Tuesday, 14 February 2012


Before it was a cheesy TV series.. BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY was a cheesy movie!

This is a full-page advert from Marvel UK's SPIDER-MAN 335 (8 August 1979) plugging its 26 July 1979 release (so, if the weekly went on sale on 1 August, cover dates being one week ahead of sale date, the film was already out!).

The movie, which is now pretty hard to find in this, rather than its TV, form, started life as a TV project (indeed STARLOG magazine had already reported on previous attempts to revive the classic comic strip character (created in 1928 by Philip Francis Nowlan) before producer Glen (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) Larson was let loose and allowed, once again (see also his pilot for THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN), to indulge his JAMES BOND obsessions.

Unlike BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, which became a movie project after it was already shot for TV (despite being released in Canada ahead of its US TV debut), Universal decided early on to make Buck a feature film project, albeit produced by Universal's TV people and on a less-than-full-feature-film budget (Larson later said in interviews that, if he'd have had the money, he'd have cast Burt Reynolds in the title role).  That said, it seems certain that the deal with NBC was signed-sealed-and delivered when the contracts were signed, giving the movie its TV debut the same year, immediately followed by the weekly series.

The two edits are basically the same although the TV version contains several scenes specifically designed to introduce the format of the weekly series.  A fan-made edit attempts to combine scenes from both versions to make the most comprehensive edit available.

The war-ravaged Old Chicago sequence, amongst the best in the film, was shot on MGM's near-derelict backlot shortly before it was finally sold and demolished to make way for real estate.  

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