Ed Kemmer

Commander of the
Space Patrol


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March 9 -12, 2005
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Cadet News - 2002

Tom Corbett Radio Shows Restoration Project

The Academy receives a lot of requests for information about the Tom Corbett Radio shows as well as requests for copies of the shows. The poor sound quality of the recordings and the confusion about the titles of the shows in circulation made it difficult to obtain a good set of recordings of the shows. Through a cooperative effort between the Academy and fellow cadet and OTR (old time radio) enthusiast, Jeff Quick, the sound quality of 44 of the 52 TC shows have been restored and recorded as MP3 files . We combined our collections, reviewed titles to make sure there were no duplicates and corrected the sound problems using Cool Edit 2000.

In addition to correcting the sound problems of the radio shows, Jeff produced a PowerPoint salute to the Tom Corbett show that is included on the CD. You will see some familiar items from Cadet Roy Coker's ROARING ROCKETS,Cadet Elliott Swanson's excellent collection of Kids 1950's Space Records -KIDS IN SPACE and the radio log of the TC shows and related material from the SOLAR GUARD ACADEMY. The restoration project is an effort to get these shows out to a new group of fans and to build interest in the space opera shows of the 1950's . To that end the shows will be part of a 2 CD gift set to those who attend the Solar Guard Reunion at the Williamsburg Film Festival this March 2003 ( See Reunion information page). There will be additional material on the Williamsburg Festival CD's that will not be available until next March at the Festival.

For those who can not wait till March, the shows and TC salute will be available for trade from Jeff for an exchange of 6 blank CD's to replace the CD's used for the programs and to help cover Jeff's postage. Please use good quality CD's for the trade, not generic silver topped media that have no protective covering. Any name brand media, 700 Mb 80 minute blank CD-R is acceptable. The generic CD's have a high percentage of defectives that result in useless media and are not reliable. You may contact Jeff at with your requests.

Don't be in a hurry to bid on the TC shows that have popped up on E-bay. This offer is given in the spirit of OTR, to share a little of the past with current and future fans of radio. Jeff has worked very hard to provide fans with good quality shows and it's always best to get your shows from an original source. Spread the word to fellow cadets that the shows are now available and where to get them, that's the best way to put the shows back into circulation with fans who will enjoy them the most.

My thanks to Jeff for his hard work and dedication in returning these shows to a better sound quality for all fans to enjoy. You can help with the project. We are still missing several shows.  Click here for date and title of missing shows).

Check the Solar Guard radio log for descriptions of the shows. If you think you have one of the missing shows, please contact Cadet Ed or Jeff .

There may be other 50's radio shows that may benefit by this type of cooperative effort by fans. Can't promise, but there were quite a few Space Patrol radio shows out there ….. :-)

Spaceman's Luck
Cadet Ed


The History Channel's " Fantastic Voyage: Evolution of Science Fiction" broadcast 8 am EST, September 28th, 2002 on the History Channel.

The 2 hour show dedicated about 4 - 5 minutes of air time to SF shows of the 1950's. Ed Kemmer had a one minute spot where he discussed how important the cereal premium's were to the sponsors of the show. For those who taped the show and need to find Ed's part… it is about 1 hour and 23 minutes into the broadcast, that time includes the commercials.

I was contacted in late September 2001 by the producers of the show and asked to come to New York for an interview. I had to pass on the invitation but I did send the producers Ed Kemmer's email and the email of several other fans who lived in the New York Area (see Cadet Dale Ames story below).  Of which, I have apologized for doing so :-)

Pictorial History OF SFI was disappointed but not surprised with the History Channel's presentation. David Kyle's 1976 PICTORIAL HISTORY OF SCIENCE FICTION appears to have been a guide for the structure of the documentary. The program glossed over the 1950's ( as has so many other media projects ) and followed the "common" knowledge that the "kids" shows of the 50's aren't really that important. It's a snobbery side of SF that I have always disliked.

Ed Kemmer was interviewed for about twenty minutes. He felt the interviewer didn't do their homework and was just looking for a brief moment that could be used in the show. Which explains a lot about the final structure of the show.

There was a misleading statement about the Tom Corbett series that implied the Heinlein's removed themselves from the production of the show because of poor production values. I have a letter from Virginia Heinlein and cosigned by RAH from 1977 that confirmed the series was based on RAH's SPACE CADET, but Mr. Heinlein had nothing to do with any writing or production of the show.

The closing credits did list Virginia Heinlein and James Gifford as contributors , so maybe I missed something along the way. There is a lot of evidence that the structure of the Space Cadet unit used for Tom Corbett was developed by Joseph Greene. Joseph Greene's contribution to TC is documented on the site at

The reaction of the Academy cadets was swift. The following is a sample of that reaction. Cadet Chuck posted the first reaction on the BB which lead to more posts on the Solar Guard Bulletin Board. Cadet Dale Ames has an interesting take on the whole affair and leads off with his experiences with the "movie media" followed by Cadet Chuck and others who posted their comments to the BB. If you would like to add to this discuss, please post your comments on the BB or email Cadet Ed.

