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The Space Forum

# 4
January 25, 1998

Uniform color - Discussions - General Comments - Space Toys
Space Patrol - TC Books - Capt Video

Space Cadet Uniform Color

The "Question" of what the color of the uniforms worn by the Cadets of the Polaris Unit continues. The colorized covers for the Video Cassettes in the 70's and the different colors used on advertisements and products have only added to the confusion. The following is a sampling of the e-mail from the Academy mail pouch. A final decision .. is up to each cadet, but Jan Merlin has added information to the discussion and is included at the end of this section. Thanks to Cadets Chuck Lassen, Allen Harris and Rory Coker for the interesting dialog and research of the uniform color question in the following e-mail. The e-mail was edited to the subject. Cadet Ed

From Chuck Lassen to Allen Harris: Fri, 22 Aug 1997

I noticed your question about Tom Corbett uniform colors in the new space forum. This is a question that has also bugged me for the last 45 years! I have seen them represented as blue, green and red. In, I have a pair of Tom Corbett binoculars where Tom is wearing a RED uniform in the drawing on the decals on the binoculars. The Dell comics show green, on the covers of coloring books and other merchandise I remember, they were blue.

As Ed said, the Grossett and Dunlap books established a variety of colors for different levels of rank, but no one takes them as an authoritative source of Tom Corbett folklore. (I have never seen any representation of the black solar guard uniforms, as mentioned in those books.)

Our only hope of getting to the truth of the colors worn by the actors is to get it from someone connected with the show. I've asked Cadet Ed to ask Jan Merlin about this when he next contacts him. Here's hoping he gets the answer, once and for all. Ed suggests the uniforms may have been shades of gray, after all, TV was only black and white. This is also a good possibility.

I wonder if any of the costumes have survived the years? THAT would be real collector's prize! (I'd trade my Buick for one!)

From Rory Coker to Chuck Lassen: Fri, 22 Aug 1997

Chuck's question "Do you remember what the uniform colors were?

"Yes I do, and so would you if those latest photos hadn't been lost. I have a color shot of Tom (similar to the 8 x 10 shots I sent you) in full dress uniform. The overall color seems to be not too different from what was shown on the covers of the Dell comics. The basic color is a not-quite-olive green, with the shoulder yoke being a greenish-brown and the studded yoke and gauntlets being brown. The rocket insignia in the center of the chest is a brighter green, with yellow embroidery."

From Allen Harris to Chuck Lassen: Sat, 23 Aug 1997

I met Frankie Thomas in person in his space cadet uniform at Gimbel's Department Store in Philadelphia around 1952. The uniform was a blue-gray similar to the U.S. Air Force uniform. The yoke worn by cadets, but not by solar guardsman, was magenta. The padding with the studs around collar and sleeves was a shade of blue or cyan. The embroidered insignia had a blue circle (all other representations of this circle in the comic strip, the comic books, and the merchandise are red). The rocket is outlined in white. I don't remember if the lightning bolt was yellow or white. These colors may have been chosen for how they came out on monochrome television. The colors may have come out different on film. As an example I saw George Reeves as Superman with the Superman uniform coming out different - depending on the medium used.

From Rory Coker to Chuck Lassen: Mon, 25 Aug 1997
(referring to Fri, 22 Aug 1997 e-mail)
"I gave you the colors from memory. When I went home to dinner I dug out the slide and here is a description directly from the slide. It is an original, full-color publicity photo in which Tom is posed against a black background on an asteroid set.

The overall color of the uniform is a medium grey-green. The belt is a rich brown, the radio black with a brown dial. The yoke is a much darker grey-green, almost blue, but still far from black. The rocket insignia patch the center of the chest is a pale green, while the rocket itself is dark green and the stitching is yellow. The yoke and gauntlets with, in this picture anyway, seem to be of the same fabric as the flat yoke, a dark grey-green. The telescope-like object on the belt is a bright chrome."

uniform.jpg - 11.2 K Thu, 4 Sep 1997:

Photo from Allen Harris via Chuck Lassen. Allen Harris has modified Rory's faded color photo to match the colors he remembers from seeing Frankie Thomas in person.

