US tv series (1955; vt Commando Cody). Republic Studios/Hollywood Television Service for NBC TV. Produced by Mel Tucker, Franklyn Adreon, directed by Fred Bannon, Harry Keller. Written by Ronald Davidson, Barry Shipman. Cast includes Judd Holdren and Aline Towne. Twelve 25-minute episodes shown weekly. Black and white.
Despite the title, the hero of this short-lived children's Television series was more likely to be found riding in a four-door sedan than travelling around the Universe. A cross between the Lone Ranger and Captain Midnight – his crime-fighting rival on CBS – Cody (Holdren) wore a costume that looked as if its previous owner had been in the German High Command and a mask whose function was unclear. This characters and his sidekick Joan Gilbert (Towne) had previously appeared in the Republic Studios Serial Film Radar Men from the Moon (1952; 12 episodes), in which Cody was played by George Wallace. Equipped with several secret laboratories, a Spaceship and an ordinary revolver, Cody fought conventional gangsters and, occasionally, the Ruler, an evil genius from outer space. Unsurprisingly reminiscent of the absurdities of the movie serials, Commando Cody was more entertaining than the slicker Captain Midnight (1954-1956; vt Jet Jackson, Flying Commando).
The earlier twelve-episode Republic Pictures Serial Film incarnation, Commando Cody – Sky Marshal of the Universe (1953), also starring Holdren, was in fact identical to this television series. Although the production was intended all along for television, difficulties with union contracts meant that the episodes first had to be shown in movie theatres before they could be televised. [JB/PN/GW]
see also: Zombies of the Stratosphere.
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