Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949–1955)

TV Series  -   -  Action | Sci-Fi | Adventure
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"Guardian of the Safety of the World", private citizen-scientist Captain Video, assisted by his teenage helper The Ranger and an army of Video Rangers, preserves the peace in the far-off ... See full summary »

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Title: Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949–1955)

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1955   1954   1953   1952   … See all »
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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Don Hastings ...
 The Video Ranger (32 episodes, 1949-1955)
...
 Captain Video (30 episodes, 1951-1955)
Ben Lackland ...
 Commissioner of Public Safety Charles Carey (29 episodes, 1951-1955)
Hal Conklin ...
 Dr. Pauli (27 episodes, 1949-1954)
Fred Scott ...
 Communications Officer Rogers / ... (14 episodes, 1949-1955)
Ed Condit ...
 Announcer / ... (13 episodes, 1951-1955)
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Storyline

"Guardian of the Safety of the World", private citizen-scientist Captain Video, assisted by his teenage helper The Ranger and an army of Video Rangers, preserves the peace in the far-off future, fighting the evil Dr. Pauli of the Astroidal Society and a bunch of other baddies (Nargola, Mook, Kul, Clysmok). The show appeared nightly Mon-Fri, featured many outlandish weapons and techno-gimmicks, and was run on a minuscule prop budget. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Death-Defying Danger... Awe-Inspiring Thrills Await the Courage and Genius of Captain Video and His Video Rangers!


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Details

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Release Date:

27 June 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Captain Video  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Set in the 22nd century, there were 51+ serialized stories in all, totaling 1,537 episodes. The show was 30 minutes in length, but for the first few years approximately half of the program consisted of serialized excerpts from old B-Westerns. Thes segments were supposed to depict Video's "agents". Eventually - likely by Summer, 1952 - these clips were phased out in favor of full length Captain Video adventures. In mid-September, 1953, the program reverted to a 15 minutes running time. Until late in 1950 there was no Wednesday episode, but it was seen on Saturday. (NOTE: This statement is questionable.) By 1951, the series' level of sophistication had become much more finely-honed. Scripts came from top science-fiction writers and consultants, and many Broadway stage actors were cast. At its peak, over 125 stations carried the series, including many non-DuMont affiliates. The first TV-to-Hollywood spin-off, a 15-chapter serial from Columbia Pictures (Captain Video, Master of the Stratosphere (1951) with a different cast), came from this program in 1951, and a Saturday-morning TV series (The Secret Files of Captain Video (1953)) began in 1953. However, despite the program's immense popularity, the DuMont network's insurmountable problems caused it to cease operations by 1955. While other DuMont programs were continued on other networks, DuMont refused to sell "Captain Video" to NBC, and Al Hodge returned as the Captain to host a local cartoon/documentary film series over New York station WABD, the former DuMont flagship. DuMont's television archive was destroyed by a successor after it's collapse. The total number of stories is probably closer to 100, and the episodes may number higher than 1,537, but remaining information only accounts for 51 stories. See more »

Quotes

Nargola: I said... take him to the greasing pits! Captain Video has delayed long enough. The pretense that he is here as our guest is over! The formula for protonic energy... or the Ranger's life! Let Captain Video make his choice!
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Connections

Referenced in They Went to the Stars (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Overture to The Flying Dutchman
by Richard Wagner
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User Reviews

 
Three Captain Video Anecdotes
5 April 2010 | by (Portland, OR, United States) – See all my reviews

Here is an anecdote from the Captain Video show, as told to me by an elderly relative: The Captain Video studio was in a building wherein the legendary Wanamaker department store was also housed. One episode of the series called for a doctor to examine a severely injured astronaut, and due the proximity of the department store and time constraints, at the last minute a hapless staff member was sent to the department store to obtain a prop stethoscope. Unfortunately, the store did not have an actual stethoscope, but the staff member was able to obtain a toy doctor kit as a substitute.

Captain Video was aired live, of course. When the actor portraying the doctor tried to use the toy stethoscope, he found that the instrument was sized for a child's head, and that it could't fit into both ears of an adult. The actor playing the severely injured spaceman looked up and saw his compatriot struggling with the prop, and exploded into laughter for several minutes.

This is the testimony that was given unto me, and though I cannot authenticate it, it seems credible.

It is well known and documented that this program was truly a mass phenomenon, just as it is well known that only a paltry few hours of kine-scope footage remain of it. I personally have seen some of that footage, and I can state for the record that if Captain Video were broadcast today, I would watch it regularly. It was great stuff, and the world needs Captain Video now more than ever.

A former Capt. Video scripter named Carey Wilbur wrote the first draft of the classic Star Trek episode 'Space Seed.' As we know now, that episode, besides being excellent in its own right, was the springboard for 'Star Trek 2, Wrath of Khan,' universally known as the best of all Star Trek films and one of the all time greatest scifi movies.

Carey Wilbur later said that his story for 'Space Seed' was a reworking of a script he wrote for the Captain Video show, but changing a villain with Greek mythological powers into a genetically superior human. So we can see that history traces a line from Capt. Video to the most popular space opera of the 20th century.

Here is what happened to the most of the kinescopes of the show, per Edie Adams (widow of the legendary Ernie Kovacs):

'In the earlier '70's, the DuMont network was being bought by another company, and the lawyers were in heavy negotiation as to who would be responsible for the library of the DuMont shows currently being stored at the facility, who would bear the expense of storing them in a temperature controlled facility, take care of the copyright renewal, et cetera.

'One of the lawyers doing the bargaining said that he could "take care of it" in a "fair manner," and he did take care of it. At 2 a.m. the next morning, he had three huge semis back up to the loading dock at ABC, filled them all with stored kinescopes and 2" videotapes, drove them to a waiting barge in New Jersey, took them out on the water, made a right at the Statue of Liberty and dumped them in the Upper New York Bay. Very neat. No problem.'

Perhaps someday, when mankind has conquered the solar system and our space ships exceed the speed of light, some intrepid astronaut will overtake the old Dumont Network broadcast signals, now many years outside Earth's solar system, and record the good Captain's adventures for posterity.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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