Tue, 23 Sep 1997

From Jan Merlin
Part of Jan's letter states: " ....the uniforms worn in the show were predominantly pale slate blue and grey....the darker part of the uniform was a of a deeper blue color.... " He also said the Newspaper strip was very close to the colors of the TV show. However, he remembers the space suits being "pink" of all colors!!
From Rory Coker:
Jan is right on the money, as far as I can tell from the color video tape, "They Went to the Stars...," in which Frankie Thomas wears his uniform, except the yoke looks magneta to me. The studded yoke is dark blue.

rogercor.jpg - 9.8 K

Tom Powers has done an excellent job of coloring Roger Mannings uniform based on Rory and Chuck's discussion. Uniform color is being verified by Jan Merlin and Frankie Thomas. Stay tuned... Cadet Ed

From Rory Coker in response to Jan Merlin's comments in "Diary's Roger Manning Never Kept": Sun, 28 Dec 1997

In his interesting postings, Jan Merlin expresses mystification as to why Roger Manning has a black and white band on his sleeve. I am sure others may have sent in the solution already, but if not, this is it (quoted from THE GREAT TELEVISION HEROES, by Don Glut and Jim Harmon, Doubleday, 1975):
"All the cadets at Space Academy were anxious to learn who would receive a special award for being the Cadet of the Year. Naturally, everyone (including Tom Corbett) believed that Tom would receive it. Tom was congratulated in advance by Astro, Doctor Joan Dale, Captain Strong's pretty girl friend, and by Alphie Higgins, the intellectual cadet who was usually the recipient of Manning's practical Jokes. Tom should have suspected something when Captain Strong failed to congratulate him prematurely. For some individual act which really impressed the Captain, the award was given not to Tom but to Roger Manning!"
Roger wore the black and white band indicating he had been chosen Cadet of the Year for the remainder of his tenure on the program, until he was suddenly assigned at the beginning of a new season to Mars Space Academy!

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Space Heroes From an earlier question posed in June:

Did the early space heroes of the pre-sputnik days inspire the exploration of space by the United States?

Rory responses to the influence of those early characters on his career and outlook on space :

From Rory Coker
If I remember the topic, it was whether programs like TOM CORBETT inspired us to seek scientific careers. If my memory is reliable after all these years, I'd have to say it was just the reverse. A kid who already loved astronomy and paleontology and the idea of space travel would naturally seek out shows like these to watch, to feed his fantasies. Movies like DESTINATION MOON, with their realistic (for the time) special effects, really did fuel those fantasies. But the special effects on the live TV shows were so crude that they inspired us in quite another way. My brother and I said, ``We could build something as good as that,'' and with a little help from our father, we did have our own ``space cruiser control deck,'' with wood and cardboard control panels with levers, dials, switches, glowing lights, buttons, verniers, ``microphones,'' a ``radar'' screen, a ``viewscope,'' etc., etc., etc. What I am saying is that shows like TOM CORBETT inspired our playtime, not our career choices. I'm now a physicist, my brother is an electrical engineer, but it was because we were inclined in such directions from the age of 7 to 10 that we loved TOM CORBETT, read all the science fiction we could lay our hands on, bought telescopes for backyard observing, etc., etc., etc.

Thanks Rory for your insight. I would have to agreed, so bent is the twig so grows the tree. Cadet Ed

Space Show Influences:
Another fans life is influenced by the show:
From Bill Guy; Jr.
I just stumbled onto the Tom Corbett Web Page. I thought I was the Only one who remembered Tom. I was born in 1948, and we didn't have a TV until I was eight in 1956, however I walked every Saturday to a friend's house to watch the show (that is when his mother didn't pitch us out.(after all watching more than an hour or so of TV could ruin a kid's eyes and brain according to adults).

