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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Space Patrol - Ready To Lift on DVD?
The adventures of Captain Larry Dart of Galasphere 347, with his crew the Martian Husky and Venusian Slim. Often confused with Gerry Anderson's 'Fireball XL5', Roberta Leigh's 'Space Patrol' offers a quirky and light-hearted slant on the SF genre. Primarily a children's show with educational and moral aspirations mixed into its stories this 'Best Of' DVD features six...
Published on 22 Feb 2002

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Space Patrol - A variable end to the series.
The adventures of Captain Larry Dart of Galasphere 347, with his crew the Martian Husky and Venusian Slim. Often confused with Gerry Anderson's 'Fireball XL5', Roberta Leigh's 'Space Patrol' offers a quirky and light-hearted slant on the SF genre. Primarily a children's series, this ninth and final volume, as well as featuring an extra bonus episode, finds the series...
Published on 22 Feb 2002


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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Space Patrol - Ready To Lift on DVD?, 22 Feb 2002
By A Customer
The adventures of Captain Larry Dart of Galasphere 347, with his crew the Martian Husky and Venusian Slim. Often confused with Gerry Anderson's 'Fireball XL5', Roberta Leigh's 'Space Patrol' offers a quirky and light-hearted slant on the SF genre. Primarily a children's show with educational and moral aspirations mixed into its stories this 'Best Of' DVD features six episodes from this rarely seen classic.
Because the only prints available were 16mm that had been stored (allegedly) in a garage for some 30 years, the video releases had transfers of very variable quality. Here, we are treated to crystal clear transfers - 2 from newly found 35mm prints - that make viewing a joy. The versatility of DVD gives you a chance to view the futuristic model of Space Headquarters in all its glory.
'The Swamps of Jupiter' is the pilot episode and discerning viewers may notice scenes of varying quality with slightly different puppets. For trivia fans, as Roberta Leigh reveals in her interview on the DVD, all the scenes on one set were short for the entire series in one go, then edited together. Nowhere is this more apparent than here where a notably different Husky and Slim discuss the merits of a cake in suspended animation. I kid you not.
'The Wandering Asteroid' is an early take on the story writ large in films like 'Deep Impact' and 'Armageddon'. Only the effects are better there, as the plot is so identical it's a wonder Roberta Leigh didn't sue!
'The Robot Revolution' is an undoubted classic of the series, here seen in the glory of a 35mm film transfer, with the automatons of an undersea farm marching on Space Headquarters. The story begs to defy the limitations of the production - it is all too apparent only two robot puppets were available - but the menace they exude is unmistakeable!
'The Rings of Saturn' are a defence shield, set up by the native reptiles but a chance encounter with a Saturnian ship gives Larry Dart the chance to visit the planet. Unfortunately, a misunderstanding ensues and it is up to Galasphere 347 to get through the rings in order to clear things up. Not a classic, but the Saturnian's cultured tones make them quite memorable.
'Husky Becomes Invisible' is again somewhat average but also has quite memorable scenes of Husky's uniform - minus hands and head - proving an eerily effective realisation of invisibility. Trivia fans may note the star on his uniform also disappears when he does...
'Mystery on the Moon' is the second 35mm transfer, but is again a rather average story. While it is good to see 'Space Patrol' with the clarity it was intended to be seen, it makes you weep when you realise how much quality has been lost on the other 37 episodes.
The extra interviews, initially spread across video volumes 1-4, add little - mainly because after so long the interviewees remember so little (I know from my own interviews with cast and crew) - but it is nice that Network Video at least tried to make their releases value for money.
The stills gallery is the best bonus, as photographic material of any kind on the series is a rarity. One hopes if there are follow-up releases that they continue the trend, perhaps with a merchandise gallery.
With the series already available in its entirety on video, a full set of DVDs would have to offer quite a lot more to motivate even the most devoted 'Space Patrol' fan. But the improvement on the 16mm transfers shows a difference can be made, and if more extras can be found, they may have a winner that will give this rarely seen series the exposure it deserves.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior Sci Fi., 7 April 2005
By 
D. Finlay (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a groundbreaking series made in 1962. Don't let the tight budget put you off and the fact and that its also in black and white, as this stands up with any Gerry Anderson classic puppet series like Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet.
Roberta Leigh writes superior Science Fiction with some brilliant
ideas for plots and characters.
Star Trek must have been influenced by this as Roberta brought the idea of near instantanious transport by breaking down peoples molecular structure and reassembling them again miles away. The opening soundtrack has sounds that Star Trek must have been inspired to use as similar sounds are on the control deck of the Enterprise.
The original episode of Star Trek 'The Cage' is similar to the Plutonians in Space Patrol with their large baldheads and robes and not wanting to work and hypnotising people to come do their will. (And I realy love Star Trek by the way.)
