Space Patrol

Missions of Daring in the Name of Early Television


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About the Book

Before Star Trek, there was Space Patrol. Science fiction television has its roots in this live, action-packed series that captured the imagination of Americans from 1950 to 1955, when space travel was just a dream. This book explores the freewheeling spirit of live TV, where anything could go wrong before millions of viewers—and often did. It spotlights (often in personal interviews) the risk-taking Space Patrol cast and crew who laid vital groundwork for television today. Included are episode logs for both television and radio shows as well as a complete guide to Space Patrol memorabilia.

About the Author(s)

Jean-Noel Bassior is a journalist based in Los Angeles. She has written for Redbook, McCall’s, Parade, AARP The Magazine, Woman’s World and many other publications, and her work has been syndicated worldwide.

Bibliographic Details

Jean-Noel Bassior

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 448
Bibliographic Info: 218 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2005]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6900-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9171-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Preface      1

1. Countdown      5
2. Blast-Off      16
3. Up Ship and Away! Launching the Show in Los Angeles      31
4. The Right Stuff      63
5. Stardrive: Going Network      76
6. Norman Jolley: The Soul of Space Patrol      107
7. In Search of Heroes      121
8. Houston, We’ve Got a Problem      141
9. Hap      172
10. Hey, Kids!      191
11. Robbie      206
12. On the Beam: Lou Huston and the Radio Shows      213
13. Dick Darley: Making It Real      226
14. “That’s My Cadet!”      235
15. Bela      245
16. The Search for the Ralston Rocket      252
17. Landing      279
18. Spaceman’s Luck      286
19. Actors and Archetypes      301
20. Carol and Tonga: The Women of the Space Patrol      304
21. A Mission of Daring      327
22. Where Have All the Heroes Gone?      334

1: Cadet Handzo’s Guide to Space Patrol Merchandising      359
2: Space Patrol Television Episode Guide: Network Shows
3: Major Chuck’s Space Patrol Radio Episode Log      405
4: The Ships and Miniature Sets of Space Patrol      418

Bibliography      431
Index      437

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “brings new life to a magical and long-vanished era of televised sf…a valuable analysis of a nearly lost part of our cultural heritage”—Booklist
  • “long-overdue…one of the most comprehensive studies of a television show…most remarkable…excellent…very interesting…highly recommended”—Classic Images
  • “the author has compiled a pretty exhaustive history of that program”—Critical Mass
  • “very welcome”—Roaring Rockets
  • “a loving look back”—Communication Booknotes Quarterly
  • “It’s finally here! The book we’ve all been waiting for! And was it ever worth the wait!. It’s all here in more detail than we had any right to expect or even think possible…Bassior probes the memories and—more tellingly—the emotions of all her subjects in such unexpected detail that one is tempted to say she has captured and frozen, not just Space Patrol, but an entire slice of the 1950s for all of time…too fascinating to put down”—
  • “involving in-depth coverage”—Midwest Book Review
  • “a beautiful and inspirational glimpse into a world that cannot be recaptured…a comprehensive look at a slice of mid–20th century American life, thought and culture that will be cherished for decades…a major accomplishment”—James J.J. Wilson, Managing Editor, Filmfax magazine
  • “I was just out of school at the Pasadena Playhouse, knocking on agency doors by day and working in an ice cream parlor by night. Here were these Space Patrol actors. Working. I was so jealous. Not only did they have jobs which they seemed to enjoy, but the stories led them into fantastic adventures where the imagination could roam free. Groundbreaking!”—Leonard Nimoy
  • “This is your old friend “Captain” Jack Narz inviting you to turn the pages of this book and relive the heart-stopping adventures of the Space Patrol crew and the real heart-stopping adventure of putting on a live TV show. In my forty-plus years of television, being a part of Space Patrol was a once in a lifetime experience never to be equaled—and Bassior captures it all. Fascinating!”—Jack Narz
  • “These stories of the early productions on live television are wonderful. What an amazing time!”—Bradford Macneil, Director of Education & Public Programming, Pasadena Museum of History