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Captain Z-Ro

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: TV.

US tv series (1955-1956). Captain Z-Ro Productions/Atlas Television Productions. Syndicated. Created by Roy Steffens and Friedrich Schiller. Produced by Kathleen K Rawlings. Directed by David A Butler. Writers included Edward F Dolan Jr and Bob Keith. Cast includes Jack Cahill, Bruce Haynes, Roy Steffens and Bob Turnbull. 26 30-minute episodes. Black and white.

Set presumably in the present day of the mid-1950s, this series features Scientist Captain Z-Ro (Steffens) and youthful companions Tetro (Cahill) and Jet (Haynes, then Turnbull) working from a secret laboratory base. Using a Time Viewer device, Z-Ro – pronounced "zero" – would identify potential problems in the timeline and set off via Time Travel to correct them, making sure history unfolds as it has been recorded (see Time Police). The team's Time Machine seems able to travel in both time and space, although all the adventures take place on Earth in the past. Historical figures encountered include US frontiersman Daniel Boone, Christopher Columbus, Magellan and Marco Polo. A Robot called Roger occasionally accompanies the crew.

Originally produced as a local juvenile series in fifteen-minute instalments for KRON-TV in the San Francisco, California, area from 1951 to 1953, Captain Z-Ro's running time was expanded to 30 minutes in 1955 when it was nationally syndicated. This was one of the first efforts to use sf on Television in an educational fashion; it can be seen as a forerunner of both Doctor Who (1963-current), and Voyagers (1982-1983). The programme was believed lost for many years; its creator Steffens made it available in the late 2000s from film prints he had saved over the years for the home video market. [GSt]


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