Lost Planet, The

Tagged: Film | TV | Radio

1. Serial Film (1953; vt Planet Men). Columbia. Directed by Spencer G Bennet. Written by George H Plympton, Arthur Hoerl. Cast includes Michael Fox, Judd Holdren, Vivian Mason, Gene Roth, Forrest Taylor and Ted Thorpe. 15 instalments. Black and white.

This Children's SF series – Hollywood's last sf serial – pits investigative reporter Rex Barrow (Holdren) against Mad Scientist Dr Grood (Fox) and planetary dictator Reckov (Roth), who plans an attempted alien Invasion of Earth. There is also a Robot. Individual "chapters" are given titles like "Blasted by the Thermic Disintegrator", "The Mind Control Machine" and "Snared by the Prysmic Catapult"; dialogue includes such memorable lines as "How are we going to find it, it's the Lost Planet." This serial is in effect a sequel to Captain Video, with several props and sets retained but the names changed: the actors playing Barrow the hero and Reckov the villain were formerly Captain Video himself and planetary dictator Vultura. While Grood is Scientist enough to cross space in a form of Spaceship, Barrow and his chums somehow reach the lost planet of Ergro in a light aeroplane. [DRL/PN/JB]

2. BBC Radio Children's Hour serialization (1953).

3. UK tv serial (1954). BBC TV. Produced by Kevin Sheldon. Script by Angus MacVicar, based on his The Lost Planet (1953). Cast includes Peter Kerr, Mary Law and Jack Stewart. Six 25-minute episodes. Black and white.

This was one of the first sf-related BBC TV serials for children; previously it had been a very popular Radio serial. An atomic-powered spacecraft takes a group, including one child, to the lost planet of Hesikos. A sequel, Return to the Lost Planet, based on MacVicar's Return to the Lost Planet (1954), was produced the following year. A later sf Television serial produced by Sheldon was Space School (1956). [PN/JB]

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