Dale Ames:

I was contacted by Min Lee who is a free lance advertiser for the History Channel. Min Lee was given my name by fellow collectors who told Min Lee that I had an extremely large collection of Sci-Fi of the 1930's to 1950's, including Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Space Patrol, Captain Midnight and many more. Min Lee asked if she and her co-worker Bill could journey from New York City to Worcester to film my collection for the TV special. What thoughts of grandeur ran through my collection and myself on TV promoting memories of the 1950's space shows and a mention of Galaxy Patrol Fan Club!

A date was set for Min and Bill to journey to Worcester. I set up my collection in every room in the house: on the walls, on every couch, chair, table, on the bed, and I purchased a new bookcase for display. I filled up five rooms and was all set for them. A few days before the date, Min and Bill had to reschedule for two weeks later. As the second date came close, Min and Bill had to reschedule again. Finally, Min and Bill came to Worcester. The house had been in complete turmoil for two months waiting. Still, I thought it will be worth it for my collection and I to be on TV.

Min and Bill filmed my collection for over four hours in my home. I now learned only my collection, not "I" was to be on TV. "OK", I said to myself, at least Galaxy Patrol Fan Club and space collectibles would be highlighted.

After Bill and Min left, it took my lovely wife Mary and I several days to put the house back in order. A special thanks to my wife for allowing collectibles to rule the house for approximately two months!

We waited and waited and waited for word on the TV show and finally was told the show was to be on on TV. Boy oh boy, now my collectibles were to be on TV. I told everyone about the show and with great expectations, my wife and I started watching the show. As time moved on during the TV special, my wife and I were looking at each other and said "where was my collection and at what time would it be shown"? While Ed Kemmer (Commander Buzz Cory) was shown on the special, my collection was shown....all of ten seconds!!! Yes, two months of setting up and four hours of filming at my home and my TV claim to fame was ten seconds and no mention of Galaxy Patrol Fan Club or "ME".

Well, it was a great effort put forth to give space collectibles of the 1930's ; 1940's and 1950's a plug and I came up short. I will not be deterred and will continue to promote space collectibles.

A special note must be made that my collection of space collectibles wouldn't have grown with out the friendly help of fellow collectors who I extend my sincere thanks to for help over the years.

Safe Space Travel and Space Man's Luck,
Dale Ames

Cadet Chuck:

What a disappointment! This was merely a boring, disorganized collection of unimaginative clips and interviews, brought to us by a producer, director, and writers who obviously know little of, and have no love for, the subject of Sci-Fi in general, and 50's Space Opera in particular.

I was especially sorry to find that Dale Ames' collection of space opera memorabilia was not included; apparently it ended up on the cutting room floor so we could "enjoy" more time with Bill Shatner.
I really think it was a shame that they wasted Dale Ames' time as well as his set-up efforts, filming his collection. If I were him, I would be hoppin' mad! In fact, I'd be blowing my jets at whoever was responsible for not using the footage.

Let's hear more reviews from the group. We have more collective knowledge of this subject here on this Solar Guard Bulletin Board than anyone at the History Channel who was involved in this debacle can ever hope to claim.

Fortunately, video tape is reusable, and I can delete the History Channel from my TV's programming sequence.

Cadet Jack Hagerty:

I didn't find it quite that bad, but it was VERY disconnected. It's hard to put over 100 years of history into less than 90 minutes (with commercials pulled). I was constantly annoyed that the visual didn't match the supposed subject that the narrator was talking about. Most glaring example that pops to mind is the "Twilight Zone" (BTW, I've never really thought of TZ as being SF) section which was all "Night Gallery" clips. When talking about Jules Verne's amazing accuracy in predicting the size and material of the Apollo spacecraft, they show an astronaut floating through the ISS. Then there were the constant mispronunciations like George "Melees" and Ray "Bradberry" which made me wonder just who the hell was keeping tabs on this. Also, whoever was grabbing the clips and graphics must have just picked up anything that was handy. The quality of most of the older stuff was atrocious! The clips from "Metropolis" were inexcusable seeing as how that film was restored over a decade ago for Georgio Moroder's version.

I, too, was sorry to see no mention of Dale's collection (since it was mentioned here beforehand). There is also the annoyance that, according to this program, SF on TV consists of some "cheap '50s knock off " of Destination Moon, Twilight Zone and Star Trek. Period. C'mon, they could have at least thrown a bone towards "Lost In Space"! For a show that was obviously very tight on time, I was surprised that they left in Shatner's zoning out on one answer where he just stammered along for about 20 seconds without saying anything.

