Space Command
GenreChildren's science fiction
Written byAlfred Harris[1][2]
Directed byMurray Chercover[2]
StarringBob Barclay
James Doohan
Austin Willis
Country of originCanada
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes150
Production
ProducerMurray Chercover[1]
Running time30 minutes
Release
Original networkCBC Television
Original release13 March 1953 (1953-03-13) –
29 May 1954 (1954-05-29)[1]
Chronology
Preceded byTales of Adventure[1]

Space Command was a Canadian children's science fiction television adventure series, broadcast on CBC Television in 1953 and 1954, the first time the network aired its own dramatic series.[3][4]

Created by Alfred Harris, the series focused on the activities of young space lieutenant Frank Anderson (Robert Barclay) aboard the space ship XSW1, along with his crewmate Phil Mitchell (James Doohan, best known as Scotty on Star Trek)[5][6] and XSW1 captain Steve Cassel (Harry Geldard). Their missions dealt with various space exploration and science subjects, including sunspots, space medicine, and the search for extraterrestrial life.

The XSW1 was operated by the worldwide Space Command organization,[5][7] which concerned itself with space exploration and colonization. Characters at Space Command Earth included Dr. Joseph Edmunds (Andrew Anthony), Ilene Morris (Aileen Taylor), and Dr. Fleming, (Austin Willis).[2] Other actors appearing on the series included Joe Austin, Cec Linder, Barry Morse (later of the TV series The Fugitive and Space: 1999),[8] and William Shatner (Star Trek).[2][9]

Although short-lived, Space Command proved to be a hit dramatic program for CBC's earliest years.[3]

Production details

As stated over the end credits, Space Command originated at CBC Toronto. The show was aired "live" it but was kinescoped so it could be distributed to stations across Canada.

Accurate credits are difficult to assemble because only a single episode is known to survive and documentation of the program is scant. That episode's technical credits are: Producer Murray Chercover; Technical Producer Vic Ferry. Audio Orm Collier; Sound Effects Bill McCelland; Production Supervisor Robert Allen; Special Effects John D. Lowry and Peter Kirby, which included presentations of rockets and weightlessness.[3]

Other sources identify the Producer as Ross McLean and lists the Director as Murray Chercover. The only known Writer credit is Alfred Harris. Harold Wright was technical advisor to the series.[7][10] Models were created at producer Murray Chercover's residence, and rocket propulsion material was obtained from T. W. Hand Fireworks.[3]

Scheduling

The series was initially seen on Friday evenings at 19:30 Toronto time on VHF channel 5. The debut episode on 13 March 1953 featured the topic of sunspots.[7] This first run continued until 17 July 1953.[1] Other topics planned for the series included asteroids, space medicine, meteorites, and evolution.[3]

From 17 October 1953, the series moved to Saturdays at 18:30, but came back to CBC's Friday schedule on 8 January 1954 for the 18:00 time slot. The final run of the series returned to Saturdays on 1 May 1954, again at the 18:00 time slot.[1] The total number of episodes is undocumented, but the show aired for 51 weeks in total, and if it aired only once weekly the maximum number of episodes would be 51 and claims that report a series length of 150 episodes must be in error.

Preservation status

Nova Scotia media historian Ernest Dick lamented the loss of recordings of nearly all the series episodes, despite the production of kinescopes for distribution to CBC stations across Canada. The only known extant recording is that of one November 1953 episode.[2] That segment was uploaded to YouTube in March 2018, bearing a modern Canadian TV Classification System TV rating of PG, indicating it must have been rebroadcast no earlier than 1997.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Allan, Blaine. "(Seven to Sprockets) Space Command". CBC Television Series 1952 to 1982. Queen's University. Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e Dick, Ernest J. (7 July 2006). "Vanishing Media: Space Command" (PDF). AVTrust. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2012.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e Rainsberry, F. B. (1988). A history of children's television in English Canada, 1952–1986. Scarecrow Press. pp. 117, 118. ISBN 0-8108-2079-X.
  4. ^ "CBC CA Image of the Day: Space Command".
  5. ^ a b CBC Arts (7 July 2004). "TV's 'Scotty' has Alzheimer's". CBC News. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
  6. ^ Hayward, Anthony (22 July 2005). "James Doohan (obituary)". The Independent. Archived from the original on 17 May 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
  7. ^ a b c "Television / CBLT-TV Channel 9". The Globe and Mail. 13 March 1953. p. 35.
  8. ^ Morse, Barry (2004). Pulling Faces, Making Noises: A Life on Stage, Screen & Radio. iUniverse, Inc. p. 159. ISBN 0595321690.
  9. ^ Corcelli, John (April 2002). "Space Command". Canadian Communications Foundation. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
  10. ^ "Space Command | History of Canadian Broadcasting". www.broadcasting-history.ca. Retrieved 19 March 2020.