|Directed by|| Ford Beebe |
Saul A. Goodkind
|Written by|| Norman S. Hall |
|Based on||Buck Rogers created by Philip Francis Nowlan|
|Produced by||Barney A. Sarecky|
|Starring|| Buster Crabbe |
C. Montague Shaw
|Edited by||Joseph Gluck |
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|237 minutes (12 chapters)|
Buck Rogers is a 1939 science fiction film serial, produced by Universal Pictures. It stars Buster Crabbe (who had previously played the title character in two Flash Gordon serials and would return for a third in 1940) as the eponymous hero, Constance Moore, Jackie Moran and Anthony Warde.  It is based on the Buck Rogers character created by Philip Francis Nowlan, who had appeared in magazines and comic strips since 1928.
In 1938, Lieutenant Buck Rogers (Buster Crabbe) and Buddy Wade (Jackie Moran) are part of the crew of a dirigible flying over the North Pole. They are caught in a savage storm and crash. They are ordered to release the experimental Nirvano Gas, which (unbeknownst to them) will put them in suspended animation until they are rescued. The Nirvano Gas works, but the dirigible is buried in an avalanche and is not found until 500 years have passed. When Buck and Buddy are found, they awaken in the year 2440 to a world ruled by the ruthless dictator, Killer Kane (Anthony Warde), and his army of "super-racketeers". Only those who live in the "Hidden City", run by the benevolent scientist Dr. Huer (C. Montague Shaw) and his military counterpart, Air Marshal Kragg (William Gould), resist the criminal rulers of Earth.
Buck and Buddy join the resistance. They volunteer to go to Saturn, where they hope that they can find help in their fight against Kane. Wilma Deering (Constance Moore) is assigned to accompany them. Saturn is run by Aldar (Guy Usher), the Council of the Wise and Prince Tallen. To the dismay of Buck and Buddy, they also discover that Kane has dispatched ambassadors of his own, headed by his loyal henchman, Captain Laska (Henry Brandon). The serial then becomes a back-and-forth struggle between Buck and Kane to secure the planet's military support.
The 12-part serial launched in 1939. Buster Crabbe had played Flash Gordon in the serials of the same name and Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars . Constance Moore played Lieutenant Wilma Deering, the sole female character, and Jackie Moran as "Buddy" Wade, an original character who was modeled on the Sunday strip character Buddy Deering. Anthony Warde was cast as "Killer" Kane, Rogers' enemy; this was the only time that Warde, who usually portrayed evil underlings in serials, played a lead villain. Korean-American actor Philson Ahn, younger brother of Philip Ahn, played Prince Tallen, a Saturnian native who befriends Rogers.
Noted actor and "crown prince of stuntmen" David Sharpe, who appeared in over 4,500 films over the course of a seven-decade career, appeared in several roles.
The serial had a small budget and saved money on special effects by re-using material from other stories: background shots from the futuristic 1930 musical Just Imagine , as the city of the future, the garishly stenciled walls from the Azura palace set in Trip to Mars, and even the studded leather belt that Crabbe wore in Trip, turned up as part of Buck's uniform.
In 1953, the serial was edited into a feature film entitled Planet Outlaws, by Sherman Krellberg for release via Goodwill Pictures Inc.  It was edited again to feature length and titled Destination Saturn for syndication to television, in 1965. Finally, the serial was edited once again into feature film format in the late 1970s, this version simply entitled Buck Rogers with the theatrical poster advertising, "Star Wars owes it all to Buck Rogers", and which was later sold on videotape in the early 1990s by VCI Entertainment under the catalogue title of Planet Outlaws (which title, to make it appear legitimate, was also superimposed onto the first shot of film following the main titles). The original "Planet Outlaws" and also "Destination Saturn" have both been available in video format since the early 1980s, and as early as 1970 were both available for user-purchase in 16mm film format from Thunderbird Pictures. VCI released all twelve installments on DVD in September 2000. In November 2009, VCI released a special 70th anniversary edition on DVD, with extras including "The History of Buck Rogers" by Clifford "Laughing Gravy" Weimer, a photo gallery, and the 1935 Buck Rogers short feature originally shown at the 1933-34 World's Fair.
Planet Outlaws received comedic commentary treatment in 2018 as a "...Presents" feature by Matthew J. Elliott and Ian Potter as part of RiffTrax, an offshoot of cult movie-mocking TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000 .
Flash Gordon is a 1936 science fiction serial. Presented in 13 chapters, it is the first screen adventure for Flash Gordon, the comic-strip character created by Alex Raymond in 1934. It presents the story of Gordon's visit to the planet Mongo and his encounters with the evil Emperor Ming the Merciless. Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles Middleton, Priscilla Lawson and Frank Shannon portray the film's central characters. In 1996, Flash Gordon was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Clarence Linden Crabbe II, known professionally as Buster Crabbe, was an American two-time Olympic swimmer and film and television actor. He won the 1932 Olympic gold medal for 400-meter freestyle swimming event, which launched his career on the silver screen and later television. He starred in a variety of popular feature films and movie serials released between 1933 and the 1950s, portraying the top three syndicated comic-strip heroes of the 1930s: Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers.
Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe is a 1940 American black-and-white science fiction 12-chapter movie serial from Universal Pictures, produced by Henry MacRae and co-directed by Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor. The serial stars Buster Crabbe, Carol Hughes, Charles B. Middleton, Frank Shannon, and Roland Drew. It was written by George H. Plympton, Basil Dickey, and Barry Shipman and was adapted from Alex Raymond's syndicated newspaper comic strip of the same name from King Features Syndicate. Shown theatrically in 12 separate weekly "chapters", it was the last of the three Universal Flash Gordon serials made between 1936 and 1940.
Jackie Moran was an American movie actor who, between 1936 and 1946, appeared in over thirty films, primarily in teenage roles.
Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars is a 1938 Universal Pictures 15–chapter science-fiction movie serial based on the syndicated newspaper comic strip Flash Gordon. It is the second of the three Flash Gordon serials made by Universal between 1936 and 1940. The main cast from the first serial reprise their roles: Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon, Jean Rogers as Dale Arden, Frank Shannon as Dr. Alexis Zarkov, Charles B. Middleton as Ming the Merciless, and Richard Alexander as Prince Barin. Also in the principal cast are Beatrice Roberts as Queen Azura, Donald Kerr as Happy Hapgood, Montague Shaw as the Clay King, and Wheeler Oakman as Ming's chief henchman. The serial was followed by Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940).
Wilma Deering is a fictional character featured in the various iterations of Buck Rogers which have spanned many media over the years.
Constance Moore was an American singer and actress. Her most noted work was in wartime musicals such as Show Business and Atlantic City and the classic 1939 movie serial Buck Rogers, in which she played Wilma Deering, the only female character in the serial.
Philip Ahn was an American actor and activist of Korean descent. With over 180 film and television credits between 1935 and 1978, he was one of the most recognizable and prolific Asian-American character actors of his time. He is widely regarded as the first Korean American film actor in Hollywood.
Noah Nicholas Beery was an American actor who appeared in films from 1913 until his death in 1946. He was the older brother of Academy Award-winning actor Wallace Beery as well as the father of prominent character actor Noah Beery Jr. He was billed as either Noah Beery or Noah Beery Sr. depending upon the film.
Frankie Darro was an American actor and later in his career a stuntman. He began his career as a child actor in silent films, progressed to lead roles and co-starring roles in adventure, western, dramatic, and comedy films, and later became a character actor and voice-over artist. He is perhaps best known for his role as Lampwick, the unlucky boy who turns into a donkey in Walt Disney's second animated feature, Pinocchio (1940). In early credits, his last name was spelled Darrow.
Buck Rogers XXVC is a game setting created by TSR, Inc. in the late 1980s. Products based on this setting include novels, graphic novels, a role-playing game (RPG), board game, and video games. The setting was active from 1988 until 1995.
AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars is the American Film Institute's list ranking the top 25 female and 25 male greatest screen legends of American film history and is the second list of the AFI 100 Years... series.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century is an American science fiction adventure television series produced by Universal Studios. The series ran for two seasons between September 1979 and April 1981 on NBC, and the feature-length pilot episode for the series was released as a theatrical film before the series aired. The film and series were developed by Glen A. Larson and Leslie Stevens, based on the character Buck Rogers created in 1928 by Philip Francis Nowlan that had previously been featured in comic strips, novellas, a serial film, and on television and radio.
Ray "Crash" Corrigan was an American actor most famous for appearing in many B-Western movies. He also was a stuntman and frequently acted as silver screen gorillas using his own gorilla costumes.
Killer Kane is a fictional character in the Buck Rogers comic strip and its subsequent 1939 Buck Rogers serial film produced by Universal Studios. The character also appeared in the 1979 film and subsequent TV series, in which he was a defector from Earth to the Draconian Empire and sought to assist its malevolent leader Emperor Draco and his daughter Princess Ardala in their plans to conquer Earth.
Hollywood on Parade (1932–1934) is a series of short subjects released by Paramount Pictures.
Ignition City is a five-issue science fiction comic book limited series, written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Gianluca Pagliarani. It was published in 2009 by American company Avatar Press.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century is a 1979 American science fiction adventure film directed by Daniel Haller. Starring Gil Gerard in the title role and Erin Gray as Colonel Wilma Deering, it was produced by Glen A. Larson who co-wrote the screenplay with Leslie Stevens, based on the character Buck Rogers which was created by Philip Francis Nowlan in 1928. It was originally made as a television pilot, but Universal Pictures opted to release the movie theatrically several months before the subsequent television series aired.
Buck Rogers is a science fiction adventure hero and feature comic strip created by Philip Francis Nowlan first appearing in daily US newspapers on January 7, 1929, and subsequently appearing in Sunday newspapers, international newspapers, books and multiple media with adaptations including radio in 1932, a serial film, a television series, and other formats.
A serial film,film serial, movie serial, or chapter play, is a motion picture form popular during the first half of the 20th century, consisting of a series of short subjects exhibited in consecutive order at one theater, generally advancing weekly, until the series is completed. Generally, each serial involves a single set of characters, protagonistic and antagonistic, involved in a single story, which has been edited into chapters after the fashion of serial fiction and the episodes cannot be shown out of order or as a single or a random collection of short subjects.