Welcome to the Rocketpage©,
dedicated to Republic Pictures' trio of high-flying heroes;
Rocketman, Commando Cody and Larry Martin.
Appearing in three serials, a television show and re-edited
features, the character marked the last decent offering by the
studio as increasing production costs and the influence of television
on movie patrons brought the serial era to an end. The Rocketpage©
offers character background, photos and other rocket-trivia.
Return now to the days when good guys never lost their fedoras
and bad guys smoked unfiltered cigarettes.
Warning: The Surgeon General
has determined that prolonged exposure to this web-site may result in
chronic feelings of nostalgia. Please visit responsibly.
Thirty Second Doom Featured On New Jersey Television!
Those of us who yearn for the days when classic cliffhangers were shown in weekly, thrill-packed installments, need look no further than WBMA TV in New Jersey. One valiant shield bearer still holds high the serial banner; Television Host Jack Pignatello!
Each Saturday evening at 5:00 PM Pacific, 8:00 PM Eastern, Jack's Saturday Night At The Movies program delivers a variety of vintage, sometimes obscure films ranging from classic noir and forgotten horror to fifties classics like, House On Haunted Hill. The show's relaxed feel gives the viewer the impression of sitting in Mr. Pignatello's living room while being regaled with interesting bits of trivia regarding the evening's feature. Jack even does a verbal recap of each serial episode before cueing up the current week's chapter.
Rocketmania was thrilled when recently contacted by J.P. regarding progress on our original serial project, Thirty Second Doom. Jack offered to broadcast our just-completed second chapter, Tractor of Doom, along with a telephone interview and behind-the-scenes footage from Doom. The episode aired on Saturday, September 11th, 2010.
What? You say you're nowhere near the Jersey area? Not a problem, as Saturday Night At The Movies streams via the Internet at: www.wbmatv.com. Click in and enjoy an evening steeped in nostalgia! While you're there, break off an e-mail and let Jack know you dig the show. Ungawa!
|WBMA Host Jack Pignatello
The Cartoon Adventures of Major Mars
At Sikotronic, the motto is simple; "Moving inanimate objects for laughs since 2005". The brainchild of brothers Joe Sikoryak, Creative Director, Steve Sikoryak, Chief Creative Officer and R. Sikoryak, Creative Consultant, Sikotronic produces original animation projects. In the case of their latest effort, The Cartoon Adventures of Major Mars, the penchant is for nostalgia.
"The Cartoon Adventures of Major Mars" is an action-packed parody of 1940s adventure serials rendered as an homage to 1960s Saturday-morning cartoons. Major Mars ("...whose middle names are Danger...Disaster...and Catastrophe!") battles Dr. XYZ ('The Last Name in Evil') in a more innocent time of comic entertainment and sugar-coated cereals. It's all wrapped up as a tribute to Bob Burns!".
The three talented brothers (who, apparently, play well together) based their 20 minute animated feature on Mr. Burns' legendary short film, "The Further Adventures of Major Mars". (If you haven't had the opportunity to see this hilarious homage to classic sci-fi serials, take heart; the word is Bob plans to release it on DVD!) The cartoon was created as a tribute to Bob and the boys made a special presentation on the occasion of Mr. Burns' birthday. Needless to say, he was completely blown away!
"The Cartoon Adventures of Major Mars" made it's world debut at this year's Wonderfest convention on July 20, 2008, where an enthusiastic crowd lavished rave reviews on the film! For further information, strap on your rocket pack and jet over to: www.sikotronic.com. Tell 'em Rocketmania sent ya!
Upcoming Screenings of Our Serial!
Ungawa! The good news keeps on coming! Rocketmania has just learned that our retro sci-fi serial, Thirty Second Doom", is scheduled to be screened at Wonderfest 2008. Our long-distance friend, legendary movie prop and memorabilia collector Bob Burns has agreed to arrange for the screening at this year's Uber-convention, which takes place on July 19th and 20th in Louisville, Kentucky. And you thought they only made baseball bats! Wonderfest is the premiere event for sci-fi, horror & scale modeling fans in the country. To learn more, check out: The 2008 Wonderfest Convention
We were also fortunate enough to be included in this year's screenings at Serialfest 2008. The annual event, a celebration of classic cliffhangers, takes place in Newtown, PA, and runs May 15, 16,and 17. For more details, visit: The Serial Squadron
Finally, we were thrilled to receive accolades from one of America's premiere TV horror hosts, Dr. Gangrene. The good Doctor, aka Larry Underwood, began his broadcast back in 1999, and currently hosts a two hour show, "The WB58 Creature Feature with Dr. Gangrene", which airs Saturday nights at 1 AM. in Nashville, Tennessee.
