A 20th Century pilot named Buck Rogers and his young friend Buddy Wade awake from 500 years in suspended animation to find that the world has been taken over by the outlaw army of Killer Kane.Written by
Narrative cheating: In the cliffhanger ending of Chapter Nine, Buddy Wade is shot down (and presumably killed) with a ray gun while trying to escape from Killer Kane's men. This scene is replayed at the beginning of Chapter Ten, but with a blatantly different resolution: Buddy escapes by diving out of a window, as if his earlier shooting had never happened. See more »
Westmore Observatory calling dirigible Chandril. Westmore Observatory calling dirigible Chandril.
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Opening credits are displayed on a kaleidoscope background. See more »
Buck Rogers as rendered in this serial is a far cry from the comic strip. Somehow, the producers & director managed to create what amounts to a pale shadow of the original strip. The sets used in the 1939 Buck Rogers series are painfully and obviously recycled from the prior Flash Gordon series. Not only that, but some of the film sequences seem to be recycled shamelessly (e.g. the sequences of the underground subways).
For anyone who wonders about the genesis of the homo-erotic themes of Batman, though, look no further! Buck and Buddy do seem to be the prototypes of the now common comic book stereotypes. I am not certain whether this was intentional or not. Possibly the director merely had in mind an appeal to the pre-adolescent social constructs of a bygone age? Buddy still looks like he's the "boy wonder" of this series, though, while the Buck Rogers films date back to 1934 or so, several years before the Batman debut (1939). There must be a master's thesis waiting to be written here.
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