I was clicking off about one major mistake or distortion per segment (not counting the mismatched visual as mentioned above):

1) Getting the message from "Day the Earth Stood Still" completely backwards (not to mention not showing a single shot of Michael Rennie!).

2)Informing us that Apollo 11 was lifted to the moon on an "Atlas 5" rocket.

3) Saying that NBC approached Gene Roddenberry asking him to do Star Trek rather than the other way around (if that were the case, why did he pitch it to CBS first?).

4) Not a mistake but an omission. How could they go on at such (relative) length on Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (even with the awful clips) and not even mention "Die Frau im Mond?" Especially since the poster art for the film was behind one of the talking heads the whole time.

[sigh] It could have been so much better.

I sit corrected. Yes, they did have the shot of him with that aggressive-looking "whatsit" deployed, but my statement still stands that we never "saw" Michael Rennie. And there was 4x more screen time (4 seconds vs. 1 second) of Gort carrying Helen Benson up the ramp.

Well, then, that wasn't Gort, either. It was Lock Martin :-) Actually, it was neither Neal nor Benson. For that shot (of Gort carrying Helen Benson up the spaceship ramp) a lightweight mannequin was used, since Martin, despite being a giant at 7' 7", was quite frail and could barely carry himself in that heavy costume, let alone an adult actress. All of this (and more!) is from a subset of the next "Spaceship Handbook" volume called "The Saucer Fleet," which I hope to have out by next summer.

Cadet Clyde (Laser):
I have considered order the History Channel and still intend to. I thought that this would be the perfect excuse to finally get on the horse.

However. as I read the post on the BB. I saw what was there, but loud by its absence was what was not there. For some, the world of Sci-fi began with Star Trek and I can't fault the HC for not knowing that there was a world before they were born. Maybe one of us ought to put together a tape of the REAL good stuff.

Cadet Mal:
The History Channel is definitely worth getting. My 16-year-old watches it constantly and it leads him to research material on his own. However, they do have a tendency to screw up royally on occasion. A while back they did a segment on the development of medicine in the military. My doctor's father had been a pioneer in battlefield blood transfusions. When they discussed him, they got the facts right but showed a picture of the wrong person!

If nothing else, it's about the only place you can still see Roger Mudd and some of the other television journalists who covered the '60s space launches.

Cadet Tom Mason:
I stuck around for the full two hours waiting for the 50s TV Sci-fi comments. A couple clips of Space Patrol showed up briefly and Ed Kemmer was permitted to say a few words. When he mentioned the premium Cosmic Smoke gun, they put up a picture of Nu-Age Plastics Smoke Ring Gun...oops.
Too bad Star Trek and Mr. Shatner took up so much screen time.

Cadet Marv Swan:

Sure, I hoped for more Space Patrol items, but I look at it this way. Most guys in the USA don't give a hoot about Space patrol, we are the only ones. The documentary was better than nothing at all, therefore I enjoyed it. Anything I can see on TV about Space Patrol is good. By the way, Michael Rennie was shown in the documentary in his initial appearance with that unnecessary helmet.

Cadet Paul Levinson

There's an intrinsic problem with all television (and, for that matter, all media) and its limits of time (or, for paper media, limits of space). Ideally, "The Evolution of Sci-fi" should have been a 15-hour series -- and, even then it would not have covered all the essential elements, or used all the best available footage. As it is, I'm glad the documentary was at least able to cover what it did in two hours. With any luck, we'll someday get a full-course treatment of the Civil War, jazz, and baseball documentaries.
All best wishes,
Paul Levinson
PS -- You folks have a nice Board here.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. I recommend that fellow cadets read Paul's expanded review of the HC's program on his website at:


Norm Jolley

Norm Jolley Feb 2002FROM: Jean-Noel Bassior:
I’m sad to report that Norm Jolley passed away on Tuesday, August 13th. He was 86. He gave us the Space Patrol TV shows and was head writer for Wagon Train, The FBI, Ironside, Barnaby Jones, and did multiple scripts for Highway Patrol, The Virginian, Laramie and many others.

Norm was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a couple of weeks ago. His wife, Lois, rushed him to Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he underwent a five-hour operation. He came through it fine. I spoke with him afterwards and he promised me he’d “come back,” as he put it. He promised that to Lois, too. He was recovering well and the doctor told him he could leave the hospital in a few days. On Tuesday morning, he left early. They’re still not sure why he suddenly died.

He said one day that he always thought he’d be remembered for his work on Wagon Train, and he was so surprised that, instead, it turned out to be Space Patrol

CADET ED- Norm will be missed. He had just discovered his fans on the Internet and it was apparent he was enjoying the contacts he was making. He always sent a note of thanks when he received the Solar Guard Newsletter and always had something positive and complimentary to say about his fans. Our condolences to his wife Lois and his family. Our thanks to Jean-Noel for the information and to Warren Chaney for his appropriate salute to Norm as the Master Chronicler.