After viewing clips from "Doom", our favorite medicine man reported that the film officially, "kicks ass!" and said he would show it in a heartbeat. Details have still to be worked out but, with any luck, we may earn a spot on the show. We encourage all visitors to make an appointment with Dr. Gangrene at: Creature Feature with Dr. Gangrene.
Thirty Second Doom on YouTube
Well, we never though it would happen, but Chapter One: Terminal Dive, the first of four episodes in our retro sci-fi serial, Thirty Second Doom is finally complete. The latest clips are now posted on YouTube and can be seen here: Thirty Second Doom: Chapter One
Check them out and let us know what you think by posting a comment on our channel!
Building A Replica Flying Suit
A new article with images has been posted on: The Replicas Page. It's an overview of my four year flying suit project. Witness the awe and mystery of a fledgling mad scientist!
Custom Character Figures by Tim Faurote
Custom figure builder Tim Faurote recently submitted these outstanding pix, which feature just a few of his 1/6 scale creations. Using a variety of materials, he's built a very impressive collection.
Explains Tim, "The Rocketeer helmet is scratch built from a hard plastic gumball machine container. I cut an 1/8 inch wide strip out of the middle and glued it back together with the fin in between, cut out eye holes and the “grill”. The rest is polystyrene tubing and lenses from a pair of cheap sunglasses.
The rocket pack was an Easter egg, part of a toy telescope and polystyrene trim, balsa wood and elastic".
"I have made 80+ figures so far, the usual Marvel and DC characters, but my favorites are pulp and pulp-like characters... Doc Savage, The Shadow, The Spider, Flash Gordon, and on and on."
For more info, e-mail Tim Faurote.
The Ultimate Cody Fan
Rand Alhadeff may be the most passionate Commando Cody fan we've ever encountered. Our Rocketmania correspondent, who hails from Santa Monica, CA, recently had new ink done. This one-of-a-kind artwork features the classic jet-propelled hero blasting off to new adventure. The tattoo was done in one five hour sitting by artist Joey at Studio City Tattoo in, of all places, Studio City, CA. Mr. Alhadeff was kind enough to give Rocketmania a full report, including photos, of the memorial service for George Wallace back in 2005.
Since 1983,Rand Alhadeff Photography has produced imagery for some of the greatest icons of American enterprise. His clients have included Texas Instruments, Alcoa, Continental Airlines, and 3M. His work has appeared in innumerable advertising campaigns, annual reports, web sites and publicity materials. That's our boy!
New Aurora Commando Cody Fantasy Model Box!
Do you remember spending summer afternoons hunched over the kitchen table or sprawled on the bedroom floor, building one of those great old Aurora character or monster kits? Like many kids growing up in the sixties, I was drawn to the shelves of my local variety store by the striking box illustrations done by legendary artists like James Bama. Since both the assembly instructions and finished photo were in black and white, our main sources of painting reference were the boxes themselves, which often looked better than the models!
Don't have hundreds of dollars to purchase an original kit? Well, thanks to David Vaughn and the gang at Digital Masterpiece, you can relive some great childhood memories with their line of Aurora reproduction model boxes. The latest DM offering is a "kit Aurora shoulda made", based on our own Commando Cody. Artist Bill Wiist has created an interpretive illustration of the classic serial hero, cradling the requisite damsel in distress and rocketing across an alien landscape.
For anyone interested, the original 2' X 4' artwork, done in acrylic on stretched canvas, is also available for sale by the artist. For further information, contact Bill Wiist at: William S. Wiist Studios.
Digital Masterpiece has gone to great lengths to accurately re-create classic Aurora "long boxes". Original boxes are scanned, color corrected and enhanced in Photoshop, printed onto paper, then attached to the cardboard box lid. A box bottom is also created and the entire piece is shrink wrapped, giving it that "fresh off the shelf" look. If you've got any old original kits, these repro boxes make a great companion piece for your display.
In addition to many original and fantasy repro model boxes, there's a ton of cool stuff available from Digital Masterpiece. Check it out at: Morbid Monster Products.
|Digital Masterpiece Model Box
Star Trek Voyager "Bride of Chaotica" Robot Costume on Ebay
Never underestimate the lasting influence of serials on movies and television! Back in Season Five of Star Trek Voyager, the series featured an episode entitled, "Bride of Chaotica", based on classic cliffhangers like Flash Gordon and Commando Cody. This marked the second appearance of Captain Proton, a holodeck retro-hero created by Enterprise crewman Tom Paris. Rocketmania's own Legion of Honor member, Don Coleman, designed and built the rocket pack and chest control plate used by the intrepid Captain!
