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Section 42-D
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Space Academy- artwork by  Ed RowlesTOM CORBETT SPACE CADET
Introduction, Facts and History.

With additional Information on other Space Opera shows of the 1950's.
© Ed Pippin 1996-2002

Historical Tom Corbett  | Joseph Greene's Contribution | Robert Heinlein's Influence | 

Space Record | TC Glossary | TC Space Slang | 


The SOLAR GUARD ACADEMY site has it's roots in the mid 1960's when I had to pack my collection for storage and head for college. Found among the treasures, saved since pre-teen years, were several Grosset & Dunlap TOM CORBETT books. Rereading the adventures of Tom, Roger and Astro was enjoyable and stimulated memories of the early TV shows. What started as a fond memory developed into a 30+ year research hobby. As I found other fans of Tom, Commander Corry, Rocky and the space heroes of the early 1950's, a reoccurring statement of "I thought I was the only one interested in Tom Corbett and the 1950's Space Heroes!!! was repeated many times. Even in 1997 I receive e-mail with the same exclamation of wonder!!

What is the attraction of shows over 40 years old and dated by today’s standards? The treatment of the Space Characters of the 1950's was, at best, passed off as "Juvenile". Most articles or books written have given the genre a short salute and dismissed them as just children’s shows. Granted this was the target audience and judging from the magazine articles of the 1950's, the shows hit their mark. However, there was magic in the shows.

People like George Gould, who pioneered LIVE TV special effects, took us into space . Many of the rocket visionaries of that time period acted as science advisors. Willy Ley on the Tom Corbett Show and Dr Richardson who worked on the Capt Video show were on hand to bend young minds around the science of space flight. The time period was alive with space travel. Future NASA technicians may have been influenced by the adventures conducted in the name of interplanetary peace and justice. Frankie Thomas Jr., Jan Merlin and Al Markim, who portrayed the famous Polaris unit of Tom Corbett, were craftsmen and brought the characters to life. The adventures were about coming of age ... in an age of marvels. These shows were laying a foundation for future generations whose eyes and hearts were looking SPACE Just children’s shows? You decide.

We will examine the history, the drive , the motivation of the shows and strife to bring back that sense of wonder we all had when we

“... once again, R - O - C - K - E - T into the future .. with
T.. O.. M.....C..O.. R.. B.. E.. T.. T,.... S.. P.. A.. C.. E..... C.. A.. D.. E ..T."

This page will introduce you to Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. The show’s roots, the reviews, the history of the making of the show and just about anything that would shed light on how the show worked. So pull up a piece of the Solar Guard's Spaceship bulkhead and get acquainted with Tom, Roger and Astro ... Space Cadets.


The Tom Corbett Universe, as related in this website, is complied from the radio shows, Grosset & Dunlap books, daily and Sunday comic strips and the Dell Comics. However, a lot of the plot and story lines are inspired by the TV show and new material may be added to this account of the Tom Corbett Universe through a number of fans who are researching the early shows . The TC Universe page reflects the TC universe as related in the written media of the 1950's.
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Joseph L. Greene was a managing editor for Grosset and Dunlap in the 1950's and 60's with a varied writing career which included science fiction, mystery, pulp fiction, comics, radio and television scripts of the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. He was the author of the Dig Allen Space Explorer series (1959), where three young men form a unit to explore space together. Sound familiar? At first glance it would seem this was a copy of the Tom Corbett series. However, new research indicates a different story. Joseph Greene was a contributor in the development of the Tom Corbett show.

The following series of pages "From Tom Ranger to Tom Corbett" will help clear up some misunderstandings I have had over the years and will explore how a character such as Tom Corbett can be development from many sources. Click here to begin "The Rest of the Story"

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Robert Anson Heinlein ROBERT HEINLEIN'S INFLUENCE Note: Updated to reflect new information 6/99
The Tom Corbett universe as seen in the Grosset & Dunlap series books was developed from Robert Heinlein's SPACE CADET. Some of the Tom Corbett character's are a direct crossover from the novel while others are a hybrid of several different characters found in SPACE CADET. The background and time period for Tom's adventures are comparable to SPACE CADET and translate the feeling of a young man's coming of age. This page draws the parallels between Mr. Heinlein's novel and the 1950's space phenomenon known as Tom Corbett.
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Space Record- artwork by Ed  RowlesTHE SPACE RECORD:

Historical records and files in the development of the shows are presented on this page. Did you know before Tom Corbett there was Tom Ranger? What did reviews of the show say about the cadets and their travels in space? Geoffrey Tolle has researched the development of Tom Corbett and has provided us with some excellent information on the early years. Also located on the SPACE RECORD page is a checklist of magazine articles and books with information about the 1950's Science Fiction TV shows and the Space Program of the 1950's as we knew it from these shows.
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What is the name of the ship that crashed into the Venus Space Station? Who was Kenneth Rogers Manning? Where did the Polaris crew crashed landed on Mars? Terms , definitions, important locations and just about anything related to Tom Corbett in a glossary format for use as a reference source. This is a draft ... a work in progress ... Artwork and additional information will be added. Additions, corrections or suggestions always welcomed. Just e-mail the Academy with your corrections, notes and comments.
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Slang used on the Tom Corbett Space Cadet Radio Show. Submitted by Geoffrey Tolle. Send in any additional slang to the Academy. If possible note the source and any important information about the source with your e-mail.

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Comments & suggestions may be sent to the Solar Guard Academy

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