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Space Patrol : The Complete Series (6 Disc Set)

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

Price: £295.95
Only 1 left in stock - order soon.
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Product details

  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015OSSPE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 152,192 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Remember the 1960s? Programs like Supercar and Fireball XL-5 created a huge market for children's SF, and even Gerry Anderson couldn't fill it. One of the programs that tried to bridge the gap was Space Patrol, a puppet show made by Frank Goulding, Roberta Leigh, and other defectors from the Anderson empire. Filmed on a shoestring in black and white, it had some interesting ideas that could have usefully been transferred to later series; spaceships used antigravity, not rockets, and took weeks to reach the outer planets, aliens weren't always humanoid and had their own languages and customs (and it took several days to program the translating computers), and gadgets took time to develop and tended to be reused once they'd appeared. There were even vague signs of a story arc occasionally, something singularly lacking in most of its rivals. It's an acknowledged source for several programs including Babylon 5 (whose director talks about the show in one of the extra features). For many years it was believed that most of the episodes had been lost, with the rest in very poor condition, but in the nineties Roberta Leigh found that she had a complete run of the series on 16mm film in her garage. Eventually the episodes were transferred to tape and later DVD. This set collects all of the episodes and includes all of the extras from the tapes; interviews with animators, cast, and fans of the show (most notably Joe Michael Straczynski), samples of the other programmes made by the company, advertising, and so forth. It's an extraordinarily complete archive. Today some of the ideas in the show seem a little odd - and some of the tricks used to save money, such as recycled footage and reused puppets which give the impression of a very small cast of actors. American buyers: This program was shown as "Planet Patrol" in the USA; it isn't the same program as the earlier American live-action "Space Patrol". The DVDs are Region 0 (all regions)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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This is a fascinating series in many ways. I was too young to remember Space Patrol (Planet Patrol in the US) when it first appeared in 1963 but it gained a cult status with viewers. Not to be confused with Fireball XL5 these are the adventures of Captain Larry Dart and his crew - a sausage loving Martian (Husky) and an elfin Venusian (Slim)
This is more realistic than Fireball because apart from a couple of episodes the Galasphere only patrols within our own solar system - the furthest it ventures is to a planet around the star Alpha Centauri. There is also interesting scientific talk relating to the solar system and about Haggerty's inventions.
Other main characters are Colonel Raeburn, his Venusian secretary Marla, Irish scientific genius Professor Haggerty and his daughter Cassie - not forgetting the rather strange gabblerdictum bird (a Martian parrot) named Gabbler because he's always talking! Also look out for a strange Jovian named Joe who when frightened can twirl his head!
Of course there are the usual bad guys - the advanced Neptunians for example who are afraid of work and are always demanding earth slaves to carry out their day to day duties.
Although the quality varies from episode to episode it's great to know that this now very rare series survives wholly intact. Included are a host of extras including interviews with Dick Vosburgh (Captain Dart), the creator Roberta Leigh, cameraman Arthur Provis and two huge fans of the show XTC's Andy Partridge and Babylon 5 creator Joe Michael Straczynski.
There's a wealth of rare/one off programmes too including Sara and Hoppity (1960), The Adventures Of Twizzle (1957), Mr. Hero (1966), Paul Starr (1964), Wonderboy and Tiger (1968), Send For Dithers (1969) and The Solarnauts (1967).
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Format: DVD
You got a bunch of postcards of the characters when originally purchased with the VHS set (shame it's just collecting dust these days) the two colour ones are below, the others were B&W, one of my favourite childhood memories, but, my oh my it's expensive now!
This show was made by one time Gerry Anderson employer Roberta Leigh and his ex cameraman Arthur Provis.
I always classed this puppet show as a slightly more believable version of Gerry Anderson's Fireball XL5.
Captain Darts Galasphere 347 (One of a fleet.)and his crew only left the Solar System twice (not every week like Fireball did.) with the help of Alien intervention, in the episodes "Destruction by Sound" and "The Planet of light".
This show reputedly had a Scientific advisor on it's production staff.
One episode; "The Fires of Mercury" has an Earth colony of miners starting to freeze to death on Pluto, so the scientist Professor Haggerty sets up his invention for converting heat rays into radio waves on Mercury then directs the waves toward Pluto for the miners to reconvert them back into heat rays(with no heat loss.)and save the colony.
(Mind you how long it would take for Radio waves to travel from Mercury to Pluto is anybodies guess.)
Another episode; "The Human Fish" has a breed of fish on Venus evolving at an incredible rate due to chemical pollution in the water.
Okay life on Venus is as far as we know it impossible, but it was a childrens show and I thought then as I do now that it was more intelligently written then any other Childrens show made at the time (1963).
Among this shows fans were/are Babylon 5's creator Joe-Michael Straczynski, and XTC's Andy Partridge.
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Format: DVD
This series aired in America as PLANET PATROL (because we had a live-action sci-fi show here in the 50's called Space Patrol, although curiously enough, when that was shown in later syndicated markets it sometimes used the title "Satellite Police"). It left a major impression on me at ages 8-10, much more so than its rival series, Fireball XL5 (although that did have a cool theme song and great visuals in its own right). And then SPACE PATROL/PLANET PATROL vanished, and over the decades seemed almost like something I had dreamt rather than seen. It was because of DVD releases like this that I got an all-region player (one of the best investments I ever made), and I bought this set when it first came out and was prepared for a less-than-optimum viewing experience, based on the stories about 16mm prints and the fact that, at one point, not all of the episodes could even be found in any form. But it's been transferred surprisingly well, and doubly so given that no one in 1963 ever expected anyone to be looking at these shows in high-resolution digital video 40 years after the fact.
It's all here, and even in the worst-looking of the shows there's enough to savor and appreciate anew (and there were episodes that I missed, I realize now). The visuals are fine -- not state-of-the-art but easy to enjoy -- and the sound is better than I'd hoped for. And the extras . . . I only wish that this set were out as a Region 1 release, so I could buy it for friends of mine here in the USA as gifts. But if you've a mind to get it, you won't be disappointed -- and I would love to loop that end-credit audio into an hour or two on continuous sound (I think it's always been playing somewhere in my head anyway, since age 8, along with those visuals).
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