Along with art deco sets, vintage style costumes and clunky gadgetry, "Bride of Chaotica" featured a replica of the clinking, clattering "water heater" robot, seen in various incarnations in the Republic chapterplays; "Undersea Kingdom", "Mysterious Dr. Satan" and "Zombies of the Stratosphere".
Through our vast network of secret operatives, Rocketmania recently discovered the Voyager robot up for auction on Ebay. Still sporting the ray gun "scorching" paint job, the entire costume went for over forty six hundred dollars! Proof positive, you can't keep a good serial robot down.
Andy Thong: Bad Dealer Alert!
I'm trying to alert as many people as possible regarding an extremely disreputable figure dealer out of Hong Kong named Andy Thong. He runs a site called popsalute.com. He may also be operating under another name. He's no longer a registered Ebay user but still in business.
I, along with several others, pre-ordered a Medicom Rocketeer Version Two figure from this loser way back in March '06. The release was in June, and I still have no figure! At first, he simply ignored my numerous e-mails, then he lied and claimed the figure had been shipped, but still nothing. I'm sacrificing another Rocketeer figure I got from a different dealer on Ebay, just so I can spread the word about how this jerk operates. (See listing under Medicom Rocketeer: Andy Thong is a Thief)
If anyone has had a similar episode with this guy, please let me know. Also, any info about his current ID would be greatly appreciated.
Bob Forward, founder of Detonation Films, describes his brain-child in the following manner: "Detonation Films is dedicated to putting the fun back in filmmaking
by establishing a new paradigm between digital media and online entertainment. And also by blowing stuff up."
This very talented independent filmmaker has created some nifty, effects-laden short features, including two personal favorites; Agent 12 and the "timeless" faux-documentary, Kabumei, based on an ancient form of martial arts combining exotic weaponry and, of course, explosives! Both are a definite must see.
Utilizing green screen composites, both digital and live pyrotechnics, as well as a heapin' helpin' of good old fashioned gore, Bob's innovative visuals range from eye-popping fantasy to stomach-churning realism.
In addition to his interesting body of cinematic work, Bob offers tips and tutorials for filmmakers as well as some choice digital effects, which he himself created. He was very helpful with some of the effects work used in our own original serial, "Thirty Second Doom". Be sure and check out the Detonation Films web-site here: www.detonationfilms.com
The Milwaukee Machine Man
Fans of Republic's classic "water heater" robot take heart; Mike Van Plew, aka The Milwaukee Machine Man, has re-created the tottering serial icon in 1/5 scale. Nearly seventeen inches tall, the figure features poseable arms and feet, removable chest plate and, of course, the requisite fireman's axe!
According to Mike; "The prototype took over two months to make. I used sheet plastic from the hobby store and some pop tubes for the arms. The hardest part was all the rivets. To do this, I made strips of thin plastic and stuck the tip of a ball point pen into the back side. I glued on the strips where needed and, boy oh boy, were my thumbs sore after that!"
"To get the crinkled look of the arms and legs, I wrapped the pop tubes in duct tape and squeezed them tight. I then put a wire inside so they could be bent and hold the axe at any position. For the dome on his head, I used a soap maker's mold from the hobby store. The axe is made of cardboard; layer upon layer of cereal box cardboard, and painted."
"I'm mainly into toy robots; if they don't exist as a toy or model, I try and make them." Mike has also created scale replicas of Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, Tobor the Great, Jinks from Space Camp, Dewey from Silent Running and Tik Tok from Return to Oz.
Chris Mason Releases New Art Book
Rocketmania friend and Legion of Honor member Chris Mason has just released a collection of sketches entitled, Inner Visions, which spans thirty years of his work. The subject matter here is decidedly dark, at times almost disturbing, as the artist reveals a much different side of his creativity. Nevertheless, the trademark Mason humor is everpresent as Chris explores the trials and tribulations of life. You can preview and order the book here:
Inner Visions by Chris Mason
Monarch of the Moon/ Destination Mars! Upcoming DVD Release
Since the release of Kerry Conran's imaginative retro-adventure, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, there seems to be renewed interest among independent film makers in classic serials. Submitted for your approval, brothers Tor and Richard Lowry have tinkered together an effects-laden, two fisted tribute to cliffhangers in a six chapter saga entitled, Monarch of the Moon.
Set in the early forties, the serial follows the exploits of the Yellow Jacket, an Army fighter pilot turned super hero, who is pitted against an evil femme fatale called Dragon Fly, a Nazi Scientist, and the wicked Monarch himself. You owe it to yourself to check out the "timeless" flying position of YJ as he jets through the air!
