Monday, 22 July 2013

1979: BUCK ROGERS in FAMOUS MONSTERS (Warren Magazines)

Last week, I posted the lengthy DOCTOR WHO feature from FAMOUS MONSTERS 155 (July 1979).  That very same issue also featured an article on the BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY feature film/ TV pilot which I've posted below.

It's written in FM's usual unique style and doesn't shed much light on the production (is it any wonder that the likes of STARLOG were nipping at FM's heels) but is notable for the pic of Draconia's King Draco, a character largely snipped from both edits of the final movie... and never seen again in the subsequent series.  He was obviously due to feature more prominently as he turns up in various pieces of print merchandise and even had action figure in the short-lived Mego toy line.


  1. The second season of Buck Rogers always seems to get a bad name but I couldn't see anything wrong with it. My father couldn't stand Wilfred Hyde White but I quite liked him and Hawk.

    1. The second season - much like the first truth-be-told - is very much a mixed bag. Overall I think the changes are badly executed but there are the seeds of a few good ideas buried in there. I actually think the double-length opener, TIME OF THE HAWK, is one of the strongest entries in either season but the rest of the run never manages to keep the momentum. I remember, when it first appeared on ITV, thinking that the Searcher and Crichton looked a bit familiar. I think the ship first appeared, albeit looking a little different, in CRUISE SHIP TO THE STARS whilst the annoying robot had previously been a piece of equipment in - possibly - THE OLYMPIAD.

      I think the BUCK sticker album appeared during the British run of season two and I remember - with friends - scouring the text to see if any of the second season characters were mentioned (they weren't, of course, as the set is adapted from the pilot and first season).

      The second season episode where (from memory) Buck is placed on trial for the holocaust is a good one. Rewatching the would-be-rapist little people episode made for slightly uncomfortable viewing but (and I think its the same show) the damaged Crichton -and Twiki's offer to help - had somehow firmly lodged in my mind from the first UK outing.

      Overall, season two is a case of "be careful what you wish for": GG apparently spent most of the first season lambasting (including in that infamous STARLOG interview) the writing of the show and writing staff. Those that didn't quit appear to have been sacked during the hiatus (extended because of a Hollywood strike) and the retooled year two was much close to the 'serious' tone he wanted. Whoops

  2. Apparently Erin Grey thought her role of Wilma had been downplayed too much. It's a wonder there was no Marvel comic of Buck as they seemed to have the licence for everything around this time, I remember buying US Marvels of Tarzan, John Carter, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Rom and so on.

    1. My hunch is they would have snaffled-up the license if it had been available. Gold Key had published a single BUCK comic in the sixties and that seemed to be good enough to see them continue the license with an adaptation of the TV show (that first issue is included in the recently published hardback I posted about a while ago... and also, for no good reason, turned up in one of the hardback British TV tie-in annuals). Marvel already had a relationship with Universal thanks to BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and that comic book had sold very well (although - once the show was off-air - it floundered fast). Marvel were also obviously keen to snap-up as many movie tie-ins as possible (a trend that continued way into the eighties with the SUPER SPECIALS) presumably in the hopes that one (ANNIE?) would be the next STAR WARS or - at the very least - lock out the competition.

      The Treasury Edition of the BUCK movie adaptation was a Gold Key production... but appeared with a Marvel logo and Spider-man head on the cover. Presumably that was the result of some sort of distribution tie-up between the two.

      As an aside, contemporary fanzine coverage reported that Marvel were actively planning a monthly JAMES BOND comic (they had to settle for adapting two of the eighties movies) and - of all things - an American BENNY HILL comic (not to be confused with the LOOK-IN one-page strip). Both proposals were eventually nixed by Eon and Thames TV respectively. I have no idea if any work was actually completed before plans were abandoned.


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