Roaring Rockets: Space Notice Board

The 2005 Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention

30th Friends of Old-time Radio Convention

October 20 – 23, 2005 Holiday Inn – North, Newark NJ

Frankie Thomas and Al Markim will perform in a recreation of a Tom Corbett Space Cadet radio broadcast.

West Coast Guests

Shirley Bell – Little Orphan Annie

Jimmy Lydon – Let’s Pretend; Young Love

Bob Mott – Sound Effects Artist; author

Noel Neill – Singer; actress (Lois Lane in 2 Superman Serials (1948, 1950) and TV 1953-1957

Dave Parker – The Lone Ranger

Jon Provost – (TV) Lassie

Frank Thomas – Tom Corbett

Darlene Tompkins – (Movie; Blue Hawaii)

Beverly Washburn – (Jack Benny); TV (Star Trek)

Peggy Webber – Dragnet, Mystery in the Air

New East Coast Guests

Al Markim – Tom Corbett

Larry Storch – Comedian (TV) F Troop


Fred Foy – (Announcer) The Lone Ranger

Joe Franklin – Joe Franklin Show in New York

Will Hutchins – (TV) Blondie; Sugarfoot

Soupy Sales – TV personality

Margot Stevenson – The Shadow


The Williamsburg Film Festival
“Honoring the Golden Age of Hollywood”

Williamsburg Film Festival for 2006
Dates: March 8-11, 2006
(Activities begin at 2 pm on Wednesday)

Holiday Inn – Patriot Convention Center
3032 Richmond Road
Williamsburg, Virginia 23185

Special guests for 2006 include Frankie Thomas (Tom Corbett, Tim Tyler) and Jan Merlin (Roger Manning). The feature of the festival will be the live performance of an original SPACE CADET radio script by Jan Merlin, “Project Enigma.” Other guest stars include James Best, Ben Cooper, Beverly Garland, Will Hutchins, Dick Jones, Jimmy Lydon, Mala Powers, Ann Rutherford, William Smith, and Peggy Stewart.

Check the Williamsburg Festival site for details and further information.

FILMFAX (April – June 2004)


This 140-page issue of the quarterly FILMFAX contains a great deal of material related directly or indirectly to TOM CORBETT, SPACE CADET. First off is an autobiography of Frankie Thomas “as told to” Chuck Lassen. This material first appeared on Chuck’s now-defunct website SPACE ACADEMY SOUTH. Next up is an article by Frankie on TOM CORBETT, which first appeared in STARLOG about 20 years ago. Next is an extract from THE SPACESHIP HANDBOOK, a section by Jon Rogers on the space ships of the Solar Guard.

Next up is an interview with Jan Merlin, which covers his entire career. I am guessing that this interview was done recently, perhaps at the Williamsburg Film Festival in 2003, although it covers some of the same ground as earlier interviews published in various places, including STARLOG. Then there is a greatly expanded version of a previously-published article by Chuck Lassen on space toys of the 1950s. Completely buried at the very end of Chuck’s article (p. 124) is a box containing links to the Solar Guard and Roaring Rockets websites, as well as two other, essentially defunct sites.

All the articles are well-illustrated with many photos, some of which are pretty rare.

And that’s what you get, for a news-stand price of $9.95. Worth it? Browse through the issue on the news-stand and decide for yourself.


For his birthday celebration last week (this is being written on April 15, 2004), Frankie Thomas received a model of his old, trusty nuclear-powered rocket cruiser Polaris. Here’s a view of the model (signed by who, Jan Merlin, who took the photos, didn’t tell us), and of Frankie just after unwrapping the model, as Jan looks on.


Issue 105 (March 2004) of VIDEO WATCHDOG has a long article (pages 24 -41, with many photos) devoted to JAN MERLIN’s role in the John Houston film THE LIST OF ADRIAN MESSENGER, and incorporates a long interview with Jan concerning his arduous role in the film. While he played one of the main characters, the killer, and had a great deal of screen time, he was unbilled in the credits. Furthermore, a number of famous actors billed as playing cameo roles in disguise did not in fact appear in the film at all! It’s a complex and fantastic story, and this is the first time it has ever been told in full.

You’ll find this issue currently (March, 2004) on the racks. VIDEO WATCHDOG is carried by Tower Records and independent video stores, by all large news-stands and by most large bookstores that carry current magazines.

SPACE INTERVIEWS James L. Caddigan was the program director of DuMont, and the father of CAPTAIN VIDEO. Here his son James L. Caddigan, Jr. remembers those heroic days of early live TV for us. What happened to James Caddigan after DuMont? His daughter Ellen fills in the blanks for us.

Larry Menkin was a producer, director, writer and actor in early live TV, and created CAPTAIN VIDEO for Caddigan. His sons Michael and Kit remember their father’s achievements.

Charles Polacheck has had a long and distinguished career as producer and director of live TV programs. He was CAPTAIN VIDEO’s first producer and director, and went on to fascinating and pioneering work with televised opera, classical concerts… and soap operas! Share his exploits, first hand.

Harry Persanis was still in high school when he helped to create and film the special effects sequences for CAPTAIN VIDEO. Talk about a dream job! Share his memories, and the inside story of the Galaxy II.

Irving Robbin worked as music director for many Golden-Age live TV shows, including CAPTAIN VIDEO and TALES OF TOMORROW, and later went on to a distinguished career as a composer for television, films and the concert stage. He was a close friend of and collaborator with Larry Menkin. Share his vivid first-hand memories.

Calling all Space Cadets, Video Rangers, Space Patrollers or Space Rangers!

Calling all Space Cadets, Video Rangers, Space Patrollers or Space Rangers! Mike Elmo is currently producing a beautiful line of T-shirts and sweat shirts with professionally embroidered chest patches and detailing. Send Mike an email for prices and ordering information. Also ask him about Space Ranger and Space Cadet jackets! This is a labor of love for Mike, not a money-making proposition– the number of shirts, sweaters, and jackets that can be made is very limited, so act soon!

CAPTAIN VIDEO ROLL CALL!Did you or a friend or family member participate in any way on the “Captain Video and His Video Rangers” program? Or do you own any original Captain Video props?

June 27, 1999 marks the Golden Anniversary of the first Captain Video broadcast to America’s spanking-new television screens. The series is fondly remembered by many to this day, though unfortunately few programs have been preserved. Therefore it is our desire to record whatever recollections may remain. The title role was created by Richard Coogan, and then continued for the duration by Al Hodge. Don Hastings played the Video Ranger. Over the series’ six-year life, there were a huge number of regular and guest cast members; there were more than four directors; and, we would love to hear from anyone who was associated with the program in any way: cast, studio crew, DuMont staff… as well as from any of their relatives or friends with memories to share!