Emerging from a state of hibernation after 500 years, Buck Rogers and young Buddy Wade wake up to a world held in a grip of fear by Killer Kane, and must zoom off to the ringed planet for help from the Saturnians.
The 12 chapter BUCK ROGERS serial, was shot between the Flash Gordon serials "Flash Gordon's Trip To Mars" and "Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe." Audiences seemed indifferent to it, so the plans for a sequel were scrapped in favor of continuing the Flash Gordon series.
Buck Rogers has STYLE. Not to say that Flash didn't, but the Buck Rogers serial has: The Art Deco Headquarters of Killer Kane, with it's convenient topiary shrubs for hiding behind. The swirling mirror pool monitor screens. The equally Art Deco space ships, with sparklers as exhaust and that sound, something like a microwave oven and a car missing a muffler. These ships were so advanced, all they needed was a simple door with handle. A future full of wimps. Flash and Buddy easily push away or tackle anyone who they clash with. The groovy De-Gravity belts and the transporter. The Saturnian tram system. The exotic terrain of the planet Saturn, which in no way looked like a California desert. The Saturnian ZUGGS, who should have all been nominated for academy awards.
Okay, I'm being a little sarcastic. But I really do have a great love for this serial, even with all its many flaws. Terrible performances by some of the supporting characters, a few cases of severely bad stunt doubling, and the effects, well......they did their best with what they had to work with. I love the little dolls in the Saturnian tunnel trams.
And Buck himself--Larry "Buster" Crabbe was so handsome. That wavy hair and that killer smile were all he needed. I wonder if the producers ever realized what kind of confusion they would cause in the years that followed, by casting the same actor for both Flash and Buck. It's always interesting to see a VHS version of Buck Rogers with a picture from Flash Gordon on the cover, and vice versa.
Buck Rogers is a true pleasure to watch. It's so much fun, and it's the perfect length. It's over before it has worn out its welcome. And if you want more, then watch the next chapter. The menu screens are fun too, with the ships swinging around on visible wires. If only they would have included a booklet instead of advertising.
This is well worth checking out, especially if you enjoy the Flash serials. Like the cover proclaims, it's a 12 chapter Thrill-O-Rama!