Influenced by early chapter plays like Undersea Kingdom, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, Monarch not only spoofs these old chestnuts, it does so with some ultra-cool digital effects and green screen work. To top things off, Dark Horse Indie, the film's distributor, created an elaborate, albeit fabricated, yarn stating the serial was actually a long-lost military propaganda film recently discovered in Paris. It's enough to make Orson Wells sober up and roll over in his grave! Take a peek at the trailer here:
Monarch of the Moon
In the post-war fifties, cut and run film makers followed a simple formula in order to entice dwindling legions of moviegoers back into theater seats as well as a new venue, the drive-in. Step one; develop an eye catching poster, which contained at least one scantily-clad woman and the word "shocking". Step two; hire a hungry writer to hammer out a plot. Step three; enlist the services of up and coming or down and out actors. Step four; shoot the whole thing in two weeks for less than ten grand. This doctrine met with varying degrees of success, yielding such memorable offerings as Robot Monster, Cat Women Of The Moon and Plan Nine From Outer Space, to mention just a few.
Fast forward to 2002 and a second Lowry Brothers production, Destination Mars! "From the bowels of the Earth", the duo have dredged up an affectionate spoof of those so-bad-they're-good classics which became the staple of Saturday night Creature Features television many of us remember as kids in the late sixties.
See if this sounds familiar; a young couple is entangled in a plot, by Martian women, to control the Earth via an Army of robots created from the dead. Say, is Sonny Tufts still available?
Los Lowrys have captured all the nuances so essential to this classic genre; Martian women costumed to resemble graduates of the Betty Page School of Burlesque Cheerleading, clinking, clattering thirteen dollar robot costume, wobbly, miniature space ships and an intimate picnic musical number. Ungawa, turn up that car speaker and pass the popcorn! You can check out the Destination Mars web-site, complete with trailer and tons of cool behind the scenes info at:
Both films are available now for preorder at Amazon.com, in a two disk set with a special Dark Horse comic included. At this writing, the actual release date is scheduled for late December 2006.
Max Neptune and the Menacing Squid
Retro-style rocket ships! Menacing Monsters! Alluring Space Vixens! If you answered yes to any of these three categories, watch the skies for a soon-to-be released micro-budget space opera entitled, Max Neptune and the Menacing Squid. From the outer reaches of the stratosphere (uh, make that West Covina, California), indie film maker John Garside gives us his take on old school science fiction, inspired by classics like Flash Gordon and Commando Cody.
A year in preproduction, John's brainchild features, among other things, a wonderfully low-tech cockpit set, (complete with modified steering wheel from a '74 Ford pick-up!), complex prosthetic make-up and a breathtaking CGI retro-futuristic city, reminiscent of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The half hour feature is scheduled for release some time in 2007. To take a peek at the trailer as well as some behind-the-scenes footage, grab your decoder ring and follow this link to:
Max Neptune and the Menacing Squid
Representing in Windsor, CA!
Say hello to Windsor, California's favorite son,Tim Roden.Here are some shots of our hero, sporting his newly- acquired replica helmet and perched behind the wheel of an incredibly sweet '56 Thunderbird, which Tim has been the proud owner of since 1980. "As you can tell I
like things from the 1950's." Although the Rocketmania fashion police remain on high alert, Tim explained, "...I did intentionally put a black T-Shirt on as I don't have a leather jacket
yet. It was a warm day when my wife took those pictures so I was roasting inside the helmet. But, as you can see it was well worth it." I suppose that, under those circumstances, we may let Mr. Roden off with a warning...
Warning: Unauthorized Ebay Auction!
It has just come to my attention that there is currently an Ebay listing for a 1/6 scale Commando Cody leather jacket. This is, in fact, the exact same pattern as the one used for my miniature flying figure, which can be seen on this web-site at: Figure Page
The Ebay listing for the 1/6 scale jacket features pictures of me in my full size jacket and helmet. Please be advised these photos were used without my knowledge or permission and that I am in no way connected with this listing. Here is the current Ebay link: Rocketman-Commando Cody Leather Jacket 1-6 Scale
The creative concept for the 1/6 scale Rocketman/Commando Cody figure featured in our film, "Thirty Second Doom" and on The Rocketpage is my original idea. I have made no arrangements or agreements with any party to market the complete figure or any of its components.
Action Puppetoid Productions
What do you get when you cross Supercar, Thunderbirds, Clutch Cargo and Space Angel ? Well, you'd have to ask my brother, Bill Hughes, founder of Action Puppetoid Productions. Using a special process dubbed SuperSyncroMotion, Bill has combined specially modified puppets and live actors to create visual effects reminiscent of vintage sixties Gerry Anderson film and TV projects.
Although security is rather tight on the set, Rocketmania has gotten wind of a new film entitled, Star Pirates, which is currently in the works. For more info, visit the newly-launched web-site: Action Puppetoid Productions.
|Logo designed by Alan Murphy.