I had the same experience only I had to walk to a garage at the top of the hill to watch the show. Cadet Ed

I got a Marx Tom Corbett Space Academy play set with dozens of little plastic figures. I still have some of of the little people as well as the building. I had a lunchbox in the first grade. After the local bookstore burned I dicovered the books in the fire sale. Since they were marked down to a quarter I could afford to buy one every couple of weeks. My parents also bought me the comics, but I think I only have one or two of them somewhere in my boxes of books. Tom Corbett along with War of the Worlds and Forbidden Planet started me on a lifetime love affair with science fiction and science and is why Ive ended up with a house full of books and videos; a wife that I met when I noticed her reading a copy of Dune in the University Library; Two daughters who read SF; a son who is starting to read Heinlein; and degrees in biology and chemistry and a job in a pathology laboratory. All this because a TV show permanently warped a kid's mind.

Thanks Bill, interesting how Heinlein shows up as part of the mix of Tom Corbett and Science Fiction. Early imprinting???? Cadet Ed

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General Comments:

Where's Frankie Thomas?
Just wondering if Frankie Thomas is still alive and if he is what is he doing? Understand that that he authored books on the game of bridge.

Yes Frankie Thomas is still very much alive and was seen on the TV guide SF special broadcast in July 1997. The video was recorded for resale and may be bought from a video store such as Suncoast or other large video outlets. Mr. Thomas has authored nine bridge books using the Sherlock Homles motif as a backdrop for his bridge instructions, teaches bridge on a regular basis and makes an occassion appearnce as Tom Corbett for fans. I hope to have some information on this activities on the web soon. Keep in touch. Cadet Ed.

Special Award
From Chuck Lassen:
Ed, in addition to the Krell Award, you have received the unofficial "Christa Award" for HTML excellence!
My daughter, Christa, sends her compliments for your HTML work. She said your TC site looks better than most of the commercial sites she's seen. And she oughta know- she is Senior Art Director (and a computer graphics artist) at a large advertising agency, Sterling-Rice group in Boulder, Colorado.
Spaceman's Congratulations! ;-) Chuck

Thanks Chuck and to Christa. This is the best type of award for me. The contacts and exchange of information has been the best reward any cadet can have. Thanks to all who have participated so far. Cadet Ed

Sunday comics strips
From: Daniel Nolan
Hello Ed,
Is there any update to re-printing the Tom Corbett Sunday comics? Thanks for your help

I have not heard of any "professional" reprints but I plan on additional graphics of the strip in an upcoming article. Paul Newman has the first year and half of author's proofs that he may be willing to sell, more on that later.
There was a short run of black and white reprints of the Tom Corbett strip in comic book format, but it did not reprint the Sunday's or all of the adventures. Cadet Ed

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Space Academy toy set
Frank Parks
I am hoping to find someone who might be able to give me information regarding the Tom Corbett, Space Academy toy set. This set was manfactured in the early 1950's by Louis Marx and Company (set # 8009). The set contains numerous action figures ( human an otherwise), the Space Academy building, fencing, weapons, etc..

Jean Elliott
I would like to buy some of the Tom Corbett figures I had as a kid. Can anybody help me? I'm not a collector, so condition of the figures is not crucial. I'm just looking for the TC figures from Marx. I've seen complete playsets available, but I don't want them for the price being asked. I had some TC stuff as a kid and would just like to have some again.

Yes too you both - there is a great deal of information available on the Marx playsets and there are several different boxed sets. An excellent resource for the Marx sets is from collector/publisher of playsets Tom Terry. He publishes the Plastic Figure & Playset Collector and devoted a whole issue (issue #29) to the Tom Corbett and Rex Mars playsets. The Tom Corbett issue is an excellent resource. His address is:

Specialty Publishing Company,
P.O. Box 1355
La Crosse, Wisconsin 54602-1355
Phone: 608-781-1894.
This information was correct in 1994.

Tom Corbet View Master Set
Jon Aiken
I just found your Tom Corbet site today. Great Work - roaring rockets it really takes be back to look through all that you've assembled.

I didn't see any mention of the Veiw Master Story that was released in the 50's "Tom Corbet & The Secret of the Martain Moons". I have an edition in excellent condition with the original full color envelope, the three view master disks and the story booklet. It and my TC books are among my most prized possessions.

Keep up the great work Cadet Ed!! I'll keep checking back from time to time - or until Astro and Roger learn to get along!!

