), Neville Barber (Dr. Stewart), Christine Shaw (Staff Nurse)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Beyond The Farthest Star

Star Trek ClassicStardate 5221.3: Near the edge of the galaxy, a powerful gravitational force has seized the Enterprise. Sulu is able to alter the ship’s course just enough to go into orbit around the dead stellar core which is the source of the gravity, rather than crashing into it. Also in orbit is a vessel of organic origins, with a structure that indicates two things – the ship was built by insectoid beings, and those beings appear to have destroyed themselves. A log entry recorded by one of the aliens warns of the presence of a malevolent life form, prompting Kirk and his landing party to return to the Enterprise – only to discover that whatever attacked the insectoids has now beamed aboard with them.

Season 1 Regular Voice Cast: William Shatner (Captain Kirk), Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock), DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy), James Doohan (Mr. Scott), George Takei (Lt. Sulu), Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), James Doohan (Lt. Arrex), Majel Barrett (Nurse Chapel)

Order the DVDswritten by Samuel A. Peeples
directed by Hal Sutherland
music by Yvette Blais & Jeff Michael

Guest Voice Cast: James Doohan (Alien Voice), James Doohan (Insectoid Captain), James Doohan (Transporter Chief)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Departure And Arrival

Moonbase 3After a psychologically unstable pilot’s condition is quietly ignored by the crew of Moonbase 3, he commits suicide during a spacewalk, leaving Dr. Ransome, the Moonbase administrator, with only minimal astronautics training to fly his shuttle. The shuttle is destroyed when Ransome tries to pull off a daring maneuver that any trained pilot would never have even considered. The incident places the future of Moonbase 3 – considered by Earthbound authorities to be a costly “extravagance” – in jeopardy.

Dr. David Caulder is appointed to succeed Ransome as the administrator in charge of Moonbase 3, and Michel Lebrun – who thought he was next in line for the job – prepares to resign in protest. Caulder seems affable enough and eager to learn about life on a permanent outpost on the moon, but just as the crew warms to him, he begins a no-nonsense investigation into Ransome’s death, catching them off guard. Blame is placed and fingers are pointed, and Caulder finally reads his verdict to the three ranking officials on Moonbase 3: he holds them all personally responsible for the deadly incident, and will personally escort all of them home to face formal charges. But after their shuttle lifts off from the Moonbase, it becomes clear that someone aboard has taken steps to ensure that its passengers – and Caulder’s damning report – will never reach Earth…

written by Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts
directed by Ken Hannam
music by Dudley Simpson

Cast: Donald Houston (David Caulder), Ralph Bates (Michel Lebrun), Fiona Gaunt (Helen Smith), Barry Lowe (Tom Hill), Madhav Sharma (Rao), Michael Lees (Ransome), Michael Wisher (Sanders), Jonathan Sweet (Walters), Peter Bathurst (Director General), Robert La Brassiere (Bill Jackson), Patsy Trench (Jenny), Mary Ann Severne (Sandy), Christine Bradwell (Ingrid), Victor Beaumont (Franz Hauser), Elma Soiron (Madame Carnac), Peter Miles (Dr. Laubenthal)

Notes: Moonbase 3 (the fictional setting) is controlled by the “European Community,” lending Moonbase 3 (the show) an unusual bit of foresight in predicting the European Union. Moonbases 1 and 2 are controlled by, respectively, the United States and Russia (though not the Soviet Union, a body which most assuredly did exist at the time of Moonbase 3’s production – score another point for foresight), and Moonbase 4 is controlled by China. The series came about when BBC bosses asked Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts – the then-script editor and producer of Jon Pertwee-era Doctor Who – if they’d like to do an original SF series of their own to air during Doctor Who’s “off-season.” Moonbase 3 was the result, though both Dicks and Letts have said that there are things they would change about the show if they were to do it again, not the least of which is the show’s grim tone (which, to be fair, seems to be present in a great many SF TV series in the early 1970s). Moonbase 3 was mounted as an international co-production produced by the BBC with financial backing from ABC and 20th Century Fox on the American end of things, but it didn’t make a splash in the ratings on either side of the Atlantic. Ironically, the fact that the series was shown in America is the only reason it still exists today: as with many BBC series made in the 1960s and early ’70s, including many a classic episode of Doctor Who, Moonbase 3 was “purged” from the BBC archives and was only recoverable by way of the American master tapes.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Voyage Of Discovery