Custom Character Figures
Here are some very cool custom action figure pix submitted by a fan. Each unique piece combines components from a variety of figures as well as specific components sculpted from scratch. I particularly lke the Nazi Commando, based on the German propaganda short featured in The Rocketeer.
|Rocketeer and Nazi Sky Commando
||The Shadow Knows!
Thirty Second Doom Flying Footage!
At long last, I've completed a brief flying effects sequence for our original serial, Thirty Second Doom. The clip features a take-off, various flying angles and a landing. Obviously, some of the set-ups worked better than others, so we now have a better idea how to compose future shots.
Using a combination of live action and miniature green screen composites as well as outdoor scenes of our 1/6 scale miniature wired up to a fifty foot long support rig, we tried to replicate a look faithful to the Republic "flying suit" serials. Blast off to adventure at: The Movie Page. Be sure and check out the other clips while you're there.
|Miniature figure in flight
Medicom Re-Issues Rocketeer Figure
If you're like me, you missed out on the original 1/6 scale Rocketeer figure, released by Medicom a few years ago. Well, take heart, America, Rocketmania has just learned that a second release of Dave Stevens' high-flying hero is scheduled for May or June of 2006.
This new version reportedly features improved detailing and includes the trademark German Mauser pistol, as seen in the 1991 film. Medicom's attention to detail is impeccable, right down to the real leather jacket, accurate helmet, rocket pack and harness. If you like box art, you can bet the packaging will be as awesome as the original.
According to some foreign sellers, the figure will be available in Japan only this time around, but I recently heard from a rocket-fan across the pond named Richard Vandark, who reported that Master Replicas will be handling some domestic distribution. Another option would be Ebay, where preorders are now being taken. Don't wait; the price on this second, upgraded version is sure to skyrocket, as was the case with the first release.
|Medicom's new and improved Rocketeer figure
Rocketmania Profile: Alan Murphy, Randori Productions Art Director
While searching the Internet recently for images, artist Alan Murphy discovered The Rocketpage. When the Florida-based graphics wizard learned of our "Thirty Second Doom" original movie serial project, he immediately became interested and offered some much needed assistance in creating a poster and DVD clamshell sleeve for the soon to be released, second version of our progress footage. Alan developed several versions of the poster, based on his own creative ideas and a bit of input from me. The final result is an absolutely spectacular combination of sizzling color and a splashy, vintage style theatrical layout. Not satisfied with this one version, he later developed a "variant" poster, featuring the villain in our chapterplay. Stay tuned for a preview...
Although he prefers remaining behind the scenes, I persuaded Alan to give us a bit of personal background, while protecting his secret identity:
"I grew up in New Jersey in the fifties and sixties and picked up photography from my father, who taught at Yale University during the War. As a kid, I watched shows like Commando Cody, The Adventures of Superman, Sky King, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger and later, Supercar and the original Star Trek.
I took millions of pictures, sketched like mad, painted, and, eventually, earned a BA in Fine Art at Kean University in Union, New Jersey. I worked for twenty years in New York City commercial photo labs, specializing in photo compositing for the printing indusrty, as well as free lance photo journalism in the '80's fashion and rock music scene.
When desk-top publishing came along, I taught myself Photoshop, then worked for a couple of pre-press companies, where I learned the art of high-end drum scanning, color control and critical retouching.
Since moving to Florida in 2002, I am currently retouching at a local photo studio and running my own graphics company, StarWind Manifestations. When I began burning personal CD music collections, I created original jewel case inserts, which then led to designing a series of movie posters based on ideas for "what if" films starring my favorite fifties era heroes like Rocket Man and Commmando Cody."
Joining the ranks of Photoshop ninjas like Chris Mason and Bob Lindenmayer,who have contributed to both The Rocketpage and our film, Alan's creative input is much appreciated. Here are just a few of his amazing posters for movies we'd love to see:
|New take on an old magazine cover
||Cody in the early sixites?
|Vintage Japanese sci-fi with a twist
||Contemporary treatment for Radar Men
Gun Fight Footage Posted!
At long last, the Editing Department (my computer room) of Randori Productions has completed a new video clip from our original serial homage entitled, Thirty Second Doom. Here, you'll have the opportunity to check out some digital weapons effects, which were added to the raw footage in post production.
The scene features my father and brother as two hooded n'er do wells who ambush our heroes outside Bennett Laboratories. Brother Bill suffers a gruesome death at the climactic conclusion of the battle. Action, adventure and romance (hey, it's a serial, let's bag the romance) await you at: The Movie Page. Be sure and check out the official movie trailer while you're there. Ungawa!
|"Look, two men in hoods!"
