The Rocky Jones Space
Ranger Collection (Passport)
Sound: C Extras: B Episodes: B-
Rocky Jones, Space Ranger was a
space opera TV series for children that arrived in 1954 and lasted 39
episodes. Passport has found 16 of them
and put them together in The Rocky Jones Space Ranger Collection on 5
DVDs. The longtime actor Richard Crane
played the title character, called on when interplanetary crisis loomed. He was already a lead on Gang Busters
when he took this show on too. Ten feature
films of Rocky Jones were even cut from these shows, but the 16 original
episodes here are, all in three parts except for title #5:
Silver Needle In The Sky aka Duel
Bobby’s Comet aka Menace from Outer
The Forbidden Moon (three
Kip’s Private War
Rocky’s Odyssey aka Gypsy Moon
Hollingsworth Moore directed all 16 shows here and all 39
in the series. One of the highlights of
the show besides unexpected camp and the amusingly dated situations, technology
and dialogue are the launch sequences.
They involve the “exciting” revving up of the ship, which is a sound
effect that begins very slowly, then takes a few minutes to speed up. Finally, without an enumerated countdown,
they are off!
That is amusing and fun, as is the show, so you might want
to catch it if you have never seen it and this set offers a better sampling
than just the usual single cheap DVD with no extras.
The 1.33 X 1 image on the episodes, bonus Flash Gordon
TV show from the early 1950s and feature film Missile To The Moon (1958)
are all average, though Missile To The Moon has the best print and looks
the best. If only its print were
clearer, it would have rated higher, but was nicely shot under the low budget
circumstances by cinematographer Meredith M. Nicholson, who followed with the
camp classic Frankenstein’s Daughter (also 1958, reviewed elsewhere on
this site) and theatrical film The Amazing Transparent Man (1960) before
becoming a top cinematographer on filmed TV hits like My Three Sons, The
Fugitive, Get Smart, Batman, The Invaders, M*A*S*H
and Get Christie Love. The Century
Of Sci-Fi: Sci-Fi Heroes segment originated in analog NTSC video and
has various picture quality throughout.
All are Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono of varying average quality throughout.
Extras include that Sci-Fi Heroes segment
that mixes a new voice over and footage with Christopher Lee footage, though
the whole program is on DVD, reviewed elsewhere on this site. The Subworld Revenge is the episode
of Flash Gordon offered, but it is an awful print not unlike that found
on Passport’s Flash Gordon Collection, also on this site. We have seen much better copies, like the
pilot show in the discontinued Radio Spirits DVD that also offered the radio
drama version with Gale Gordon as Flash.
That leaves the amusing, old, cheesy Missile To The Moon, an
independently produced 1958 space tale about a crew (four men, one woman) that
jets to another planet and finds men starved female aliens, a few of which look
more like cross-dressers. No crying
game here, but it is amusing and only 78 minutes is not too bad.
- Nicholas Sheffo