Space Patrol never gets stuck in a rut story wise and has constant variety.
But there is a tounge in cheek element in all of the Sci Fi of the 1950's and 60's and this has loads of too.
The highlight of every episode for me was when the crew of the Galasphere 347 switch on 'Robot Control' which consists of two wobbily zig zag doors opening to reveal a Robot who takes over flying the ship by walking up and down the flight deck doing a John Cleese 'Minister Of Silly Walk's' type thing. You can't help but laugh at it!
This is great TV but then on top of that you get great extras including interviews but best of all are the other Roberta Leigh's pilots of programes she made which are very good and some of them in full colour too. 'Dithers' is very touching and the Cliff Richard look a like 'Paul Starr'
But best of all is the live action colour film 'The Solarnauts' this was one of the best things I ever saw. If this pilot had of been made a full TV series and had of been to the same high standard of this first episode it would have been the greatest Science Fiction series ever. It's fast and furious and has great music too.
Roberta If you ever read this I thank God for you and for your talent. You never got the breaks you deserved. You are a true genius you created brilliant Sci Fi and great kids programes. People are appreciating it all now. Thank you!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, 3 Jan 2004
By 
nezfan (Manchester, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I thought that I was alone in fondly remembering this sixties puppet series... and then I find the super fan site and this wonderful DVD. If you have any interest in the various Sci-fi puppet seies of the 60s / 70s then this is a must for your collection. Captain Larry Dart, Husky & Slim are just as I remember them but what really suprises is the atmosphere created. At times genuinely spooky and evocative, the series works on many levels. I can reveal that the gun in episode 1 is the neck of a laboratory quickfit washbottle with two rubber bungs attached... but don't let that put you off, the mist shrouded surface (!!) of Jupiter is superb - far mor alien than the polystyrene rocks used in Star Trek and the like. The music is subdued and moody and predates Tonto's Expanding Headband by 10 years or so. How hip is that!!?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engage Yobba Rays!, 5 Dec 2000
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
On the 7th of April 1963 I was given an early eight birthday present with the first broadcast of the new ITV puppet series "Space Patrol". Gosh, I was pleased! There had been rumours that this series was going to be something special. I remember being told that it was by the same people who made "Four Feather Falls", which was an old favourite of mine. Of course, being (nearly) eight, I didn't really appreciate the niceties of who the producer and director was. But the show was brilliant, and became an immediate favourite.
It's a long time ago but I can still vividly remember being mesmerised by the weird, unearthly opening tune (eat you heart out Ron Grainger!). Then there was the opening shot of a boiling, blazing sun (complete with solar flares), quickly giving way to the whirling, mysterious Galasphere wending its way through the Solar system.
Though the show relied on relatively few sets, the ones they used were superb - especially for the time. The signature shot of the view downwards as a Galasphere takes off from United Galactic Organisation HQ, was still fresh in my mind when watching the videos nearly three decades later.
Roberta Leigh, who created, wrote and directed the show, was keen to be as scientifically accurate as possible. To that end she consulted with Colin Ronan, who was then Vice President of the British Astronomical Society. This made the shows seem wonderfully authoritative to me at the time. I was For example, rather than just taking off and arriving "moments" later, the space travellers went into suspended animation to make their journeys. As a dedicated reader of "Look and Learn", I was well impressed with this accuracy. Of course, they didn't get everything right, as episode titles such as "The Swamps of Jupiter" suggest. In fact most planets were rather Earth-like but, I think we can put this down to dramatic reasons, rather than laziness.
"Space Patrol" was populated by a rich cast of "real" (for a puppet show) characters. The main "star" was Captain Larry Dart, normally accompanied by his trusty sidekicks the Martian Rusty (probably the first person ever to have a gelled-up, spiky haircut), and the Venusian Slim. Perhaps my favourite character was the Martian parrot Gabbladictum who was taught to speak English by Professor Haggerty, who was a bit of a stereotype (begoraah!).
So how well has the series stood up after nearly 30 years? The answer is very well indeed. This is probably down to the strength of its stores. Despite being a 27 year old kid's puppet show (and in black and white), "Space Patrol" is still hugely entertaining viewing.
So, "Engage Yobba Rays!" and buy the videos.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Space Patrol - Gaining Momentum As It Lifts..., 22 Feb 2002
By A Customer
The adventures of Captain Larry Dart of Galasphere 347, with his crew the Martian Husky and Venusian Slim. Often confused with Gerry Anderson's 'Fireball XL5', Roberta Leigh's 'Space Patrol' offers a quirky and light-hearted slant on the SF genre. Primarily a children's show with educational and moral aspirations mixed into its stories, this first volume, finds the series gain incredible momentum through its first four episodes.