Rocketmania's Newest Member
Say hello to Cody, newest member of Rocketmania headquarters. Born on October 13th, our sable shepherd weighted ten pounds when we brought him home on December 3rd, 2005. Ten weeks old at this writing (January 2nd, 2006), he tops the scales at twenty-five pounds!
He currently patrols the back yard and house with unbridled enthusiasm and looks forward to completion of his final round of shots, thus allowing him to explore the rest of the outdoor world! (Photo by Raelene Amaral)
|Chilling with the frisbee
||Nobody touches my lemon tree!
Net Zero features Commando Cody!
Tuesday evening, December 27th; a night like any other, I suppose. Suddenly, without warning, my wife bolted into the computer room and announced that she had just seen a Net Zero high speed internet TV commercial featuring, you guessed it, Commando Cody! The brief spot ran on A&E and included the classic "knob adjustment" close-up as well as some flying dummy and rocket footage. Hot off the Rocketmania presses, here are a few video captures from that classic TV spot. There is also another featuring footage from Beast from 20,000 Fathoms! Keep your eyes peeled and man the Tivo!
Christmas Greetings From New Zealand
A special treat can be had by genre fans in Peter Jackson's much anticipated remake of the 1933 RKO classic, King Kong. Watch closely after Kong escapes from the theater and rampages through the streets of New York. During a brief scene featuring panic-stricken onlookers, check out Bob and Kathy Burns reacting to the giant ape. Hey, Mrs. Burns is one great screamer!
The noted movie memorabilia collector and his wife, flown to New Zealand by special arrangement with Jackson, were treated to a tour of the Weta Workshop as well as appearing in the final scene shot for Kong. Along for the ride was the metal armature, now in Bob's collection, used by Willis O'Brien to create the legendary stop motion animation in the '33 original. Weta technicians even created a brief stop motion sequence using the O'Brien armature.
Here is a shot of Bob and Kathy, looking particularly dapper in thirties period costume, on set in New Zealand. Bob is holding the original armature and the digital wreath was added to create an ultra-cool Christmas card.
Cameras Roll Again On "Thirty Second Doom" Video Project
After a myriad of delays and scheduling hassles, we finally fired up the camera once again on November 27th to continue work on our retro sci-fi serial, "Thirty Second Doom". Our efforts focused on the film's first location gun fight. Three research scientists emerge from Bennett Laboratories after pulling an all-nighter getting the rocket suit ready for it's first test flight when, suddenly, they are ambushed by two of Dr. X's hooded henchmen. A fierce gun battle ensues in which one of the mysterious attackers flees while the other is gunned down.
Four hours of work yielded about twelve minutes of "timeless" footage including, most notably, a spontaneously improvised death scene (complete with mattress!) by my brother Bill.
Now that the holidays are nearly over, I hope to begin editing the raw footage together as well as doing composite work on newly filmed green screen flying footage. Ungawa!
If you haven't seen it yet, check out the trailer here: Thirty Second Doom Trailer
Preparing for take-off
|Masked henchmen attack
||Stand by for action!
King of the Rocket Men now available on DVD!
One of the most often asked questions I get from visitors is, "Where can I get a copy of King of the Rocket Men on DVD?" Until now, the only available source has been private collectors. Enter Pro-Active Entertainment, who released the classic 1949 Republic cliffhanger on October 25, 2005. In addition to a very clear print with excellent audio, several bonus movie trailers and vintage drive-in snack bar ads are included.
Check it out at Amazon.com: King of the Rocket Men DVD
George D. Wallace Memorial Service
The memorial service for George Wallace was held at Hollywood Forever Cemetery last Friday, July 30th at noon. Rocketmania correspondent Rand Alhadeff was in attendance and filed this report:
Amid the timeless beauty of marble statuary, in the same building where Valentino, Finch and other Hollywood luminaries have been laid to rest, a memorial was held for George Wallace this past Friday, July 30, 2005. Before the service began, groups of people milled about talking shop, concerning films, stage shows and the like they were involved in. All the while, attendees were greeted by a cd compilation of Mr. Wallace singing a duet with Mary Martin, from the stage show "Jennie", produced at the Magestic Theater in 1964. The selection was "High Is Better Than Low", which seemed an appropriate choice to represent his life. Mr Wallace was as talented a singer as he was an actor. He was actually discovered and began his career while performing in musical productions.
As his voice reverberated throughout the room, people began to sit and conversations quieted. Dr. David Walker spoke first and, most eloquently, about Mr. Wallace. His speech was punctuated with wonderful anecdotes from the past and mourners received him warmly. Next up was Mr. Wallace's boxing coach, Terry Houlihan. It seems that Commando Cody was a boxer (and fleet champion!) in the Navy and began to take up lessons again at age eighty-one. George had actually been tagged with the new nickname "Hollywood Hammer" by his closest friends because of his renewed interest in the sport. Terry ended his remarks by telling George one last time to, "keep your gloves up and your chin down".
