Cadet John P. Simelaro
I was 6 years old in 1952 when I saw my first Space Patrol show. My fascination was immediate, as I was intrigued at an early age with science. Unfortunately, I went to a Parochial School, which did not teach any science so Space Patrol was a learning class for me. In those early days, I remember how amazed I was with the Star Drive, which taught Einstein principles of Relativity, Speed of Light, and the warping of space and time. Orbits of the planets around our star and other stars was another amazement, which still boggles me. I remember Buzz Corry teaching Cadet Happy all these aspects so in essence Ed Kemmer "Buzz Corry" is on my list as a faculty member in my educational years. I was a devout Space Patroller and had all the Wheat Chex cereal offerings. I even had 3 smoker guns!
My big surprise on my 8th birthday was the plastic space helmet ($5.00) with inner tube like gasket, which was the same helmet our heroes wore. As a matter of fact, I was wearing it while sitting in the front seat of my grandfather's car when we had a head-on collision with a brick wall. I smashed through the windshield and although my helmet cracked, I didn't get one scratch. So, I guess you can say the Space Patrol saved my life.
On the lighter side, Carol Carlisle was my first love, although I think she retired after the series. When the show went off the air in 1955, I was devastated, but the seeds of science, community, and ethical behavior were planted.
I finally get to high school where I started to learn about the cosmos, but it was easy since Buzz already showed me the basics. Then suddenly, in 1959 the old reruns of Space Patrol were broadcast on an NBC affiliate WPTZ in Philadelphia. I cannot tell you how delighted I was. It was then I realized my thirst for science started back in 1952 with Buzz and Happy adventures. I did the science route in college and went on to medical school where it was my turn to teach the young cadets ( medical students) just as Buzz taught Happy in the series. A few weeks ago I was clicking through the many channels and saw a B-movie where Lynn Osborne played a minor role. It then occurred to me I wonder if there are any other space patrollers left. Boy, was I surprised especially to see my boyhood teacher and idol, Buzz Corry's picture on the Internet and at the Monster rally. He looks great!
I plan to collect as many of the old Kinescopes as possible and when the 70 channels or so have "nothing on", I play these tapes and am immediately transported back to the 50's. I wish I still had all my space patrol equipment, I bet it would be worth a lot, especially my code belt and ray gun (it shot darts). I have nothing but excellent memories of the series. I am still shocked to hear the other crew members have gone, but I will never forget them.
In 1954 I met Commander Corry and Cadet Happy at a disabled children Telethon Happy gave me 2 Terra 5 models because I wanted one for my friend, another space patroller who was sick and could not make this event.
In summary, I am grateful to the writers and players of the show as it was a life long inspiration.
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