Waiting for those two to get along may result in a long association :-) Plans to issue some pictures of the slides are in the works. Some help in transferring the slide pictures to a graphic suitable for the internet is taking some thought. Any technical help in this would be welcomed.

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Space Patrol / Ralston Rocket
From: Mack Rhea

There were some musings in the August forum regarding the current location of the Ralston Rocket, won by Ricky Walker on Space Patrol. Awhile back I ran into a letter at OTR Online from Bob Jennings ( with the following information:

"Within a few months after receiving the prize he (Ricky Walker)sold it off to a touring carnival where it became a minor attraction on their tours of the mid-western circuit for years. The rocket dropped out of sight for quite a while and nobody seemed to know what happened to it. Starlog Magazine launched a nationwide search in the early eighties to locate the ship or discover what beccame of it. Two dedicated Space Patrol collectors, one of them Andy Anderson, finally located Ricky's prize ship in the front of a construction company in Gent, New York, where it was a sort of advertising prop, and in really poor condition. Efforts on the part of Andy and some other fans to raise money to save the ship and return it to California were not successful. Somebody from the construction company put his foot thru the wall of the ship and it was decided the ship was in such poor condition the it constituted a safety hazzard, and without further ado the construction company sold it for scrap salvage. And that was the end of that."

However, "there were actually two of those rockets"used "as a promotional gimick for the Ralston cereal division or R-P." "Nobody knows what happened to the other ship, the so-called Ralston Rocket, the one used in the publicity tours across the country. It vanished without a trace, and every effort to get information from the Ralston Purina company has been met with silence and indifference. Fans say there was a five foot difference in length between the Ralston Rocket and the Ricky Walker rocket, altho which was longer I can't say. My guess is that the Walker rocket was longer to accomodate the bunk room sleeping area at the back of the ship advertised in the contest."

Would this second ship be the ship that Dr. WARD DEAN aquired? The Academy has written Ward at his last known address but we have not received a reply yet. I guess we will have to wait until Ward responses.

Mr. Proteus (Marvin Miller)
From: Bruce Mehlhaff
Found your web page today and have marked it for easy access in the future. My interest in Space Patrol is rather narrow. I am collecting videos of and information about the radio, TV, and movie actor Marvin Miller, who played Mr. Proteus and a number of other characters on the show. I have been searching, with no sucess, for an episode guide that will identify episodes in which Miller appeared. I will keep watching your page. Thanks,

Can anyone help Bruce? If you can please e-mail him with a CC to the Academy. There will be a Space Patrol TV guide on the site soon. ... Stay tuned.

Cast details- Space Patrol
From: Chuck Lassen
Info for your Space Patrol page-
I just found the note I wrote myself when I heard the news report on the radio- Virginia Hewitt, "Carol Carlisle (sp?)" of Space Patrol, died on July 20, 1986 of cancer, at the age of 58.
Don't mean to be morbid, but this is a fact as I have heard it personally and wrote it down at the time.
So please let it be entered with great respect into the logs of the Academy.

So noted and a loss for all Space Opera Fans.

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Tom Corbett Books

Books Wanted:
From: Jim Waugh 7/11/97
Hi Cadet Ed,
I am collecting Tom Corbett books among many other juvenile series. I am trying to locate hardcover copies (as early printings as possible) of #1, #3, #4, #5, and #6 in dustjacket. More importantly, I am trying to locate #4-#8 in pictorial hardcover (the later printings that did not have a dust jacket). Can you or anyone you know possibly help me in my quest?

From: Gordon Keller 9/16/97
I just found the web page for Tom Corbett. Since I was about 12 I found 6 of the 8 Grosset & Dunlap books and fell in love with the idea and works. I am now 39 and my 9 year old son (Paul) has developed the same interest in the books that I have. (I also passed the books to my wife to read when we were married and she enjoyed them also.)
My question is, where can I find the 2 books I am missing? THE REVOLT ON VENUS and THE ROBOT ROCKET.
We have the hard back blue editions and I would love to either get a full set with the addition of the missing two or purchase another full set.
Thank you for your work here and I must tell you that this is the only thing that makes me wish I had been born earlier... so I could have heard the radio shows and seen the TV shows! I would be interested in information on the comics and newspaper strips too.

