When I was growing up in a small Idaho town during the early 50's, Tom Corbett-Space Cadet and Space Patrol were two of my favorite shows. TV had not yet come to Idaho but we listened to those shows on the radio. I think that I sent for every premium offered by the two shows (25 cents and a box top) but I only have a few of them left. None of the merchandise was available locally but I did read the Tom Corbett books at the library.
Some years later I found some Tom Corbett radio shows on tape and some comics. Then at a flea market I picked up a Tom Corbett lunch box and have been collecting Tom Corbett items every since.
When I learned that the Memphis Film Festival was to have Tom Corbett (Frankie Thomas), Roger Manning (Jan Merlin), and Buzz Corry (Ed Kemmer) all at the same time I said to myself I sure wish I could attend. United Air Lines to the rescue with the air fare wars this spring. I hurried down and got my tickets just in time.
After checking into my room at the Memphis Airport Hotel I went downstairs to pickup my registration packet. It was there that I met Fred and Toni Davis. What a nice couple. They sure made me feel at home.
The dealers' room was a real treasure-trove of movie items; photos, lobby cards, posters, films, videos, records, and other items. I even bought a Tom Corbett jigsaw puzzle for my collection. This is one with a red border.
I have taken pictures of each item in my collection of Tom Corbett-Space Cadet memorabilia and put them in an album.
The Memphis cable TV company invites the stars to appear on a half hour program each evening of the festival. Wednesday's show was on Tom Corbett and Space Patrol. I almost fell off my chair when I too was invited to be on the program and show and tell about my collection of Tom Corbett memorabilia. What a thrill it was to ride to the station seated next to Frankie Thomas and his lovely wife Virginia. In the other car were Ed Kemmer, Jan Merlin and his wife Barbara. Words can not describe the feeling I had on being on the same stage with my childhood heros.
The 'Panel of Stars' for Thu. Aug. 6 was with Frankie Thomas, Jan Merlin, and Ed Kemmer. For over an hour they answered questions from the audience and reminisced about their careers.
All the stars attending the festival were so obliging when it came to autographing photos, posing for pictures and answering questions about their films.
On Saturday we had a special treat. Frankie Thomas and Jan Merlin and others recreated an episode of a Tom Corbett-Space Cadet radio show.
The festival concluded Saturday evening with the 'Awards Banquet'. Each of the stars was presented with a plaque with a picture from one of their films. Afterwards there were photo opportunities and the saying of good byes.
All Galaxy Patrolers will want to get at least 3 of the 5 video tapes of the festival. 1) the 'On Cable Tonight' interview. 2) the Panel Of Stars for Thu. 3) the Awards Banquet which includes the radio show reinactment.
Video tapes are avalible from: Mitchell Schaperkotter, 1553 N. Parkway, Memphis, TN 38112.