The StarlostAfter returning from exile as punishment for sacrelige, Devon returns to the rustic farming community of which he is a member, still bitter that he will not be permitted to marry a woman named Rachel. Devon demands a second opinion, and so the town’s preacher asks the computer system – a device which gives him direct access to his Creator, and which he refuses to question or second-guess – and it once again declares Devon an unfit genetic match for Rachel, regardless of her feelings for him. Devon refuses to stop his attempts to interrupt the impending marriage of Rachel and Garth, and is cast out from his community again. But when Devon learns that the “voice of the Creator” is actually programmed by the preacher himself, a new decree is issue: Devon must be purged from the gene pool. He ventures into a remote cave with a torch-and-pitchfork-toting mob hot on his heels – and a metallic hatch closes behind him. Devon discovers himself in an enormous chamber filled with technology the likes of which he has never seen. He stumbles across a talking console which reveals to him the truth about this place: his village is part of an agrarian biosphere, one of many biospheres clustered together to form an enormous spacefaring vessel called Earthship Ark. Constructed between the Earth and the moon and launched after a catastrophe in the year 2285, Earthship Ark’s sealed biospheres contained a representative sampling of Earth’s flora, fauna and cultures, carrying them away from their dead homeworld and seeking a solar system around a class G star, capable of supporting life.

But Devon doesn’t even know what space is, the people in his biosphere dome having reverted to a more primitive way of life (and yet one that acknowledges the prefabricated boundaries of the world, computer equipment, and other anachronisms). The machine tells him that 100 years into Earthship Ark’s multi-generational flight, an unspecified accident occurred, and the command module containing the Ark’s bridge, from which its flight was guided, was damaged; the bridge has not been heard from in over 400 years. Devon returns to his village with this knowledge, but he is branded a heretic and is sentenced to be stoned to death. Garth breaks Devon out of his prison cell on the condition that Devon should leave and not come back, but instead, Devon does the one thing that he knows will reveal the truth to the rest of his neighbors: he takes Rachel through the hatch into the Ark’s infrastructure. Only Garth is brave enough to step through, and he does so armed with a crossbow, intending to bring Rachel back by force if necessary. The three of them make their way to the bridge, finding it littered with the skeletons of the Ark’s crew. And blazing through the enormous windows in the distance ahead, they see a class G star – suitable for settling the Ark’s precious cargo of life if it has habitable planets – but there’s just one problem: the Ark is locked on a collision course for that star…and no one left alive knows how to alter that course.

Season 1 Regular Cast: Keir Dullea (Devon), Gay Rowan (Rachel), Robin Ward (Garth)

Get this season on DVDwritten by Cordwainer Bird (pseudonym for Harlan Ellison) and Norman Klenman
directed by Harvey Hart
music by Score Productions Ltd.

Guest Cast: Sterling Hayden (Jeremiah), George Sperdakos (Jubal), Gillie Fenwick (Old Abraham), William Osler (The Computer), Sean Sullivan (Rachel’s Father), Aileen Seaton (Rachel’s Mother), Jim Barron (Garth’s Father), Kay Hawtrey (Garth’s Mother), Scott Fisher (Small Boy)

Notes: The concept for The Starlost was credited to series creator “Cordwainer Bird”, a well-known pseudonym for renowned SF writer Harlan Ellison, who frequently used this nom de plume to signal to his fan following that his writing had been tampered with by producers. (At one point Ellison campaigned to have his famous Star Trek script, City On The Edge Of Forever, credited to Cordwainer Bird, and claims that Gene Roddenberry threatened to smear his name in Hollywood if he did so; afterward, Ellison included contractual provisions to have his work credited to Cordwainer Bird, and he triggered that clause on The Starlost.) The producers at Canada’s CTV network obviously had the relatively-recent 2001: a space odyssey on the brain, as Keir Dullea (2001‘s David Bowman) and 2001 special effects maestro Douglas Trumbull both worked on The Starlost.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Joy Riders

Shazam!Young Billy Batson has been given a special power by the immortals: by speaking the word “Shazam!”, he can transform into Captain Marvel. But this is a last resort, as Billy himself is meant to be learning from both the immortals and Mentor as they travel across the country.

