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Variety Weekly - December 15, 1954
(Article under copyright)


With Frankie Thomas, Al Markim, Jack Grimes, Ed Bryce, Carter Blake
Producer-writer: Albert Aley
Director: Ralph Ward
30 Mins.; Sat., 11:30 a.m.
NBC-TV, from New York
(J. Walter Thompson)

Kraft Foods is waiting until Jan. 1 for "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet" to clear its rocket tube for fear that even though its better than half-year anchorage (after finishing at DuMont) was spent in anti-oxidation balls it wasn't enough to keep out rust entirely. Then too, the sponsor didn't want to join the cadets at the Space Academy until the start of a new (commercial) semester, that being after the New Year. As far as the former is concerned, the bank-roller needn't have feared. The veteran video vehicle (which, incidentally, is making its tour of tv's fourth solar system, NBC-TV, after having soared through the other three in its lifetime) was in reasonably good condition at its launching (11).

The kid stanza, anchoring the new NBC-TV Saturday morning two-hour juve block, made perhaps a couple too many trial turns on the preem before opening its rockets full and heading for adventure in outer space. After a long scene in which roles were established and dissension was created, Tom Corbett and his fellow cadets were sent on a cruise to learn teamwork. New crewman - supposed to be a brain but played like a lesser Hell's Kitchen thug by Jack Grimes - made one of his practical jokes, causing real trouble, but after showing he meant no harm, was saved by Frankie Thomas' bright 'n' brave Tom Corbett.

Following what seems to be Rockhill's code, producer-scribbler Albert Aley (vice Allen Ducovny, presently of D'Arcy agency) asserted dramatic elements withough once getting gory. In the NBC preem, "Space Cadet" had no darkly evil antagonist to the forces of good, but instead exaggerated (some times too much) failing of "our side" to motivate action.

The other three 10-to-noon half-hour shows blasted off on Nov. 10, with Happy Felton leading, followed by Paul Winchell's stanza and then by Jimmy Weldon's "Funny Boners." As with grown-ups, kids aren't going to appreciate all elements of such a varied tv block.

But since all the shows are on the plus side, viewership should be the same for each, although the same audience won't follow NBC throughout the morning.


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