'The Swamps Of Jupiter' introduces, though expands little on, the main characters in a tale of illegal animal hunting. Scientific ideas mix with fantastic extrapolations to give a interesting view of the future, and the puppet 'fist-fight' must be a brief but effective first!
'The Wandering Asteroid' sees Roberta Leigh pre-empting films like 'Deep Impact' and 'Armageddon' by some 25 years with the crew of Galasphere 347 given the mission of destroying an asteroid on a collision course with Mars. In respects like this, the series was ahead of its time...
'The Dark Planet' is Uranus, inhabited by giant intelligent plants, and Galasphere 347 lands there to learn why a previous mission disappeared. Not a great story but the scenes on Uranus are suitably atmospheric and Husky and Slim's flight from the pursuing plants is something not to be missed...
'The Slaves Of Neptune' sees how far the series develops in just a handful of episodes with a packed and gripping story when colony ships bound for Pluto vanish. Investigating, Galasphere 347 also disappears from Earth tracking after sighting one of the missing ships...
'Space Patrol' has a tendency to be a little uneven when compared to slicker productions like 'Fireball XL5' but it has a tendency to grow on you. Darker and more mysterious than the action packed Gerry Anderson series, it will probably have a slower impact but it is one which stays with you for much longer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Space Patrol - A variable end to the series., 22 Feb 2002
By A Customer
The adventures of Captain Larry Dart of Galasphere 347, with his crew the Martian Husky and Venusian Slim. Often confused with Gerry Anderson's 'Fireball XL5', Roberta Leigh's 'Space Patrol' offers a quirky and light-hearted slant on the SF genre. Primarily a children's series, this ninth and final volume, as well as featuring an extra bonus episode, finds the series petering out after apparent exhausting its spin on often innovative scientific ideas and moral aspirations.
'The Grass Of Saturn' does the opposite of grass on Earth, by absorbing oxygen and giving out carbon dioxide, and the reptilian usurper Simba uses it in an attempt to colonise our world.
'Forcefield X' is another attempt by the Neptunians to enslave Earth by cutting off its power. Unfortunately Slim has been left in orbit to examine the effect and it is up to Larry Dart in an old 1980s rocket to attempt a rescue when the Galaspheres are rendered useless...
'The Water Bomb' is actually a hydrogen bomb but made from the element stolen from Galasphere 347 in an attempt to cause rain on a drought afflicted planet Mars. More life and death situations as Mars launches a pre-emptive strike on the villain's hideout where Larry Dart and his crew are hostages...
'Destruction By Sound' sees the return of Yria from Alpha Centauri (last seen in 'Message From A Star') with a plea for help against a malignant superbrain which has taken over its planet. Coupled with a brief story about matter transmission, this seems like two stories stuck together - both of which could have been superb if developed - but neither reach any true potential.
'The Shrinking Gas Of Jupiter' ends on a rather drab note with a revisit to a plot already seen in the earlier 'The Shrinking Spaceman' on Volume 2. This time round, some nice superimposing gives the story some nice scenes but we been here and seen this once too many times.
At its best, 'Space Patrol' is thought provoking and even with its less effective stories have gems of ideas coupled with nice, though not necessarily deep, characterisation. Give it a try - you might like it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rediscovered after all these years!, 5 Mar 2007
By 
C. S. Taylor "telstar27" (Leicestershire UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I thought I was the only person alive to have a vaque memory of a non Gerry Anderson puppet show in the early sixties but after discussions with friends I realised I was right,produced by Rediffusion Television I recently bought a copy of the show which had about half a dozen episodes on it.

The memories came flooding back with the central characters, had the producers had a bigger budget it would have been up there with the likes of Fireball XL5. My biggest gripe I guess and the main reason I havent awarded this fine piece of television 5 stars Is the rather high price to pay for the entire series,and I have spotted through other web sites quite a significent diffrence In prices,so Amazon please bring the price down,and I will most certainly buy this wonderful piece of television nostalgia.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Space Patrol - The best of, 28 Jun 2004
By A Customer
One of the few memeories I have from youth were the sci-fi series like Fireball XL5 and Space Patrol. The DVD that Amazon
sells is the Best of Space Patrol.
I enjoyed the DVD although my memory of this program was not a clear as the later Thunderbirds series where complete plot lines were retained from my frist viewings as a child.
I think it is a great shame that more has not been made of the creative minds of people like Roberta Leigh and Gerry Anderson.
The only warning must be is double check the price of this DVD. Type space patrol DVD into Google and see the true steet price.
