Template:Infobox Film Radar Men from the Moon (Republic Pictures, 1952) was the first Commando Cody serial, in 12 chapters, starring newcomer George Wallace (1917-2005) as Cody and Aline Towne as his sidekick Joan Gilbert, with serial veteran Roy Barcroft as the evil Retik, the Ruler of the Moon. The director was Fred C. Brannon, with a screenplay by Ronald Davidson and special effects by the Lydecker brothers.
Story and production Edit
This famous serial recycles the rocket-powered flying suit from King of the Rocket Men (1949). The main character, Commando Cody, is a civilian researcher with a sizable staff of employees and a large laboratory building. (The building is actually the front office of Republic Pictures with a "Cody Laboratories" sign attached next to the door.) Cody's strange title "Commando" is never explained.
Commando Cody has available for his use the rocket-powered flying suit (described in dialog as an "atomic-powered rocket suit" in the previous but unrelated serial in which it was used, King of the Rocket Men) and a rocket ship capable of reaching the moon. Suddenly the U.S. finds itself under attack as a mysterious something wipes out military bases and industrial complexes. Cody deduces somehow that the earth faces a menace from our own moon, and rockets there to discover and confront the moon's dictator Retik, who boldly announces plans to conquer our planet and move his subjects there. However, there is a singular lack of science-fictional derring-do in the episodes. Many of the cars are old enough to have completely vertical uncurved windshields, and Cody spends most of his time fist-fighting on Earth with an elusive lunar native, Krog, and the gang of crooks he has hired to steal and stockpile supplies for the invasion, and to continue to create strategic damage with a truck-mounted raygun. Watch for Clayton Moore as Krog's chief earthling assistant. Stock footage from earlier Republic Studios serials, all the way from The Purple Monster Strikes (1945) to King of the Rocket Men, is used extensively. Virtually nothing really happens until the final confrontation with Retik in Chapter 12, and anyone who remembered The Purple Monster Strikes from seven years before had already seen all of that confrontation!
Republic reused the rocket-powered flying suit in Zombies of the Stratosphere (also from 1952), in which the hero was called Larry Martin, and played by the serial Captain Video, Judd Holdren, but who had available Aline Towne and all the other pseudoscientific equipment and facilities previously used by Cody. Holdren went on to star as Cody in Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe (1953).
Filming on Radar Men from the Moon took place between 17 October and 6 November 1951. This serial was budgeted at $172,840 but finished production with a cost of $185,702 (making it $12,862, or 7.4%, overbudget).
This was the most expensive serial Republic produced in 1951, although Zombies of the Stratosphere was the only other produced that year. Republic's serial releases were padded out with re-issues of older material. In terms of cost per chapter, this is the second most expensive of Republic's sixty-six serials (seventh most expensive in terms of overall cost). 
In 1989, the serial regained notoriety as the first shorts used by the cult classic Mystery Science Theater 3000. The first nine chapters of the serial were lampooned before the main feature of the week. In the middle of the ninth chapter, the film was cut off in the middle, which was explained away as technical difficulties, when in reality the show only needed half a chapter for filler that week.Template:Fact
Cast list Edit
- George Wallace as Commando Cody
- Aline Towne as Joan Gilbert
- Roy Barcroft as Retik, Ruler of the Moon
- William Bakewell as Ted Richards
- Clayton Moore as Graber
- Peter Brocco as Krog
- Bob Stevenson as Daly
Chapter titles Edit
- "Moon Rocket"
- "Molten Terror"
- "Bridge of Death"
- "Flight of Destruction"
- "Murder Car"
- "Hills of Death"
- "Camouflaged Destruction"
- "The Enemy Planet"
- "Battle in the Stratosphere"
- "Mass Execution"
- "Planned Pursuit"
- "Death of the Moon Man"
See also Edit
- Science Fiction Serials by Roy Kinnard (McFarland, NC, 1998). ISBN 0-7864-0545-7.
- Template:Imdb title
- Roaring Rockets Serial Pages
- "Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe" TV series
- Summary of Casts and Credits for the Republic "Rocketman" Films
- Another very complete list of casts and credits for the "Rocketman" films
- Interview with George Wallace
- Nostalgia League article on the "Rocketman" serials
- Gary Johnson, "The Serials"
Download or view onlineEdit
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