Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Judd Holdren  and Aline Towne
COMMANDO CODY: SKY MARSHAL OF THE UNIVERSE  (12 episode Republic series/1953). Directors: Harry Keller; Fred C. Brannon; Franklin Adreon.

In the near-future Commando Cody (Judd Holdren of Zombies of the Stratosphere) whose identity "must" be hidden behind a mask "for security reasons," and his team are up against, the Ruler (Gregory Gaye of Dodsworth), an outer space despot who is out to take over the earth, as he has other planets, or destroy it. The Ruler creates weather changes that lead to tidal waves, destroys atomic research stations, employs germ warfare, alternately freezes the earth than causes super-high temperatures via twin suns, then tries to tilt the earth using a magnetic field. In each episode the Commando and his assistants foil the Ruler's plans, taking off to such places as the moon and Mercury when they need to in the Commando's rocketship (he also uses a jet pack to fly). There has always been a debate over whether Commando Cody is a serial or a TV show. Apparently it was originally conceived as a TV series, but for some reason was shown in theaters first as a series of short films (the episodes don't end with cliffhangers as serials usually do, but are more or less self-contained). The series was then shown on television. In any case, Commando Cody is a lot of fun, with adequate acting and more than serviceable special effects. Along with the colorless Aline Towne, William Schallert [The Man from Planet X] and Richard Crane play Cody's associates, Lyle Talbot is cast as an equally colorless earth guy working with the Ruler, and Rick Vallin plays Captain Duron. Gloria Pall is the space babe who answers messages for the Ruler; she is decorative and little else.

Verdict:  You either love this stuff or you just hate it! ***.


Gary R. said...

Watched the first episode and noticed that serial villain Roy Barcroft had a "cameo" appearance of sorts. In the ghost town scenes, the bad guys spy on our heroes through the eye holes of a photo of Barcroft on a wall.

William said...

I knew he was in there somewhere!You've got sharp eyes!