A passage was read from a work entitled "Ithaka" by Robert Mandan, followed by an emotional playing of the bagpipes from outside the chapel. A two man color guard then marched up and presented Mrs. Jane Wallace with a folded flag, in honor of George's Naval service.
Dr. Walker closed the memorial and invited family and friends to a reception by Mrs. Wallace that evening. As the crown of 150 lined up to pay their last condolences, I could not help but smile at the thought that George Wallace's final production was, as they say in show business, "SRO", standing room only.
|The "Hollywood Hammer" remembered
||Jane Wallace chatting with guests
|Talking "shop" before the service
||A well received eulogy
||Naval color guard presents flag to Mrs. Wallace
|Dr. David Walker shares anecdotes
||Honoring a departed son of Scotland
A Hero Passes: George
I received the sad news from fellow fan and
friend Don Coleman that George Wallace, the original Commando Cody,
passed away on Friday, July 22nd. Mr. Wallace had been in poor health
recently as the result of complications from a broken leg he suffered
during a bad fall while vacationing with his wife in Italy this summer.
Although best known for his role as the
jet-propelled crime fighter in Republic's 1952 serial, "Radar Men
From The Moon", he had a widely varied career, appearing on
Broadway, as well as in films like "Forbidden Planet", "Submarine
Command", and "Destry". Mr. Wallace appeared in many
television series' and even did a memorable commercial for Harley
Davidson motorcycles late in his career.
During a featured interview in Filmfax
69-70, Mr. Wallace was asked if he was bothered by being so closely
associated with a role in a serial. He replied, "Not at all. Radar
Men From The Moon was something I was happy to do. I was just
starting in the business, I had a job, and it was a lead role.
Everybody was great in it, and everybody treated me beautifully. In
those days, we accepted these parts for what they were. We didn't
question story, script, motivation or continuity, that's for sure. To
us, it was a job and we were thankful to have a job."
I had the pleasure of finally meeting Mr.
Wallace during a tribute in his honor last December at the Hollywood
Heritage Museum. He was a real gentleman, soft-spoken and very
appreciative of the standing room only crowd who attended the event. It
was a special evening I'll remember for the rest of my life.
Services for Mr. Wallace will be held at Hollywood
Forever Cemetery on Friday, July 29th at noon.
Don Coleman has written an excellent
dedication and biography in memory of George on his web-site, Cody's
Original Cody Helmets
Reunited: A Tale of Two Bobs
Something incredible is bound to happen
when two movie memorabilia collectors cross paths. Such was the case
when Seattle-based Cody fan Bob Lindenmayer recently ventured
Burbank, California, along with his newly acquired, original
Cody stunt helmet. Bob's destination was none other than the legendary
basement museum of that champion of classic movie collectibles, Major
Mars himself, Bob Burns!
The meeting marked the first time, in who
knows how long, that the original Commando Cody hero helmet and
mesh-visored stunt helmet were together again. When the cameras began
clicking to record this very special reunion, Mr. Burns was nice enough
to include the 1/6 scale Cody character figure I recently built for
little guy was in grand company that day, surrounded by two heirlooms
of classic Republic serial history! (Photos courtesy Bob Burns.)
(l-r) Bob Burns' original "hero"
helmet, custom-made Cody figure, Rocket Bob's original stunt helmet.
The 1/6 scale Commando Cody
figure I built for Bob
Burns and Bob's hero helmet.
"Rocket Bob" Lindenmayer in
The Shadow Knows!
The true test of any artist is the ability
to create something unique using materials seemingly unrelated to the
finished product. Canadian uber-sculptor Nelson Costa embraced
philosophy with his custom figure-bash of my favorite pulp character, The
Shadow. Costa crafted his version of Walter Gibson's classic
crime fighter using components from several Sideshow Toys
figures as well as a few special touches of his own.
The basis for this custom is a Van
Helsing body (the black gloves are perfect!) and fedora. The
greatcoat was borrowed from a London After Midnight figure and
the trademark hawk-nosed, glaring caricature is actually a Nosferatu
head, to which Costa added resculpted ears and hair.
After removing the silver "bat wing" from
the greatcoat, he added a classic red lining to the half cape. In order
to give the face scarf a wind-blown appearance, Costa fashioned the
accessory out of wire ribbon, which he discovered at the local Walmart
store. A pair of 1/6 scale silver .45 pistols serve as a tie-in with
the feature film released in 1994 which starred Alex Baldwin.
