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Series / Flash Gordon (1954)

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Flash Gordon was a 1954 live-action TV series loosely based on the comic strip of the same name.
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It featured Steve Holland, Irene Champlin, and Joseph Nash as Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and Dr Zarkov, agents of the Galactic Bureau of Investigation in the 33rd century, travelling among the planets of the galaxy fighting crime and thwarting invasions. (The planet Mongo and its merciless emperor, mainstays of most versions of Flash Gordon, were nowhere to be seen; this series was produced during the period when the comic strip had left Mongo behind, and Flash & co. were doing a lot more planet-hopping. The strip would return to Mongo in later decades.)

The series was an International Coproduction, filmed on the cheap in West Berlin and later in Marseilles, which is why when the inevitable "our future heroes visit the present day" episode rolls around it's present-day Berlin they land in and not one of the great cities of America.

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Not to be confused with the film serials of the 1930s, which were also shown on American television in the 1950s (under the title Space Soldiers, as this series had dibs on the title Flash Gordon).

This series provides examples of:

  • Aliens Speaking English: Ironically, many of them were examples of Faux Fluency, being played by actors who didn't speak English.
  • Captain Space, Defender of Earth!: While most versions of the Flash Gordon franchise focus on a single planet, Mongo, and would therefore fall under the Planetary Romance trope, the 1950's Live Action TV series is of the Captain Space variety, with Flash, Dale, and Zarkov zipping all over the universe to fight evil.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Akim the Terrible.
  • Character Title
  • Faux Fluency: Many of the supporting cast spoke no English, and had to be fed their lines at the beginning of the take.
  • San Dimas Time:
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    • In one episode the main characters had to travel back to the present day to disarm a bomb set to go off in their time...1000 friggin' years later.
    • An especially bad example occurred in an episode where, after superluminal travel sent the protagonist back in time, he was still able to communicate with the base by radio.
  • Time Travel: In multiple episodes.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Once per Episode, Steve Holland had a mandatory scene where he'd enter the cabin of his rocketship while still changing his shirt, revealing a well-muscled chest.


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