From a not-so-distant future in 1987 to the 25th Century, Glen A. Larson resurrects a fifty year-old character with 1979’s Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
Paul Bateman returns to TechnoRetro Dads Star Wars Aftershocks to investigate the return of Buck Rogers to pop culture in the late 70s in this discussion with shazbazzar and JediShua featuring clips from a panel with Gil Gerard and a song by High Adventure with lyrics by one of the ‘Dads as we look back at Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
Star Wars Aftershocks:
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
After Star Wars thrilled audiences in theaters, everyone wanted to tap into the collective consciousness of pop culture that had embraced that galaxy far, far away. After Battlestar Galactica was declined a second season, Glen A Larson made another attempt to seize audiences’ interest in futuristic space shows. This time, he chose to update an iconic character to suit the culture of the late 1970s. Buck Rogers, a character created by Philip Francis Nowlan in 1928 had already been featured in print, film, and on radio, and was ripe for a modern makeover. NBC picked up the pilot which was packed with movie-style special effects, classic characters, and a light-hearted spirit that quickly caught on with young and older viewer. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century sated our appetites for two seasons while we awaited the anticipated sequel to Star Wars.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
The pilot episode of the television series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was released theatrically in March 1979 as a prelude to the TV show which would air later that year. Reworked and edited as a two-part first episode, “Awakening” revealed Buck’s backstory and his return to Earth five hundred years after being cryogenically frozen soon after lift-off in 1987. We watched as Captain Buck Rogers (Gil Gerard) was captured by Princess Ardala’s (Pamela Hensley) flagship and subsequently set back on course to return to Earth at its previously programmed destination, Chicago.
Upon his return “home”, Buck encounters a world alien to his senses as he comes to realize his planet had undergone devastating changes. Colonel Wilma Deering (Erin Gray), Dr. Elias Huer (Tim O’Connor), and a pint-sized drone called Twice (Felix Silla) curiously and cautiously befriended Buck as the adventures began in the 25th Century.
The first season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was a hit with audiences as Gerard’s portrayal of a confident 70s “macho man” with a penchant for twentieth century references and an attractive personality (and sufficient chest hair) was alluring to female characters on screen and young viewers at home. The characters’ interactions with each other week-after-week made this NBC program “must see TV” until the show radically changed course in the second season, losing audiences and frustrating members of the cast and crew.
However, as is evident in this discussion between shazbazzar, JediShua, and SuperFriend Paul Bateman, the show is still remembered fondly by those who saw it in its initial run from 1979-1981. With audio from Gil Gerard’s appearance at Alabama Phoenix Festival in 2013 and “Keep on Sailin’”,a musical piece by High Adventure with lyrics by shazbazzar, this episode of TechnoRetro Dads Star Wars Aftershocks is sure to get you ready to don some white spandex and groove to a rockin’ disco beat in a 70s’ version of the 25th Century.
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Join shazbazzar and JediShua each week for a look back at the ’70s and ’80s as they share the fun and also fandom of their youth with their families, friends, and EarBuds. Topics include TV, film, music, toys, and games of the ’70s and ’80s as well as franchises which have continued into the 21st Century, like Star Wars, TRON, and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. TechnoRetro Dads creates new stories as old legends are passed down from one generation to the next.
If you’re a TechnoRetro Dad, the child of one, or just appreciate the ’70s and ’80s, then this podcast is definitely for you!