Flash Gordon Lives!

clovis-man

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Happened to turn on Netflix streaming while visiting my grandkids in Texas this weekend. Got the 1938 Flash Gordon's Trip To Mars on it and proceeded to watch in amazement as my 6 year old grandson and 10 year old grandaughter were mesmerized. They watched Flash and friends capture (and lose) Martian Queen Azura and Ming the Merciless. They watched the clay people appear from cave walls and the fire people swing from trees.

Trying now to remember my own reaction to the same scenes when I saw them at about the same age.
 

Foxbat

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I have all the Flash Gordon serials (and many other serials on DVD). I left childhood behind me a long long time ago but I still get a kick out of watching these every now and then. :)
 

clovis-man

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Back home from Texas now. The morning before we left, my grandson asked me: "Grand-Dad, Can we watch Flash Gordon?" I love it. Warms the cockles of my heart and drives his father, my son, crazy.:D
 

Dave

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That's why I want to have grandkids. So, I can make my kids feel the same way that I did when my father did the same to them.

But back on the subject, I love Flash Gordon, and few people get how Star Wars ripped it off. But I also think we have lost something with the demise of the weekly serial. That is the way my father saw it at the cinema in the 1940's and 50's, along with many other serials. That is how I watched Doctor Who and Batman on TV. There are no serials now, with their cliffhanger endings that were completely edited when you saw the following part.
 

Foxbat

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But back on the subject, I love Flash Gordon, and few people get how Star Wars ripped it off. But I also think we have lost something with the demise of the weekly serial. That is the way my father saw it at the cinema in the 1940's and 50's, along with many other serials. That is how I watched Doctor Who and Batman on TV. There are no serials now, with their cliffhanger endings that were completely edited when you saw the following part.

I agree absolutely. I think what we have lost is a sense of origin or history - but, then again, perhaps that's just me getting old. Luckily for us, there are people out there doing their best to keep the genre alive...here for example... http://www.serialsquadron.com/ :)
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I have only the faintest memory of watching Flash Gordon on TV when I was a very little girl, but I think it was a different made-for-TV series.

When I was in my mid-twenties, one of the PBS stations in our area started showing the Flash Gordon serials on -- I think -- Saturday nights. I seem to remember that we'd get more than one episode each time, so we'd get a fair chunk of the story. As silly as the plots were, as clunky as the sets, costumes, and effects were, they still had an irresistible charm. I would love to watch them with my grandchildren.
 

clovis-man

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When I was in my mid-twenties, one of the PBS stations in our area started showing the Flash Gordon serials on -- I think -- Saturday nights. I seem to remember that we'd get more than one episode each time, so we'd get a fair chunk of the story. As silly as the plots were, as clunky as the sets, costumes, and effects were, they still had an irresistible charm. I would love to watch them with my grandchildren.

One of the great things about these serials is the enthusiasm of the actors. From Charles Middleton as the evil Emperor Ming to Buster Crabbe as Flash himself. They really threw themselves into it, no matter how corny it was. In Crabbe's case, it had to be a labor of love because, due to the studio contract environment of the time, he didn't get a penny for playing our hero. I think sometimes their energy came across well. My ten year old granddaughter commented that she thought the acting was pretty good. I didn't argue with her. ;)

Another thing that I remember being enthralled with as a kid was the musical score that accompanied the film story. I could always envision myself fighting space villains while the music spurred me on in the background. I was surprised to learn, many years later, that there were multiple sources; everything from Franz Liszt to Franz Waxman! You can get re-acquainted with all of it at this site:

http://flashgordon.ws/
 

Foxbat

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I have only the faintest memory of watching Flash Gordon on TV when I was a very little girl, but I think it was a different made-for-TV series.

There was a series starring Steve Holland as Flash Gordon (1954-55) but I believe that the original serials were re-edited into a TV feature so it could have been either (or both) that you remember.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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1954-55 sounds about right, so that is probably the one I ... sort of ... remember. The tiny bit that I do remember doesn't seem to match up with the way things looked in the serials.

But there was also a Flash Gordon comic strip in the newspaper that I remember reading regularly a few years later, so it's just possible that some of that has leaked into my memory of the TV show.

Edit --

I just Googled "Steve Holland Flash Gordon" and found some pictures. I recognize the rocket ship.
 

steve12553

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1954-55 sounds about right, so that is probably the one I ... sort of ... remember. The tiny bit that I do remember doesn't seem to match up with the way things looked in the serials.

But there was also a Flash Gordon comic strip in the newspaper that I remember reading regularly a few years later, so it's just possible that some of that has leaked into my memory of the TV show.

Edit --

I just Googled "Steve Holland Flash Gordon" and found some pictures. I recognize the rocket ship.

There are at least a couple of episodes of the TV series available online. I've seen one or two. They're only slightly less hokey than the Buster Crabbe serials but they were probably wonderful to a youngster with visions of worlds beyond our own.
 

biodroid

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I enjoyed the one that had the Queen song as the movie theme. I was hoping some Hollywood director aka JJ Abrams could make it into a reboot/remake. That was a good movie, when i was a kid. Thats the only Flash Gordon I know.
 

clovis-man

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I enjoyed the one that had the Queen song as the movie theme. I was hoping some Hollywood director aka JJ Abrams could make it into a reboot/remake. That was a good movie, when i was a kid. Thats the only Flash Gordon I know.

With Max von Sydow as Ming. Somehow it just seems wrong to have an oscar nominated actor play a part that has so much in common with Snively Whiplash. But the music by Queen was a plus.
 

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