Although many would think that Flash Gordon was the first space adventurer, he owes much to Buck Rogers. Many other writers at this time were penning fanatical tales of time travel and adventure in what we now call science fiction.
The set up of the character was simple, Alex Gordon better known as Flash to his friends was a Yale University Graduate based in the 1930's. A football hero and all round athlete. Unlike his "competitor" Buck Rogers who had ended up in the 24th Century, Flash's stories were based in the modern time, but due to most of his adventures being on the Planet Mongo, allowed a mix of Sci Fi with a bit of Medieval Adventure and Aliens thrown in for good cause.
|Flash in the style of the comic strip and the Movie Serials|
The stories were all basically the same, Flash and his companions Dr Hans Zarkov the brilliant if sometimes mad earth scientist , and Dale Arden the society girl from a rich back ground would end up fighting and rebelling against Ming the Merciless from the wandering planet Mongo . It would later be claimed Dale was a news reporter by trade. BUT unlike some female characters in books and comics of the time, she was not just used as to help spice up the plot by being kidnapped or needing saving from the bad guys........ However, she did tend to get kidnapped a lot and she was always saved by Flash...... plus she did usually end up wearing some very sexy outfits as a result.
The Ruler of Mongo, Ming would spend most of his time tying to kill Flash and marry Dale.
Flash Gordon stories had it all. Space Battles, Evil Dictators, Beautiful Princess's, Rocket Ships, Robots, Aliens, Ray Guns, Heroes and Villains....... everything that we now expect in a good SciFi story. Sounds a lot like STAR WARS, which used some of the "ideas" of the film serials in its creation. Remember the opening credits and the way one scene fades into the next..... Flash Gordon and crew did it first.
|My version of a 1930's inspired Rocket Ship|
By 1936 Flash Gordon was now appearing in a weekly cinema serial featuring Buster Crabbe, and these stories cemented the look that we all associate with the Flash Gordon myth.
Although Flash Gordon did feature in a BIG BUDGET cinema film in the 1980's and in various cartoon series in the 1990's, and a short lived live action series in the 2000's... BUT Flash he will always be remembered for the 1930's Black & Whites film serials by most.
|Flash and Dale exploring an Alien planet.|
Next Time another hero of Yesterday
Until then ENJOY !