Flash Gordon [TV Series] (1954)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Space Adventure, Superhero Show [TV]  |   Run Time - 30 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Tall, blonde athletic Steve Holland was cast as Flash Gordon in this low-budget series, a joint US-German production that was shot from 1953 thru 1955 in Germany. Holland bore a striking resemblance to Crabbe, physically and also in his voice, just as Irene Champlin resembled Carol Hughes's Dale Arden from Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe. But little else in the series resembled the Flash Gordon serials or comic strip -- indeed, the setting of this Flash Gordon was closer in spirit to the Buck Rogers stories. Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and Dr. Hans Zarkov (Joseph Nash) live in the year 3061, and work for the Galaxy Bureau of Investigation, usually referred to as the G.B.I. Their job is to keep the cosmos safe from any threat, natural or otherwise, and most of the plots in the series concern the "otherwise," machinations by various nefarious aliens with plans of conquest and destruction. As expected, the hero's physical prowess is constantly tested along with his resourcefulness, but in a refreshing change from the norm in this sort of entertainment in this era, Dale Arden as portrayed by Champlin is every bit as impetuous and formidible in her way. Nash's Dr. Zarkov is depicted as a brilliant if sometimes eccentric and unpredictable genius. Many of the episodes also feature Henry Beckman as Commander Richards, Flash, Dale, and Zarkov's immediate superior at the G.B.I. Their foes include would-be conquering armadas from deep space, lone maniacal figures such as Zydereen, the Witch of Neptune (amazingly, played by Broadway/operatic star Marie Powers), and time-travelers.