Radar Men from the Moon
Franklin Adreon (associate) for Republic
directed by Fred C. Brannon
starring George Wallace, Aline Towne, Roy Bancroft, William Bakewell, Clayton Moore, Peter Brocco, Bob Stevenson, Don Walters, Tom Steele, Dale Van Sickel, Wilson Wood, Noel Cravat, Baynes Barron, Paul McGuire, Ted Thorpe, Dick Cogan, Billy Dix, Claude Dunkin, Stephen Gregory, Barry Hollins, Carey Loftin, William Marke, John Marshall, Tony Merrill, Paul Palmer
screenplay by Ronald Davidson, music by Stanley Wilson, special effects by Howard Lydecker, Theodore Lydecker
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A series of attacks on various earth institutions using a death ray
lead Commando Cody (George Wallace), the man with the rocket suit, and his
associates - lab assistant Ted (William Bakewell), secretary Joan (Aline
Towne) and their boss Henderson (Don Walters) to believe that the source
of these attacks is actually the moon ... so they mount their rocket ship
that is conveniently parked in their back garden and fly there, to learn
that moon ruler Retik (Roy Barcroft) wants to conquer the earth because
the moon atmosphere has become quite unbreathable. Before Cody and co can
sabotage Retik's operations right here and now though, they have to
hightail it back to earth because of being outmanned by the the moonmen.
On earth, Cody and company mainly have to battle moonman Krog (Peter
Brocco) and his two earth henchmen Graber (Clayton Moore) and Daly (Bob
Stevenson), and the audience is soon treated to the usual chases, on foot,
by car and by rocket suit, and quite a number of shootouts, with Cody and
friends always foiling the baddies' evil plans but never quite getting a
hold of them ... until Retik arrives on earth to oversee progress himself,
while Cody and co somehow get hold of a death ray gun and force Daly and
Graber into a fatal carcrash. Soon enough, Retik realizes that his days on
earth are numbered and hightails it in his rocketship, but (in an
underwhelming finale) he is shot out of the skies with his own raygun.
With a trip to the moon, this serial gets off on a quite impressive
start, but soon the action becomes earthbound, and we are treated to same
old same old, your typical serialized earth invasion plot with very
little regarding story build-up, and a serious lack of production values
(the rocketsuit scenes were lifted from 1949's King of the Rocket Men,
the lunar invasion force seems to consist of three men - Retik not counted
-, earth is defended merely by a man in a rocketsuit and his assistant who
can't even afford guards for the door of their top secret lab, ...). All
that said, it's not a complete failure, it has a certain naive charm
shared by many sci-fi serials - but compared to the best of the genre, Radar
Men from the Moon is rather a disappointment.
By the way, the series' main character got his own (short-lived)
TV-series, Commando Cody, Sky Marshal of the Universe in
1953, when he was played by Judd Holdren. Of all actors in the serial,
only Aline Towne returned in her role on TV.