1 9 5 3 – 1 9 5 4 (USA)
59 x 30 minute episodes
“CBS Television presents Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers. Surging with the power of the atom, gleaming like great silver bullets, the mighty Rocket Rangers space ships, stand by for blast-off. Up, up, rockets blazing with white-hot fury, the man-made meteors ride through the atmosphere, breaking the gravity barrier, pushing up and out, faster and faster and then outer space and high adventure for the Rocket Rangers”
The Rocket Rangers were a “celestial defence organisation” that battled interplanetary evil in the 22nd Century, operating out of Omega Base, which was located on Earth.
Rocket Ranger Rod Brown (Cliff Robertson) patrolled the universe keeping law and order in his spacecraft, the Beta, with Senior Ranger Frank Boyd (Bruce Hall) and Adjutant Wilbur “Wormsey” Wormser (John Boruff) protecting its inhabitants from evil.
The series was broadcast live from the CBS studios in New York at 11:30 am on Saturdays. Cliff Robertson was paid $150 per episode.
More than 1,500 young children applied for membership in the ‘Junior Rocket Rangers’ within a week after the opportunity was announced on the show. Boys and girls were eligible to join by agreeing to adhere to the “precepts of good citizenship as adopted in outer space” and received a membership card signed by “D.A Swift, Commander in Chief of the Rocket Rangers Recruiting headquarters, 485 Madison Avenue, New York, NY”.
All Junior Rocket Rangers agreed to abide by the following oath:
“On my honour as a Rocket Ranger, I pledge that:
- I shall always chart my course according to the Constitution of the United States of America
- I shall never cross orbits with the rights and beliefs of others
- I shall blast at full space speed to protect the weak and innocent
- I shall stay out of collision orbit with the law of my state and community
- I shall cruise in parallel orbit with my parents and teachers
- I shall not roar my rocket unwisely, and shall be courteous at all times
- I shall keep my gyros steady and my reactors burning by being industrious and thrifty
- I shall keep my scanner tuned to learning and remain coupled to my studies
- I shall keep my mind out of free-fall by being mentally alert
- I shall blast the meteors from the paths of other people by being kind and considerate”
A lawsuit was filed against CBS shortly after this program aired, claiming that the similarities between this series and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet (1950) were more than coincidental.
The similarities included an identical cast structure (three young characters mentored by a veteran commander) and the show’s producers were forced to destroy all of its kinescopes by court order.
Ranger Rod Brown
Wilbur ‘Wormsey’ Wormser
Senior Ranger Frank Boyd