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Starlog Archives: Buck Rogers

For readers of a certain age, this article from the Starlog archives is likely to be a heck of a nostalgia trip.  In October and November of 1996, the sci-fi magazine ran a two-part retrospective about the TV show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.  Buck Rogers aired on NBC for two seasons from 1979-1981.  Producer Glen A. Larson duplicated the formula of his other successful Star Wars rip-off, Battlestar Galacta.  The two shows even cut costs by sharing props.

At the time, Buck Rogers was panned as a cheap knock-off which it probably was.  I haven’t watched the show since I was ten years old and I don’t want to.  All I know is that back in the days when I was obsessed with all things Star Wars, shows like Battlestar and Buck Rogers were the closest thing my friends and I could get to a sci-fi/adventure fix.

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Posted on October 27, 2016, in Starlog Archives and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Man, I loved me some Buck Rogers when I was a kid. I have the complete series on DVD. I still enjoy season 1 for fun, cheesy adventure, but season 2 sours me on the watching the show to completion. I loved me some Wilma. She was my third great love after Jaclyn Smith and Lynda Carter. And Ardala…Wow.

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  2. I loved Buck Rogers as a kid. And of course I had a crush on Erin Gray back then. A couple years later she moved on to Silver Spoons for a few more years so my crush continued on. Simply put, she was gorgeous.

    Like you Lebeau I haven’t seen Buck Rogers since I was a kid, so I have no idea how it holds up. Probably not very well, but I might enjoy it with my nostalgia glasses on.

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    • Nostalgia glasses will usually get me through a YouTube clip or two. I don’t think I want to endure an entire episode.

      I don’t think I initially realized that the crush-worthy girl on Silver Spoons was also on Buck Rogers. I eventually figured that out. Erin Grey was just about the only reason I ever watched SS.

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  3. Taking a look at the Starlog article, a couple things come to mind:

    First off, take a look at page 74. That alien looks like the spitting image of the lizard alien Visitors from the hit 80’s mini-series V! Just make him all green and that’s the V lizard.

    Page 73: wait a minute, Starlog is doing beefcake photos now? Somehow I suspect Gerard didn’t need too much asking to pose here.

    Page 76. Buck Rogers in his gold pants and jacket. In the series Buck Rogers came from the year 1987 and traveled forward 500 years. Look, I was alive in the year 1987. There were some funky fashions back then but I don’t recall an all-gold ensemble ever being fashionable back then. Ol’ Buck was giving future people the wrong idea about 1987. If anything Buck should have had a mullet, torn blue jeans and a Motley Crue t-shirt.

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    • V (which I also loved) was a few years off, so if anyone copied anyone else, it was V copying Buck.

      I remember seeing the beefcake picture of Gerard back when the show was on. I believe it was a promotional photo that was used at the time. Helps offset some of scantily clad ladies on the show. Tit for tat. 😉

      I think the gold suit was supposed to be 25th century fashion instead of Buck’s 1987 wardrobe.

      One of the things that stuck out to me was all the great guest stars! Frank Gorshin, Peter Graves, Jamie Lee Curtis, Julie Newmar, Mark Lenard… You’ve also got an oddity in Dorothy Stratten and of course Gary Coleman. Anne Lockhart had been a Battlestar Galacta castmember.

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      • Yes, I probably didn’t explain myself well enough in my first post, that was what I meant, that going by that Starlog pic on page 74 it looks like the producers of V (which premiered in 1983, a couple years after Buck) might have stolen the visual look of the lizard aliens from that episode of Buck Rogers. I call shenanigans.

        And yes, I loved V too as a kid. I recently re-watched V again and the original mini-series still holds up incredibly well as a nazi allegory with a sci-fi twist; you get diminishing returns from there especially with the weekly series which isn’t worth looking at anymore. But that original mini-series is classic.

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      • The coolest guest star was Buster Crabbe, who played Buck Rogers (and Flash Gordon AND Tarzan!) onscreen in the 30s.

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      • Gary Coleman is the guest that I most vividly still remember. Frank Gorshin and Jamie Lee Curtis showed up too? Wow, I might have to go look on Youtube to see if there’s any clips available. I’m not sure if my tender eyes could handle Erin Gray and Jamie Lee Curtis in the same scene. They might pop out or something.

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        • Those are just the ones pictured in the article. You have to read the captions which are admittedly not easy on the eyes. That’s the downside of this format. The text can be a bit hard to make out.

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        • According to Wikipedia:

          Guest stars throughout the series included Jamie Lee Curtis, Markie Post, Dorothy Stratten, Leigh McCloskey, Richard Moll, Jerry Orbach, Gary Coleman, Jack Palance, Sam Jaffe, Vera Miles, and Buster Crabbe (who had played Buck Rogers in the 1930s film serial). Joseph Wiseman also appeared in one episode of the series, and was also briefly seen in the theatrical version of the pilot as Emperor Draco (Princess Ardala’s father), but his appearance was edited out of the television version. Several actors who had played villains in the 1960s Batman television series also guest-starred, including Cesar Romero, Frank Gorshin, Roddy McDowell, and Julie Newmar.

          Let’s see if I can find any clips…

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        • The clip was removed from YouTube. But here’s a picture:

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  4. I liked this show when I was a kid when it aired in syndication, and replayed it in the previous decade when it aired on RTV (one episode I caught guest starred Amanda Wyss, who would later play Tina in “A Nightmare on Elm Street”). I’ll say I’m not surprised in reading about the opposing sides when it comes to some of the tone of the series, and especially the second season, which seemed solemn and dull, with not enough Wilma Deering (yep, Erin Gray was a straight up fox!). Overall, I could see the conflict with the material on-screen.
    Interesting to hear the take on Dorothy Stratten’s struggle with her guest part. I’ve always heard about her guest spot but never how it went…I guess not very well.

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  5. I enjoyed the series when it was on and I liked it when they added Hawk. That was my first intro to (Hawk) who later showed up in my favorite soaps. I think I liked the connection because either I read or heard that Gerard was also Lee Majors stunt double in earlier eps of the SMDM.

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