Space Patrol  single disc edition [DVD]
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DVD Special Features:
Two previously unseen 35mm transfers
Interviews with creator and producer Roberta Leigh, voice artist Dick Vosburgh, "Babylon 5" creator and producer Joe Michael Straczynski and XTC's Andy Partridge
From the Back Cover
This is Earth - the year 2100. These are the adventures of SPACE PATROL, unseen on British television since 1968, now resuced and restored to delight the many fans of this cult puppet classic.
Join Galasphere 347 and its intrepid crew on their voyages around the solar system - and renew acquaintance with all those characters you thought you'd never see again; heroic Captain Dart; elfin Slim; sausage mad Husky; Irish genius Professor Haggerty; mad Martian parrot Gabbler; and keeping them all on a tight rein (and an even tighter budget), Colonel Raeburn and his super-efficient secretary Marla. If you're already a fan, this is unmissable, it not prepare to be converted! SPACE PATROL is back!
Includes the episodes:
The Swamps of Jupiter
The Wandering Asteroid
The Robot Revolution
The Rings of Saturn
Husky Becomes Invisible
Mystery on the Moon
Top customer reviews
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.
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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the robots the music how stories can be so simple and acceptable
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