Hi Gordon and Paul, I'm glad you found the site and enjoy the G&D books as much as I do. The books are still in circulation at Library sales, used books and some speciality (collectors) houses. Prices range from $5 - $15 (which is still a good bargin). I hope to have a page up soon for wants and trades by others so hang in there, the trading post may help you out.

The tradition of passing on the books parents have read to their children is a good one and it seems many have done that with the Tom Corbett, Rick Brant and Tom Swift series. There are several Series book websites on the web, one of the best (Spindrift Island) is on the links page of Space opera. Some of these websites either trade or sale the books and you may find a stray TC among them. I'm looking for the English edition of the series, I know the first two were issued in a red cover format from England but I haven't found any later editions. Cadet Ed

From: Neil Lindholm
I thought I was the only person that enjoyed the old science fiction stuff but i'm glad to see that I am not alone. I usually spend my wekends searching for the elusive Tom Corbett novels that I am missing or any other old sci-fi boys novels. I have most of the TOm Swift seris and quite a few of the "Rick Brant" series, one of my favourites. Are you into the movies more than the books? I have never seen "Tom Corbett" on TV but i've heard the radio program. Just thought i'd say hello.

Joseph Greene as possible author of series From: Brian McCullogh
Joseph Greene was the author of the six-volume "Dig Allen, Space Explorer" series, published by Golden Press from 1959 - 63. I have recently acquired and re-read the Tom Corbett books, but it has been over 30 years since I read the Dig Allen series. As I recall, they are similar in theme - three young men exploring the solar system as members of a space exploration agency, though the style felt different from the Tom Corbett series at the time. Not evidence of Greene's authorship of the Tom Corbett by any means, but possibly food for thought.
BTW, thanks for the website. It and others like it have added some fun to my trip down "nostalgia lane", as I try to re-aquire some of the books that I read during my school years. If I am lucky, my children may also come to enjoy these books one of these years.

Stay tuned to the site, because Geoffrey Tolle is working on a number of projects that may return the Tom Corbett universe to children's reading lists. Check out Geoffrey's draft of a proposed children's series located on the Section 42-D of the Space Opera Website.

From: Frank Tugwell
Dear Ed:
Thanks for the walk down memory lane (or in this case memory orbit) I grew up on the TCSC books; We didn't get the series on our one station in those days. But I still feel as though I know Tom, Roger, Astro, Captain Strong, Dr. Dale and Major Blastoff Connell as well as I know any characters in fiction. Keep up the good work!

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Capt Video

From: Dale L. Ames

Dale is searching for The Captain Video Book: The Du Mont Television Station Network Story ( see December 1997 Cadet News ). A Capt Video fan located at the Amazon Books address.
Which resulted in the following research by Dale:

Hi Ed : I have E - mailed the bookstore but I bet the bookstore will have to order the book from Loosestrife Press. I need to locate someone who has the book in their hands. Can you find out if the Cadet who informed you of the the Amazon Book site really has a copy of the book. I thank you for your efforts and I hope we can locate the book for members of both clubs. Happy Space Travels.

With the following results from Dale's contact with Amazon.

Hi ED : Called the Amazon book store and they say they can get the book but I doubt it because they have to order the book from Loosesrtife Press. I have had 12 or more bookstores order the book but I still have no book. I spoke with w/ Loosesrtife Press over 20 times in the past 2+ years. We have to locate the author or find someone who has the book. Hope you can mention this in your newsletter.

Ok, that's the challenge. Anyone know how to contact Neil Sullivan, the author of he Captain Video Book: The Du Mont Television Station Network Story? Or is there anyone who has a copy of the book? E-mail the Academy or Dale with any information. Cadet Ed.

That's it for this edition of the Forum. There are many more e-mails to add to the next edition. So we may have another large column within the next few weeks. Till then, Cool your Jets... and Spaceman's Luck.... Cadet Ed

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