A tribute to Buster Crabbe
Presented by Movie Mike
Buster Crabbe was the only actor to play the three greatest pulp fiction heroes, Tarzan, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers A champion swimmer and winner of two Olympic medals, he moved into films and quickly became the king of the science fiction serials.
Albacon will be showing him as all three pulp heroes, as well as a jungle adventure Nabonga. There will also be a panel discussion touching on Crabbe’s other work in television and as a comic book hero.
Friday 9:00 pm
ROCKET SHIP: THE ORIGINAL FLASH GORDON (1936)
Jump on Dr. Zarkov’s rocket and we’re off to Mongo, the planet of adventure, to battle Ming The Merciless! Meet winged hawkmen and visit their floating sky city. Become a slave shoveling radium into the atom furnaces. Enjoy invisibility, swordplay and ray guns. Rescue
Dale from a dire fate! See dinosaurs and monsters, classic heroism and villainy, plus laughably crude special effects. With wonderful music, costumes and props, lots of thrills and action, a silly script, and bad acting!
Friday, 10:30 pm
DESTINATION SATURN (1940): THE CONDENSED FEATURE CUT OF THE 12-CHAPTER BUCK ROGERS SERIAL
The Buck Rogers mythos began as two short stories in the pulp magazine Amazing Stories and in 1929 became the first science-fiction comic strip to appear in the newspapers. The original story was a yellow-peril future wars tale of a Mongol world conquest resisted by a handful of rebels. In the serial, Killer Kane has been transformed from the traitorous regent of the Mongols to a mere gangster turned dictator. He uses a fiendish amnesia helmet resembling a percolator to turn men into mindless slave laborers. To overthrow this tyrant and his “outlaw army,” the free men of the hidden city must make an alliance with Saturn!
The feature cut moves the storyline along rather well, trimming out the slack and padding while preserving the best of the action. But the real strength of this film is design! Made in 1939, same year as the famous New York World’s Fair, we are treated to a retro concept of the future. The world of 2440 is deco-styled, with curved gramophone horns and rocket ships with geometric cut-outs. Keep an eye out for costumes, props and sets, take notice of the shapes of windows and doorways in Killer Kane’s city and on Saturn. It’s a future world of degravity belts, transporter booths and disintegrator rays that WWI veteran Buck awakens to after sleeping for five hundred years!
Saturday, 9:00 pm
TARZAN THE FEARLESS (1933)
Buster Crabbe plays Tarzan as a feral fellow like Kipling’s Mowgli. He’s fresh from his ape life and barely socialized to human company. Buster recalled that of all the Tarzans on film he spoke the least and wore the least. However, his Tarzan conveys his thoughts and feelings with body language and facial expressions. He shows both affection and protective feelings toward Mary (not Jane!) as he helps to find her father, held captive by the mysterious priests of Zar in a lost jungle city. Condensed from a 12-chapter serial, this feature version is a bit choppy but lots of fun, with the young Olympic swimming champ providing eye candy for the ladies.
Saturday, 10:30 pm
Here’s a rousing jungle adventure with Buster Crabbe in search of a lost treasure, lovely young Julie London as the mysterious White Witch, and Crash Corrigan in a gorilla suit as her guardian protector. Buster defies the racist conventions of the period to rescue a native from murder, and is rewarded with vital info. But he’s up against bad guy Barton MacLaine and bad girl Fifi D’Orsay, who are following him through the soundstage foliage with larcenous intent. What’s a gorilla to do? Watch this pulp-fiction B-movie and find out!