Cowboy meets Spaceman
Cowboy meets Spaceman
Western Film Festival Jan Merlin
Jan Merlin circa 1950

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On the 25th of Feb. 1999, Horse Opera met Space Opera, Ray guns mixed with Six guns and the wide open spaces of the prairies mixed with the deep ranges of space for three full days of fun. The Williamsburg Film Festival organizers had planned an excellent Western Film event and made the small delegation of cadets from the Solar Guard Academy feel welcome. Cadet Chuck Lassen, Cadet Jack McKirgan and Cadet Ed Pippin (dubbed the Polaris II crew) arrived and met face to face for the first time on Thursday. Space Ranger Mike Elmo would join fellow cadets on Saturday. A lot of “Space Gas” and Academy business was discussed by the cadets during the festival and the results of these discussions will find their way to the Solar Guard Academy Site.

What would bring Space Opera fans to a Western Film Festival, where radio and TV panels discussed the audiences' favorite western shows? What would bring space fans from Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia to Williamsburg?????? Only the best Astrogator of the Space Academy... Cadet Roger Manning AKA Jan Merlin from the 1950's Space Opera television hit TOM CORBETT SPACE CADET.

Jan's career began in space but was firmly anchored in TV and movie westerns. Jan's character was usually a sympathetic "bad guy" killed in the movie. The familiar Manning sneer would appear in many western films accompanied by a voice that could say "ahhh go... blow your JETS!!!!!!!!" as easily as "put up your hands, partner!!!"

Jan Merlin and his lovely wife Barbara gave the Solar Guard Cadets a lot of their time and never tired of answering our questions. The panels were informative and the dealers room contained items that would interest both cowboy and spaceman. More pictures will be added as fellow cadets develop their film and jot down their memories. It was agreed by all who attended..... we are looking forward to the next gathering of the Solar Guard.

If you discover that Jan is attending one of these events in your area.... plan to wont be disappointed.

As documented in the following pages, a good time was had by all. Special thanks to Cindy Peery, Bill Sasser, Larry Floyd and the many other hard working committee members who brought us an excellent program which included a special showing of a Tom Corbett TV show.



Can you pick the cadet from the Now picture when compared to the Then Picture?
Check out the following pages to see how you did

Festival Pictures:
|.. Jan greets fans ..|.. Polaris II crew arrive ..|.. Panel discussions ..|
Cadet memories:

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