Best Fan Writer for the 2002

Congratulations to Jeff Berkwits, fellow Solar Guard cadet, who has been nominated for Best Fan Writer for the 2002 (60th) World Science Fiction Convention being held in San José, California. The World SF Convention is one of the largest and oldest gathering of SF fans in the World (hence the word WORLD :-) The convention will be held over the Labor Day Weekend August 29 through September 2, 2002 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose' (See for complete details).

Jeff holds down the Solar Guard's San Diego chapter of the Solar Guard Academy and is one of the few SF writers who have placed articles about the early 1950's SF shows in mainstream Science Fiction magazines such as Starlog. Writing about the early shows is a difficult job since most Science Fiction genera magazines are dominated by Star War/Star Trek/ special effects type of productions. He has highlighted several Space Patrol and Tom Corbett projects in the internet publication SCIFI Weekly ( ) and has provided encouragement to fellow Space Opera fans through emails and research of the early shows. His main field of expertise is the music of SF and published an excellent fanzine called "ASTERISM-The Journal of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Space Music."

He has always supported the cause of the early 1950's SF TV shows and we would like to thank him for his support and wish him Spaceman's Luck in San Jose'. No matter what the ballot may bring, Jeff will ALWAYS be the Academy's Best Fan Writer. Show your support for Jeff and wish him Spaceman's Luck and support him for the Best Fan Writer for 2002.

2006 World SF convention in Anaheim

CALLING ALL SPACE CADETS The Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, Inc. is bidding for the 2006 World SF convention in Anaheim and are using a Space Cadet theme. Check out the LA Con IV webpage. It looks like a REAL SPACE CADET event with logo and theme's from the Space Opera genera. In fact, a supporting membership to the event would be a lot of fun for all cadets. Check out the site and spread the word that the Space Cadet Spirit is alive and well in Southern California.

Search for Dr. Dale

Cadet Jeff Bytof forward this posting by Phil Nelson from a genealogy posting Jeff found while searching for information about Margaret Garland:

I am researching the life and career of Margaret Ledbetter, daughter of General Louis Ledbetter, who came from Oklahoma City. She (and her sister) attended Central High School, married William Hammerstein (son of Oscar Hammerstein II) in 1941, and served with the American Red Cross during WWII in England, France and Germany. After which she pursued a career in acting: stage, radio and television. I last saw her in the television series: Tom Corbett, Space Cadet (aired: 10-2-50) portraying the character: Dr. Joan Dale. She left the series in 1952 and possibly show business altogether. I would like to correspond with anyone who knows about her or her family.

Phil Nelson

The search for Margaret Garland (Ledbetter) has been on for a number of years. Jan and Frankie lost contact with her many years ago and fans have not been able to find any information about her since the Tom Corbett show. Anyone with any information about Ms Garland is urged to contact the Academy with an update.


Copies of the radio script, Marooned with Death, signed by Frankie Thomas and Jan Merlin are available from the Film Committee. Contact the Academy if you are interested in getting a copy of the signed script. Cost will be $15 plus postage. I don't know how many are available at this time, so contact me as soon as possible if you are interest Cadet Ed

February 28 - March 2, 2002
Williamsburg, Virginia

Jan Merlin, Frankie Thomas joined fellow cadets in Williamsburg for the 2002 Film Festival. A great time was had by all Cadets who attended. Pages and pictures of the event are being added to the site over the next few weeks. The introduction and cadets comment pages are on line now, go to the 2001 information Williamsburg Festival Page to view the fun.

STARLOG - February 2002 Issue #295 - Letter to the editor by Jack Hagerty. Few items which fellow cadets enjoy from the 1950's appear in the leading SF magazines today. We need to write magazines like Starlog when there are stories about the early SF Shows. You can tell by the response in the letter column that Star Trek and Star Wars always have a number of letters. How many letters have you seen that sing the praises of Space Patrol or Tom Corbett?? Let them know we are here, maybe there will be more articles written for us.

Robinson Crusoe on Mars For the 4th Month in a row,Robinson Crusoe on Mars , the classic SF movie returns to the American Movie Classics (AMC) Channel - 4 times this month:
April 20 - 9:45 P.M.
April 21 - 3:30 a.m.
April 30 - 11:10 a.m. and 12:15 a.m.

This classic 1964 movie is a favorite of many cadets and Robert Skotak's Film documentation of Ib Melchior film career, IB MELCHIOR MAN OF IMAGINATION, documents the movie's creation and birth. Information about Robert Skotak's book can be found on the site at -