I was ripped off.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Space Patrol - a SF Kids Show for Ideas, 22 Feb 2002
By A Customer
The adventures of Captain Larry Dart of Galasphere 347, with his crew the Martian Husky and Venusian Slim. Often confused with Gerry Anderson's 'Fireball XL5', Roberta Leigh's 'Space Patrol' offers a quirky and light-hearted slant on the SF genre. Primarily a children's series, 'Space Patrol' mixes entertainment from offbeat characters and situations with moral stories and attempts at scientific realism (astronomer Colin Ronan acted as adviser).
This sixth volume, as well as featuring an extra bonus episode, gives a selection of stories from across the series (the episode order of the videos is NOT the production order) and all of them are fine examples.
'The Miracle Tree Of Saturn' is an early episode and sees the dramatic consequences of not using the Contamination Control seen in most episodes. A greedy technician stows away on Galasphere 347 and unwittingly infects the planet Saturn with the common cold, with life and death situations all round.
'The Cloud Of Death' is also an early episode, with Neptunian Overlord Tyro attempting to blackmail Earth into slavery by blocking the Sun's heat with a cloud of particles in space. Rather straight forward, it is the character relations that make this story with thoughts of evacuating the planet as a final resort...
'The Planet Of Thought', made later in the series, actually acts as a direct sequel to 'The Cloud Of Death' with Tyro convinced that robots may make better slaves than Earthmen. However, on his visit to Earth he becomes entranced by Marla's beauty and abducts her. A superb and clever episode, with some wry comments on sexual politics which could only have come from having Roberta Leigh as writer.
'Explosion On The Sun' offers more scientific blackmail with an unscrupulous scientist causing heatwaves by dropping freightloads of beryllium into the Sun in order to get what he wants. While the ideas are nice, you can feel the writer straining at the constraints of the format by conveniently forgetting the times involved in travelling between the planets, so nicely established in earlier stories.
'Volcanoes Of Venus' ends the first series video releases but is actually an early story, with Slim sent to his home planet to try and find out the cause of a strange virus. More political machinations abound as he becomes involved with his devious uncle Gallia who is trying to overthrow the Venusian President. Are the two linked? A memorable story for Slim's selfless solution to the problem - one he thankfully doesn't have to resort to...
'Space Patrol' may not be the best remembered of SF series, owing to its limited screenings but if you like 'Fireball XL5' and Britsh SF from its golden age of the 1950s and 1960s, then I think you will warm to the series as it remains in the best - if somewhat simplified for children - tradition of the genre of ideas...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space Patrol - A Sci-Fi Primer of Ideas, 22 Feb 2002
By A Customer
The adventures of Captain Larry Dart of Galasphere 347, with his crew the Martian Husky and Venusian Slim. Often confused with Gerry Anderson's 'Fireball XL5', Roberta Leigh's 'Space Patrol' offers a quirky and light-hearted slant on the SF genre. Primarily a children's series, 'Space Patrol' mixes entertainment from offbeat characters and situations with moral stories and attempts at scientific realism (astronomer Colin Ronan acted as adviser).
This fifth volume, as well as featuring an extra bonus episode, shows the series at its peak with a fine selection of thought provoking and dramatic stories.
'The Invisible Invasion' is one of the show's best, probably the only example of a direct though subversive alien attempt to take control of Earth, and without the slick effects work of the Gerry Anderson productions manages to build up a tense atmosphere in the best tradition of British SF.
'The New Planet' is one you'll either love or hate - personally, I love it. A malfunction on Galasphere 347 throws it out of the solar system where they discover a tenth planet beyond the orbit of Pluto. Some nice scientific ideas about how this planet supports life give way to a somewhat fanciful occupant but in all it's a good romp.
'The Human Fish' is an early eco-friendly story about fish on Venus evolving in intelligent creatures. A good story that signposts the problems of pollution without getting on a soapbox about it, though one is left wondering what happens to the 'human fish' afterwards...
'The Planet Of Light' is the first of two stories about visitors from the stars. The living light Lumina creatures from Sirius invite Larry Dart and Slim to visit their world and while the ideas are again interesting, a somewhat melodramatic story ensues when Dart runs out of oxygen on a planet where the gas is considered lethal...
'The Talking Bell' is a similarly melodramatic story but in this instance 'Mr Bell', a strange mushroom like lifeform from another star, is the moral protagonist in a tale of self sacrifice. While a little heavy-handed in its dealing of this issue, as a children's story it is nice to see the subject being tackled. We should perhaps see a little more of these aspirations in modern television...
Standing alone from comparison's with the more action packed Gerry Anderson series, 'Space Patrol' is the kind of series that would have got the kiddies talking in the playground for days afterwards and would hopefully have raised issues they could ask parents and teachers about. It may seem oversimple now, a slice of nostalgia from a time just before the sixties became 'the sixties' but it can still raise a wry smile and will hopefully find some modern appreciation with its recent release on video.
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Space Patrol: Volume 2 [VHS] [1963]
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