Billy and Mentor take note of a group of boys who are starting down a dangerous path, “harmlessly” borrowing cars for joyrides. One of the boys, Chuck, is less enthusiastic about joining his friends; he knows they’re doing something wrong. But when the peer pressure mounts, Chuck gives in and joins them, finding himself in enough trouble that it may take Captain Marvel to save them.

written by Len Janson & Chuck Menville
directed by Hollingsworth Morse
music by Horta-Mahana

Shazam!Cast: Michael Gray (Billy Batson), Les Tremayne (Mentor), Jackson Bostwick (Captain Marvel), Kerry MacLane (Chuck Wagner), Barry Miller (Mike), Ty Henderson (Kyle), Lee Joe Casey (Rich)

Notes: Ty Henderson would be cast as a series regular on a later Filmation live-action series, Space Academy. This is not the first filmed adaptation of Captain Marvel; the first was a 1941 theatrical serial released during the character’s WWII heyday, at a time when Fawcett Publications’ Captain Marvel comic book was routinely outselling Superman, published by rival National Comics (later to change names to Shazam!DC Comics). But that was also the year that National Comics sued Fawcett for copyright infrignement, a suit that was initially decided in Fawcett’s favor, but a 1951 appeal gave National Comics the upper hand. The two companies settled out of court, with Fawcett backing out of the comics business altogether. DC Comics licensed and revived Captain Marvel – quite probably for the sheer perversity of keeping a character named Captain Marvel out of the hands of its new rival, Marvel Comics – in 1972, keeping the character alive through what is now widely regarded as the Silver Age of comics. In 1980, DC put enough money on the table for Fawcett to hand over all rights to Captain Marvel and its other comics to DC in perpetuity.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Cha-Ka

Land Of The LostOn a rafting trip, the Marshall family is deposited into another world after a huge earthquake sends them over an uncharted waterfall. The presence of three moons in the night sky is their first clue that they’re no longer on Earth, and yet the jungle world is populated by dinosaurs straight out of Earth’s prehistoric age.

On the run from a tyrannosaurus rex, Will and Penny Marshall stop to help a chimp-like Paku named Cha-Ka. In his own flight from the T-rex, Cha-Ka has broken his leg. Will and Penny’s father, Rich Marshall, reluctantly allows them to offer shelter to their new friend. Cha-Ka is fascinated by the humans’ ability to create fire seemingly from nothing, and sneaks out of the Marshalls’ “home” cave with a lighter. The Marshalls follow him, only to find themselves at the mercy of the dreaded T-rex once more. But will Cha-Ka lead them to safety or sacrifice his new friends to make his own escape?

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by David Gerrold
directed by Dennis Steinmetz
music by Jimmie Haskell / theme music by Linda Laurie

Cast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall), Sharon Baird (Paku), Joe Giamalva (Paku), Philip Paley (Cha-Ka)

Notes: A fondly-remembered cornerstone of NBC’s Saturday morning children’s lineup for three years, Land Of The Lost is populated – at least behind the scenes – by veterans of the original Star Trek. David Gerrold wrote the pilot and numerous other Land Of The Lostinstallments, as well as script-editing the series (and, in interviews for the DVD release of the series, Gerrold says he was responsible for nailing down the series concepts into a coherent writers’ bible, although Allan Foshko and executive producers Sid and Marty Krofft are credited with creating the series). Art director Herman Zimmerman would be later be involved with Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and virtually all of the Star Trek feature films that were released during those two series’ run. Original series prop and monster-maker Wah Chang created the detailed animated dinosaur models, which were truly impressive for a television show in the early ’70s, and Michael Westmore – credited as “Mike” – handled the series’ creature makeup. Other Trek veterans crop up during the series’ run – see if you can spot them all!

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Escape From Tomorrow

Planet Of The ApesA human spacecraft launched in 1980 is captured in a time warp and thrown into the far future. It comes in for a landing on Earth again, over a millennium later in the year 3085; humanity has been reduced to frightened scavengers, with highly evolved apes as their overlords. Of the three crewmen aboard the vehicle, only astronauts Alan Virdon and Pete Burke survive, and they are moved to a place of safety by an old man named Farrow shortly before their ship is found by apes.

Virdon and Burke are captured and brought to trial before the apes’ high council, and while the apes’ leader, Dr. Zaius, believes they must be kept alive to learn the secrets of their technology. Urko, however, feels that the humans are a threat to the ape way of life and wants them executed now – and he demonstrates the use of a human-made grenade to make his point. But the humans’ scientific knowledge intrigues Zauis’ curious assistant, Galen. When he dares to speak on the humans’ behalf, Zaius silences him. Galen then learns that Urko is plotting to kill the humans regardless of Zaius’ wishes; when Galen goes to warn the humans, he winds up in a life-or-death struggle with one of Urko’s guards, and accidentally kills him. Galen is imprisoned, and is stunned when Virdon and Burke arrive to mount a jailbreak.

