By James H. Burns: If you didn’t grow up in the early 1950s, it’s a surprise to learn that Captain Video, an early science fiction action TV series, was actually well beloved by many, a hit at certain times, and that at least after its first year, could feature some literary SF concepts of the era, courtesy of the contribution of several leading genre authors.
That unknown legacy is largely due to the fact that almost no episodes exist, scholarship on the show has been limited, and that most of us think of the program only as part of an Ed Norton reverie on The Honeymooners. (Also, it’s jarring. in a few of the surviving shows, to see the program suddenly cut to clips from old westerns, “the adventures of the Captain’s agents on Earth.” Plus, the Columbia Pictures theatrical release filmed serial, inspired by the teleseries, isn’t necessarily entirely thrilling.)
But it’s also surprising to learn that Richard Coogan, the original Captain Video (followed by Al Hodge), made it to the age of 99 – he would have turned 100 next month! — passing away yesterday, March 12.
He was, after all, for many Americans, one of the first science fiction heroes.
Here is a link to Coogan’s obituary at The Hollywood Reporter.
I remember Captain Video. Also Captain Midnight. Why were so many adventure heros “captains”? There were a few Other Ranks, like Sgt Rock of Easy Company, and Sgt Preston of the Yukon, who was in the Northwest Mounted Police. Tom Corbett, though, was just a cadet. But then, Superman and Batman had no rank.
So now him and Rocky Jones are gone.
It was well known among the Gotham criminal cognoscenti that after a night on the town, Batman could indeed be rank.
(But Robin egged him on anyway.)
Everyone’s welcome to join Captain Video Fans on both Yahoogroups (click link) and Facebook. We have many, many photos. And it’s continuously amazing at how the words Captain Video are still so familiar to people who weren’t born when the series ended in 1955. With that in mind, many of us still think the character(s) and premise would make an excellent property for a modern picture or series. Perhaps some producer will latch on to a renewed copyright before others catch on.
Somehow an upgrade called Captain DVD doesn’t sound too promising.
I know I watched the show. As a lad I would get an old card board box, draw dails and windows and other signs and take off into space. I’m sure there were others transfixed as I was.
But, Robert, that would be:
(And with DC Comics permission, an undersea spinoff could be, “Major Manta Ray”!)
My father, in his last year, reminded me of my own first rocketship, a large elongated hollow wooden chest of some sort, sans lid; still tucked away in a corner of our family home’s basement, tucked beyond the boiler, and now filled with the remnants of an antique rocking chair.
Inspired by Flash Gordon, SCOTT MCCLOUD/SPACE ANGEL, and Steve Zodiac and Venus in FIREBALL XL5, who knows what worlds I once explored…?
We’ll ask Bill Waterson.
DVD and Blu-Ray are both video formats, so there’s no reason why the update couldn’t still be Captain Video.
Funny how we never hear about his predecessor, Captain Audio.
Was Gilgamesh “Captain Cuneiform Tablet”?
Captain Streaming Video?
In a time travelling episode, the Captain could meet a shapely co-ed at the City University of New York. Then. on a date at the beach, he might admire her CUNY form….