Saturday, May 10, 2014

FLYING DISC MAN FROM MARS - Chapters 1 - 4 - "Missile Monsters" (1950)

"Flying Disc Man From Mars" was a 12 episode weekly serial that started on October 25, 1950! Serials were quite popular in the day, and would show along with a cartoon or two before the main feature came on! They were generally about 20 minutes each, and would always end on a cliffhanger to entice the viewer to return the following week, just to see what happened! 

The first chapter of "Flying Disc Man From Mars" was titled "Menace From Mars" and this guy ain't no Dennis! He's out for total destruction! The man who composed the music for this serial was Stanley Wilson, who also either wrote the music or worked in the music department for other space serial thrillers like "Lost Planet Airmen," "Radar Men From The Moon," "Zombies Of The Stratosphere," and "Canadian Mounties Vs. Atomic Invaders," and that barely scratches the surface of the body of this man's work! Here's just a taste to get you in the mood!

This is James (Captain Midnight, 13 Rue Madeleine, Mighty Joe Young, Project Moon Base) Craven as Industrialist Dr. Bryant showing off his new Atomic Death Ray! He's not an evil man, but as a former Nazi, he's probably not the must trustworhty person in the world!

Dr. Bryant enlists the help of local Air Patrol owner and pilot Kent Fowler as played by Walter Reed, and rigs his plane with the Atomic Ray Gun mounted up front! Walter has 204 freakin' acting credits that include "Superman And The Mole-Men," "Rock, Pretty Baby," "How To Make A Monster," "13 Fighting Men," "Macumba Love," and "Mexican Spitfire's Elephant!" He was also in the "Twilight Zone" episode titled "Nick Of Time" as the desperate man!

A strange flying object comes into view, and just as a friendly greeting, Kent Fowler shoots it down as instructed by Dr. Bryant!

There is a survivor, and as Dr. Bryant is about to find out, his name is Mota, and he comes from the planet Mars! No, he didn't bring any marsijuana with him!

Mota convinces Dr. Bryant to help him conquer the world, but they need lots of uranium and a couple of henchmen! These two guys get caught breaking into the joint by Kent Fowler when he's out on patrol, and turns them over to the Doctor, but instead of turning them over to the authorities, Dr, Bryant offers them a job stealing uranium instead! One of the henchmen is the amazing Harry Lauter! I wouldn't even know where to start or end talking about Harry Lauter! He might have more acting credits than anybody else we've ever written about with 323! On the far right, the other guy is Richard Irving! Richard only had 22 acting credits, but he kept busy as a director (45 credits) and also as a producer (29 credits)!

There was a fiery crash at the end of Chapter One between an airplane and Kent Fowler's car! Surely he must have died, but nope, one week later, you find out he just bailed out of the car at the last minute without a scratch!

The eye candy in the series is  lovely Lois (Weird Woman, Cobra Woman, Jungle Woman) Collier as Kent Fowler's secretary Helen Hall! She answers the phone, and files papers, but most of the time, she just stands around looking pretty, and she's very good at it!

I just happen to like these two shots of Mota and Dr. Bryant contemplating their complete and utter takeover of the whole world! These two are big thinkers, and are very industrious!

These guys are amazing!! Without help from anybody except the two henchmen Drake and Ryan, Mota and the Doctor have built a spaceship that besides being fast, can also hover, and land inside a living volcano, where Mota has a special lab set up! There's only one problem though, he needs MORE uranium!! Lots more if he plans to conquer the world!!

Sounds like the name for a cool Hendrix biopic, "Death Rides A Stratocaster!!"

 Chapter Two left Kent Fowler hanging from an exploding train bridge, but I'll be doggone if he doesn't live through this one too!

It looks like they actually built a full scale model of the space ship for this scene where it shuttles across the terra firma!

Chapter Three ends with Kent Fowler's plane going down in a fiery crash! Now this one is truly astounding! He doesn't have time to parachute out, but he does manage to jump out onto the ground right before the plane crashes! I'm telling you, this guy is something else!

Sandy (Phantom From Space) Sanders as Kent's pal Steve, and Kent Fowler discus some important business while Helen Hall just happens to be filing some papers in the background the whole time!

Drake and Ryan are about to dispose of this guy they think is a rat when they are interrupted one more time by Kent Fowler!

In every episode, Kent gets the jump on Drake and Ryan, and while he's holding a gun on them, one of them manages to knock it out of his hand and a two or three minute fight scene ensues! These guys are tough and relentless!

Eight years later, Republic Studios edited all the chapters of "Flying Disc Man From Mars" down to a 75 minute movie, and re-released it as "Missile Monsters!" Just like Mota and Bryant, pretty sneaky!!


Anonymous said...

I love the old 1950's serials and have collected many of them over the years, including this one. I grew up in that era, and was thrilled week after week as the story progressed and the hero had to find his way out of tight situations. The one thing that always got me was the fact that these aliens would come down to Earth using futuristic super scientific weapons, yet they still needed to enlist the aid of American gangsters, who mostly used ordinary guns, to further their plans. But, it was still a lot of fun for a kid back then.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Right on the money!!

Monster Music

Monster Music
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