No longer welcome among his own kind, Galen tags along with the two humans as they try to get their ship ready for a relaunch. The arrival of Urko’s soldiers cuts the repairs short, and when Urko destroys the spaceship, Virdon and Burke are trapped in this time – with only Galen as their guide.

Season 1 Regular Cast: Roddy McDowall (Galen), Ron Harper (Alan Virdon), James Naughton (Pete Burke)

Order the DVDswritten by Art Wallace
directed by Don Weis
music by Lalo Schifrin

Guest Cast: Royal Dano (Farrow), Woodrow Parfrey (Veska), Mark Lenard (Urko), Booth Colman (Zaius), Biff Elliot (Ullman), Bobby Porter (Arno), Jerome Thor (Proto), William Beckley (Grundig), Alvin Hammer (Man)

Notes: Where the TV series fits into the continuity of the films is uncertain; Zaius mentions a previous visit from human astronauts “10 years ago,” an adventure in which the astronauts were killed, almost certainly referring to the original film. However, since Beneath The Planet Of The Apes takes place immediately after that film, and ends with the destruction of all life on Earth, there are two possibilities: the nuclear holocaust from which Cornelius and Zira escapes in Escape From The Planet Of The Apes may have been overstated, or, as strongly hinted in Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, history has been changed as a result of Cornelius and Zira going into the past. This latter theory is strongly reinforced by the fact that humans have the power of speech and the English language has survived. While that is likely dictated by production realities – the series would’ve been boring at best if Virdon and Burke were the only humans capable of speaking – it would seem to indicate that, while the incident with Taylor did happen, it took place in a parallel timeline in which humans had retained their intelligence; as Zaius later says that the last human visitors didn’t live long enough for him to learn their names, it would seem that Taylor’s visit unfolded even more violently than chronicled in the first movie, again suggesting an alternate timeline.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

S.O.S. Earth: Revive Space Battleship Yamato

Star Blazers2199 A.D.: At the end of the 22nd century, planet Earth has been laid to waste by decades of radioactive planet bombs launched by the all-conquering Gamilons. The surviving human population has resorted to elaborate underground cities to survive, but the radiation will soon reach a point beyond which the surface of the Earth cannot protect them. All life on Earth is doomed.

Captain Avatar, one of the Earth Defense Force’s most seasoned leaders, commands a futile action against Gamilon forces which have now gained a solid foothold in Earth’s solar system on Pluto. The battle quickly turns against the human warriors, and with only two ships left of the fleet he led to Pluto, Avatar orders a retreat. The captain of the other ship, Alex Wildstar, disobeys direct orders and covers Avatar’s retreat – at the cost of his own life. Only Avatar and his surviving crew escape the slaughter, and the Gamilon presence in the solar system is left unchecked.

Meanwhile on Mars, Cadets Mark Venture and Derek Wildstar – Alex’s younger brother – discover the remains of a crashed spacecraft, neither of Earth or Gamilon origin. The sole occupant, a beautiful young woman, died in the ship’s violent landing, protecting a message capsule to the last. Wildstar and Venture are picked up by Avatar’s returning battleship, bringing the mysterious capsule with them.

Once decoded, the capsule turns out to be a message from Queen Starsha of the distant but peaceful planet Iscandar. Starsha offers a solution to Earth’s imminent doom in the form of Cosmo DNA, which can only be obtained on her world. The message also includes complete instructions for building a new propulsion system which will make the journey, spanning hundreds of thousands of light years, possible within one year.

Wildstar and Venture are summoned to a city constructed beneath what was once an ocean floor. Lodged in the surface above them lies the great World War II battleship Yamato, which is secretly being refitted into an advanced, one-of-a-kind starship using Starsha’s wave motion engine designs. To their surprise, the cadets have been hand-picked to join the command crew of the new vessel – which is to be commanded by Captain Avatar, whom Wildstar blames for Alex’s death.

But before the mighty Yamato can be rechristened Argo and launched on the last desperate mission to save the human race, the Gamilons launch an attack to destroy the ship on the ground – unless the ship’s new crew can pull together quickly and repel the assault.

Order the DVDswritten by Keisuke Fujikawa & Eiichi Yamamoto
directed by Leiji Matsumoto
music by Hiroshi Miyagawa

Season 1 Voice Cast: Kenneth Meseroll (Derek Wildstar), Tom Tweedy (Mark Venture), Amy Howard (Nova), Eddie Allen (Leader Desslok), Lydia Leeds (Starsha), other actors unknown

LogBook entry by Earl Green

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