Williamsburg Film Festival 10th Anniversary
And the 5th Solar Guard Reunion
March 8 - 11, 2006
Updated March 14, 2006
The 2006 Solar Guard Academy reunion ( March 8 - 11, 2006) in Williamsburg Virginia was another fun time for the cadets of the Academy. There were over 400 film fans along with 30+ cadets who attended the Film Festival and Solar Guard Reunion. Both Jan Merlin and Frankie Thomas were in attendance greeting their fans and spreading plenty of "Space Dust" around the event. Jimmy Lydon, who was in several Rocky Jones Space Ranger shows, was in attendance again and enjoyed meeting with the cadets.
A Solar Guard thanks to our friends at the Williamsburg Film Festival who made the cadets feel welcome and for providing a place to gather and watch some of those great shows from the past. As always, we were made feel part of the festival group and look forward to next year's events.
On Friday the 10th , Jan Merlin presented his original Tom Corbett radio play, Project Enigma, about a strange object found in space. Both Jan and Frankie revived their roles from the TOM CORBETT SPACE CADET series along with Solar Guard Cadet Chuck Lassen, who played Astro, and some of the other guest stars who were attending the festival. The "live" radio shows are always a favorite and this was another standing room only event. We were able to display the Solar Guard flag and a large PEP cereal ad with Frankie advertising the Kellogg's offer of SPACE GOGGLES during the play and the panel session that followed. A cadet group picture was made with Frankie and Jan after the radio show. The stage proved to be too small for all of the cadets and fans of Tom Corbett.
Solar Guard Video sessions:
The 4 two hour sessions of 1950's SF videos sponsored by the Solar Guard were well attended. It was also a time of education for several science fiction fans who had heard that SF shows would be shown at the festival. They left with a new understanding of the pre Star Trek and Star Wars era of the 1950's.
The Space Patrol video session Thursday afternoon provided the background for Mike Turco's X-RC cockpit reproduction that was on display in the dealer's room. Both the story line and the commercials from Nestlés featured the X-RC premium that all Space Patrollers could have for just a quarter and a seal from Nestlés chocolate mix. While at the 2003 Solar Guard reunion, Ed Kemmer expressed his displeasure at what he considered a cheap cardboard item the kids received from Nestlés. He felt they would be disappointed when they received a much smaller version of the cockpit with flat pictures instead of real levers and dials. The current version of the X-RC is much larger, constructed with wood, and has working levers and dials ... a big improvement!!
This year the Academy created a special DVD of shows with 1950's SF movie coming attractions, a chapter from the 1951 Republic CAPTAIN VIDEO serial, a feature film - DESTINATION SPACE- and a short feature to round out the second of four 2 hour sessions. We may use the same format next year, especially the coming attraction trailers which set the tone for the rest of the shows.
The third 15 minute Tom Corbett adventure, Asteroid of Danger, was viewed in Friday afternoon's video session. The commercials, openings and endings of each 15 minute show were edited out of the shows for an uninterrupted action adventure. The two different openings for Tom Corbett ( single cadet and cadet trio) were shown at the start of the adventure and the ending of the last show in the story arch announcing the next adventure , Pirates of Ganymede, was kept to end the adventure. The uninterrupted show was well received and will be the format for future 15 minute shows. However, some of the commercials that were removed featured the Tom Corbett crew in action scenes with the sponsors product. These "out takes" are too good to lose and will be featured in future video sessions. No one can forget the kid walking into the TV screen to have breakfast with the Polaris crew. Stay tuned.
The last video session on Friday night featured the Rocky Jones's INFERNO IN SPACE adventure provided by Cadet Mike Elmo. Mike acquired a quality film print of Inferno and had it converted to a DVD. The new copy restores the show to its original three session format and in a much improved video quality. Tim Young flew in from the Midwest to join the cadets at the reunion and provided a great 12 minute spoof of the B SF movies of the 1950's - Amazon Women on the Moon. Great spoof Tim, thanks.
Jimmy Lydon attended the Solar Guard film screenings to watch Inferno, a movie he had made over 50 years ago, but had never seen. In the early years of television you were moving from one project to the next and didn't have a lot of time to look back at what was accomplished.
The video sessions were supplemented with favorite shows from Men Into Space, Tales of Tomorrow and the Ralston Terra IV traveling rocket news story from ABC and the newsreel of Ricky Walker receiving his prize from the NAME THE PLANET contest a Terra IV clubhouse on wheels. The look on the dad's face was worth the price of admission. The rocket and trailer overshadowed the Walker's driveway and was an interesting contrast to the modest home.
The video sessions were well attended and the cadets were able to "educate" some of the younger SF fans to the early years of SF on television. A very worthwhile effort. Please contact Cadet Ed (cadeted @ solarguard.com ) if you have any rare or seldom seen videos you would like to share at next year's reunion.
The festival once again
provided a reserved table for the Solar Guard at the banquet where we
said our good-byes till next year's reunion. I hope to see everyone in