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Return of the Fighting 69th 

Buck Rogers and Wilma Deering pursue notorious gunrunners Commander Corliss and Roxanne Trent who are planning on dropping deadly nerve agents from the 20th century on Earth. A squadron of ... See full summary »


Philip Leacock


David Carren (as David Bennett Carren), Robert C. Dille (characters)

On Disc

at Amazon




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Gil Gerard ... Capt. William 'Buck' Rogers
Erin Gray ... Colonel Wilma Deering
Tim O'Connor ... Dr. Elias Huer
Peter Graves ... Major Noah Cooper
Elizabeth Allen ... Roxanne Trent
Robert Quarry ... Commander Corliss
Woody Strode ... Sgt. 'Big Red' MacMurthy
Eddie Firestone ... Corporal M.K. Schultz
K.T. Stevens ... Lieutenant Harriet Twain
Felix Silla ... Twiki
Mel Blanc ... Twiki (voice)
Katherine Wiberg Katherine Wiberg ... Alicia
Robert Hardy ... Clayton
Duncan McKenzie Duncan McKenzie ... Westlake
Clifford Turknett Clifford Turknett ... War Technician


Buck Rogers and Wilma Deering pursue notorious gunrunners Commander Corliss and Roxanne Trent who are planning on dropping deadly nerve agents from the 20th century on Earth. A squadron of elderly space fighter pilots led by Major Noah Cooper who were forced to retire are brought back into active service so they can lead an attack on the criminals' asteroid base. Because of their age, Wilma has doubts about the squadron's reliability, but Noah's team departs to prove they still have what that takes to get the mission done. During the attack, Buck and Wilma are captured by Corliss and Trent who both show horrible scars from injuries they received from Wilma during a previous confrontation. Written by Woodyanders

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

25 October 1979 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)| Color (technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In the back room of the bar where the members of the Fighting 69th hang out they have a variety of spacecraft models on display: the Cargo Sled shooting miniature is shown and on the shelf behind the cast you can see the Galactica Shuttle which would be used again in Buck Rogers second season premiere. See more »


At around 20 to 25 minutes. on Corliss's asteroid base, one of the crates is clearly marked, U.S. ARMY. See more »


Commander Corliss: Have you ever been in a fire, Rogers, or should I say have you ever been ON fire?
Buck Rogers: No, I can't say I have.
See more »


Edited into Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: A Blast for Buck (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

"Buck—you ever hang round a gymnasium?"
1 April 2008 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

In The Return of the Fighting 69th, Peter Graves stars as Major Noah Cooper, the leader of a squadron of old-timers who are brought out of retirement to lead an attack on the fortified base of Roxanne Trent and Commander Corliss, a couple of disfigured villains who are planning to drop nerve gas on Earth.

Wilma and Buck accompany the coffin-dodgers in modified bombers, but are captured by the baddies during a dogfight. Fortunately, thanks to the help of Roxanne's deaf slave girl, Alicia, Buck and Wilma manage to escape in the nick of time, just before the base is blown to smithereens by Noah and his gang of old cronies.

Another fine adventure, The Return of the Fighting 69th is packed with action and drama, and isn't quite as camp as many of the other episodes from the first series. Peter Graves is as great as always as Major Cooper, the pilot forced to hang up his wings by Wilma Deering (who does so to protect him), although it's hard to watch him as a pilot without thinking of him uttering gut-busting lines such as 'Have you ever seen a grown man naked?'.

This episode also raises rather serious points about society's treatment of the elderly and the physically handicapped, which makes it a much more poignant affair than usual.

Erin Gray looks as fabulous as always, and puts in a terrific performance in a role which requires her to really push her emotional range.

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