Buck Rogers and Rocket man costumes

The science fiction channel had a Buck Rodgers marathon on the other day. Buck Rodgers was a spaceman and hero. He could travel the galaxy and right wrongs. His enemies might call him “Earth Man” but by the end of the show they said it with respect. Buck Rodgers was filmed in the 1930’s. It would play in movie theatres as an episodic short film with another chapter the next week. I first started watching the shows on television in the 50’s. I used to be amazed at the spaceship and the ray gun that Flash carried. Now I’m more amazed at other things. Flash communicated with people and they could see each other. Now this was before television. Think about Skype or other ways we communicate and we can see the other person. They had this figured out way before TV and way before we communicated over the Internet. Some things are dead wrong. Their spaceship had a high roof and big comfortable chairs. The spaceship flew so smoothly they didn’t even need seat belts. Airlines today could learn a lot from watching a few episodes. Costumes are interesting to me. Flash was a snappy dresser in some funky pants and a blouse or tunic looking shirt with a big star on it. Some of the other characters had on short pants with boot looking shoes and the same tunics with stars. Wilder still were some of the people from other planets. They had opera singer helmets and wings attached to their backs. Emperor Ming’s soldiers wore helmets and jackets that looked like Michael Jackson headed to an awards show. Others had enough jewelry to make a hip-hop artist envious. Oddly, some planets had people that came out of the trees to fight some of the space travelers. They didn’t have weapons so the space men always fought the tree people with fists. Looking back almost eighty years, the writers had some odd things too. The space men would carry ray guns. With ray gun technology you would think that there wouldn’t be a need for swords. Lots of the soldiers carried swords along with their ray guns. They got radio and picture transmitting technology right. However they still wrote notes on scrolls. They would unroll the scroll, show a message and then roll the scroll up and stick it in their belt. Not many of the costumes had pockets. Unlike cowboy movies they didn’t have holsters for the ray guns. With some pockets in those pants, think what else could have been carried. Lastly, the space men were fond of hats. They wore lots of hats that looked like Robin Hood had brought them out of Sherwood Forest. The hats had big feathers in them. Even Emperor Ming liked feathers. In one episode he wore a big feather that looked like a fasternator that they wear in England. The helmets also had feathers. I was watching an episode and a young friend came by and pointed out things he didn’t like about old movies. I told him that this show was great for the 1930’s. It predicted the future and was entertaining. He is also lucky. He gets to watch these great shows that are entertaining and a good predictor of things. He was also lucky. In just twelve years it would be the thirties once again.


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