Not only does this one-of-a-kind figure
capture the essence of those great old Street and Smith Shadow magazine
covers,it stands out as a unique interpretation of the original
character as opposed to a direct copy. (Photos courtesy Nelson Costa.)
"Who knows what evil lurks in the
hearts of men?"
|Wire ribbon creates a flowing
||Costa's resculpted Sideshow
Enemies of America,
Nebraska-based artist Tom Floyd has
developed a mysterious, masked pulp hero known as Captain Spectre. Influenced
by Rocket Man, Captain Midnight and the more recent Rocketeer,
Floyd's jet-propelled crusader scoures the skies in search of crooks,
sharpsters and n'er do wells. Follow the intrepid Captain's web
comic exploits at Captain
Spectre and the Lightning Legion!
Multi-talented make-up artist
sculptor Jared Guenther offers his own unique interpretation of
the infamous "retro" ray gun as seen in "Sky Captain and the World
of Tomorrow". This San Francisco artisan has given the prop
an organic treatment, featuring an unusual aged paint job, which
creates the impression of having participated in uncounted battles with
killer robots and mad scientists! A welcome addition to the
collection of any fan of serials or vintage Sci-Fi, visit the Rocketmania Store
or follow this link to learn more about the Sky Captain ray gun prop.
Helmet on Ebay!
On March 2, 2005, our own
Honor member Bob Lindenmayer was Ebay's top bidder on an
original Commando Cody stunt helmet, as seen in Radar Men from the
Moon, Zombies of the Stratosphere and the Commando
Cody, Sky Marshal of the Universe television series. This prop
differs from the "hero" version in that it sports an aluminum-framed,
soft visor (will find out from Bob what it's made of), which increased
both visibility and safety during take-off and landing sequences.
Bob is a huge fan of both Cody and the Rocketeer so this piece
will make a nice addition to his already impressive collection of movie
props and collectibles. Well done, B...
Robot Maker on
Robot builder John Rigg is
on the Discovery Channel series Monster Nation, which
is scheduled to air Thursday, January 13th at 5:00 pm Eastern, 8:00 pm
Pacific time. John's incredible collection of movie and TV robots
(he re-created Republic's famous "water heater" serial robot pictured
below) and props as well as toy modifications and one-of-a-kind
creations can be seen on-line at The Robot Hut
Museum. Don't miss it!
Sky Captain on
The long awaited DVD version of
Conran's visually stunning tribute to classic serials and sci-fi is
scheduled for a January 25, 2005 release, with many extra features to
be included. Follow the link below to order your copy!
to be released
Dark Horse has just
two limited edition ornaments, to be released in March 2005, based the
amazing Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The weird
flying wing-type enemy aircraft and retro ray gun prop have been
beautifully recreated in miniature. They are each approximately 3-4
inches wide and come packaged in colorful box.. Visit the Rocketmania Store
for more details!
On Thursday, December 16,
I had the great pleasure of attending a tribute to George Wallace,
the original Commando Cody, hosted by the Hollywood
Heritage Museum. read
Marvel tunic on Ebay
Dateline: Hollywood. An
wool tunic worn by Tom Tyler in Republic's 1941 serial classic, "Adventures
of Captain Marvel", recently found its way to the auction block on
Ebay. The badly worn gold lame on the chest emblem, gauntlets and sash
was replaced and the wool was apparently in good condition considering
the age of the costume. The short cape was not included.
Price tag for this piece of cinematic history? A mere $25,000!
So much for the casual serial fan...
Test Footage DVD released
On October 27, 2004,
months of exploring the mysteries of digital video for the first time,
we release test footage of our original serial entitled, Thirty
Second Doom. read more...
Sky Captain and
World of Tomorrow
September 17, 2004: After
numerous delays, the long-awaited release of Kerry Conran's
homage to classic Sci-Fi and serial adventures. read
In Memory of
The Rocketpage© is
respectfully dedicated to my very special friend, Tom Mason,
who introduced me to the wonderful world of collecting. Through
countless e-mails, he taught me the workings of Ebay and how to
find the "real bargains". Although we had not yet met in person,
he welcomed my wife and me into his home and he and his wife
Julie made us feel like family during our first visit a few years ago.
His personal collection of toys and comic books resided in a
special room in his home known as "The Cave", where I saw an
incredible assortment of childhood memories, both old and new.
A devoted film and serial fan, he made me copies of hard to
find cliffhangers I had never seen before. I feel very fortunate
to have had the opportunity to know The Crimson Collector.
Be sure and check the links page for Tom's web-site, now
run by his son Chris, an accomplished artist and web master. The
design and layout of The Rocketpage© is inspired by Chris' work
on The Crimson
Me, Chris Mason (center) and Tom Mason
in "The Cave".